You are on page 1of 25

English Literature

For Juniors 2010.9


Discussion Why do we learn literature?

What and How to Learn?


Why Learn Literature?

It is just a course to get scores To make us more civilized, qualified and knowledgeable To amuse ourselves and others For further study 1.Postgraduate of English and American literature in FL institute 2. Postgraduate of literature of foreign countries in Chinese department research more 05/07/12

What and How to Learn?

Not merely satisfied with the textbook Learning literature is much more than reading famous works or knowing some schools of literature: history, philosophy and theories of literature and art at least Be an active reader: read, think and write sth on an author or work you are interested in most. History, philosophy, psychology, aesthetics and other disciplines to help learn literature
05/07/12 4

Part I Ancient Literature (before the Middle Ages) Part II Medieval Literature Part III Renaissance Literature Part IV Literature in 17th Century (Classicism) Part V Literature in18th Century (Enlightenment) Part VI Literature in19th Century (Romanticism, Realism & Naturalism etc.) Part VII Literature at the turn of 20th Century (Aestheticism, Symbolism etc) Part VIII Literature in 20th Century (Realism, Modernism & Post-modernism)
05/07/12 5

Chapter The Anglo-Saxon Period (449-1066)


From the collapse of Roman Empire to the Renaissance----Mediaeval age (PartI II III) This age can be roughly divided into two periods: (1) Anglo-Saxon Period: (The Old English) (2)Anglo-Norman Period (Middle English)--- as a result of Norman conquest of the island.
05/07/12 7


The Making of England

The English people are of a mixed blood. The early inhabitants in the island now we call England were Britons, a tribe of Celts. From the Britons the island got its name of Britain, the land of Britons. The Britons were a primitive people who lived in the tribal society.


Julius Caesar


In 55 B.C., Britain was invaded by Julius Caesar, the Roman conqueror. But as soon as the Romans landed on shore of the island, the Britons fought like lions under the leadership of their chieftain. Britain was not completely subjugated to the Roman Empire until 78 A.D.
05/07/12 10

With the Roman Conquest the Roman mode of life came across to Britain also. The Roman occupation lasted for about 400 years. It was also during the Roman rule that Christianity was introduced to Britain.



The English Conquest

In the middle of 5th century, Britain was invaded by swarms of pirates. They were three tribes from Northern Europe: The Angles, Saxons and Jutes. And by the 7th century these small kingdoms were combined into a united kingdom called England, or the land of Angles.
05/07/12 12

The three tribes had mixed into a whole people called English, the Angles being the most numerous of the three. And the three dialects called Anglo-Saxon, or Old English, which is quite different from the English that we know today



Historical Backgrounds
1.Celts( ) moved to British Isles( ) and became the earliest people of England. 2.410AD, after the fall of the by Roman Empire. 449, the Angles, Jutes and Saxons invaded the British Isles.



The Teutonic tribes




Their language: Anglo-Saxon or old English -------became popular

05/07/12 15

Literature ---old English poetry

The pagan literature: heroic legend, sagas The Christian literature: has the religious coloring



It is the listening time, so people learned the history and Bible stories from songs of the sagas. Caedmon: the father of English song. wrote a poetic Paraphrase of the Bible Cynewulf: the author of the poems on religious subjects.



Main works
Beowulf It is an Anglo-Saxon national epic, in alliterative verse, originating from the collective efforts of oral literature. originally in the oral form in 6th century and the present one written in 10th.



The story: it is set in Scandinavian and tells of his three major adventures---how the hero defeats the monster Grendel and Grendels mother, the sea monster and a fire-breathing dragon , but eventually receives his own death.





Artistic features: structural alliteration: Rhymeless Metaphors understatements



Literature terms
1. Alliteration: The repetition of the same consonant sounds or of different vowel sounds at the beginning of words or in stressed syllables. (ex:p5) 2. Theme The general idea or insight about life that a writer wishes to express in a literary work. All the elements of a literary work-plot, setting, characterization, and figurative language contribute to the development of its theme. (What is the theme of Beowulf ?
05/07/12 22

Analysis the theme of the poem: Battle is a way of life. Strength, courage and loyalty are basic virtues for both kings and warriors. It shows how the primitive people wage heroic struggles against the hostile forces of the natural world under a wise and mighty leader.



3. Epic A long narrative poem telling about

the deeds of a great hero and reflecting the values of the society from which it originated. Many epics were drawn from an oral tradition and were transmitted by song and recitation before they were written down.



Homework 1.Read P6-15 to know details about the poem. 2.What is the heroic ideal of Beowulf ? (concerning the history of Anglo--Saxon period)