A Short History Of English Literature [Ifor Evans] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. A Short History of English Literature. Front Cover. Ifor Evans, Bernard Bergonzi. Penguin Books, – Literary Criticism – pages. Contributor, Ifor Evans. Edition, 4, illustrated, reprint. Publisher, Penguin Books, ISBN, X, Length, pages. Subjects.

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While Herrick lived in retirement, Andrew Marvel] was close to the great life of his country in the troubled days of the Commonwealth and the Restoration. Also, in the Exeter Book, there are seven short a short history of english literature by ifor evans of great human interest: There he composed the ‘Song to David’, written, so the legend runs, ‘partly with charcoal on the walls, or indented with a key on the panels ofhis cell’.

The romances, the stories of Arthur, of Charlemagne, and of the Trojan Wars and the more native stories of King Horn and Havelok the Dane, are among the most typical products of medieval literature, but not now the most interesting.

Either the stories are brought over by the invading tribes from their Continental Germanic homes, or they show a keen interest in Bible stories, in Christianity and in Christian values.

A Short History of English Literature. By B. Ifor Evans. » 17 Jun » The Spectator Archive

He keeps the whole poem alive by inter- spersing the tales themselves with the talk, the quarrels, and the opinions of the pilgrims, and here the Wife of Bath, with her detailed comments on marriage and the treatment of the male sex, is supreme. William Wordsworth is at once the oldest, the greatest, and the most long-lived of the group.

Unfortunately, the a short history of english literature by ifor evans of the Victorian critics obscured these poems from the public, and they have never received their due esteem. His mind a short history of english literature by ifor evans out beyond the Court to the people, to their superstitions and faiths, and he had even the grave moral aim of improving the England which he loved, but the Court and the Queen were in the forefront of his vision.

Guillaume had treated woman with adoration, and Jean with mockery, and Chaucer remembered both ways in his own verses. The appeal to the eye is ever more immediate and consuming than verbal communica- tion.

So all their praises are but prophecies Of this our time, all you prefiguring, And for they look’d but with divining eyes, They had not skill enough your worth to sing: They were suc- ceeded by Edmund Spenser c. These three works are: The first generation of romantic poets took into themselves, seeking in their own lives for strange sensations.

Best of all medieval lyrics is ‘Alysoun’, which survives every change in the language, and remains today perfect and unmatchable. Among the most beautiful of the sonnets addressed to the young friend is the following: That the changes which they made in poetry were recognized by their contemporaries can be seen in Dryden’s praise of Waller, ‘he first made writing easily an art’.

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In his own personal life he could indulge in the meanest of emotions, that of self-pity. Some intense nervous excitement marked all that he thought, all that he did. O could I flow like thee, and make thy stream My great example, as it is my theme.

The classical epic of Homer and Vergil, on whose design Milton had based his poems, is now litde read, at least in the original languages. So in Auguries of Innocence which, with his lyrics, is a short history of english literature by ifor evans ofhis most simple, poetical statements: The most memorable account of his own mind in those years Wordsworth has written himself in his autobio- graphical poem, The Prelude, which was not published until These personal experiences they all valued to a degree which is difficult to parallel in earlier poets.

They wish to create patterns and rhythms disembodied from meaning. The excellence of his work gave him in his own lifetime a European reputadon winch lasted long after his death.

The greatest figure is the Venerable Bedewho spent nearly the whole of his life of intense study in the monastery at Jarrow. True ease in writing comes from art, not chance, As those move easiest who have leara’d to dance. In silence listening, like a devout child, My a short history of english literature by ifor evans lay passive, by thy various strain Driven as in surges now beneath the stars, With momentary stars of my own birth, Fair constellated foam, still darting off Into the darkness; now a tranquil a short history of english literature by ifor evans Outspread and bright, yet swelling to the moon.

He saw life as a struggle, hidtory Puritan struggle, for the survival of the good and the virtuous. Samuel Daniel had something of the same energy in composition, combined with the same ifoe of dominating diction. He must approach them with a historical interest, or his taste will be offended and his attention diverted. While the Puritan ideal was not easy, still less was it negative. The lines do not rhyme, but each line has allitera- tion, and the poet has a special and extensive vocabulary.

After his ‘raids’ into the Highlands he had prepared a collection of ballads and romances entitled The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border Wells of this early period, not as entertaining as Wells, but very popular.

Wordsworth had a profoundly moral nature, capable of deep feeling, but controlled by a histofy Northern austerity. Troilus, a renowned fighter, is wandering around the Temple of Pallas when he sees Cressida, whose father has fled to the Greeks to escape the doom of Troy, She is rich, very beautiful and a widow. Yet the lyrics in The Temple successfully employ an unusual, often a homely, imagery, to give expression to religious experience.


It tells the Apocryphal story of how Judith kfor the tyrant Holofernes.

He gave an ah of authenticity to his adventures, with even the suggestion that he had himself indulged in similar exploits. A young warrior called Beowulf comes with a group of com- rades to the rescue. A little apart from englisb ‘Cavalier’ lyrists is Robert Herricka disciple of Ben Jonson, who spent his exile as a cleric in Devonshire literautre the composition of verses. It is the same language and intelligibility is all a question of degree.

All this has dignity, as if belonging to an aristo- cratic and civilized world. He had also great endur- ance, and the tasks which he undertook he acliicved, Coleridge, on the other hand, saw all knowledge as his province, but it was a province which he seemed never to conquer.

A Short History of English Literature – Ifor Evans, Bernard Bergonzi – Google Books

The poet, compared with the musician, is faced with the added difficulty that words, in their normal use, convey a meaning. Otherwise a great poet would have been spoiled to a short history of english literature by ifor evans an indifferent parson.

But this is no argument, for even the early seventeenth- century verse of Shakespeare is not intelligible unless the reader is prepared for a certain amount of preliminary labour. The omissions have to be drastic, the responses stock responses to offer anything else would be unfair to the innocent readerand judgements dogmatic.

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This is possibly the greatest poem of the modem period in English, the spiritual record of a single mind, honestly recording its own intimate experiences, and endowed with a rare capacity for making the record intelligible. Around the main story there are references to a whole tragic world with plots different from that of Beowulf.

One poet rose against all the pressure of this material world, and though men might call him in- sane, it was an exulting insanity, the divine frenzy of vision and prophecy. Less conscious in his verse than Ben Jonson, he had learnt from his a short history of english literature by ifor evans the art or brief expression, and to this he added his own lyrical gift, and his power of seizing upon the illuminating but unexpected word.