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WORDSWORTH AS A ROMANTIC CRITIC

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INTRODUCTION: William Wordsworth was primarily a poet but still he has given us a most comprehensive critical document in the form of the 'Preface to Lyrical Ballads'. It has an epoch-making significance. It strikes a new note in the history of English literary criticism. It is the manifesto of the Romantic Movement. It gave a new direction, consciousness and programme to English Romanticism.

THEMES OF POETRY:' The Preface' marks a revolution in matter of selection of subject for the purpose of poetry. Here Wordsworth has discarded the Neo-classical approach. His approach is romantic. He advocates that the theme of poetry should be drawn from simple and rustic life. The poet should choose incidents and situations from common life. According to Wordsworth in this rustic and humble life the fundamental passions of the heart develop smoothly and grow harmoniously. They are not controlled by the fastidious rules of the so-called society. Thus the real subject matter of poet…

DR. JOHNSON AS A CRITIC [PREFACE TO SHAKESPEARE]:

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INTRODUCTION: Dr. Johnson is one of the greatest critics. As a literary critic he was an exponent of classicism. He condemned everything that did not conform to classical doctrines. He is almost always penetrating and stimulating. His 'Preface to Shakespeare' is considered as one of the noblest monuments of English neo-classical criticism. His judgment of Shakespeare marks the date in the history of criticism.

FIDELITY TO FACTS OF NATURE: 'The Preface to Shakespeare' deals with Johnson's judgment of Shakespeare as a dramatist. According to Johnson, the basic requirement of literary greatness is fidelity to facts of nature. This is clearly the neo-classical theory of art as imitation. Johnson praises Shakespeare for meeting this requirement fully and most satisfactorily. According to him, Shakespeare is, par excellence, the poet of nature. He holds up to his readers a faithful mirror of manners and of life. His characters have a universal appeal. They act and speak l…

LONGINUS: SOURCES OF SUBLIMITY

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INTRODUCTION: Longinus is one of the greatest Greek critics. His position is only next to Aristotle. His 'On the Sublime' is an immortal critical document of great worth and significance. It deals wit h the principle of sublimity in the world of writing. Here Longinus discusses the meaning, the nature and the sources of sublime. He distinguishes the true sublime from the false sublime. He advises how to overcome the vices of sublime. His suggestions are of permanent and paramount value.

WHAT IS SUBLIMITY: Sublimity is a certain loftiness, distinction and consummation of excellence in language, expression and composition. It is the echo of a great soul. It raises style above the ordinary. Some persons are of the view that sublimity is a gift of nature. They think that it has nothing to do with art. But one should not forget that nature needs the help of art to control its wild impulses. In fact, both nature and art contribute to sublimity in literature. According to Longinus, &…

LONGINUS AS A CRITIC

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INTRODUCTION:Longinus is one of the greatest Greek critics. His position is only next to Aristotle. His 'On the Sublime' is an immortal critical document of great worth and significance. It deals with the principle of sublimity in the world of writing. He was the first European Critic who emphasised the importance of style. He made the use of both the historical and comparative methods in literary criticism.

CONTROVERSY: In regard to his contribution the critics are divided in their opinions. Scott James hails him as the first romantic critic whereas prof. Atkins admires him as a great classical critic. In fact, Longinus is a classicist in taste, romantic in temper and an idealist at heart. He anticipated much that is modern in critical world.

AS A ROMANTIC: Longinus is a romanticist in temper. For him literature is not a mechanical work but a thing of the spirit of imagination, of feeling and the gift of communication. Again and again he directs attention from the technical to…

FIELDING AS THE FATHER OF ENGLISH NOVEL

Richardson, Fielding, Smollet and Stern are known as the four wheels of the novel. Among them Fielding's contribution to English novel is noteworthy. It is true that even before Fielding, Bunyan, Defoe and Richardson had written novels. But none deserve to be called the father of English novel. It is Fielding who gave a definite form and proper shape to the English novel. He formulated the theory of novel writing. He made invaluable contributions to the development of plot construction and the art of characterisation. He made the novel an effective weapon of social criticism. He tried to advocate a healthy philosophy of life. He imbued his writings with a very solemn purpose. On these grounds Sir Walter Scott rightly calls him the father of English novel.

Plot: Plot before Fielding did not hold much importance. But Fielding revolutionised the concept of plot construction. He employs very coherent and organic plots. He conducts them with utmost skill. The plot of 'Tom Jones'…

KENILWORTH ( THE BLENDING OF HISTORY AND ROMANCE)

Sir Walter Scott is a great novelist. He has been called the father of historical novel in England. In his works we find a more serious and responsible approach towards history. He blended facts and fiction, history and romance. His Kenilworth is also a beautiful blend of history and romance.


          It seems that Kenilworth is a historical novel. It is because it deals with historical events and characters. It is set against a historical background. The time of the plot is 1575. The locale is England. The time is that of Queen Elizabeth's reign. The characters bear historical names. Here we have an excellent picture of Queen Elizabeth and the Earl of Leicester. The main events are also distilled from history. Above all the spirit of Elizabeth's age is exhibited most artistically and realistically. On the basis of these facts, Kenilworth is categorised as a historical novel.

          Though we get historical reflections in this novel, but here we get a number of historical in…

METAPHYSICAL POETS & POETRY

The term metaphysical may be applied to any poetry, which deals with spiritual or philosophical matters. But it is limited to the work of a group of poets of seventeenth century. Metaphysical poetry is a revolt against the popular current of the time. Among these poets John Donne is the most notable. Other so-called metaphysical poets were Cleveland, Cowley, Crashaw, Herbert and Vaughan.

          In 17th century Dryden in his 'Discourse' said that Donne affects the metaphysics. Later on Dr. Johnson borrowed this term from Dryden's phrase and used it for a group of 17th century poets. Dr. Johnson said, "About the beginning of the 17th century appeared a race of writers that may be termed as metaphysical poets. They were men of learning. To show their learning was their whole endeavour. Their thoughts are often new but seldom natural. The heterogeneous ideas are yoked by violence together. The following are the important characteristics of metaphysical poetry:

[1] Deligh…

JOHN DONNE AS A METAPHYSICAL POET

INTRODUCTION: John Donne is the leader and founder of the Metaphysical school of poetry. His poetry is a revolt against the popular current. First of all Dryden used the term ' Metaphysical' for Donne's poetry. He said,' Donne affects the metaphysics'. Later on Dr. Johnson called Donne and his followers 'the metaphysical poets'. Since then the word metaphysical has been used for Donne and his followers.

WHAT IS METAPHYSICAL POETRY: The term metaphysics means something supernatural and transcendental. Its sense is 'what is beyond physical'. It is concerned with fundamental problems of life and death and soul even after death. The term metaphysical poetry means poetry dealing with metaphysical subjects. These subjects are - nature of universe, movements of stars and planets and the whole relationship of man to God.

MAIN CHARACTERISTICS: We should cast a glance at the main characteristics of metaphysical poetry before we proceed to examine Donne as a met…