Showing posts from January, 2019

Chaucer's Humour: A Short Note

Chaucer, the father of English poetry, is called the first great English humourist. The current of good humour flows in all his poetry. It has great variety. It is subtle, sly, spontaneous, natural, paradoxical and commonplace. No other writer of his age equals him in this field. He is highly praised for his fantastic humour. In this respect he is compared with Shakespeare and Dickens. Chaucer's humour is based on his deep insight and sympathetic attitude. His laughter is never the laughter of contempt. It is because this great poet has no scorn for idiots. He has no strong feeling of distaste for rascals. It is the laughter that springs from the frailties and foibles of mankind. The Prologue to the Canterbury Tales is full of humour and the laughter echoes on all sides. It is the result of the poet's keen observation of everyday life. Sometimes negligible becomes significant for the poet. The insignificant things like the Squire's coat, the Wife of Bath's hat, th

ALFRED (849-901)

Alfred was the greatest and noblest Anglo-Saxon king. He was the first Englishman who encouraged the making of English prose. No English king ever did more for his people than he. Alfred was born at Wantage in Berkshire in 849. His early years as a king were spent in fighting hard against Danes. Finally, he drove back Danes from England and established peace. He founded a monastery at Athelney. He was pioneer of popular education. It was Alfred who began the writing of prose in Wessex. First of all, he put the Vernacular to systematic use. During his reign the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle came into existence. It is the greatest monument of Old English prose. During Alfred’s reign the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle was transformed into a national history under his guidance. Alfred was a translator. He rendered into English Pastoral Care of Pope Gregory, Orosius, Bede’s The Ecclesiastical History, Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy and St. Augustine’s Soliloquies. His prose style is for the most


CYNEWULF Cynewulf is known as one of the greatest poets of the Anglo-Saxon period. He is in the line of succession from Caedmon. He was a Northumbrian. He lived at the close of eighth century. Only very little is known about his outward life. It is said that his youth was happy and irresponsible. He underwent suddenly a spiritual change and regretted the careless pleasures of his early years. His signed poems include The Christ, Juliana, The Fates of the Apostles, and Elene. His unsigned poems include Andreas, The Phoenix, The Dream of the Rood, The Descent into the Hell, Guthlac, and The Wanderer. Possibly he is the author of Judith too. His view of life finds fantastic expression in The Christ. The Dream of the Rood is considered to be the finest of all Old English religious poems.


CAEDMON Caedmon is one of the greatest Anglo- Saxon poets. He is known as the first maker of English verse. He was a simple and unlettered man. He was an employee in a monastery at Whitby in Yorkshire. He was inspired to sing about the beginning of created things. He became a monk. Though he was not able to read, The Bible was read to him. After that he turned those passages that appealed to him into verse. These stories in verse are known as Caedmon’s Paraphrases. These were written about A.D. 670. Due to his creative contribution, Caedmon became very famous because these poems were carried from monastery to monastery. It may be said that Caedmon founded a new school of religious poetry.


  BEOWULF Beowulf is considered to be the first Old English epic. The Angles brought the story to England in the form of short songs about the hero. It was re-written in its present form probably by a monk in the eight century. It was he who imparted a few Christian applications to a pagan story. The extant text is written in the West Saxon dialect. At the close of the eighteenth century, this poem was found in a manuscript written about A.D. 1000. It has been pointed out that the poem is in its basis a Scandinavian saga. The poem is Scandinavian in its setting. But no Scandinavian words and phrases have been found here. The presented picture of social life in Beowulf is essentially primitive. The scenes and people are Scandinavian, but the one great vital figure is that of Beowulf. He stands before us as the early English ideal of virile courage and nobility.What Achilles is to the Greek, Romulus to the Roman, Charlemagne to the French, Beowulf is to the Englishman. Beowulf’s goodn


  ALDHELM Aldhelm was a great scholar and contributor to the field of prose of Anglo-Saxon period. He is considered to be the first Englishman who became famous as a scholar and teacher. He did for the South what at later period Bede did for the North. After a while he was made Abbot of Malmesbury, then Bishop of Sherborne. He is known for his notable achievements in the field of prose and verse. He died in 790. He did much of his work in Latin. But his English verse was esteemed highly. He was interested more in music and architecture.


  BEDE Bede is one of the greatest authors of Anglo-Saxon period. He is famous for his contribution to the field of prose. He was a venerable scholar and priest in the monastery at Jarrow. He always took delight in learning, teaching and writing. He studied eagerly every department of human thought – the philosophies, arts, and sciences. He wrote in Latin. He is known for his Ecclesiastical History. He is considered to be a fine classical scholar. He had a school at Jarrow, of European fame.


  DEOR Deor or Deor’s Lament or The Complaint of Deor  is an early poem of Anglo-Saxon period. It depicts the manly sorrow of a minstrel. It is much more poetic than  Widsith.  It is a perfect lyric of the Anglo Saxon period. According to great scholars it may be called the first English lyric. Deor  belongs to the household of his chief. He is happy in his position until he finds himself supplanted by a rival. But the singer bids himself take heart and endure his misfortune. The note of stoical resignation is the insistent note of this poem. It is lyrical in its form.


WIDSITH Widsith is a long Anglo-Saxon poem. It consists of about 150 lines of verse. It is an account of the wanderings of Widsith, a supposed wanderer. He tells of his wanderings, speaks of the feudal halls in which he sang, and how men loved his song, and gave him gifts. In short, Widsith recounts the places and the people the hero has visited.


  ANGLO –SAXON PERIOD: A BRIEF NOTE When the Teutonic ancestors of English people were living on the borders of the North Sea, English Literature began with their songs and stories. The three tribes of these ancestors, the Jutes, Angles and Saxons, conquered Britain in the latter half of the fifth century. They laid the foundation of the English nation. After that the early English literature started. This early English literature is called the Anglo- Saxon period (450- 1050) or the Old English period. The great and hidden life of the Anglo-Saxons finds expression in all their literature. According to William J. Long , their poetry deals with ‘their love of personal freedom, their responsiveness to nature, their religion, their reverence for womanhood, and their struggle for glory as a ruling motive in every noble life’. ‘The prose, unlike the verse, was not used as an emotional stimulant; it was for the most part educational’, says Rickett . IMPORTANT WORKS OF ANGLO-SAXON PERIO


JANE AUSTEN - 1 Q. 1: Who is Jane Austen? Ans.: Jane Austen is an English novelist. She has been called the pure novelist. Q. 2: Was Jane Austen a Georgian era author? Ans: Yes, Jane Austen was a Georgian era author. Q. 3: When was Jane Austen born? Ans: Jane Austen was born on 16 December 1775. Q. 4: Where was Jane Austen born? Ans: Jane Austen was born at Steventon, Hampshire, England. Q.5: What do you know about Steventon? Ans: Steventon was a tiny village amid the chalk hills of North Hants. Q. 6: In which county in England was Austen born? Ans: Hampshire. Q.7: What was the name of Jane Austen’s father? Ans: George Austen was the name of Jane Austen’s father. Q.8: What was Jane Austen’s father? Ans: Jane Austen’s father was a clergyman. Q.9: What was the name of Jane Austen’s mother? Ans: Cassandra was the name of Jane Austen’s mother. Q.10: What was Jane Austen’s number among her siblings? Ans: Jane Austen was the seventh child and second daughter of Cassandra and George Austen.