What is literature? Literature is broadly defined as any written or spoken material, but the term most often refers to creative works, which are of artistic value. General introduction of English literature 1. Old English Literature (449-1066) -----The Song of Beowulf 《贝奥武甫》 2. Medieval English Literature (1066-15th century) -----Geoffrey Chaucer (1340_1400) 杰奥弗里·乔叟 3. Renaissance English literature (late 15th century ~ early 17th century) ------William Shakespeare 4. English Literature of the Revolution and Restoration Period (1640-1688) ------John Milton, John Bunyan 5. 18th century English literature-the age of Enlightenment ------Daniel Defoe, Jonathan Swift and Henry Fielding, William Blake, Robert Burns 6. Romantic English Literature (1798-1832) -----William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, George Gordon Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley and John Keats, Charles Lamb 7. Critical Realistic Literature in the 19th Century -----Charles Dickens, W.M. Thackeray, Jane Austen, Bronte sisters, Mrs. Gaskell, George Eliot etc. 8. 20th Century English Literature ----Hardy, Galsworthy, Bernard Shaw ---- 1) Realistic writing ---- 2) Modernism ---- 3) English literature since 1945 The Anglo-Saxon Period (449—1066)
Targets: ? 1.了解古英语时期文学的历史背景,文学特征,主要作家和作品 ? 2.掌握古英语诗歌的特点 ? 3.史诗《贝武奥甫》及写作特点 ROMAN CONQUEST: In 55 B.C., Britain was invaded by Julius Caesar 凯撒大帝, the Roman Conqueror. But as soon as the Romans landed on shore of the island, the Britons 不列吞人 fought like lions. And with the comings and goings of many Roman generals within the time of the century, Britain was not completely subjugated to the Roman Empire until 78 A.D. With the Roman Conquest the Roman mode of life came across to Britain also. The Roman occupation lasted for about 400 year. It was also during the Roman rule that Christianity was introduced to Britain. After the fall of the Roman Empire (410 A.D.), the aboriginal Celtic population was conquered by the Teutonic Tribes of Angles, Saxons and Jutes 盎格鲁人、撒克逊人 和朱特人 who named the central part of Albion Anglia, or England. Their dialects gradually grew into a single language called Anglo-Saxon, or Old English.
Before the Anglo-Saxons settled in Britain they lived in tribal society. Each group of families united by kinship fixed its home in a separate village and after that the Anglo-Saxon period witnessed a transition from tribal society to feudal society 封建 社会. Literature characteristics The literature of this period is divided into pagan literature and Christian literature. The former represent poetry and in form of oral sagas. The later represents the writings developed under teaching of the monks. The poetry was copied by the monks and has the religious coloring and most of works can not find its scribe. Four main writers: ? Caedmon 凯德蒙 the father of English song, is the first known religious poet 凯德蒙, of England. He wrote a poetic Paraphrase of the bible ? Cynewulf 基涅武甫 produced the didactic poem The Christ ? Venerable Bede, a monk who wrote in Latin and whose work The Ecclesiastical History of the English People earned for him the title of “Father of English History”. ? Alfred the Great (848-901) 阿 尔 弗 雷 德 大 帝 wrote The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles. This book records the main happenings of the Anglo-Saxon period. It is the best monument of the Old English prose. The Song of Beowulf ? Representative achievement of Anglo-Saxon period The Song of Beowulf is England’s national epic. It was written by an unknown scribe at the beginning of the 10th century and was discovered in 1705. It reflects events which took place approximately at the beginning of the 6th century. Its chief significance lies in the vivid portrayal of a great national hero, who is brave, courageous, selfless, and ever helpful to his people and his kinsfolk. ? The epic consists of 3182 lines and is to be divided into two parts. Writing Features of the Poem: ? 1) It is not a Christian but a pagan poem. The whole poem presents us an all-round picture of the tribal society and Christian culture, incorporating myth, legend, folk tale and history, which of national significance. ? 2) The use of the strong stress and the predominance of consonants are very notable in this poem. Each line is divided into two halves, and each half has two heavy stresses. ? 3) The use of the alliteration is another notable feature. Three stresses of the whole line are made even more emphatic by the use of alliteration. ? 4) A lot of metaphor and understatement are used in the poem. For example, the sea is called "the whale-road" or "the swan road"; the soldiers are called "shield-men"; the chieftains are called the "treasure keepers"; human-body is referred to as “the bone- house”; God is called “wonder-wielder”; Monster is referred to as “soul-destroyer”. Literary terms: ? Epic: It is, originally, an oral narrative poem, majestic both in theme and style. Epics deal with legendary or historical events of national or universal
significance, involving action of broad sweep and grandeur. E.g.: Iliad 《伊利 亚特》 ，Odyssey《奥德赛》 Paradise Lost 《失乐园》 ，The Divine Comedy 《神曲》 。 Alliteration: A figure of speech in which consonant, especially at the beginning of words, or stressed syllables, are repeated. E.g. Kindest to kinsmen and keenest for fame. Understatements(含蓄陈述） It is the opposite of hyperbole, or overstatement. : It achieves its effect of emphasizing a fact by deliberately( 故 意 地 ) understating it, impressing the listener or the reader more by what is merely implied or left unsaid than by bare statement.