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The term “English literature” refers to literature written in the English language, including literature composed in English by writers not necessarily from England: Robert Burns was Scottish James Joyce was Irish Edgar Allan Poe was American Dylan Thomas was Welsh Salman Rushdie is Indian
Periods of English literature The first works in English, written in the Anglo-Saxon dialect now called Old English, appeared in the early Middle Ages Middle English Early Modern (or Renaissance) (William Shakespeare) Jacobean era (Ben Jonson) Romanticism (Sir Walter Scott) Modernism (Dylan Thomas)
William Shakespeare William Shakespeare is famous for his sonnets and plays. He wrote 37 plays which may be divided into: Comedies, such as The Merchant of Venice, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Tragedies, such as Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello and King Lear. Historical plays, such as Richard II, Henry IV and Richard III.
He was born on April 23, 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon, in England. When he was 18 he married Anne Hathaway. By 1582 he was in London, working as an actor and playwright, and here he spent most of his life. He died in 1616, when he was only 52. A Shakespeare Festival is held every summer in Stratford.
AGE AND YOUTH Crabbed Age and Youth Cannot live together: Youth is full of pleasance, Age is full of care; Youth like summer morn, Age like winter weather; Youth like summer brave, Age like winter bare. Youth is full of sport, Age’s breath is short; Youth is nimble, Age is lame; Youth is hot and bold, Age is weak and cold; Youth is wild and Age is tame. Youth, I do adore thee!
The Romantic poets are Lord Byron Percy Bysshe Shelley Mary Shelley John Keats Jane Austen Sir Walter Scott
Lord Byron His quotations: “The busy have no time for fears”. “He who loves not his country, can love nothing.” “Sweet is revenge – especially to women.” “Fame is the thirst of youth.”
Mary Shelley Mary Shelley was born in 1797 in London. In 1814 Mary met and fell in love with Percy Shelley, the poet. Mary travelled around Europe with Percy Shelley and another poet, Lord Byron. One night, while they were staying in a villa in Geneva, Byron announced: “We will each write a ghost story”. Percy Shelley began a story but didn’t finish it; Byron wrote a story about a vampire; and Mary began to write FRANKENSTEIN.
She wrote Frankenstein in 1818 when she was only 19 years old! The book was first published anonymously and it was generally assumed to be written by her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley, until it was published under her own name in 1831.
Jane Austen Jane Austen was born in 1775. Her father was a vicar in a village in the south of England. As a teenager, she started writing plays and books. In 1811 she published her first novel “Sense and Sensibility”. She wrote five more novels, including “Pride and Prejudice” and “Persuasion” before she died in 1817.
Robert Burns (1759-1796) A famous Scottish national poet, was born in Alloway, on the 25th of January 1759. Burns has left behind him a rich heritage of folksongs and poetry. Whenever we speak of Scotland, the name of Scotland’s Bard Robert Burns is always there, as the ever-living never-dying symbol of that country.
Walter Scott (1771-1832) known as a great master of the historical novel, was born in Edinburgh. He was the most popular novelist of the era. Walter Scott published his first novel when he was 43.