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The metaphysical poets were a loose group of British lyric poets of the 17th century, who shared an interest in
metaphysical concerns and a common way of investigating them. There were about 50 of them; many were
priests. The label "metaphysical" was given much later by Samuel Johnson in his Life of Cowley. These poets
themselves did not form a school or start a movement; most of them did not even know or read each other.
Their style was characterized by wit, subtle argumentations, "metaphysical conceits" (conceit – surprising
metaphor), and/or an unusual simile or metaphor such as in Andrew Marvell‘s comparison of the soul with a
drop of dew. They were also know for their inventiveness and elaborate stylistics.
Discordia concors : metaphysical conceit, harmonious discord : harmony or unity gained by combining
disparate or conflicting elements.
Main poets : John Donne (The Flea, Holy Sonnets, A Valediction Forbidding Mourning), Robert Herrick,
Richard Crashaw, George Herbert (Easter Wings), Andrew Marvell (The Definition of Love, To his Coy
Pattern poetry (shaped verse) : e.g. ―Easter Wings‖ by George Herbert (poem in a shape of two pairs of
wings; one is supposed to belong to man and the other to God ; poem is about spiritual decline and spiritual
rebirth or penance and redemption to use different words)
The most important topics of metaphysical poets were love and religion.

Robert BURNS
Robert Burns (1759 – 1796) (also known as Rabbie Burns, Scotland's favourite son, the Ploughman Poet, the
Bard of Ayrshire and in Scotland as simply The Bard) was a poet and a lyricist. He is widely regarded as the
national poet of Scotland, and is celebrated worldwide (his birthday is an informal Scottish holiday). He is the
best-known of the poets who have written in the Scots language, although much of his writing is also in English
and a 'light' Scots dialect, accessible to an audience beyond Scotland. He also wrote in standard English, and in
these pieces, his political or civil commentary is often at its most blunt.
As well as making original compositions, Burns also collected folk songs from across Scotland, often
revising or adapting them (he was said to ―find dry bones and bring life into them‖). His poem (and song)
Auld Lang Syne is often sung at Hogmanay (New Year), and Scots Wha Hae served for a long time as an
unofficial national anthem of the country.
Auld Lang Syne – ―days of long ago‖, corresponds to folk simplicity, as if sung by an unschooled person.
Red, Red Rose – very passionate, light-hearted, authentic.
Other well-known songs and poems include :, To a Louse, To a Mouse, Tom O’Shanter
Robert Burns was a forerunner of Romanticism and is said to be a heavenly-taught poet.

William BLAKE
William Blake (1757 - 1827) was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognised during his
lifetime, Blake's work is today considered seminal and significant in the history of both poetry and the visual
arts. Despite known influences, the originality and singularity of Blake's work make it difficult to classify. One
19th century scholar characterised Blake as a "glorious luminary," "a man not forestalled by predecessors, nor
to be classed with contemporaries, nor to be replaced by known or readily surmisable successors."
Blake claimed to experience visions throughout his life. They were often associated with beautiful religious
themes and imagery, and therefore may have inspired him further with spiritual works and pursuits. Certainly,
religious concepts and imagery figure centrally in Blake's works. God and Christianity constituted the
intellectual center of his writings, from which he drew inspiration. In addition, Blake believed that he was
personally instructed and encouraged by Archangels to create his artistic works, which he claimed were actively
read and enjoyed by those same Archangels.
Most well-known works : The Songs of Innocence and Experience, Jerusalem, the Marriage of Heaven and
Songs of Innocence and of Experience: Shewing the Two Contrary States of the Human Soul
Although Songs of Innocence was first published by itself in 1789, it is believed that Songs of Experience has
always been published in conjunction with Innocence since its completion in 1794.
Songs of Innocence mainly consists of poems describing the innocence and joy of the natural world,
advocating closer relationship with God, and most famously including Blake's poem The Lamb. Its poems have
a generally light, upbeat and pastoral feel and are typically written from the perspective of children or written
about them.
Directly contrasting this, Songs of Experience instead deals with the loss of innocence after exposure to the
material world and all of its mortal sin during adult life, including works such as The Tyger. Poems here are
darker, concentrating on more political and serious themes. Throughout both books, many poems fall into pairs,
so that a similar situation or theme can be seen in both Innocence and Experience.

Many of the poems appearing in Songs of Innocence have a counterpart in Songs of Experience with opposing
perspectives of the world. Blake also believed that children lost their innocence through exploitation and from a
religious community which put dogma before mercy.

Songs of Innocence – childlike, simple language
Introduction - pastoral poetry, undisturbed mood of happiness, bliss.
The Lamb – poem is a praise of life, we are given great gifts God
The Chimney-sweeper – dream of little boy who has not lost his faith and innocence though harmed by adults.

Songs of Experience
Introduction – Bard is a visionary, is appointed by the God (divine appointment). Poem is full of apocalyptic
imagery (Doom‘s Day, the Last Judgement)
The Tiger (Tyger) – the tiger stands for evil. Poem presents creation of evil in the world as a deliberate act. It
ends with a series a questions, because divine will is inscrutable (impenetrable)
The Chimney-sweeper – mood is sad and miserable. Child is disillusioned with the world of adults and their
hypocrisy (adults praise God and king even though they shamelessly use children)


I Generation – Lake Poets/Lakists (associated with Lake District)
William Wordsworth – The Prelude, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, Preface to the Lyrical Ballads, We Are
Seven, The Tables Turned
S.T. Coleridge - The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Kubla Khan, Christabel, Dejection, Frost at Midnight
R. Southey - The Fall of Robespierre, Wat Tyler, Joan of Arc The Inchcape Rock, The Battle of Blenheim

II Generation
Lord G. Byron – Don Juan, The Giaour, The Bride of Abydos, The Corsair, The Prisoner of Chillon, Mazeppa,
Childe Harold's Pilgrimage
John Keats - Ode to a Nightingale, Ode on a Grecian Urn, To Autumn, Ode on Melancholy, La Belle Dame
sans Merci, Eve of St. Agnes
P. B. Shelley – visionary poems: Alastor, Adonais, The Revolt of Islam, Prometheus Unbound, anthologies:
Ozymandias, Ode to the West Wind, To a Skylark, and The Masque of Anarchy
Sir W. Scott - Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, The Lady of The Lake , Waverley, The Heart of Midlothian

The lyrical (literary) ballad
The literary ballad is a narrative poem created by a poet in imitation of the old anonymous folk ballad. Usually
the literary ballad is more elaborate and complex; the poet may retain only some of the devices and conventions
of the older verse narrative. Literary ballads were quite popular in England during the 19th cent. Examples of
the form are found in Keats's ―La Belle Dame sans Merci,‖ Coleridge's ―The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,‖
and Oscar Wilde's ―The Ballad of Reading Gaol.‖

John Keats – La Belle Dame Sans Merci
The poem describes the encounter between an unnamed knight and a mysterious fairy. It opens with a
description of the knight in a barren landscape, "haggard" and "woe-begone". He tells the reader how he met a
beautiful lady whose "eyes were wild"; he set her on his horse and she took him to her "elfin grot", where she
"wept, and sigh'd full sore". Falling asleep, the knight had a vision of "pale kings and princes", who cried, "La
Belle Dame sans Merci hath thee in thrall!" He awoke to find himself on the same "cold hill's side" where he is
now "palely loitering".

Although "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" is short (only twelve stanzas of four lines each, with an ABCB rhyme
scheme), it is full of enigmas. Because the knight is associated with images of death—a lily (a symbol of death
in Western culture), paleness, "fading", "wither[ing]"—he may well be dead himself at the time of the story. He
is clearly doomed to remain on the hillside, but the cause of this fate is unknown. A straightforward reading
suggests that the Belle Dame entraps him. To continue, as knights are usually bound to vows of sexual
chasteness, the poem may imply that this knight is doubly compromised — and, actually, now enchanted — as
he dallies here with an ethereal creature.

Concept of poetry in the Preface to Lyrical Ballads (1800)
Poets should choose incidents and situations from common life and describe them or relate to them in language
really used by men though with certain colouring of imagination (the ordinary should be presented in an
unusual aspect). Humble and rustic life should be chosen because of passion of the heart, less restrains and a
plainer and more emphatic language.
Creative process - introspective analysis of feelings
All good poetry ia spontaneous overflow of powerful emotions : it takes its origin from emtion recollected in
tranquility – the emotion in contemplated, tranquility gradually disappears. Simple language is better to
express – sophisticated language obscures the meaning (language should be simple but full of beauty).

The Tables Turned – roles are changed along with turning of the table – friend who was speaking is now
listening. Poet urges his friend to put away his books and open himself to the world and nature, which is the
source of true wisdom, according to the poet. He questions cognitive powers of the mind, says that you can‘t
learn anythinf really important through books. Analysis is similar to murder – when we analyse we forget about
the bouty and no longer appreciate things.

We are seven – The speaker meets a little girl. He feels superior to her because of the fact that he‘s from the city
and she is from the countryside. Little girl perceives death as a simple fact of life and is not afraid of it. She
doesn‘t mourn her siblings – instead she simply spends time with them.

Daffodils – poem describes a walk in the countryside; poet enters the shape of a cloud and sees the world from
this perspective. From the above he sees a crowd of the daffodils (flowers are personified in the poem; apart
from ‗crowd‘, which usually correspond to people, later they are called ‗company‘ of the poet). Poem ends with
a description of reflective moments when a memory of daffodils is enough to fill the poet‘s heart with joy.

Role of nature
Wordsworth employs a kind of identity-switching technique, whereby nature is personified and humanity is, so
to speak, nature-ized. Wordsworth describes himself as wandering "like a cloud," and describes the field of
daffodils as a dancing crowd of people. This kind of interchangeable terminology implies a unity--metaphors
from either realm can be applied to the other, because the mind and the natural world are one.
The Romantic poets share several charecteristics in common, certainly one of the most significant of these is
their respective views on nature.Which seems to range from a more spiritual, if not pantheistic view, as seen in
the works of William Wordsworth, to the much more realistic outlook of John Keats. All of these authors
discuss, in varrying degreess, the role of nature in acquiring meaningful insight into the human condition. These
writers all make appeals to nature as if it were some kind of living entity calls are made for nature to rescue the
struggling writer, and carry his ideas to the world.

XVII century
   1. reformatory movement to cleanse English Church of Roman Catholic elements
   2. honesty, hard work, modesty, intolerance
   3. John Milton Paradise Lost (rebellion against God, who was portrayed as a tyrant
XVIII the Age of Reason
   1. Alexander Pope ―literature or poetry is to instruct and delight‖
   2. mimesis – reflection of reality
   3. poem – work of art craftsmanship
   4. poetic diction – special language of peotry
The rise of a novel
novella (it.) – a piece of news
novel – at first had to be factual, authentic; novelist had to reflect life

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe is considered to be the fist English novel. The author adapted a description
of a factual event. Novel is considered to be a praise for the self-made man.

other important novels:
Samuel Richardson – Pamela (epistolary novel)
Henry Fielding – The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling (comic epic in prose, novel as a slice of life; included
social commentary - criticism of class friction)
Jonathan Swift – Gulliver’s Travels (satyrical novel, anti-utopia. J. Swift invented many new words which
entered English, such as liliput and yahoo. Three main themes : a satirical view of the state of European
government and of petty differences between religions, an inquiry into whether men are inherently corrupt or
whether they become corrupted)
Laurence Sterne - The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (an experimental novel – intellectual
game that included the reader - Sterne inserts sermons, essays and legal documents into the pages of his novel;
and he explores the limits of typography and print design by including marbled pages and, most famously, an
entirely blank page within the narrative)
Laurence Sterne - A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy (written and first published in 1768, as
Sterne was facing death. In 1765 Laurence Sterne travelled through France and Italy as far south as Naples, and
after returning determined to describe his travels from a sentimental point of view (impressions and feelings
rather than facts are the subject). Unlike prior travel accounts which stressed classical learning and objective
non-personal points of view, A Sentimental Journey emphasized the subjective discussions of personal taste and
sentiments, of manners and morals over classical learning)

Gothic fiction is an important genre of literature that combines elements of both horror and romance. As a
genre, it is generally believed to have been invented by the English author Horace Walpole, with his 1764 novel
The Castle of Otranto. The effect of Gothic fiction depends on a pleasing sort of terror, an extension of
essentially Romantic literary pleasures that were relatively new at the time of Walpole's novel.
Prominent features of Gothic fiction include terror (both psychological and physical), mystery, the supernatural,
ghosts, haunted houses and Gothic architecture, castles, darkness, death, decay, doubles, madness, secrets and
hereditary curses.
The stock characters of Gothic fiction include tyrants, villains, bandits, maniacs, Byronic heroes, persecuted
maidens, femmes fatales, madwomen, magicians, vampires, werewolves, monsters, demons, revenants, ghosts,
perambulating skeletons, the Wandering Jew and the Devil himself.

Genres of the novel
Science fiction
Crime fiction
Romance novels
Spy novels and thrillers
Gothic fiction
Campus novel

Jane Austen (1775 – 1817) was born as a member of prominent gentry family. Her immediate and close-knit
family included six brothers and a beloved, older sister, Cassandra, who was Jane‘s confidant throughout her
life. Jane Austen lived in a small town, but her brother‘s circle of friends and acquaintances in London included
bankers, merchants, publishers, painters, and actors: he provided Austen with a view of social worlds not
normally visible from a small parish in rural Hampshire. Apart from 3 years spent in a boarding school she was
educated at home by her father; she was also very well-read. Jane Austen started writing at a very early age
(about 13) with short stories. At the age of 21 she fell in love with a man she could not marry for financial
reasons (neither had any money – he was after his studies, about to move to London to train as a barrister).

Novels (in order of first publication):
Sense and Sensibility (1811)
Pride and Prejudice (1813)
Mansfield Park (1814)
Emma (1815)
Persuasion (1817) (posthumous)
Northanger Abbey (1817) (posthumous)

Austen introduced a different style of writing, the "comedy of manners". Her novels often are not only funny,
and particularly likely to satirize individuals of high social status, but they also display a wariness of city
influences which are often portrayed as having a tendency to corrupt established social values.

Portrayal of characters and dialogues – All of Austen‘s many characters come alive through dialogue, as the
narrative voice in Austen‘s work is secondary to the voices of the characters. Long, unwieldy speeches are rare,
as are detailed physical descriptions. In their place, the reader hears the crackle of quick, witty conversation.
True nature reveals itself in the way the characters speak: Mr. Bennet‘s emotional detachment comes across in
his dry wit, while Mrs. Bennet‘s hysterical excess drips from every sentence she utters. Austen‘s dialogue often
serves to reveal the worst aspects of her characters—Miss Bingley‘s spiteful, snobbish attitudes are readily
apparent in her words, and Mr. Collins‘s long-winded speeches (and occasional letters, which are a kind of
secondary dialogue) carry with them a tone-deaf pomposity that defines his character perfectly.
Mr. Bennet is a good-hearted but withdrawn man, and he has a bitingly sarcastic humour and can only derive
amusement from his "nervous" wife and three "silly" daughters — Mary, Kitty and Lydia. He is closest to his
daughter Elizabeth but is also attached to his eldest daughter, Jane, both having won this approval by
possessing a greater amount of sense than their three sisters. Mr. Bennet prefers the solitude of his study,
neglecting the raising of his children, which leads to near-disaster.
Mrs. Bennet is the querulous, excitable and ill-bred wife of Mr. Bennet and mother of Elizabeth and her sisters.
Her first name is never mentioned. She is particularly indulgent towards Lydia. Her main concern in life is
seeing her daughters married well to wealthy men, so that they will be taken care of following Mr. Bennet's
death. However, her foolish nature and frequent social faux pas often impede her efforts towards this end. Her
single-minded pursuit of future husbands for her daughters can also blind her in several ways to their welfare
and best interests in the present.

Pride and Prejudice contains one of the most cherished love stories in English literature: the courtship between
Darcy and Elizabeth. As in any good love story, the lovers must elude and overcome numerous stumbling
blocks, beginning with the tensions caused by the lovers‘ own personal qualities. Elizabeth‘s pride makes her
misjudge Darcy on the basis of a poor first impression, while Darcy‘s prejudice against Elizabeth‘s poor social
standing blinds him, for a time, to her many virtues. (Of course, one could also say that Elizabeth is guilty of
prejudice and Darcy of pride—the title cuts both ways.) Austen, meanwhile, poses countless smaller obstacles
to the realization of the love between Elizabeth and Darcy, including Lady Catherine‘s attempt to control her
nephew, Miss Bingley‘s snobbery, Mrs. Bennet‘s idiocy, and Wickham‘s deceit. In each case, anxieties about
social connections, or the desire for better social connections, interfere with the workings of love. Darcy and
Elizabeth‘s realization of a mutual and tender love seems to imply that Austen views love as something
independent of these social forces, as something that can be captured if only an individual is able to escape the
warping effects of hierarchical society. Austen does sound some more realist (or, one could say, cynical) notes
about love, using the character of Charlotte Lucas, who marries the buffoon Mr. Collins for his money, to
demonstrate that the heart does not always dictate marriage. Yet with her central characters, Austen suggests
that true love is a force separate from society and one that can conquer even the most difficult of circumstances.
The theme of class is related to reputation, in that both reflect the strictly regimented nature of life for the
middle and upper classes in Regency England. The lines of class are strictly drawn. While the Bennets, who are
middle class, may socialize with the upper-class Bingleys and Darcys, they are clearly their social inferiors and
are treated as such. Austen satirizes this kind of class-consciousness, particularly in the character of Mr.
Collins, who spends most of his time toadying to his upper-class patron, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Though
Mr. Collins offers an extreme example, he is not the only one to hold such views. His conception of the
importance of class is shared, among others, by Mr. Darcy, who believes in the dignity of his lineage; Miss
Bingley, who dislikes anyone not as socially accepted as she is; and Wickham, who will do anything he can to
get enough money to raise himself into a higher station. Mr. Collins‘s views are merely the most extreme and
obvious. The satire directed at Mr. Collins is therefore also more subtly directed at the entire social hierarchy
and the conception of all those within it at its correctness, in complete disregard of other, more worthy virtues.
Pride and Prejudice depicts a society in which a woman‘s reputation is of the utmost importance. A woman is
expected to behave in certain ways. Stepping outside the social norms makes her vulnerable to ostracism. This
theme appears in the novel, when Elizabeth walks to Netherfield and arrives with muddy skirts, to the shock of
the reputation-conscious Miss Bingley and her friends. At other points, the ill-mannered, ridiculous behavior of
Mrs. Bennet gives her a bad reputation with the more refined (and snobbish) Darcys and Bingleys. Austen
pokes gentle fun at the snobs in these examples, but later in the novel, when Lydia elopes with Wickham and
lives with him out of wedlock, the author treats reputation as a very serious matter. By becoming Wickham‘s
lover without benefit of marriage, Lydia clearly places herself outside the social pale, and her disgrace threatens
the entire Bennet family. The fact that Lydia‘s judgment, however terrible, would likely have condemned the
other Bennet sisters to marriageless lives seems grossly unfair.

EMILY BRONTE - Wuthering Heights (1847)
Wuthering Heights is Emily Brontë's only novel. It was first published in 1847 under the pseudonym Ellis Bell,
and a posthumous second edition was edited by her sister Charlotte. The name of the novel comes from the
Yorkshire manor on the moors on which the story centres (as an adjective, wuthering is a Yorkshire word
referring to turbulent weather). The narrative tells the tale of the all-encompassing and passionate, yet thwarted,
love between Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw, and how this unresolved passion eventually destroys both
themselves and many around them.
The narrative is non-linear, involving several flashbacks, and involves two narrators - Mr. Lockwood and
Ellen "Nelly" Dean (composite point of view – złożony punkt widzenia). The novel opens in 1801, with
Lockwood arriving at Thrushcross Grange, a grand house on the Yorkshire moors he is renting from the surly
Heathcliff, who lives at nearby Wuthering Heights. Lockwood spends the night at Wuthering Heights and has a
terrifying dream: the ghost of Catherine Earnshaw, pleading to be admitted to the house from outside. Intrigued,
Lockwood asks the housekeeper Nelly Dean to tell the story of Heathcliff and Wuthering Heights while he is
staying at the Grange recovering from a cold.

Nelly begins her story forty years earlier, when Heathcliff, a foundling living on the streets of Liverpool, is brought to Wuthering
Heights by the then-owner, Mr. Earnshaw, and raised as his own. Ellen comments casually that Heathcliff might have been descended
from Indian or Chinese origins. He is often described as "dark" or "gypsy". Earnshaw's daughter Catherine becomes Heathcliff's
inseparable friend. Her brother Hindley, however, resents Heathcliff, seeing him as an interloper and rival. Mr. Earnshaw dies three
years later, and Hindley takes over the estate. He brutalises Heathcliff, forcing him to work as a hired hand. Catherine becomes
friends with a neighbor family, the Lintons of Thrushcross Grange, who mellow her initially wild personality. She is especially
attached to the refined and mild young Edgar Linton, whom Heathcliff instantaneously dislikes.

A year later, Hindley's wife dies shortly after giving birth to a son, Hareton; Hindley takes to drink. Some two years after that,
Catherine agrees to marry Edgar. Nelly knows that this will crush Heathcliff, and Heathcliff overhears Catherine's explanation that it
would be "degrading" to marry him. Heathcliff storms out and leaves Wuthering Heights, not hearing Catherine's continuing
declarations that Heathcliff is as much a part of her as the rocks are to the earth beneath. Catherine marries Edgar, and is initially very
happy. Some time later, Heathcliff returns, intent on destroying those who prevent him from being with Catherine. He has,
mysteriously, become very wealthy. Through loans he has made to the drunken and dissipated Hindley that Hindley cannot repay, he
takes ownership of Wuthering Heights upon Hindley's death. Intent on ruining Edgar, Heathcliff elopes with Edgar's sister Isabella,
which places him in a position to inherit Thrushcross Grange upon Edgar's death.

Catherine becomes very ill after Heathcliff's return and dies a few hours after giving birth to a daughter also named Catherine, or
Cathy. Heathcliff becomes only more bitter and vengeful. Isabella flees her abusive marriage a month later, and subsequently gives
birth to a boy, Linton. At around the same time, Hindley dies. Heathcliff takes ownership of Wuthering Heights, and vows to raise
Hindley's son Hareton with as much neglect as he had suffered at Hindley's hands years earlier.
Twelve years later, the dying Isabella asks Edgar to raise her and Heathcliff's son, Linton. However, Heathcliff finds out about this
and takes the sickly, spoiled child to Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff has nothing but contempt for his son, but delights in the idea of
him ruling the property of his enemies. To that end, a few years later, Heathcliff attempts to persuade young Cathy to marry Linton.
Cathy refuses, so Heathcliff kidnaps her and forces the two to marry. Soon after, Edgar Linton dies, followed shortly by Linton
Heathcliff. This leaves Cathy a widow and a virtual prisoner at Wuthering Heights, as Heathcliff has gained complete control of both
Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. It is at this point in the narrative that Lockwood arrives, taking possession of
Thrushcross Grange, and hearing Nelly Dean's story. Shocked, Lockwood leaves for London.

During his absence from the area, however, events reach a climax that Nelly describes when he returns a year later. Cathy gradually
softens toward her rough, uneducated cousin Hareton, just as her mother was tender towards Heathcliff. When Heathcliff realizes that
Cathy and Hareton are in love, he abandons his life-long vendetta. He dies broken and tormented, but glad to be rejoining Catherine,
whose ghost had haunted him since she died. Cathy and Hareton marry. Heathcliff is buried next to Catherine (the elder), and the
story concludes with Lockwood visiting the grave, unsure of what to feel.

Catherine and Heathcliff‘s passion for one another seems to be the center of Wuthering Heights, given that it is
stronger and more lasting than any other emotion displayed in the novel, and that it is the source of most of the
major conflicts that structure the novel‘s plot. As she tells Catherine and Heathcliff‘s story, Nelly criticizes both
of them harshly, condemning their passion as immoral, but this passion is obviously one of the most compelling
and memorable aspects of the book. It is not easy to decide whether Brontë intends the reader to condemn these
lovers as blameworthy or to idealize them as romantic heroes whose love transcends social norms and
conventional morality. The book is actually structured around two parallel love stories, the first half of the
novel centering on the love between Catherine and Heathcliff, while the less dramatic second half features the
developing love between young Catherine and Hareton. In contrast to the first, the latter tale ends happily,
restoring peace and order to Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. The differences between the two love
stories contribute to the reader‘s understanding of why each ends the way it does.

Revenge - Revenge is a major theme of the novel. Early in the novel Heathcliff is described as plotting
revenge, and the second half of the novel is dominated by Heathcliff's revenge against Hindley and his
descendants for his mistreatment of him and against Edgar and his descendants for Catherine's death.
Heathcliff's revenge affects everyone in the novel, and he seems to think that if he can revenge Catherine's
death, he can be with her. He has been looking for her since her death, as he has been sensing her near him.
However, it is only at the end of the novel, when he has given up his plans for revenge, that he is able to see
Catherine and that he is reunited with her.

Hate (Prejudice) - Throughout the novel characters are prejudged by their race, class or education. When
Heathcliff is first introduced he is described as a dark skinned boy with dark hair, and because of this people are
prejudiced against him. He is called a 'gypsy' numerous times, and the Lintons treat him badly and send him
away from their house because of his appearance. Heathcliff also quickly dislikes his son because of his light
skin and hair.
Class is also an issue.There was a class hierarchy in Bronte's England, and this can be seen in the novel as well.
The residents of Wuthering Heights seem to be of a lower class than the Lintons at Thrushcross Grange. Even
though she loves him, Catherine will not marry Heathcliff after he has been degraded, and instead marries into
the rich Linton family, causing all of the major conflict in the novel. The Lintons are of a higher class both
because they have more money and don't seem to have to work, and because they are better educated.
Catherine tries to better her station both by marrying Edgar Linton and by her constant reading. She laughs at
Hareton because of his lack of education. Heathcliff admits that Hareton is smarter than Linton, yet because of
how they are raised and what they will inherit, Linton will be the more upgraded while Hareton will remain a
servant. It is only when Catherine and Hareton become friends and she begins to educate him that Hareton turns
into a gentleman and loses his crude behavior.

Symbols - Moors - he constant emphasis on landscape within the text of Wuthering Heights endows the setting
with symbolic importance. This landscape is comprised primarily of moors: wide, wild expanses, high but
somewhat soggy, and thus infertile. Moorland cannot be cultivated, and its uniformity makes navigation
difficult. It features particularly waterlogged patches in which people could potentially drown. (This possibility
is mentioned several times in Wuthering Heights.) Thus, the moors serve very well as symbols of the wild

threat posed by nature. As the setting for the beginnings of Catherine and Heathcliff‘s bond (the two play on the
moors during childhood), the moorland transfers its symbolic associations onto the love affair.

Symbols - Ghosts - ghosts appear throughout Wuthering Heights, as they do in most other works of Gothic
fiction, yet Brontë always presents them in such a way that whether they really exist remains ambiguous. Thus
the world of the novel can always be interpreted as a realistic one. Certain ghosts—such as Catherine‘s spirit
when it appears to Lockwood in Chapter III—may be explained as nightmares. The villagers‘ alleged sightings
of Heathcliff‘s ghost in Chapter XXXIV could be dismissed as unverified superstition. Whether or not the
ghosts are ―real,‖ they symbolize the manifestation of the past within the present, and the way memory stays
with people, permeating their day-to-day lives.

Romantic elements:

 1.   emotions as the driving power of human action
 2.   supernatural elements
 3.   tragic, unhappy love
 4.   big role of a nature as a reflection of human feelings
 5.   mysterious setting and characters
 6.   Heathcliff as a byronic hero – destructive, wants revenge, very mysterious (we do not know where he
            comes from, how he makes money), uhappily in love

Role of Nature
Wind is an important symbol for change in the novel. It is present during many of the significant events in the
lives of the characters. When Mr. Earnshaw dies there is a 'high wind,' and the weather is described as 'wild
and stormy.' On the night that Heathcliff leaves Wuthering Heights there is a great storm with wind and rain.
And on the morning that Ellen finds Heathcliff dead, the rain and wind are coming in through his window and
beating his lattice back and forth.

XIXth Century, Victorian Age (1937 – 1901)
        1. Industrial revolution, electricity, growing poverty, high crime rate in rapidly growing cities
        2. Child labour was quite popular at that time (Ten Hour Act from 1830 reduced number of working
            hours for children to ten, obligatory education was introduced only in 1870)
        3. At that time you could be imprisoned for debts – fate of Charles Dickens‘ father
Charles Dickes (1812 – 1870) was the foremost English novelist of the Victorian era, as well as a vigorous
social campaigner. Considered one of the English language's greatest writers, he was acclaimed for his rich
storytelling and memorable characters, and achieved massive worldwide popularity in his lifetime. He saw
social injustice of the XIXth century, was sometimes called ―a voice of English conscience in social matters‖.
As a child he worked in a shoe polish factory (after his father was imprisoned), then as a clerk and journalist.
He married a daughter of a publisher (how convenient ;) and had 10 children. For a long time he perceived the
United States as a promised land, but visited America twice (it was then on a verge of Civil War) and came
deeply disillusioned (he described his journey in American Notes). After his death Britons mourned after him.
The Pickwick Papers
The Adventures of Oliver Twist
The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby
The Old Curiosity Shop
The Christmas books:
        A Christmas Carol
        The Chimes
        The Cricket on the Hearth

David Copperfield
Bleak House
Hard Times
Little Dorrit
A Tale of Two Cities
Great Expectations

Distorted Realism
- scenery corresponds to the mental state of a character (scene in a workhouse, scene after a murder of Nancy)
- characters are build around a feature – that‘s why they are distorted, exaggerated and grotestque
- obejcts are often personified and people are often showed as mechanical, as tools or objects
- original metaphores, vivid language, quite rich vocabulary
Mode of narration
The narrator is third person omniscient, and assumes the points of view of various characters in turn. The
narrator‘s tone is not objective; it is sympathetic to the protagonists and far less so to the novel‘s other
characters. When dealing with hypocritical or morally objectionable characters, the narrative voice is often
ironic or sarcastic.
Social problems
         Oliver Twist opens with a bitter invective directed at the nineteenth-century English Poor Laws. These laws were
a distorted manifestation of the Victorian middle class‘s emphasis on the virtues of hard work. England in the 1830s was
rapidly undergoing a transformation from an agricultural, rural economy to an urban, industrial nation. The growing
middle class had achieved an economic influence equal to, if not greater than, that of the British aristocracy.
         In the extremely stratified English class structure, the highest social class belonged to the ―gentleman,‖ an
aristocrat who did not have to work for his living. The middle class was stigmatized for having to work, and so, to
alleviate the stigma attached to middle-class wealth, the middle class promoted work as a moral virtue. But the resulting
moral value attached to work, along with the middle class‘s insecurity about its own social legitimacy, led English society
to subject the poor to hatred and cruelty. Many members of the middle class were anxious to be differentiated from the
lower classes, and one way to do so was to stigmatize the lower classes as lazy good-for-nothings. The middle class‘s
value system transformed earned wealth into a sign of moral virtue. Victorian society interpreted economic success as a
sign that God favored the honest, moral virtue of the successful individual‘s efforts, and, thus, interpreted the condition of
poverty as a sign of the weakness of the poor individual.
         The sentiment behind the Poor Law of 1834 reflected these beliefs. The law allowed the poor to receive public
assistance only if they lived and worked in established workhouses. Beggars risked imprisonment. Debtors were sent to
prison, often with their entire families, which virtually ensured that they could not repay their debts. Workhouses were
deliberately made to be as miserable as possible in order to deter the poor from relying on public assistance. The
philosophy was that the miserable conditions would prevent able-bodied paupers from being lazy and idle bums.
         In the eyes of middle-class English society, those who could not support themselves were considered immoral and
evil. Therefore, such individuals should enjoy no comforts or luxuries in their reliance on public assistance. In order to
create the misery needed to deter immoral idleness, families were split apart upon entering the workhouse. Husbands were
permitted no contact with their wives, lest they breed more paupers. Mothers were separated from children, lest they
impart their immoral ways to their children. Brothers were separated from their sisters because the middle-class patrons of
workhouses feared the lower class‘s ―natural‖ inclination toward incest. In short, the state undertook to become the
surrogate parents of workhouse children, whether or not they were orphans. Meals served to workhouse residents were
deliberately inadequate, so as to encourage the residents to find work and support themselves.
         Because of the great stigma attached to workhouse relief, many poor people chose to die in the streets rather than
seek public aid. The workhouse was supposed to demonstrate the virtue of gainful employment to the poor. In order to
receive public assistance, they had to pay in suffering and misery. Victorian values stressed the moral virtue of suffering
and privation, and the workhouse residents were made to experience these virtues many times over.
         Rather than improving what the middle class saw as the questionable morals of the able-bodied poor, the Poor
Laws punished the most defenseless and helpless members of the lower class. The old, the sick, and the very young
suffered more than the able-bodied benefited from these laws. Dickens meant to demonstrate this incongruity through the
figure of Oliver Twist, an orphan born and raised in a workhouse for the first ten years of his life. His story demonstrates
the hypocrisy of the petty middle-class bureaucrats, who treat a small child cruelly while voicing their belief in the
Christian virtue of giving charity to the less fortunate.
         Dickens was a lifelong champion of the poor. He himself suffered the harsh abuse visited upon the poor by the
English legal system. In England in the 1830s, the poor truly had no voice, political or economic. In Oliver Twist,
Dickens presents the everyday existence of the lowest members of English society. He goes far beyond the experiences of
the workhouse, extending his depiction of poverty to London‘s squalid streets, dark alehouses, and thieves‘ dens. He
gives voice to those who had no voice, establishing a link between politics and literature with his social commentary.
VIRGINIA WOOLF (1882 – 1941)
During the interwar period, Woolf was a significant figure in London literary society and a member of the
Bloomsbury Group. Her most famous works include the novels Mrs Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse
(1927), and Orlando (1928), and the book-length essay A Room of One's Own (1929) with its famous dictum,
"a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction." She considered herself a
realist but she had a different understanding of it – for her it was showing of the inner life (her novels are called
the Novels of Sensitivity).
She was educated by her parents in their literate and well-connected household and was raised in an
environment filled with the influences of Victorian literary society. Her father (a literary critic) was of opinion
that a novel should be on a verge of prose and poetry.
According to her memoirs her most vivid childhood memories were not of London but of St Ives in Cornwall,
where the family spent every summer until 1895. The family stayed in their home called the Talland House,
which looked out over the Porthminster Bay. Memories of the family holidays and impressions of the
landscape, especially the Godrevy Lighthouse, informed the fiction she wrote in later years, notably To the
The sudden death of her mother in 1895, when Virginia was 13, and that of her half sister Stella two years later,
led to the first of Virginia's several nervous breakdowns. The death of her father in 1904 provoked her most
alarming collapse and she was briefly institutionalized.
Throughout her life, Woolf was plagued by drastic mood swings. Though these recurring mental breakdowns
greatly affected her social functioning, her literary abilities remained intact. Modern diagnostic techniques have
led to a posthumous diagnosis of bipolar disorder, an illness which coloured her work, relationships, and
life, and eventually led to her suicide.
Following studies at King's College London, Woolf came to know Lytton Strachey, Clive Bell, Saxon
Sydney-Turner, Duncan Grant, and Leonard Woolf, who together formed the nucleus of the intellectual
circle known as the Bloomsbury Group.
After completing the manuscript of her last (posthumously published) novel Between the Acts, Woolf fell
victim to a depression similar to that which she had earlier experienced. The war, the Luftwaffe's destruction
of her London homes, as well as the cool reception given to her biography of her late friend Roger Fry,
worsened her condition until she was unable to work
On 28 March 1941, rather than having another nervous breakdown, Woolf drowned herself by weighing her
pockets with stones and walking into the River Ouse near her home.
Novels by Virginia Woolf
The Voyage Out (1915)
Mrs Dalloway (1925)
To the Lighthouse (1927)
Orlando: A Biography (1928)
The Waves (1931)
 ‘The Biographies’
Orlando: A Biography (1928, usually characterised Novel, inspired by the life of Vita Sackville-West)
Book length essays
A Room of One's Own (1929)

Woolf is considered one of the greatest innovators in the English language. In her works she experimented with
stream-of-consciousness, the underlying psychological as well as emotional motives of characters, and the
various possibilities of fractured narrative and chronology.
Stream of consciousness – a form of internal monologue whose aim is to reflect the process of thinking (it is
it‘s literary equivalent) before it is verbalized (therefore it is fragmentory – does not develop in a logical way).
We are bombarded by hundreds of impulses, our mind jumps from one to another and literature was to imitate
that pattern. Prose written this way is often deprived of any punctuation. Also : James Joyce – Ulysses

Mrs Dalloway concentrates on a few aspects of human life:
   - the need for privacy – Mrs Dalloway is a highly introvertical person
   - the conflict between the need for privacy and the need to communicate with other people
   - post-war trauma (in case of Septimus)
There are two layers of narration in the book :
a) external events – only a pretext for internal events
b) internal events

There are also two parallel plots :
a) connected to Mrs. Dalloway and the party. Characters : Clarissa Dalloway, Richard Dalloway, Peter Welsh,
Clarissa‘s friend Sally Seaton. Clarissa Dalloway makes a summary of her life and realises he has not achieved
her earlier dreams. Her husband is a MP and she is only seen as his wife, not as a person on her own;
everything she does revolves around organising different parties.
b) connected to Septimus, veteran of WWI. He suffers from shell shock (sees his friend Evans in many
different places, even though Evans died on a battlefield) and is afraid of being instutionalized. He has a very
supporting Italian wife, Rezia who is willing to spend the rest of her life with him but visit to a doctor pushes
Septimus over the edge and he jumps off the window.
Those plots interconnect – Septimus‘ doctor comes late to Clarissa‘s party and tells a story of a patient that
jumped out of the window.
Original title was The Hours because the novel is concerned with getting old, evaluation of your life so far nad
is full with remainders of the passing time (often it is the sound of Big Ben).

Shifting of points of view – free indirect discourse; narrator who enters minds of different characters,
sometimes it‘s even impossible to tell whose point of view is currently in use.

THEATRE OF THE ABSURD (anti-theatre, 1940s to 1960s)
  - was born in small, avant-garde theatres in the Latin part of Paris.
  - it was closely linked to Existentialism and its philosophy - In the 1940s and 1950s, French
    existentialists such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, and Simone de Beauvoir, wrote scholarly and
    fictional works that popularized existential themes such as "dread, boredom, alienation, the absurd,
    freedom, commitment, and nothingness". The most extensive existentialist study of "the absurd" was
    done by Albert Camus in his classic essay The Myth of Sisyphus. With a concluding analogy with the
    Greek mythology character, Sisyphus, he explains that the absurd is born out of the confrontation
    between human need and want for logic and order and the reality of an illogical and random world. He
    explains thus that absurdity contains in itself man's rationality.
  - Martin Esslin coined the name The Theatre of the Absurd in 1962

Writing in French                                         Writing in English
Samuel Beckett (Waiting for Godot)                        Harold Pinter (The Dumbwaiter)
Eugene Ionesco                                            Tom Stoppard (Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are
Arthur Adamov                                             Dead)
Jean Genet                                                Edward Albee (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf)

Samuel Barclay Beckett (13 April 1906 – 22 December 1989) was an Irish writer, dramatist and poet.
Beckett's work is stark and fundamentally minimalist. As a follower of James Joyce, Beckett is considered by
many one of the last modernists; as an inspiration to many later writers, he is considered one of the first
Although of Irish origin he permanently settled in Paris where he would return for good following the outbreak
of World War II in 1939, preferring—in his own words—'France at war to Ireland at peace' and wrote most of
his works in French. Beckett joined the French Resistance after the 1940 occupation by Germany, working as a
courier, and on several occasions over the next two years was nearly caught by the Gestapo.
Waiting for Godot (1952)
Endgame (1957)
Krapp's Last Tape (1958)
Happy Days (1960)
Play (1963)
Come and Go (1965)
Breath (1969) – the shortest play in the history

Waiting for Godot
Both acts are very similar and show the monotony of human life – characters wait in vain for someone called
Godot who does not come. There are two acts to suggest to continuity, that if there were more days shown, they
would still be waiting and only the smallest change would occur , like a pair of additional leaves on a willow or
a different boy telling them that Godot is not coming today but he will surely come tomorrow. The play is
supposed to reflect the nonsensicality of human life – we spend or lives waiting in vain for something that will
not happen to us or, even if it does, we will miss it (just as Estragon and Vladimir are likely to miss Godot,
since they do not know what he looks like or who he really is).
An existential stage – time and place are not specified, stage is almost empty, there is only a lone tree and a
road crossing
Universality of the play – characters have no identity, no place or time is specified and characters have names
of various origins – to suggest that the story is universal, it could happen to anybody, anyplace, anytime.
Nonsensicality of the language conveys the nonsensicality of human life and the breakdown of
communication. Human life is reduced to following your daily routine, waiting for something special to
happen, world is presented as a ‘stage of fools’ (allusion to Shakespeare‘s ‗King Lear’)

Portrayal of characters
Some critics have suggested that Vladimir and Estragon remain together because of their complementary
personalities, arguing that each fulfills the qualities that the other lacks, rendering them dependent on each
Vladimir - One of the two main characters of the play. Estragon calls him Didi, and the boy addresses him as
Mr. Albert. He seems to be the more responsible and mature of the two main characters.
Estragon - The second of the two main characters. Vladimir calls him Gogo. He seems weak and helpless,
always looking for Vladimir's protection. He also has a poor memory, as Vladimir has to remind him in the
second act of the events that happened the previous night.
Pozzo - He passes by the spot where Vladimir and Estragon are waiting and provides a diversion. He
consideres himself superior to other people, examines if Estragon and Vladimir are indeed humans or if they
only look similar. Vladimir and Estragon make fun of him, his name, his family. In the second act, he is blind
and does not remember meeting Vladimir and Estragon the night before.
Lucky - Pozzo's slave, who carries Pozzo's bags and stool (and is not allowed to put them down even for a
second). In Act I, he entertains by dancing and thinking. However, in Act II, he is dumb.

Anti-theatre – why is it called this way?
   - plot is nonexistent
   - characters have no identity
   - setting is not specified
   - play does not follow classical rules – there is no climax, no resolution

Harold Pinter – The Dumb Waiter (comedy of menace)
Two characters (Gus and Ben) wait in a basement of a hotel, in an long-unused kitchen for their orders, one of
them very tense. They are assassins awaiting an order but only a sheets with orders for exotic dishes come
down through the elevator. Gus yells into the tube that there is no food. When another order comes, they fight
again, and then they retreat into silence, Ben reading his newspaper, as the dumb waiter goes up and comes
down again. Gus leaves to get a drink of water, and the speaking tube whistle blows. Ben listens through the
tube and confirms that it is time to do their job. He hangs up and calls for Gus. He levels his gun at the door and
Gus stumbles in, vulnerably stripped of some of his clothes and his gun. He looks up at Ben, and they stare at
each other through a long silence.

Pinter's plays generally take place in a single, prison-like room. His works, which blend comedy and drama,
often focus on jealousy, betrayal, and sexual politics, but it is his dialogue—and the lack of dialogue—for
which he is known. Pinter's language, usually lower-class vernacular, has been described as poetic. His
compressed, rhythmic lines rely heavily on subtext and hint at darker meanings. Just as important,

however, are the silences in his plays. Pinter has spoken much on the subject, and has categorized speech as
that which attempts to cover the nakedness of silence. The true natures and motivations of his characters
emerge in their silences.

Pinter's dialogue deploys in terse rhythms that, while easy on the ears, often suggest the mechanization of
language, the use of words as nothing but muted carriers of information. Words no longer have any emotional
impact on the speaker. The very title of The Dumb Waiter highlights this notion of language as nothing but an
emotionally silent conveyor of something out of the speakers' control. The characters are actually "dumb
waiters," manipulated by someone more powerful (Gus by Ben, Ben by Wilson) to do his bidding.

nieopracowane :

role of nature (Wuthering Heights), character drawing (Oliver Twist)

Jezeli ktos ma to w notatkach albo sie przez przypadek gdzies natknie na takie zagadnienie to prosze uzupelnic i wyslac dalej 


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