European Literature history

					European Literature


 conventionally one of the seven continents of the
  world. Although referred to as a continent, Europe is
  actually just the western fifth of the Eurasian
  landmass, which is made up primarily of Asia.
 The name Europe is perhaps derived from that of
  Europa, the daughter of Phoenix in Greek
  mythology, or possibly from Ereb, a Phoenician word
  for ―sunset.‖
 Europe has long been a center of great cultural and
  economic achievement.
Countries in Europe
Development of European

               Ancient Greek Literature

 Four historical Periods of Ancient Greek
    Classical (900 to 323 BC) - birth of original works. Main literary types
     were developed to express the needs and ideals of the communities of
     which the writer was a member
    Hellenistic (323 BC-146 BC) – cosmopolitan period, literature was
     developed and written for the entertainment or scientific instruction
     of a small educated group
    Greco-Roman (146BC-395 AD)- Roman conquered Greece and ruled
     it for 600 years. Writers turned to the classical past to create a stylish
     renaissance letters. Pagan literature gave way to Christian literature
    Byzantine Period (395-1453 AD) – period when Constantine I rebuilt
     Byzantism and renamed it Constantinople. It became the center of
     Orthodox Christianity; religious poetry became the most prominent
               Ancient Greek Literature

 Mythology- stories about Gods and Goddesses
 have been collected by volume
     To Greeks and even Roman believed that all their activities of life
      were supervised by them
     Gods and Goddesses were liked men in their everyday existence
      but they had supernatural powers and were immortal.
 Greek Mythology, set of diverse traditional tales told
 by the ancient Greeks about the exploits of gods and
 heroes and their relations with ordinary mortals.
                         Mt. Olympus
 In early Greek mythology it was
  believed to have been the home
  of the gods. On its summit were
  the palaces of the gods, which
  had been built by Hephaestus,
  god of metalwork. The entrance
  to Olympus was through a gate
  of clouds, protected by the
  goddesses known as the
  Seasons. Zeus had his throne
  on Olympus, and the gods
  feasted on nectar and ambrosia
  and were serenaded by the
         12 Olympian Gods and Goddesses

 Zeus- Lord of the sky, the rain God and the Cloud-
   Hera- protector of marriage and married women
   Poseidon- ruler of the sea, Zeus’s brother
   Hades- Third brother of Zeus, Ruler of the dead
   Pallas Athena- daughter of Zeus alone, the Goddess
    of the city, protector of civilized life, of handicrafts
    and agriculture
   Phoebus Apollo- God of truth and God of light
         12 Olympian Gods and Goddesses

 Artemis- Apollo’s twin sister, lady of wild things,
    huntsman-in-chief to the gods
   Aphrodite- Goddess of lone and beauty, laughter-
    loving Gods
   Hermes- Zeus’s Messenger
   Ares- The God of War, son of Zeus and Hera
   Hephaestus- God of fire, Blacksmith of the gods
   Hestia- Zeus’s sister, Goddess of Hearth, Guardian of
    the home
                   Literature in Greek

 Lyric poetry
   It was originally sung by individuals or a chorus accompanied
    by the instrument called the lyre.
   Develop in a more republican form of government when each
    individual could express one’s personal aims and wishes, and
    all the depths of human emotions were unlocked by the
    inspiration of the poets
                   Literature in Greek

 Greek Drama
   Great literary innovations in drama were produced in Athens
    in the 5th century BC.
   They based their plays on myths that presented moral issues,
    especially the danger of hubris (arrogant overconfidence).
    Their plots often involved fierce conflicts in families or
    dangerous interactions between gods and humans.
   Comedies also were performed in these competitions. These
    plays displayed remarkable freedom of speech in criticizing
    public policy and making fun of politicians. Their plots could
    be fantastic, for example having a character fly up on a dung
    beetle to ask the gods for peace. Their language featured jokes,
    puns, and obscenities.
             Qualities of Greek Literature

 Permanence and Universality- it is read and admired by all
    nations of the world regardless of race, religion or culture
   Essentially full of artistry- product of a people who purposely
    and conscientiously developed their physical and intellectual
   Originality- Greek minds had the supreme power of modifying
    and improving all that it touched.
   Diversity of Talents- Greek mind never rested complacently
    on any one subject; it was ever searching, ever seeking.
   Intellectual Quality- Greek mind challenges one to think for
    some purpose- to bring about some inner transformation
Development of European

             Ancient Roman Literature

 A great metropolis with a million or more inhabitants,
  magnificent buildings and comfortable roads
 Little original culture for most creative efforts went into the
  government. Also the Greek supplied the pattern for much
  of their literature and culture.
 Different types writing includes speeches for politics, satire
  was a common form.
 There is a predominance of satire in Roman Literature. Its
  purpose is to attack evils in the society of Rome. It
  flourished in Rome when social conditions were poor and
  Roman morals were low.
             Ancient Roman Literature

 The literature of the period of the period praised the glories
  of Rome and Italians countryside. (Aeneid- serves to glorify
  the state)
 The greatest virtue in the Roman republic was obedience to
  call of duty. For Romans, business was foremost and the
  mission to be accomplished had no room for pleasure and
Development of European

               Dark Ages and Middle Ages

   As the Western Roman Empire became weakened the ills
    within it, barbaric tribes swarmed into it. This long year
    after the end of the western Roman Empire- from 476 to
    100 referred to the Dark Age.
 Period of gloom was followed by the period
    middle ages, which extended from the 5th to 15th
       It represents the gradual but steady and laborious progress of
       In this period, the church was rising into power and authority.
        Practically all intellectual pursuits and activities took place in the

 The literature of civilized Europe is believed to have begun
  with the epic literature of the middle age
     Epics are part of the oral literature which, later, was written down.
     Epic is inseparable from the idea of grandeur, it is inferred purely
      as an individual can be the proper subject of an epic. A hero
      remains an individual although he rises above the average human
      stature; but a hero becomes an epic hero when he represents
      something greater than himself- a nation, a race, a faith.
     They also reflect the life of and civilization of a heroic age and
      reveal the influence of Christianity.
 Four major Epics in Europe:
   German- Nibelungenlied, France- Song of Roland, Spain- El
    Cid, Italy- Divine Comedy

   written in prose or in poetry, which presents a remote or
    imaginative incidents rather than ordinary, realistic
    experience. The word romance was originally used to refer
    to medieval tales of deeds and love of noble knights and
       Characteristics of Romance
         Embodies the ideal of chivalry
         Set in a remote time and place
         Emphasize rank and social distinction
         Convey a sense of the supernatural
         Presents a hero engaged in pure adventure
         Include love as a major plot element
         Feature spontaneous, unmotivated fighting
            Drama during this period

 Mystery play- any biblical plays performed (usually
  in groups or cycles) during the medieval period
 Morality play- type of medieval drama in which the
  characters are personified abstractation; two main
  themes of religious moralities are the struggle
  between good and evil powers for man’s soul and
  journey or pilgrimage of life.
Development of European


 Renaissance marked the rebirth of the human spirit.
  Rebirth made possible all the great achievements of
  modern man- the great discoveries beyond the seas,
  the new science, and the great modern literature and
 Major philosophical movement of renaissance was
  humanism which advocates an emphasis on a group
  of subjects known as the humanities- languages,
  literature, mathematics, history and ethics instead of
  the traditional scholastic pursuit which emphasized
  logic, natural philosophy (science) and metaphysics.

 attitude that emphasizes the dignity and worth of the
  individual. A basic premise of humanism is that
  people are rational beings who possess within
  themselves the capacity for truth and goodness.
 This Renaissance revival of Greek and Roman
  studies emphasized the value of the classics for their
  own sake, rather than for their relevance to
                     Italian Heritage

   Central feature of the Italian Renaissance was the fundamental
    individualism which was a direct result of the perceived
    anarchy of the 13th century.
   They found practical lessons and nourishment for their love of
    country in the history and literature of Rome.
   Formerly Latin was the language preferred by writers and
    scholars, However, some writer (Petrarch and Dante) choose
    Italian for their greatest work, thus establishing Italian
   Sonnets were invented to express personal emotion
   Drama, the interest in individual character is most intense.
                        French Heritage

   Literature in France is divided into three period
     Age of Erasmus (1500-1534)
       Erasmus was a tireless editor of the texts and a translator of
        voluminous writing of the church Fathers
       Interest in spiritual, intellectual Catholicism with piety free from
     Age of Rabelais (1534-1560)
       Rabelais began his career as monk but soon became a physician
       His religious belief not too different from Erasmus
       Encyclopedic mind reflect enthusiasm for the new humanistic
     Age of nationalism ((1560-1598)
       Nationalistic age of French Renaissance literature came about
        because the religious unity that had characterized Western and
        Central Europe in the middle age vanished as Christianity was
        divided into Catholics and Protestant
                      French Heritage

   Another way by which scholars divide Renaissance literature of
    France through its dominant characteristics
     First 55 years- intellectual humanism
     Remaining 50- aesthetic humanism

   Humanism to them, as burning passion for material things and
    for new learning together with a love of antiquity and a
    rejection of superfluous dogma
                       Spanish Heritage

   Early 1500s, Juan Boscana and Garcilaso de la Vega introduced
    meter, verse forms and themes of Italian Renaissance poetry. But
    other poets preserved the Castilian tradition of writing short verse
   Two types of novel
     Pastoral novel- idealized rural life and the lives of the shepherds and
      the simple country people
     Picaresque- presented society through the eyes of a picaro (rogue) and
      usually included biting satire or moral commentary
   In drama, there was a slow development.
     Lope de Rueda created paso, a short farce that ridicule the daily life of
      his time
     Golden Age Dramatist, Lope de Vega who wrote popular works that
      mixed tragic and comic element. He drew on historical events and
      glorified national heroes
                     English Heritage

   People found more joy in the things around them and became
    interested in new experiences and the world beyond
   The period from 1400 till the death of Shakespeare in 1616.
   Age of Poets during the English renaissance
     Poems dealt with love- love with man and woman, love between
      friends, love between man and God
     Important lyric poem composed was English sonnet which differ
      from Italian sonnet in its rhyme scheme
   Another crowning glory of English Renaissance was drama
     Known for their beautiful language
     Delved into complex characters and themes, frequently offering
      insights about human nature
Development of European

  1 7 TH C E N T U R Y : T H E A G E O F R E A S O N
                   Age of Reason

 As nation grew more prosperous through the discovery,
  exploration and colonization of the new land, individuals
  became more ambitious to gather material wealth for
 Literature emphasized reason, discipline and strict
  imitation of Greek and Roman literature
 Formalism, correctness, accuracy in word choice and
  rhythmic expression of thought became the ideal
 The most important literary activity of the period was
  criticism with logical reasoning
 Satire in both prose and verse is one of the most popular
  forms of expression
Development of European

    1 8 TH C E N T U R Y : T H E A G E O F
                 Age of Enlightenment

   18th century marked by a change of rulers which made the
    people hope that the extravagance and despotism of the
    preceding period would come to an end
   Oppression from the clergy and the nobility continued as the
    people suffered from over taxation
    The writers in the period like Rousseau and Voltaire
    clamoured for reform but were unheeded.
   The age of enlightenment urged applying reason tom all aspect
    of social and political life- government, laws, economics,
    religion and education. Its emphasis of the period was national
    thought, political rights, personal freedom.
   Literature in the Age of Enlightenment is more concerned with
    content rather than form and technique
              Age of Enlightenment

 German author Johann Christoph Gottsched urged the
 adoption of the rules of French neoclassicism. He stressed
 ―moral edification‖, common sense and clarity and rejected
 imagination. However, a group led by Johann Jacob
 Breitinger did not like the neoclassical theories and
 preferred a return to emotion and fancy
Development of European

E A R L Y 1 9 TH C E N T U R Y : T H E R O M A N T I C A G E

 It is characterized by reliance on the imagination
 and subjectivity of approach, freedom of thought
 and expression, and an idealization of nature.
 The term romantic first appeared in 18th-
 century English and originally meant
 ―romancelike‖—that is, resembling the fanciful
 character of medieval romances.
                    Romantic Age

 Marked by the prevailing democratic spirit and
 imbued with the spirit of romanticism
   Romanticist preferred the humble country man or
   woman who though w/o outward polish, was by nature
   kind and noble, and they emphasized emotion,
   imagination, individuality and the use of literary forms
   that allowed them to express their personal feelings more
  Belief in self-knowledge, a principle article of
Development of European

  1 9 TH C E N T U R Y : A G E O F R E A L I S M ,

 An attempt to describe human behavior and
  surroundings or to represent figures and objects
  exactly as they act or appear in life.
 Concerned with the faithful representation of life,
  which frequently lacks form, the realists tended to
  downplay plot in favor of character and to
  concentrate on middle-class life and preoccupations,
  avoiding larger, more dramatic issues.

 Theory that literary composition should be based on
  an objective, empirical presentation of human
  beings. It differs from realism in adding an amoral
  attitude to the objective presentation of life.
 Naturalistic writers regard human behavior as
  controlled by instinct, emotion, or social and
  economic conditions, and reject free will, adopting
  instead, in large measure, the biological determinism
  of Charles Darwin and the economic determinism of
  Karl Marx.

 An aesthetic movement that encouraged writers to
 express their ideas, feelings, and values by means
 of symbols or suggestions rather than by direct
Age of Realism, Naturalism and Symbolism

 Literature become more concerned with political and
  social ideas
 Only Russia were able to produced a worthy
  literature in the 19th century
    The period from 1820 to 1883 was often referred as the Golden
     Age of Russian Literature
    Great writers of realistic friction (Leo Tolstoy, Nikolai Gogol,
     and Ivan Turgenev) bought something new to world literature:
     a candid realism combined with extreme sensitiveness,
     awareness of the pangs of human heart and aspiration towards
     highest ideals‖
Development of European

   2 0 TH C E N T U R Y : C O N T E M P O R A R Y

 Rapid advance in science and technology, two destructive
  world war and even more disastrous upheavals have
  given people in the 20th century times of uncertainty
 Most 20th century writers have done away with lengthy
  description. Their work display symbolism which means
  that the real meaning of a story is contained not in the
  literal comprehension but in what the plot and the
  characters stand for.

    Poets in this period want to show life honestly and truthfully.
    They are concerned not only in the relation between
    humankind and the environment, but also with the motives
    and inner conflict of the individual.
   Despite in the emphasis on realism, romantic elements have
   In the early part of the century the use of symbols was an
    important characteristics of poetry, as a search for reality
    behind the happening in the everyday world as perceived
    through the sense ( poetry becomes suggestive)
   Also it breaks away the traditional way of writing poetry

   Most European writers of the contemporary period are not
    concerned with amusing or entertaining the readers, rather
    they are more concerned in convincing or instructing, so that,
    writers interpret facts to the readers.
   Surrealism artistic and literary movement that explored and
    celebrated the realm of dreams and the unconscious mind
    through the creation of visual art, poetry, and motion pictures
   AN IMPORTANT characteristics of major non-fiction works of
    the period was an ―increasing sense of crisis and urgency,
    doubts as to the faith in psychological stability of the
    individual personality, and the deep questioning of all
    philosophical or religious solutions to human problems‖

   Works of fiction writers reflected an interest in the
    unconscious and the irrationality
   As the century progress, the printed words is seems to be
    displaced by a visual and aural electronic culture.
   Traditional form of writing tends to dissolve into one another.

 First half of the 20th century, writers focused on the common
  person’s struggle to gain equality and social justice. Thus, many
  plays of social protest were produced
 Second half of 20th century, there are trend toward questioning the
  purpose and meaning of existence itself.
 Two favourite themes of the play today
    Loveliness of individuals and their inability to express their
     deepest emotion
    Search for a direction which will give individuals the dignity and
     self-respect they need
 Playwrights of the period write about the dilemmas of humankind
  in tones sometimes bitter, sometimes mocking and sarcastic,
  sometimes angry.

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