European Literature PART 1: DEVELOPMENT OF EUROPEAN LITERATURE Europe 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 Literature ANCIENT GREEK LITERATURE 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 literature. 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 Muses. 12 Olympian Gods and Goddesses Zeus- Lord of the sky, the rain God and the Cloud- gatherer 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 power. 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 Literature ANCIENT ROMAN LITERATURE 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 delight. Development of European Literature DARK AGES & MIDDLE AGES/MEDIEVAL LITERATURE 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 century. It represents the gradual but steady and laborious progress of civilization In this period, the church was rising into power and authority. Practically all intellectual pursuits and activities took place in the monasteries Epic 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 Romance 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 ladies. 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 Literature RENAISSANCE LITERATURE Introduction 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 art. 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. Humanism 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 Christianity. 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 language 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 superstition 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 learning 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 Literature 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 themselves 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 Literature 1 8 TH C E N T U R Y : T H E A G E O F ENLIGHTENMENT 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 Literature 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 Romanticism 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 freely. Belief in self-knowledge, a principle article of Romanticism Development of European Literature 1 9 TH C E N T U R Y : A G E O F R E A L I S M , NATURALISM AND SYMBOLISM Realism 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. Naturalism 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. Symbolism An aesthetic movement that encouraged writers to express their ideas, feelings, and values by means of symbols or suggestions rather than by direct statements. 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 Literature 2 0 TH C E N T U R Y : C O N T E M P O R A R Y LITERATURE Introduction 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. Poetry 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 persisted 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 Non-fiction 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‖ Fiction 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. Drama 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.