網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

by John Wilson, were all founded during the first twenty years of the century.

6. The realist, Jane Austen, who wrote quiet novels of home life with exceedingly good delineation of character.

In 1832, nearly all these authors were dead or had ceased to write. There were changes in government; education became more general; reading matter was cheaper; scientific discoveries aroused thought. During the half-century following 1832, there was a remarkable development of :

66

[ocr errors]

1. The novel, in the hands of Dickens, Thackeray, and 'George Eliot." The Pickwick Papers made Dickens famous. During twenty years he published novel after novel, merry, pathetic, but always charming; even though the characters often seem unreal and are usually labelled by some one quality.

Thackeray was less amusing and won fame more slowly. He was a satirist, but a kindly one. He wrote not only novels but lectures, literary and historical, and historical novels.

"George Eliot" did not attempt fiction till she was thirtyseven, but her first work was so successful that after its publication she devoted herself to novel writing. Even aside from their literary merit, the justice and charity of her novels can hardly fail to make them lasting.

2. The essay, in the hands of Macaulay, Carlyle, Ruskin, and Arnold. Macaulay wrote at twenty-five his essay on Milton, the brilliant style of which brought him recognition. He wrote many essays, some poetry, and then his History of England. This was not impartial by any means, but was intensely interesting and sold in enormous numbers.

Carlyle had reached middle age before his talent was recognized, chiefly because he often wrote in a harsh and disagreeable style. His Life of Frederick II, published when he was between sixty and seventy, brought him wide fame and honors of all kinds.

Ruskin at the age of twenty-four was recognized as the greatest art critic of his time. His love of beauty and his

wish that workingmen should enjoy it led him to a fearless discussion of the relations between rich and poor, and thereby he aroused severe criticism. His style, however, was admired by all.

Arnold, like Lamb, could give to literature only spare minutes. His poems are marked by a Greek restraint. His prose was in great degree made up of criticism of books and life; in both of which he insisted upon a high standard.

3. In poetry, Browning and Tennyson are counted as of the first rank. Browning's wife was famous as a poet in her early years, but appreciation came to him slowly. For thirtyfive years he found only scattered admirers. Then he published The Ring and the Book, and at last his audience was ready. His writings are often involved in thought and in phrase; but they are of a high order of poetry and are marked by courage and faith.

Tennyson was the representative poet of the Victorian Age. His first work seems like experiments in sound. Excellent as it is, it met severe criticism. Twelve years after the publication of his first volume he was recognized as the first poet of his time. His most popular works are In Memoriam, The Idylls of the King, and Enoch Arden, three poems of utterly different character. His Laureate poems have an unusual ring of sincerity. His attempts at drama were not successful. His message, like Browning's, was one of faith and trust.

Besides those mentioned, the century has been rich in poets, novelists, historians, scientists, and essayists, many of whom in almost any other age would have been looked upon as men of the highest genius.

Tracing the course of English literature for twelve hundred years, we see the development of both poetry and prose from the simplest beginnings to a high degree of excellence. The novel is the special form of literary expression characteristic of this age. In it, as in all other literary work of the time, the first demand is for faithfulness to truth.

REFERENCES

THE following lists of books are of course not expected to be in any degree exhaustive. Their main object is, first, to suggest some few of the great number of criticisms and histories of literature that may be helpful to the student; second, to tell where good editions of complete works or selections from some of the less accessible authors may be found.

For general consultation throughout the course the following authorities are recommended: :

For history, manners, and customs; Green's Short History of the English People, Gardiner's Student's History of England, Traill's Social England. For history of literature, Jusserand's Literary History of the English People from the Origins to the Renaissance. For history of the language, Lounsbury's History of the English Language. For biography, the Dictionary of National Biography is the standard work. See also the English Men of Letters Series. Three works, Craik's English Prose Selections (5 vols.), Ward's English Poets (4 vols.), and Morley's English Writers (11 vols.), contain well-chosen selections from the works of nearly all the authors named, and are almost a necessity to students who are not able to consult a large library. For separate texts the volumes of the Riverside Literature Series are of special value because of their careful editing, good binding, and reasonable price. Cassell's National Library is also inexpensive and convenient.

CENTURIES V-XIII

Freeman's Old English History.

Sharon Turner's History of the Anglo-Saxons.

Brooke's English Literature from the Beginning to the Norman Conquest.

Brother Azarias's Development of English Literature.

Beowulf has been translated by C. G. Child (Riverside Literature Series), Garnett, Hall, Morris and Wyatt, and others. Much of the poem is given in Brooke's History of Early English Literature and Morley's English Writers. Morley, vol. i, contains Widsith, passages from Cædmon and Cynewulf, and also specimens of the old Celtic literature.

The Exeter Book has been translated by Gollancz (Early English Text Society); also by Benjamin Thorpe.

Bede's Ecclesiastical History and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle are contained in one volume of Bohn's Antiquarian Library. Alfred's Orosius and Pauli's Life of Alfred are in one volume of Bohn's Antiquarian Library. Asser's Life of Alfred has been edited by A. S. Cook (Ginn).

Extracts from the Ormulum, the Ancren Riwle, the History of Geoffrey of Monmouth, Layamon's Brut, and King Horn (with glossary) are contained in Morris and Skeat's Specimens of Early English, vol. i.

Robin Hood Ballads are contained in Child's English and Scottish Popular Ballads.

Geoffrey of Monmouth's History is contained in Giles's Six Old English Chronicles (Bohn's Antiquarian Library.)

CENTURY XIV

Jusserand's Wayfaring Life in the Fourteenth Century.
Wright's History of Domestic Manners and Sentiments in Eng-
land during the Middle Ages.

E. L. Cutts's Scenes and Characters of the Middle Ages.
Tudor Jenks's In the Days of Chaucer.

Mandeville's Voyages and Travels, Cassell's National Library. Morris and Skeat's Specimens of Early English, vol. ii, contains selections from Mandeville, Langland, Wyclif, and Chaucer. Chaucer's Prologue, Knight's Tale, and Nun's Priest's Tale (with glossary) are published in one volume of the Riverside Literature Series. Lowell's Literary Essays, vol. iii, contains a delightful appreciation of Chaucer.

CENTURY XV

Green's Town Life in the Fifteenth Century.
Denton's England in the Fifteenth Century.
Jusserand's Romance of a King's Life (James I).

The King's Quair, edited by Skeat.

Malory's Morte d'Arthur, edited by Sommer and also by Gollancz. Morris and Skeat's Specimens of Early English, vol. iii, contains selections from the King's Quair, the Morte d'Arthur, and Caxton's Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye.

Ballads. Child's English and Scottish Popular Ballads is the great authority. Percy's Reliques. Gummere's Old English Ballads contains a well-chosen group and also a valuable introduction.

Mystery plays and Moralities. The York Plays, edited by Lucy Toulmin Smith; The English Religious Drama, by K. L. Bates. English Miracle Plays, Moralities, and Interludes, by A. W. Pollard, contains Everyman. Morley's Specimens of the PreShakespearian Drama contains The Foure P's, Ralph Roister Doister, Gorboduc, Campaspe, etc.

CENTURY XVI

Ward's History of English Dramatic Literature (3 vols.).
Lowell's Old English Dramatists.

Lamb's Specimens of English Dramatic Poets (Bohn's Antiquarian Library).

Saintsbury's History of Elizabethan Literature.

E. P. Whipple's Literature of the Age of Elizabeth.

Lowell's Literary Essays, vol. iv, contains his essay on Spenser ; in vol. iii is his essay on Shakespeare.

Schelling's The English Chronicle Play.

Schelling's The Queen's Progress.

Jusserand's The English Novel in the Time of Shakespeare.

Goadby's The England of Shakespeare.

Ordish's Shakespeare's London.

Warner's The People for whom Shakespeare wrote.

Tudor Jenks's In the Days of Shakespeare.

Sidney Lee's A Life of William Shakespeare and Shakespeare's Life and Work.

Rolfe's Shakespeare the Boy.

Dowden's Shakespeare Primer.

Abbott's Shakespearian Grammar.

Lamb's Specimens of English Dramatic Poets who lived about the Time of Shakespeare contains Gorboduc, Tamburlaine, Edward II, The Rich Jew of Malta, Dr. Faustus, etc. The

« 上一頁繼續 »