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自考《英美文学选读》(英)文艺复兴时期(4)

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  IV. Francis Bacon

  1. 一般识记Brief Introduction

  English Renaissance philosopher, essayist, statesman, born in London, England, Jan 22,1561 and died in London, April 9 1626.

  One of the outstanding figures of the Renaissance, Bacon made important contributions to several fields. His chief interest were science philosophy, but he was also a distinguished man of letters & held several high governmental positions during the reign of king JamesⅠ。 He was one of the earliest & most eloquent spokesmen for experimental science. He lays the foundation for modern science with his insistence on scientific way of thinking & fresh observation rather than authority as a basis for obtaining knowledge.

  2. 识记His works

  As an author, Bacon is most famous for his Essays, which deal with such subjects as honor, friendship, love, & riches. Written in a terse, polished style, with many learned allusions & metaphors, the essays rank with the finest in English literature.

  Bacon’s other important literary works include The New Atlantis, an account of an ideal society & an imaginary voyage, & The History of the Reign of King Henry Ⅶ, a perceptive psychological study of Henry’s mind & characters.

  His works can be divided into three groups:

  First group: The Advancement of Learning (1605)

  Novum Organum (1620) (Latin version)

  Second group: Essays

  Apophthagmes New & Old (1605)

  The History of the Reign of Henry Ⅶ (1622)

  The New Atlantis (unfinished)

  Third group: Maxims of Law

  The Learned Reading upon the Stature of Uses (1642)

  3. 领会 His Major Works

  Essays The term "essay" was borrowed from Montaigne’s Essais, which appeared from 1580 to 1588. Bacon learned from Montaigne, the first great modern essayist, the economic & flexible way of writing. However, as a practical & prudential man, he intends to write for the ambitious Elizabethan & Jacobean youth of his class & tell them how to be efficient & make their way in public life.

  Bacon’s essays are famous for their brevity, compactness & powerfulness. The essays are well arranged & enriched by Biblical allusions, Metaphors & cadence.

  4. 领会His achievements

  As a literary man, Bacon is the first English essayist, whose Essays won him a high place in the history of English literature.

  As a philosopher, he is the founder of English materialistic philosophy. He advocates the inductive method of reasoning. In his famous plea for progress, Bacon demands three things: 1) the free investigation of nature, 2) the discovery of facts instead of the blind belief in theories 3) the verification of results by experiment rather than by argument. In our day, these are the ABC of science, but in Bacon’s time they were revolutionary, Marx called him "the real father of English materialism & experimental science of modern times in general."

  5. 应用 Of Studies

  Of Studies is the most popular of Bacon’s 58 essays. It analyzes what studies chiefly serve for, the different ways adopted by different people to pursue studies, & how studies exert influence over human character. Forceful & persuasive, compact & precise, Of Studies reveals to us Bacon’s mature attitude towards learning. Bacon’s language is neat, priest, & weighty. It is some what affected, like the water in the reservoir, restricted & confined.

  V. John Donne

  1.一般识记 Donne & the Metaphysical Poetry

  John Donne: English poet & Clergyman, born in London, England, 1572, and died in London, Mar. 31 1631. Donne is the leading figure of the 17th-century "metaphysical school." His poems give a more inherently theatrical impression by exhibiting a seemingly unfocused diversity of experiences & attitudes, & a free range of feelings & attitudes, & a free range of feelings & moods. The mode is dynamic rather than static, with ingenuity of speech, vividness of imagery & vitality of rhythms, which show a notable contrast to the other Elizabethan lyric poems, which are pure, serene, tuneful, & smooth running. The most striking feature of Donne’s poetry is precisely its tang of reality, in the sense that it seems to reflect life in a real rather than a poetical world. "Metaphysical Poetry" is commonly used to name the work of the 17th-century writers who wrote under the influence of John Donne. With a rebellions spirit, the metaphysical poets tried to break away from the conventional fashion of the Elizabethan Love poetry. The diction is simple as compared with echoes the words & cadences of common speech. The imagery is drawn from the actual life. The form is frequently that of an argument with the poet’s beloved, with God, or with himself. George Herbert, Andrew Marvell, Richard Crashaw, Henry Vaughan, Abraham Cowley, & Thomas Traherne are also considered to be metaphysical poets. They wrote on a variety of religious & secular themes, & to express their ideas, they used startling, highly imaginative comparisons known as conceits. A conceit is a combination of thoughts or images that are not usually associated with one another.

  The finest works of the metaphysical poets combine intellectual subtlety with great emotional power. The poems reflect a broad knowledge of science, art, & other branches of learning. At the same time, metaphysical poems express an intense awareness of common human feelings & experiences, such as jealousy, the loss of religious faith, the complexities of love & the fear of death. Although the imagery of metaphysical poetry is frequently strained, the language is often as natural & direct as ordinary speech.

  2.识记His major works

  In his life, Donne wrote a large number of poems & prose works, His poems are especially admired for their unique combination of passionate feeling & intellectual wit. Many of his poems rank with the finest in the English language. Among his most famous works are the poems Death Be Not Proud, "Go & Catch a Falling Star," The Ecstacy, & A Valediction Forbidding Mourning.

  Most of The Elegies & Satires & a good many of The Songs & Sonnets were written in the early period. He wrote prose works mainly in the later period. His sermons, which are very famous, reveal his spiritual devotion to God as a passionate preacher.

  His works are classified as songs & sonnets, epistles, elegies, & satires. When read in chronological order, the poems reveal his development from "Gay Jack Donne," a reckless & cynical youth, to Dean John Donne, a man devoted to God.

  Donne’s great prose works are his sermons, which are both rich & imaginative, exhibiting the same kind of physical vigor & scholastic complexity as his poetry. For example, the well-known Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions (1623-1624)。 Written when he was seriously ill, they contain the famous passage: "No Man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main… Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, & therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

  3. 领会 Characteristics of His Poems

  Donne’s poetry is subtle, complex, & often startling. He made expert use of such poetic techniques as the paradox, a statement that seems contradictory but actually contains truth, & the conceit, a pertinent comparison between 2 apparently dissimilar things.

  His early Lyrics most exist in The Songs & Sonnets. Love is the basic theme. Donne holds that the nature of love is the union of soul & body. The operations of the soul depend on the body. Idealism & cynicism about love coexist in Donne’s love poetry.

  As a religious poet, his chief power is shown in the Holy Sonnets & the last hymns.

  In his poems, Donne frequently applies conceits, i.e. extended metaphors involving dramatic contrasts. His poetry involves a certain kind of argument, sometimes in rigid syllogistic form. With the brief, simple language, the argument is continuous throughout the poem.

  4. 应用Selected Readings

  1) Death Be Not Proud, one of Donne’s Holy Sonnets, is an almost Startling put-down of poor death. Staunchly Christian in its pare expectation of the resurrection, Donne’s poem personifies death as an adversary swollen with false pride & unworthy of being called "mighty & dreadful." Donne gives various reasons in accusing death of being little more than a slave bossed about by fate, chance, kings & desperate men-a craven thing that keeps bad company, such as poison, was & sickness. Finally, Donne taunts death with a paradox: "death, thou shalt die."

  The sonnet is written in the strict Petrarchan pattern. It reveals the poet’s belief in life after death: death is eternal.

  2) The Sun Rising

  The persona apostrophizes the sun as " unruly" because the sun enters the lovers’secret room without their approval. The speaker criticizes the sun pays too much attention to such things as sex & that he should not be behaving so tediously as to stick to his rule & enter without thinking twice into such a place as lovers dwell.

  Ⅵ。 John Milton

  1.一般识记 Brief Introduction

  John Milton, English poet & prose writer, born in London, England, Dec. 9, 1608, and died in London, Nov 8, 1674.

  Milton was one of the greatest poets in the English language & one of the towering figures in all literature. His masterpiece, Paradise Lost, is considered the unsurpassed English epic poem. It is a powerfully imaginative & dramatic work, based in part on the Biblical story of the temptation & fall of Adam & Eve in the Garden of Eden. Milton, a deeply religious man, wrote the epic " to justify the ways of God to men." He is also famous for his graceful lyric poems, such as Lycidas, Allegro, & for his intensely moving sonnets.

  Milton was a great master of language, & his poetry, both epic & lyric, is admired for its sublime eloquence & rich musical quality.

  2. 识记His literary achievements

  Milton’s literary achievements can be divided into three groups: the early poetic works, the middle prose pamphlets & the last great poems.

  1) Education & Early Poetry

  Milton’s education would ordinarily have led him to a post in the Church of England. He was a Puritan, however, & his religious vies conflicted with those of the Church. After his 7 years at Cambridge, therefore, he retired in 1632 to his father’s estate at Horton. His famous poems Allegro & IL Penseroso were probably written in 1631, before his withdrawal from Cambridge. These are companion pieces that contrast the temperaments of the cheerful, active man & the melancholy, reflective man. In his early works, Milton appears as the inheritor of all that was best in Elizabethan literature. Lycidas (1637) is a typical example. All of Milton’s early works reflect his interest in Greek & Latin poetry, which greatly influenced his style. His poems contain a wealth of classical references, figures of speech, & other poetic devices, all masterfully blended into his rich verse.

  2) Middle Period & Prose Pamphlets

  In 1638, Milton began a 15-month tour of the Continent, where he met the Italian scientist Galileo Galilei. Upon his return to England he became deeply involved in the political & religious struggle between Parliament, which was then dominated by the Presbyterians, & the followers of king CharlesⅠ, who supported the Church of England. Milton sided with Parliament & began to write a series of pamphlets attacking the power of the bishops & the rituals of the Church. In 1652 he suffered great personal tragedy with the total loss of his eyesight & the death of his wife & infant son In spite of his blindness, Milton continued his official duties until 1655. During these tragic years of his life he wrote some of his most poignant & beautiful sonnets. They include On His Blindness, which reveals the consolation he found in religious faith, & Methought 1 Saw My Late Espoused Saint, written as a tribute to his second wife. Another of his greatest sonnets, On the Late Massacre in Piedmont, commemorated the slaughter of a sect of religious martyrs in 1655. Areopagitica (1644) is probably his most memorable prose work. It is a great plea for freedom of the press. Its style is smooth & calm.

  3) Later Years & Major Poetry

  After the Restoration in 1660, Milton was imprisoned. His release was brought about mainly through the efforts of his friends, notably the poet Andrew Marwell, After that time he devoted himself to his 3 major poetical works: Paradise Lost (1667), Paradise Regained (1671), & Samson Agonistes (1671)。 Among the three, the first is the greatest, indeed the only generally acknowledged epic in English literature since Beowulf; & the last one is the most perfect example of the verse drama after the Greek style in English.

  3.领会His Major Works

  1) Lycidas

  It is a collection of elegies dedicated to Edward king, a fellow undergraduate of Milton’s at Cambridge, who was drowned in the Irish Sea. The poem begins with grief & a feeling of immaturity; then the grief is deepened by the sense of irrecoverable loss in the silencing of a young poet. With this bitter sense of loss, Milton asks why the just & good should suffer. These emotions swell to a passionate call for the consolation of art. The poem moves from a sad apprehension of death, through regret, to passionate questioning, rage, sorrow & acceptance. The feelings begin in a low key but move on to the large questions of divine justice & human accountability. The climax of the poem is the blistering attack on the clergy, i.e. the "Shepherds," who are corrupted by self-interest.

  2) Paradise Lost

  Paradise Lost, an epic poem in 12 books, written in blank verse, represents the fullest expression of Milton’s genius. The poem vividly portrays the story of Satan’s rebellion against God & his tempting of Adam & Eve to eat the fruit of the forbidden Tree of Knowledge. The theme is the "Fall of Man," i.e. man’s disobedience & the loss of Paradise, with its prime cause-Satan. Although Adam is the central figure in Paradise Lost, it is the villain, Satan, who emerges for many readers as the most interesting character in the poem, In Paradise Lost, Milton used the conventions of ancient Greek & Latin epics & enriched his poem with reference to classical mythology & literature.

  Working through the tradition of a Christian humanism, Milton wrote Paradise Lost, intending to expose the ways of Satan & to "justify the ways of God to men." At the center of the conflict between human love & spiritual duty lies Milton’s primary concern with freedom & choice; the freedom to obey God’s prohibition on eating the apple & the choice of disobedience made for love. In the fall of man Adam discovered his full humanity. But man’s fall is the sequel to another & more stupendous tragedy, the fall of the angels. By lifting his argument to that degree, Milton raises the problem of evil in a more intractable form. Milton holds that God created all things out of Himself, including evil. There was evil in Heaven before Satan rebelled: Pride, Lust, Wrath, & Avarice were there. At the glorification of the son these forces erupted & were cast forth. But God suffered them to escape from Hell & infect the Earth. And then the tragedy was re-enacted, but with a difference-"Man shall find grace." But he must lay hold of it by an act of free will. The freedom of the will is the keystone of Milton’s creed. His poem attempts to convince us that the unquestionable truth of Biblical revelation means that an all-knowing God just allows Adam & Eve to be tempted &, of their free will, to choose sin & its inevitable punishment. And, thereby, it paves the way for the voluntary sacrifice of Christ which showed the mercy of God in bringing good out of evil.

  3) Paradise Regained

  Milton followed Paradise Lost with a shorter & less brilliant religious religious epic, Paradise Regained, which describes the New Testament story of Christ’s victory over Satan in the wilderness.

  4) Samson Agonistes

  Milton’s last important work was the magnificent poetic drama Samson Agonistes, which presents the Biblical story of Samson in the form of a Greek tragedy. The blind & suffering Samson is strongly reminiscent of Milton himself.

  The theme of Samson Agonistes is a more vital & personal one. The picture of Israel’s mighty champion, blind, alone, afflicted by thoughtless enemies but preserving a noble ideal to the end, is a fitting close to the life work of the poet himself. The poet’s aim was to present in English a pure tragedy, with all the passion & restraint which marked the old Greek dramas. The whole poem strongly suggests Milton’s passionate longing that he too could bring destruction down upon the enemy at the cost of his own life. In this sense, Samson is Milton.

  6. 应用Selected Reading

  Analyze Satan, the hero in John Milton’s Paradise Lost.

  Milton’s Paradise Lost is a long epic of which the theme is the "Fall of Man" with its prime cause-Satan. In Heaven, Satan led a rebellion against God. Defeated, he & his angels were cast into Hell, However, Satan refused to accept his failure, vowing that "all was not lost" & that he would seek revenge for his down fall. In order to achieve his ambition, Satan managed to tempt Adam & Eve, the first human beings created by God, to eat fruit from the tree of knowledge against God’s instruction. Satan is the real hero of the poem. Like a conquered & banished giant, he remains obeyed & admired by those who follow him down to hell. He is firmer than the rest of the fallen angels. It is he, who, passing through the guarded gates of hell & boundless chaos, amid so many dangers, & overcoming so many obstacles, makes man revolt against God. Though defeated, he prevails, since he was won from God the third part of his angels, & almost all the sons of Adam.

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