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  II. Alexander pope

  1. 一般识记His life & career

  English poet & satirist, born in London, England, May 21, 1688, died in Twickenham, England May 30, 1744.

  Pope is one of the fore-most satirists in world literature as well as a great poet. He wrote witty & polished verses ridiculing the behavior of his day. Pope's mock-heroic poem The Rape of the Lock is one of the finest examples of English comic verse. He made his name as a great poet with the publication of An Essay on Criticism in 1711. His Dunciad is a scathing attack on dullness & pedantry in literature. He also composed verse essays on philosophy, literature, & criticism. In An Essay on Man, he brilliantly expressed the philosophical trends & concepts of his age.

  2. 识记Pope's literally outlook

  As a representative of the Enlightenment, Pope was one of the first to introduce rationalism to England. He was the greatest poet of his time. He strongly advocated neoclassicism, emphasizing that literary works should be judged by classical rules of order, reason, logic, restrained emotion, good taste & decorum. According to Pope, almost every genre of literature should have some fixed laws & rules. Prose should be precise, direct, smooth & flexible, Poetry should be lyrical, epical, didactic, satiric or dramatic, & drama should be written in the Heroic Couplets (iambic pentameter rhymed in two lines); the three unities of time, space & action should be strictly observed; regularity in construction should be adhered to, & type characters rather than individuals should be represented.

  3. 识记His major works

  1) The Rape of the Lock

  A delightful burlesque of epic poetry, it ridicules the manners of the English nobility. The poem is based on an actual incident in which a young nobleman stole a lock of a lady's hair.

  2) An Essay on Criticism

  His first important work, An Essay on Criticism was a long didactic poem in heroic couplets. In this work, he reflected the neo-classical spirit of the times by advocating good taste, common sense & the adherence to classical rules in writing & criticism. The whole poem is written in a plain style, hardly containing any imagery or eloquence &therefore makes easy reading.

  3) The Dunciad

  Generally considered Pope's best satiric work, The Dunciad goes deep in meaning & works at many levels. Its satire is directed at Dullness in general, & in the course of it all the literary men of the age. Poets mainly who had made Pope's enemies, are held up to ridicule. But the poem is not confined to personal attack.

  Dullness as reflected in the corruptness of government, social morals, education & even religion, is expertly exposed & satirized.

  4. 领会His language style

  Pope's works are still enjoyed for their sparkling wit, good sense & charm of expression. After Shakespeare, he is the most widely quoted poet in English literature. He worked painstakingly on his poems, developed a satiric, concise, smooth, graceful &well-balanced style.

  5. 应用Selected Readings

  An Excerpt from Part 2 of An Essay on Criticism.

  An Essay on Criticism is a didactic poem written in heroic couplets. It consists of 744 lines &is divided into three parts. It sums up the art of poetry as up held & practiced by the ancients like Aristotle, Horace, Boileau, etc. & the eighteenth century European classicists.

  In Part 2, Pope advises the critics not to stress too much the artificial use of conceit or the external beauty of language but to pay special attention to True wit which is best set in a plain style.

  III. Daniel Defoe

  1. 一般识记His life

  English novelist & journalist, born in London, England, 1660, and died in London, Apr. 26,1731.

  Like Pope, he never went to university, but he received a good education in one of the best Dissenting academies. He started as a small merchant & all his life his business underwent many ups & downs & yet he was never beaten. Defoe also had a zest for politics. He wrote quite a number of pamphlets on the current political issues.

  2. 识记His social outlook

  As a member of the middle class, Defoe spoke for & to the members of his class & his novels enjoyed great popularity among the less cultivated readers. In most of his works, he gave his praise to the hard-working, sturdy middle class & showed his sympathy for the downtrodden, unfortunate poor.

  3. 识记His major works

  Defoe is generally considered the first great realistic novelist in English fiction. He based his stories on current events & materials, such as the maps & logs of actual sea voyages, personal memoirs& historical or eyewitness reports.

  Perhaps his most popular novel is Robinson Crusoe (1719), an adventure story based partly on the actual experience of a man who had been trapped on a deserted island. A Journal of the Plague Year (1722), sometimes considered his best work, has such a colorful & detailed account of the London plague of 1664 & 1665 that it seems to have been written by an observer on the scene. Defoe's third masterpiece, Moll Flanders (1722), is a lively novel tracing the adventures of a female rogue. Told in the form of "confessions", the narrative includes vivid descriptions of the courts, prisons, & other social institutions of Defoe's era.

  4. 领会Characteristics of his works

  Defoe was a very good story-teller. He had a gift for organizing minute details in such a vivid way that his stories could be both credible& fascinating. His sentences are sometimes short, crisp & plain, & sometimes long & rambling, which leave on the reader on impression of casual narration. His language is smooth, easy, colloquial & mostly vernacular. There is nothing artificial in his language: it is common English at its best.

  5. 应用Selected Reading

  An Excerpt from chapter IV of Robinson Crouse.

  Robinson Crouse, an adventure story very much in the spirit of the time, is universally considered his masterpiece. In the novel, Defoe traces the growth of Robinson from a na?ve & simple youth into a mature & hardened man, tempered by numerous trials in his eventful life. The realistic presentation of the successful struggle of Robinson single-handedly against the hostile nature proves the best part of the novel. Robinson is here a real hero: a typical eighteenth-century English middle-class man with a great capacity for work, inexhaustible energy, courage, patience & persistence in overcoming obstacles, in struggling against the hostile natural environment. He is the very prototype of the empire builder, the pioneer colonist. In describing Robinson's life on the island, Defoe glorifies human labor &the puritan fortitude, which save Robinson from despair & are a source of pride &happiness .He toils for the sake of subsistence, & get his reward.

  VI. Jonathan Swift

  1. 一般识记His life

  English author, born in Dublin, Ireland, Nov. 30, 1667, and died in Dublin, Oct. 19, 1745.

  Swift is generally considered the greatest prose satirist in English literature. Through fables, allegories, & pamphlets he savagely exposed the vices &follies of mankind &championed common sense.

  2. 识记Swift's humanist view

  Swift was a man of great moral integrity & social charm. A man with bitter life experience, he had a deep hatred for all the rich oppressors & a deep sympathy for all the poor & oppressed. His understanding of human nature is profound. In his opinion, human nature is seriously & permanently flawed. To better human life, enlightenment is needed, but to redress it is very hard. So, in his writings, although he intends not to condemn but to reform & improve human nature &human institutions. There is often an Under-or over tone of helplessness & indignation.

  3. 领会His style

  Swift is a master satirist. His satire is usually masked by an out word gravity &an apparent earnestness which renders his satire all the more powerful.

  Swift is one of the greatest masters of English prose. He is almost unsurpassed in the writing of simple, direct, precise prose. He defined a good style as "proper words in proper places." Clear, simple, concrete diction, uncomplicated sentence structure, economy & conciseness of language mark all his writings-essays, poems & novels.

  4. 应用Selected reading

  An Excerpt from Chapter III, Part I of Gulliver's Travels.

  Gulliver's Travels, Jonathan Swift's best fictional work, contains four parts, each about one particular voyage during which Gulliver has extraordinary adventures on some remote island after he has met with shipwreck or piracy or some other misfortune. As a whole the book is one of the most effective & devastating criticisms & satires of all aspects in the then English & satires of all aspects in the then English & European life - socially, politically, religiously, philosophically, scientifically, & morally. Its social significance is great & its exploration into human nature profound.

  Gulliver's Travels is also an artistic masterpiece. Here we find its author at his best as a master of prose. In structure, the four parts make an organic whole, with each contrived upon an independent structure, & yet complementing the others & contributing to the central concern of study of human nature & life. The first two parts are generally considered smallness in Part I words just as effectively as the exaggerated largeness in Part 2. The similarities between human beings & the Lilliputians & the contrast between the Brobdingnagians & human beings both bear reference to the possibilities of human state. Part 3 furthers the criticism of the western civilization & deals with different malpractices & false illusions about science, philosophy, history & false illusions about science, philosophy, history & even immortality. The lost part, where comparison is made through both similarities &differences, leads the reader to a basic question: What on earth is a human being?


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