1. 一般识记 His Life & Literary Career
Charles Dickens （1812-1870） was born at Portsmouth. His father， a poor clerk in the Navy Pay office， was put into the Marsalsea Prison for debt when young Charles was only 12 years old. The son had to give up schooling to work in an underground cellar at a shoe-blacking factory - a position he considered most humiliating. We find the bitter experiences of that suffering child reflected in many of Dickens's novels. In 1827， Charles entered a lawyer's office， & two years later he became a Parliamentary reporter for newspapers. From 1833 Dickens began to write occasional sketches of London life， which were later collected & published under the title Sketches by Boz （1836）。 Soon The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club （1836-1837） appeared in monthly installments. And since then， his life became one of endless hard work. In his later years， he gave himself to public readings of his works， which brought plaudits & comfort but also exhausted him. In 1870， this man of great heart & vitality died of overwork， leaving his last novel unfinished.
2. 识记His Major Works
Upon his death， Dickens left to the world a rich legacy of 15 novels & a number of short stories. They offer a most complete & realistic picture of English society of his age & remain the highest achievement in the 19th-century English novel. In nearly all his novels， behind the gloomy pictures of oppression & poverty， behind the loud humor & buffoonery， is his gentleness， his genial mirth， & his simple faith in mankind.
The following is a list of his novels & other collections in three periods：
（1） Period of youthful optimist
Sketches by Boz （1836）； The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club （1836-1837）； Oliver Twist （1837-1838）； Nicholas Nickleby （1838-1839）； The Old Curiosity Shop （1840-1841）； Barnaby Rudge（1841）
（2） Period of excitement & irritation
American Notes （1842）； Martin Chuzzlewit （1843-1845）； A Christmas Carol （1843）； Dombey & Son （1846-1848）； David Copperfield （1849-1850）
（3） Period of steadily intensifying pessimism
Bleak House （1852-1853）； Hard Times （1854）； Little Dorrit （1855-1857）； A Tale of Two Cities （1859）； Great Expectations （1860-1861）； Our Mutual Friend （1864-1865）； Edwin Drood （unfinished）（1870）
3. 领会 Distinct Features of His Novels
（1） Character Sketches & Exaggeration
In his novels are found about 19 hundred figures， some of whom are really such " typical characters under typical circumstances，" that they become proverbial or representative of a whole group of similar persons.
As a master of characterization， Dickens was skillful in drawing vivid caricatural sketches by exaggerating some peculiarities， & in giving them exactly the actions & words that fit them： that is， right words & right actions for the right person.
（2） Broad Humor & Penetrating Satire
Dickens is well known as a humorist as well as a satirist. He sometimes employs humor to enliven a scene or lighten a character by making it （him or her） eccentric， whimsical， or laughable. Sometimes he uses satire to ridicule human follies or vices， with the purpose of laughing them out of existence or bring about reform.
（3） Complicated & Fascinating Plot
Dickens seems to love complicated novel constructions with minor plots beside the major one， or two parallel major plots within one novel. He is also skillful at creating suspense & mystery to make the story fascinating.
（4） The Power of Exposure
As the greatest representative of English critical realism， Dickens made his novel the instrument of morality & justice. Each of his novels reveals a specific social problem.
4. 领会 His Literary Creation & Literary Achievements
Charles Dickens is one of the greatest critical realistic writers of the Victorian Age. It is his serious intention to expose & criticize in his works all the poverty， injustice， hypocrisy & corruptness he saw all around him. In his works， Dickens sets a full map & a large-scale criticism of the 19th-century England， particularly London. A combination of optimism about people & realism about society is obvious in these works. His representative works in the early period include Oliver Twist， David Copperfield & so on.
His later works show a highly conscious modern artist. The settings are more complicated； the stories are better structured. Most novels of this period present a sharper criticism of social evils & morals of the Victorian England， for example， Bleak House， Hard Times， Great Expectations & so on. The early optimism could no more be found.
Charles Dickens is a master story-teller. His language could， in a way， be compared with Shakespeare's. His humor & wit seem inexhaustible. Character-portrayal is the most outstanding feature of his works. His characterizations of child （Oliver Twist， etc.）， some grotesque people （Fagin， etc.） & some comical people （Mr. Micawber， etc.） are superb. Dickens also employs exaggeration in his works. Dickens's works are also characterized by a mixture of humor & pathos.
5. 应用 Selected Reading
An Excerpt from Chapter III of Oliver Twist
The novel is famous for its vivid descriptions of the workhouse & life of the underworld in the 19th-century London. The author's intimate knowledge of people of the lowest order & of the city itself apparently comes from his journalistic years. Here the novel also presents Oliver Twist as Dickens's first child hero & Fagin the first grotesque figure.
This section， Chapter III of the novel， is a detailed account of how he is punished for that " impious & profane offence of asking for more" & how he is to be sold. At three pound ten， to Mr. Gamfield， the notorious chimneysweeper. Though we can afford a smile now & then， we feel more the pitiable state of the orphan boy & the cruelty & hypocrisy of the workhouse board.
II. The Bronte Sisters
1. 一般识记 Their lives & literary Career
Charlotte Bronte （1816-1855）， Emily Bronte （1818-1848）， & their gifted sister Anne Bronte （1820-1849）， came from a large family of Irish origin. Their father was a clergyman at Haworth， Yorkshire. When they were young， the Bronte sisters were sent to a school for clergymen's daughters. The oldest two died there due to the poor & unhealthy conditions. This experience inspired the later portrayal of Lowood School in the novel Jane Eyre （1847）。 After the death of the elder sisters， Charlotte & Emily were brought home to be educated by their father. For some time， they worked in a boarding school & were subsequently governesses in rich families.
Charlotte & her two younger sisters had a great fondness for literature. In 1845 appeared a volume of poetry entitled Poems by Carrer， Ellis & Acton Bell （the pseudonyms of Charlotte， Emily & Anne）， but received little attention. Then the three sisters turned to novel writing. Charlotte's first novel The Professor was rejected by the publisher. But her second one， Jane Eyre， won immediate success when it appeared in 1847. In the same year， Emily's single & unique work Wuthering Heights & Anne's Agnes Grey were also published. Soon they were followed by Anne's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall （1848）。
After the death of Emily & Anne， Charlotte continued writing. Her next important novel Shirley， a work about the industrial troubles between the mill-owners & machine-breakers in Yorkshire in 1811-1812 came out in 1849. Another novel Villette appeared in 1853. This is her most autobiographical work， largely based on her experience in Brussels. In 1854， charlotte married her father's curate. She died a few months later in pregnancy. The Professor， her first written work， was published posthumously in 1857.
2. 识记 Charlotte's Literary Creation
Charlotte Bronte's works are all about the struggle of an individual towards self-realization， about some lonely & neglected young women with a fierce longing for love， & understanding & a full， happy life. All her heroines' highest joy comes from some sacrifice of self or some human weakness overcome. Besides， she is a writer of realism combined with romanticism. On the one hand， she presents a vivid realistic picture of the English society by exposing the cruelty， hypocrisy & other evils of the upper classes & by showing the misery & suffering of the poor. Her works are famous for the depiction of the life of the middle-class workingwomen， particularly governesses. On the other hand， her writings are marked throughout by intensity of vision & of passion. By writing from an individual point of view， by creating characters who are possessed of strong feelings， fiery passions & some extraordinary personalities， by using some elements of horror， mystery & prophesy， she is able to recreate life in a very romantic way. The vividness of her subjective narration， the intensely achieved characterization， especially those heroines who are totally contrary to the public expectations & the most truthful presentation of the economical， moral， social life of the time -all this earns her works a never dying popularity.
3. 应用 Selected Readings
Excerpt One： from Chapter XXIII of Jane Eyre by charlotte Bronte
The work is one of the most popular & important novels of the Victorian age. It is noted for its sharp criticism of the existing society， e.g. the religious hypocrisy of charity institutions， the social discrimination & the false social convention as concerning love & marriage. At the same time， it is an intense moral fable. Jane， like Mr. Rochester， has to undergo a series of physical & moral tests to grow up & achieve her final happiness. The success of the novel is also due to its introduction to the English novel the first governess heroine. Jane Eyre is a completely new woman image. She represents those middle-class workingwomen who are struggling for recognition of their rights & equality as a human being. The vivid description of her intense feelings & her thought & inner conflicts brings her to the heart of the audience.
Jane Eyre's character：
Jane Eyre， an orphan child with a fiery spirit & a longing to love & be loved， a poor， plain， little governess who dares to love her master， a man superior to her in many ways， & even is brave enough to declare to the man her love for him， cuts a completely new woman image. In this novel Charlotte characterizes Jane Eyre as a naive， kind-hearted， noble-minded woman who pursues a genuine kind of love. Jane Eyre represents those middle-class workingwomen who are struggling for recognition of their basic rights & equality as a human being. The vivid description of her intense feelings & her thought & inner conflicts brings her to the heart of the audience.
The selected part is taken from Chapter XXIII， not long after Jane is back from her aunt's funeral. Jane finds herself hopelessly in love with Mr. Rochester but she is aware that her love is out of the question. So， when forced to confront Mr. Rochester， she desperately & openly declared her equality with him & her love for him. The passion described here is intense & genuine.
Excerpt Two： from Chapter XV of Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
1） Emily's subject matter
As far as Emily's literary creation is concerned， she is， first of all， a poet Her 193 poems， mostly devoted to the matter of nature with its mysterious workings & its unaccountable influence upon people's life， are works of strange sublimity & beauty. They are ample proof for the poetic genius of this young， reclusive woman. But， to the common readers， she is better known today as the author of that most fascinating novel， Wuthering Heights.
2） The theme of the novel
The novel is a riddle which means different things to different people. From the social point of view， it is a story about a poor man abused， betrayed & distorted by his social betters because he is a poor nobody. As a love story， this is one of the most moving： the passion between Heathcliff & Catherine proves the most intense， the most beautiful & at the same time the most horrible passion ever to be found possible in human beings.
3） The structure of the novel
The novel has a unique structure： the story is told through independent narrators unidentical with the author， whose personality is therefore completely absent from the book. The story is told mainly by Nelly， Catherine's old nurse， to Mr. Lockwood， a temporary tenant at Grange. The latter too gives an account of what he sees at Wuthering Heights. And part of the story is told through Isabella's letters to Nelly. While the central interest is maintained， the sequence of its development is constantly disordered by flashbacks. This makes the story all the more enticing & genuine.
The excerpt taken here is from ChapterXV， the death scene of Catherine， narrated by Nelly to Mr. Lockwood. When Edgar is away at church， Heathcliff seizes the chance to see the dying Catherine. The intense love between the two is fully shown in this agonizing scene.