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The Long Eighteenth Century English Literature

Craiova 2011

Table of contents:
John Milton Paradise Lost The Enlightenment Daniel Defoe Robinson Crusoe Jonathan Swift Gullivers Travels Laurence Sterne The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman William Blake The Lamb, The Tyger William Wordsworth The Solitary Reaper Samuel Taylor Coleridge The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

The Long Eighteenth Century. English Literature

Disciplina: Literatura englez Specializarea: romn-englez Anul I Semestrul II

1. OBIECTIVELE DISCIPLINEI Cursul urmrete s ofere informaii literare i general culturale care s familiarizeze studentul cu literatura i cultura britanic din secolele XVII, XVIII si XIX . (aa numitul lung secol al 18-lea cuprinznd perioada ntre anii 1688 Glorioasa Revoluie - i 1832 - Anul Reformei electorale, respectiv perioada neoclasicismului i a romantismului). Cursul este conceput pentru a-i prezinta studentului cele mai importante evenimente culturale i principalele curente literare din perioada respectiv prin prisma scriitorilor studiai, avnd obiectiv imediat formarea i lrgirea orizontului de cunoatere a literaturii britanice n contextul mai larg al nelegerii fenomenului cultural englez. Cursul este structurat astfel nct s asigure instruirea studentului n abordarea critic a lucrrilor literare considerate reprezentative pentru o epoc, un curent sau un scriitor. Deprinderea limbajului i a tehnicilor criticii moderne i aplicarea lor n interpretarea operelor mai vechi este o premiz important n procesul de revalorificare a literaturii din secolele trecute.

2. TEMATICA CURSULUI Semestrul II 1. John Milton Paradise Lost 2. The Enlightenment 3. Daniel Defoe Robinson Crusoe 4. Jonathan Swift Gullivers Travels 5. Laurence Sterne The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman 6. William Blake The Lamb, The Tyger 7. William Wordsworth The Solitary Reaper 8. Samuel Taylor Coleridge The Ryme of the Ancient Mariner

3. BIBLIOGRAFIE GENERAL 1. SANDERS, A. (1994): The Short History of English Literature, Clarendon Press, Oxford 2. FORD, B. (ed.) (1982): The New Pelican Guide to English Literature, Harmmondsworth, Penguin (Vol. 4: From Dryden to Johnson, vol. 5: From Blake to Byron) 3. PORTER, ROY, (2001): The Enlightenment. Britain and the Creation of the Modern World, Penguin, London 4. GORING, PAUL, (2008): Eighteenth Century Literature and Culture, Continuum, London 5. WATSON, J. R.,(1992), English Poetry of the Romantic Period, 1789-1830, Longman, London and New York 6. BLOOM, H. (1971), The Visionary Company, A Reading of English Romantic Poetry, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York

Unitatea de nvare nr.1

John Milton (1608-1674)

Obiective: cunoaterea mediului social, cultural i religios britanic n timpul perioadei premergtoare i ulterioare rzboiului civil din secolul al 17-lea cunoaterea operei reprezentantului celui mai de seam al perioadei puritane, John Milton familiarizarea cu tema luciferic si inovaia pe care o aduce Milton n tratarea ei

Timpul alocat temei: 4 ore Bibliografia: SANDERS, A. (1994): The Short History of English Literature, Clarendon Press, Oxford FORD, B. (ed.) (1982): The New Pelican Guide to English Literature, Harmmondsworth, Penguin (Vol. 4: From Dryden to Johnson) GORING, P. (2008): Eighteenth Century Literature and Culture, Continuum, London

Short biographical note John Milton was born on December 9, 1608, in London into the family of a successful Protestant scrivener (person who gave legal advice, wrote legal documents, lent money). His father had a financially secure life, despite having been disinherited by his own father for embracing Protestantism. John Milton, the

eldest son, could therefore enjoy a thorough education, both in classic and modern languages. His Latin, Greek and Hebrew were remarkable and he was also proficient in Italian and French. He attended Cambridge University and wrote verses mostly in Latin while an undergraduate. His formal education was continued by a long private self-tutoring programme at home. In 1638 he made a trip to Italy, where he visited several cities, became acquainted with Italian works of art and personalities. He returned home on the outbreak of the civil war in England, in 1639, and favored the cause of the Commonwealth by supporting Oliver Cromwell. He wrote several tracts and pamphlets that culminated with The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates in which he denounced the evils of tyranny. Cromwell knew how to reward his supporters and he appointed Milton Secretary for Foreign Tongues to the Council of State. During the Protectorate Milton enjoyed not only fame but also privileges. Unfortunately his eyesight was failing and by 1652 he was completely blind. After Cromwells death and his sons short-lived Protectorate, the army, with the support of the nation, invited Charles Is son, Charles II, to return from his exile in France and resume his position as the legitimate heir to the throne of England. In 1660 the young king returned to England and changed both the murs and the literary habits of his native country. He reopened the theaters that had been closed by Cromwell and reinstated a life of pleasure, gallantry and urbanity. This was a new era, called the Restoration. But Restoration England was not a convenient place for Milton. He was deprived of all his possessions and titles while some of his books were publicly burned. He could nevertheless continue his peaceful retired life until he died in 1674. When he fell from grace he had already begun working on the great Christian epic that he had planned before: Paradise Lost. It seems that most of the book was written between 1658 and 1665, a period rather dark for the poet because of his insecure position but also because of his blindness. The poem was published in 1667, one year after Londons most critical moment: the Great Fire. After 1672 Milton published Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes along with a revised edition of Paradise Lost.

The importance of Milton as a poet was immediately acknowledged by famous poets such as John Dryden and Andrew Marvell who praised the literary quality of the poem. Later, in the 19th century, the Romantic poets reconsidered the poem from a new perspective and viewed Satan as the champion of freedom, a rebellious character able to put things into motion. They transformed him into their idol and contributed to prolonging the poems enduring appeal.

Paradise Lost (1667) Intended to be a two-part tragedy in ten acts, the 1667 version of Paradise Lost was structured in ten books, but the revised edition published prior to his death contained twelve books. Initially there was no preface and no dedication, but the latter edition, the one we read today, comprises prose summaries before each book, two dedicatory poems, one in Latin and one in English, the latter written by Andrew Marvell, and a preface written by Milton himself. Milton claimed that all great civilizations had their own epics, the Greeks had The Odyssey and the Romans had The Aeneid, only the British had none, so he felt entitled to set out writing a grand Christian epic. He chose to focus on the moment of Adams and Eves Fall, the moment of utter disobedience, when Adam follows Eve, who, tempted by the honey-tongued serpent, eats from the forbidden fruit and both fall from Divine Grace. Book one starts by presenting Satan and his rebel/fallen angels who free themselves from a lake of fire in Hell and start building Pandemonium, their future meeting place. It is here that Beelzebub brings forth the idea of harming God indirectly by corrupting man and woman, His latest and dearest creatures. Satan assumes every responsibility and leaves with Sin and Death, his two children, to build a bridge between Hell and Earth.

In Heaven God summons the angels to a meeting, a situation that mirrors the one in Hell. Being omniscient, He knows about the fallen angels intentions and warns his congregation against Satans possible intrusion. The Son of God offers to sacrifice himself for the redemption of humankind. Under the guise of a Cherub, Satan cheats Archangel Uriel and is let onto Earth. Here, he becomes a modern introspective character: he ponders over the serious issues of creation and damnation. Watching the sun and remembering the glory he himself lost, Satan finds himself at a crossroads. He wonders if he could be forgiven, if his repentance would be sincere, if there is any hope for such lost souls as his own. But he knows the answer. Spiteful, full of rage and immensely sad, Satan blames his ambition, vanity and independent nature on God, who created him as he is. In a soliloquy full of bitterness he acknowledges he has become co-substantial with Hell, he is the epitome of Evil, and that whatever he may try he cannot undo his own nature and turn into an obedient, submissive and eternally grateful subordinate. He is bound to be evil and make evil his good. Then, under the shape of a cormorant, he perches on the Tree of Life until Uriel realizes he is an intruder and chases him away. Adam and Eve work happily innocent in the Garden of Eden until they are found sleeping by Satan, who, this time disguised as a toad, tries to whisper evil into Eves ear. Archangel Gabriel summons Satan to leave and the golden scales of justice appear in the sky, which frightens Satan away. When Eve awakens she tells Adam her dream in which she was tempted to eat from the forbidden fruit. Archangel Raphael is sent to explain to the two people the dangers they may encounter if they lend an ear to Satan. After a meal they have together, Eve retires and Adam is told openly about Satan, his fall and his immediate evil purposes that involve the two people. Then Adam shows an intriguing interest in the universe, cosmology, the trajectories of the stars, but he is rebuked by Raphael who reminds him that eternal truths are not for human ears. Adam, just like Satan before, turns into a modern character in the sense that he tries to define himself as a person, as an individual. He remembers his first moments of life, of conscience, when God spoke to him and forbade him to eat from the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. Adam


further confesses his erotic attraction to Eve but is advised to continue to love her in a spiritual way. Wishing to return to Paradise unnoticed, Satan chooses to take the shape of a serpent to succeed in his enterprise. Finding Eve alone he proceeds to seduce her by psychologically maneuvering her. Knowing her vanity and the pride she takes in her beauty, he starts flattering her. He further reveals her what he calls Gods deceiving game. He persuades her that God wants to test their sense of selfassertion, and, in spite of all imposed restrictions, God does want them to eat from the forbidden fruit and awaits to see their reactions. Eve yields to his pressure and eats one apple. When Adam approaches to offer her a wreath of flowers he instantaneously realizes she has changed. Unwilling to separate from her and live an eternity alone, he prefers to fall with her, and he consequently eats from the forbidden fruit, as well. Their act of terrible disobedience does not pass unnoticed by God who urges them to leave Paradise and become mortal. They will, accordingly, suffer pain and death, she and all her descendants will suffer in childbirth and will obey to their husbands, Adam and his descendants will have to work hard to support their families. Since the two fallen people are to live on Earth, this one must also suffer degradation. The mild atmosphere will turn into four seasons, with dramatic changes in temperature and weather. Adam and Eve become more and more human and they grow impatient with each other, to the point that Adam comes to regret his conscious fall. But Eve is a real woman and she will intuitively know how to conquer him back. She takes responsibility for their damnation and considers committing suicide. Touched, Adam reconsiders his position and, together, they decide to further obey to God as a response to Satans mischievous deed. Before leaving Paradise Adam has a chance to see the future of humanity as he is taken by Michael to a hilltop, while Eve is put to sleep. He faces death for the first time and sees all the sins and degradation that his descendants will have to pass through as a consequence of their parents original sin. He is then presented some future events that are actually described in the Bible: Enoch and his salvation as his


mates try to kill him, Noah, his family and the animals that are saved from the flood, the tower of Babel, Moses saving the Israelites, and finally the sacrifice of the Son to redeem humanity. Then both Adam and Eve are led out of Paradise, they lose it and enter the temporal world. Questions: 1. Who are the heroes of this Biblical story? 2. How does Milton treat the relationships between Adam and Eve, between Satan and Eve, between God and His creatures?

Milton intended this poem to be the Christian Epic that should justifie the wayes of God to men and explain the most intensely debated moment in human history: that of the Fall, which had so important consequences on mans evolution. Though openly declared, his aim was difficult to achieve because nobody can justify Gods intentions and decisions. God is such a volatile entity, that it is impossible to decipher His intentions, if He ever had any. So, despite its grand design, Miltons task was to try and present people with the bare facts and essentials of the matter. As with many literary works, Miltons purposes were distorted by his posterity, because both readers and the surrounding world have continuously changed. If during his time the Biblical story detained its predominantly religious quality and was interpreted as such, in the ages to come the poem got an altogether new meaning. William Blake was the first to perceive the grandiose figure of Satan positively and place him as the real hero of the book. Moreover he couldnt help noticing that Milton himself was of the devils party without knowing it. Critics also remarked that Satan is a projection, intended or not, of Milton himself, the great prominent political figure in the time of Cromwells Republic. When Restoration brought back the monarch, Milton found himself deprived of his possessions and official appointments and lived at the periphery of political life. He


very much resembled his hero cast out of the sunlit Paradise into the dark isolation of Hell. Satan has emerged as the true hero of Paradise Lost because he has a very complex personality. Not only is he very human in his despair and his continual attempt to find solutions to his problem, but he is also a great thinker, a theologian in search of ultimate truth. He is aware that evil is inherent in him, that he is one with Hell and that he cannot escape it as he cannot escape his own shadow. But he blames his fall on God who created him prone to hubris (great pride and arrogance). Satan is determined to achieve his well-defined aim, that of harming God, and if he cannot do it directly, at least he hopes that by corrupting man and woman he will hurt Him. In Book IV he has a long soliloquy that reveals his contradictory nature, but also his lucid and crystal-clear mind. His argumentation for and against repentance is very solidly built. He voices his alienation, his awareness he is hopeless and beyond redemption. But he cannot dismiss his nature, he was born to be evil. Satan questions Gods status as a source of permanent love bestowed on all beings alike. He challenges God and doubts His benevolent nature since He is described in rather negative terms: immutable, immobile, infinite. Miltons God is in keeping with the Puritan God, a punishing, non-forgiving God, a stern father who wants his flock to be submissive, live in pain and repentance all their lives. Moreover, Satan changes and suffers a continuous decline throughout the poem. He starts as a great tragic leader, then passes through several embodiments which also testify to his degradation as a being, he is in turns a cherub, a cormorant, a toad and ends as a serpent. His dual nature and bitter awareness that he is banished from the sunlit Paradise for a crime he is not entirely guilty of attracted the Romantics in particular. They saw in him the expression of their anger with an unjust society that banished the most brilliant minds and sensitive souls for the sole reason that they did not adjust to the wrongs and evils of their time. He became the champion of freedom, and all his negative traits were transformed into positive features that


worked like engines putting the world into motion. With Goethe and his Faust, evil became the driving force of humanity, helped it progress and advance in all domains, even in the moral one. Questions: 1. How has the reception of Satan changed over the years? 2. In what way was Satan perceived as Miltons self-reflection? Adam is also portrayed in his dual capacity: first as a creature in Paradise, then as a mortal being on Earth. Of course, his first embodiment is the image of perfection itself. Not only is he terribly handsome, with his golden locks hanging on his shoulders, but he shares some of the divine privileges of his milieu: he is extremely clever, his kindness is immense, his capacity of reasoning is boundless. After the fall he changes dramatically, he becomes a sort of impatient husband, nervous and irksome, he wonders what he saw in this pathetic wife of his that he renounced immortality. Yet Adam has some soft spots while still in Paradise which somehow foretell his Fall. First he is erotically attracted to Eve, and second, he is far too interested in science for a celestial creature. Love between Adam and Eve was permitted in Heaven but only spiritual, pure love. They know lust only after the fall, but it seems that poor Adam was inclined to forbidden things long before Satan seduced them. This is an important detail because it reveals Miltons hidden conviction that both Satan and Adam were predestined to fall. On the other hand Adams curiosity connected to issues pertaining to cosmogony and astronomy is also misplaced for a being who should not bother with ephemeral things. He is criticized by Raphael for his tendency to transcend his God-imposed limits. This fact signals again that he is bound to transgress boundaries, that he was created to be curious, innovative, with an inquiring mind. It is obvious that Satan only showed him the way. The grain of transcendence was there, planted in his mind from the very beginning.


The description of Eve caused Milton to be called a misogynist. She is enormously pretty, but vain, and unlike her superior mate, Adam, totally uninterested in science. She falls in love with her image when she sees it reflected in a body of water and this is her major drawback that will be exploited by Satan, who will flatter her on her beauty. Though not necessarily intelligent she has intuition and she will know how to conjure Adam into doing the forbidden thing and further into remaining with her after they start their mortal life, so full of vicissitudes, doubt and sufferings. God is another major character in the poem, though he never appears. He is described in accordance with the image that Puritans had of God: a far-off, unreachable creature whose ways are inscrutable and sometimes even wicked. He is rather defined as an absence than as a presence. He is the Great Mystery that cannot be judged by human standards. Questions: 1. How is Adam described, like a victim or like a self-determining individual? 2. What about Eve? Is she presented as being superficial and vain, two traits that ultimately triggered her fall? 3. What are the attributes of God? The poem tells the Biblical story but does not have the characteristic features of a story: there is no beginning, no climax and no denouement. The hope of redemption from evil is discussed together with issues of Divine Providence. Moreover the poet interferes quite often in the story passing moral judgements and setting the tone for what is to follow. The poem is based on the antithesis between light and darkness. God is the source of light and therefore all angels that are in His proximity share this privilege. Light is the basic spring of life, love, harmony and bliss. When they decided to follow Satan in his war against God the rebellious angels renounced Light and were engulfed into darkness. They fell from Divine Grace and built a multi-layered


underworld with Satan set in the highest position, namely at the bottom of the pyramid. He thus mimics God and His exceptional place but on a reversed scale. Questions: 1. Which is the major literary device Milton uses in his poem and to what effect?


Paradise Lost , Book IV (Satans soliloqui)

to thee I call, But with no friendly voice, and add thy name O Sun, to tell thee how I hate thy beams That bring to my remembrance from what state I fell, how glorious once above thy Spheare; Till Pride and worse Ambition threw me down Warring in Heav'n against Heav'ns matchless King: Ah wherefore! he deservd no such return From me, whom he created what I was In that bright eminence, and with his good Upbraided none; nor was his service hard. What could be less then to afford him praise, The easiest recompence, and pay him thanks, How due! yet all his good prov'd ill in me, And wrought but malice; lifted up so high I sdeind subjection, and thought one step higher ( sdeind=disdained) Would set me highest, and in a moment quit The debt immense of endless gratitude, So burthensome, still paying, still to ow; Forgetful what from him I still receivd, And understood not that a grateful mind By owing owes not, but still pays, at once Indebted and dischargd; what burden then? Comment on Satans concepts of submission, recompense in relation to God


O had his powerful Destiny ordaind Me some inferiour Angel, I had stood Then happie; no unbounded hope had rais'd Ambition. Yet why not? som other Power As great might have aspir'd, and me though mean Drawn to his part; but other Powers as great Fell not, but stand unshak'n, from within Or from without, to all temptations arm'd. Hadst thou the same free Will and Power to stand? (hadst thou=have you) Thou hadst: whom hast thou then or what to accuse, But Heav'ns free Love dealt equally to all? Be then his Love accurst, since love or hate To me alike, it deals eternal woe. Nay curs'd be thou; since against his thy will Chose freely what it now so justly rues. Comment on Satans awareness of his innate ambition

Me miserable! which way shall I flie (flie=fly) Infinite wrauth, and infinite despaire? Which way I flie is Hell; my self am Hell; And in the lowest deep a lower deep Still threatning to devour me opens wide, To which the Hell I suffer seems a Heav'n. O then at last relent: is there no place Left for Repentance, none for Pardon left? None left but by submission; and that word Disdain forbids me, and my dread of shame Among the Spirits beneath, whom I seduc'd With other promises and other vaunts


Then to submit, boasting I could subdue Th' Omnipotent . (The Literature Network, Comment on how Satan considers issues of repentance and submission


Unitatea de nvare nr.2

The Enlightenment/The Age of Reason/Neoclassicism/ The Augustan Age

Obiective: - familiarizarea studentului cu principalele curente filosofice, literare, cu schimbrile eseniale n percepia realitii i reprezentarea acesteia n art, precum i cu inovaiile tiinifice pe care le-a adus Iluminismul n Anglia secolelor 17 i 18. Timpul alocat temei: 2 ore Bibliografie: 1. PORTER, ROY, (2001): The Enlightenment. Britain and the Creation of the Modern World, Penguin, London 2. GORING, PAUL, (2008): Eighteenth Century Literature and Culture, Continuum, London

The period between the Glorious Revolution, 1688, when King James II of England was overthrown and his daughter, Mary II ascended to the throne together with her husband, William of Orange, and 1832, the year of the Reform Act, which meant the beginning of the modernization of British political life, is a period of unprecedented changes and innovations. It bears the label of the long 18th century and it basically consists of two major epochs that the English consider to be kindred: The Enlightenment and Romanticism. The Enlightenment is also called The Age of Reason, Neoclassicism, or The Augustan Age all signifying the same thing: that the country underwent major

changes in terms of scientific achievements, mentality, social awareness and philosophical outlook. The Enlightenment meant that people started to free themselves from the superstitions, religious intolerance and abuses which had darkened their life and mentality in the years before. It was also related to the enlightenment brought by literacy and education since a large portion of the population started going to school and acquiring basic knowledge. Light and the sun grew into poignant metaphors for the spiritual revolution that the age brought to people of all walks of life. Reason, the intellect, was considered the major faculty through which people could reach truth and improve their life both materially and spiritually. It is now that science developed enormously, men of science started experimenting and innovating things. Curiosity and a thirst for ultimate truths, scientifically verifiable, put people to work, think, deduce, explore and draw conclusions. Neoclassicism refers to the inclination the 18th century English people had for Greek and Latin antiquity, philosophy and art and pointed to the laws of beauty, symmetry and perfection that they tried to apply in their artistic endeavors. The age was also called the Augustan Age because it was felt that it was a pendant of the blooming period when emperor Augustus reigned over the Roman Empire, an epoch characterized by economic, political and social stability. The new doctrines now gaining supremacy were relativism, individualism and rationalism. Relativism generally refers to the relative value of things/truths since they are estimated according to the different norms and standards that various forms of experience, cultures and religions impose on people. It was the direct result of the Europeans exposure to a new variety of peoples and cultures in the aftermath of the great discovery voyages and colonial expansion. Relativism promoted the concept that different ideas, beliefs, and value systems had only relative value and that it is wrong to consider the one as superior and the other as inferior as long as there is no fixed standard in valuing them. Individualism, on the other hand, stressed the importance of the individual and his rights as a citizen. A new form of self-awareness and the importance of


their development as particular individualities gave people a new outlook on their human rights. Rationalism was founded on the conviction that by using reason people could reform their societies and find new forms of personal liberation. In his article What is the Enlightenment? (1784) Immanuel Kant tried to define the age by focusing on mans faculty of thinking and he rightly found its motto in Horace words Sapere aude (Dare to think). In Europe France was a sort of leading authority in the matter. French philosophers, led by Voltaire, elaborated new philosophies that emphasized the power of reason and endeavored to discover the natural laws governing human society. The leading writer of the French Enlightenment, Voltaire (1694-1778) rose against all forms of tyranny and superstition. He criticized religion and intolerance based on anything other than reason. He very suggestively presented his views in a series of short stories and novels, the most famous of which is Candide. The Baron de Montesquieu, another important French philosopher, was a prolific Enlightenment writer who wrote mainly in the domain of political theory. His theories on how a republic is governed turned seminal in the next century, when in many countries monarchies were replaced with republics. Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), one of the most reputed thinkers of the Enlightenment, also enlarged upon social issues in his Contrat Social, which envisaged a small state democracy, governed by peoples will. Rousseau is also known for his decisive contribution to shaping the Romantic Movement, which followed the Enlightenment as a reaction to its too rationalistic view. A new vision about learning and mans ability to absorb knowledge was clearly illustrated in the publishing of the first Encyclopedia in France by Denis Diderot. The French rich intellectual lite gathered in what was called les Salons. They were hosted by wealthy educated beautiful women who were but happy to entertain the writers, clerics, bankers, and other influential aristocrats who gathered there to discuss the political and social issues of the day. The salons had also literary importance since the critical judgements passed there served as guidelines


for public opinion about writers and their works. They were later copied in England, but with a lesser impact. Another noteworthy philosophy of the time was skepticism. Unlike their opponents, skeptics doubted everything, but in particular the capacity of human society to improve as a result of the use of reason. David Hume (1711-1776), a Scottish philosopher, is considered the most powerful advocate of skepticism. He was a critic of religion and questioned the existence of objective truths, arguing that reality was affected by individual psychology. Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), the German philosopher, argued in his 1781 Critique of Pure Reason that the objects of the material world cannot be known through reason, unlike metaphysical concepts. The objects of the material world serve simply as the raw material for sensations. Objects as such have no existence independent of the observers psychological construction of that existence. Kant's theories are now considered to have ended the Enlightenment. In Great Britain Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) was an early Enlightenment thinker. His works describe his pessimistic outlook and call for absolutist government to control the evil nature of man. His most famous work is Leviathan. One of the most influential English political thinkers was John Locke (1632-1704). His Second Treatise on Civil Government set forth the theory that men form governments, compromising their liberty in order that the government might protect their lives and property. Locke argued that a representative government was the best type because it was bound to the will of the people. The Enlightenment is often considered the founding period of modern thought and intellectual expression. The style, ideals, and subject matter discussed by Enlightenment philosophers influenced their successors in the domains of philosophy and literature. Art reflected Enlightenment thought in its continued evolution away from religious themes. We can now trace the development of art through the baroque to the rococo, and finally to the neoclassical style. The rise of the middle class was the most important change in the social landscape in eighteenth century Europe. Greater personal prosperity gave way to new luxuries and habits among the


educated and the rich. Their approach to culture was now motivated by a heightened sense of self-awareness. Moreover, literacy played an important part in the education of taste, and literature, especially the novel, became predominant among the refined forms of art. Romanticism was the trend that was to follow the Enlightenment. Some of its elements co-existed with rationalistic thinking but Romanticism definitely came as a reaction against the highly objective nature of the Enlightenment philosophy. Romanticism placed more emphasis on the emotional side of human beings, on the virtues of nature, and on the perfectibility of human nature. Questions: 1. What are the main philosophical claims during the Enlightenment? 2. Describe two features of the Enlightenment in Europe. 3. Define French Enlightenment as compared to the British one.


Unitatea de nvare nr.3

Daniel Defoe (1660-1731)

Obiective: familiarizarea studenilor cu primul roman englez, cu personajele si atmosfera lui i, implicit, cu cerinele pieei literare din epoc familiarizarea studenilor cu perspectiva post-colonial asupra lui Robinson Crusoe i cu posteritatea lui Timpul alocat temei: 4 ore Bibliografia: 1. SANDERS, A. (1994): The Short History of English Literature, Clarendon Press, Oxford 2. FORD, B. (ed.) (1982): The New Pelican Guide to English Literature, Harmmondsworth, Penguin (Vol. 4: From Dryden to Johnson) 3. RICHETTI, J. (ed.) (1998): The Cambridge Companion to the Eighteenth Century Novel, CUP, Cambridge 4. SIM, Stuart, (2008): The Eighteenth Century Novel and Contemporary Social Issues. An Introduction, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh

Short biographical note Daniel Defoe was born in 1660, in London, as Daniel Foe. He later added the French particle de to his last name to make it look more litist. His parents were Presbyterian dissenters and intended their son to become a Presbyterian minister. But


Defoe was apt to do everything that produced money. He tried his hand at numerous jobs and after he became a travelling salesman he took great delight in travelling which he deftly translated into his travelogues. So was his fascination with commerce, most of his characters, men or women, deal with trade in one way or another. He started writing for money after some unhappy financial events. He started with political pamphlets and one of these, The Shortest Way with Dissenters earned him public opprobrium and he was pilloried then imprisoned. Later he worked as a spy and confidential political agent relishing in disguises which he was to use later for his characters multiple identities (Moll Flanders). He was incredibly prolific as a writer as he published over 500 books and pamphlets. Defoe started writing fiction rather late, when he was sixty, and his first novel, Robinson Crusoe, was published in 1719. Nowadays many critics consider it the first novel in English and Defoe himself, the father of English realistic narrative. Defoe is thus credited to have laid the foundations of a new genre, the novel, by focusing on the events of simple everyday life, by using the language of the middle class, by presenting the development of one major character. He died in London on April 24, 1731.

Robinson Crusoe (1719) Robinson Crusoe is a seventeenth century Englishman who chooses to go to sea rather than study law. After several unfortunate travels in which he nearly drowns or is taken a slave and is forced to start a new life in Brazil, he embarks on another expedition but is shipwrecked off the coasts of Trinidad. Since he is the sole survivor he has to cope with the conditions of the island and make the most of it. Fortunately he is not left bare handed, but he can save from the wreck all the things that western civilization had produced in order to make life easier. So he can bring to the shore gunpowder, guns, tools, seeds and food. He soon finds goats to provide him with milk and meat and starts building a shelter. Every day he learns to make new things and he also keeps a diary of his daily activities to keep track of his progress. After a period of illness during which he


reconciles with God and reconsiders his position versus religion he starts taking possession of the island. He builds a summer retreat, tames a goat and trains in pottery, bakery and basket weaving. He also builds a boat and tries to leave the island but is nearly killed by a strong current. He becomes little by little the owner of the island and develops feelings of ownership. He therefore feels frustrated and really worried when he discovers human footprints on the beach sand. He suspects they belong to the cannibals who inhabit the neighboring islands and is forced to take steps and protect his property and personal safety. Later he witnesses a cannibal feast and is able to save the life of one victim who will become his servant. He calls him Friday to commemorate the day of his rescue. An interesting relationship develops between them. Crusoe considers Friday an inferior being since he is black. On the other hand he is glad Friday is around because he can be helpful in many ways and bring comfort to his life. He teaches him enough English for Friday to obey to his orders. The master-slave bond takes contour and Crusoe displays all the virtues and flaws of a white male colonialist. He finds out that some Spaniards were saved by the cannibals from another ship whose wreck he could explore the days before. He rejoices at the idea of meeting Europeans after so many years. Before visiting the cannibals island Crusoe and Friday unexpectedly see the cannibals arrive with three victims. They kill the cannibals and release two of the prisoners, one Spaniard and Fridays own father. The next meeting with Europeans occurs when they find three captives marooned on the island by a larger group. Crusoe and Friday free the prisoners and find out they were the captain and his trusted mates of a British ship that was taken in a mutiny. They help them regain their ship and the first real prospect of leaving the island after 28 years takes shape. Crusoe displays mixed feelings and parts with his island with difficulty. He returns to England and becomes a rich man after selling his Brazilian plantations. He revisits his island later and is pleased with the way the Spaniards run this prosperous colony. Discussion: 1. Define the relationship between Crusoe and Friday.


2. Describe Crusoes experience on the island and his relationship with the environment. Without any real model to follow, Defoe created not only a new literary genre but also brought under scrutiny the existentialist themes of human isolation and alienation. He found inspiration in a real event when a sailor was found to have lived in utter isolation on an island for four years. Moreover the novel is considered to have created a modern myth, the myth of economic man. Defoe presents mans struggle with the environment and the ultimate relationship between him and nature. If he wants to survive, man has only one chance in this stance: he is bound to shape and subdue nature to meet his demands. Defoe takes his character through an interesting process of self-discovery: from a mere survivor he turns into a consumer of the luxury of expansion. That is why Defoe packs Crusoes island with objects and makes his character see them only in terms of their utility. Crusoe is never touched by memories or reveries connected to the objects he gathers on his island. They are there because they are needed and will help him in his attempt to re-structure his life according to the laws of the civilized world he left behind. In fact Crusoe reiterates the long process of economic progress and rehearses the sequential stages man had to pass through: that of a caveman, the agricultural man and the full-fledged capitalist who is exploiting the islands natural riches. It is at this point that his attitude suffers the most dangerous change: he starts using slave labor and behaves like a master. He turns into the white male colonizer who subdues peoples and takes maximum profit out of the new social, economic and environmental situation. His initial struggle for survival turns into a capitalist enterprise. At the end he will be in a position to evaluate his profit, both material and spiritual. Robinson Crusoe has produced many a fantasies and enchanted many a readers by the ultimate form of liberty it suggests: alone in the middle of nowhere. But at a close scrutiny the eponymous character is no outstanding figure, nor some mythic warrior or eccentric explorer. He is simply determined to survive and he will make the most of his other virtues: imagination, endurance, intelligence, to reach his goal. He is very persevering and keeps on teaching himself through long periods of practice to do a lot of


things that he took for granted at home: baskets, for instance. His name has become synonymous to efficiency, he is an icon for those who aspire far and reach even farther. But behind this masque of productive skill and continuous emulation there hides a different person. Crusoe is quite static when it comes to his sensitive nature. Apart from his survival he is not much interested in anything else. He never speaks of his feelings or his impressions. He does not show any manly desire for women and the natural beauty of the island never touches him. He is in control of himself and his fears have only material motives: he sees cannibals, hears gunshots. Solitude is a less talkative companionship but he never complaints about it. Crusoes egocentric world prompts him to speak very much about himself. The pronoun I and the possessive adjective my are repeated several times throughout the narrative. His family is only peripheral to his universe, he is not much affected when he leaves them, when he learns about the death of his wife. He does not show an evolution in this direction and at the end of the novel he is the same indifferent self-centered person. His narrative suffers from his dull response to life. He cannot create moments of real tension, the climaxes of his story are rather thin and unconvincing. His relationship with Friday is not in favor of him, either. He considers Friday an inferior being, a savage good to use as labor force. He asks him to call him master and he teaches him the English Friday may need to understand his orders. There is no real communication between the two. He provides him with the security that food and shelter can offer and asks for submission, loyalty and labor in exchange. Friday has had an increasing cultural relevance, especially with post-colonialist criticism. Both Crusoe and Friday embody the two components of a century-long unjust relationship: Crusoe stands for the white colonizer, while Friday symbolizes all the darkskinned peoples on non-European continents that were oppressed by European colonization. Racial difference is all the more ridiculous as they are both trapped on a deserted island, at the mercy of cannibals where the color of the skin is of no importance. From the point of view of the master-servant bond Robinson Crusoe can be considered the first colonial novel in which all the virtues of the British colonizing spirit are praised. On the other hand Friday is more humane and more realistic than Crusoe. The reunion with his father brings tears in his eyes. The warm and natural manifestation of


joy that he displays in front of Crusoe baffles his master. But we must admit that the only person Crusoe openly confesses he loves is Friday. Discussion: 1. Define Crusoes relationships with the island, Friday and himself. 2. Characterize Robinson Crusoe and Friday Some themes in the novel point to Robinson Crusoes relation with the environment, Friday included, others refer to the relationship between Crusoe and his own self. It was particularly after the book fell under the scrutiny of post-colonialist critics, that the issue of power gained new territory of exploration. Of course, the reading of power has varied with the audience according to the current notion and practice of power and its implications in society. With the Augustan reader, when the British Empire started to take geographical contour, and the center, i.e.Britain, received part of the riches the explorers found in the new territories, the concept of power had positive connotations. It entitled the British to draw on rich resources outside their own borders. There emerged the profile of the perfect colonizer, the white male figure, superior in many ways to other races due to his power of endurance, intelligence, resourcefulness and gentlemanly spirit. Seen from this perspective, Robinson Crusoe is the epitome of the colonizing person, ready to take possession of foreign territories, to subdue foreign people and claim British superiority. Nowadays, Crusoes position of power has changed and has gradually acquired negative connotations. It is because the whole context has changed and black Fridays voice can be heard telling a totally different story. The concept of power involves, beside the territorial component, inter-human relations based on inequity and exploitation. Crusoe is no longer the icon of a generation because the focus has shifted onto Friday and his reactions. There have been published rewritings of the book in which Friday plays the leading role and the story has change dramatically. (Michel Tourniers Vendredi ou les limbes du Pacifique and J.M. Coetzees Foe)


The device that gives unity and coherence to the story is the significant detail. The novel abounds in objects and each is of utmost importance to Crusoes survival. That is why the wreck of his former ship and the beach are full of trifles that prove essential to his life in wilderness and isolation. The island, too, although uninhabited, is full of important items that can help Crusoe in his struggle to survive. The details allow Crusoe to have a new grasp of reality, he is attentive to the detail because it carries more meaning than the whole picture. The novel abounds in objects of different shapes, sizes, colours, texture and substance. Crusoe is a fine descriptor of all significant elements that compose an object and give it life. That is why figures are so often found in the novel as important elements that place an object within the pattern of hierarchical importance to Crusoe. They also reveal his practical mind and approach to reality. He views things in terms of their inches and pounds because it is significant if they are too small or too heavy for him to carry. His relationship with time is also subject to measurement. He does not live under the pressure of time but he does not neglect it either, because this is his form of hope he will return to the civilized world. It is not by accident that he keeps a diary and a calendar, even if one day he oversleeps himself and miscalculates the day. He is a merchant and is accustomed to figures, they speak the language of scarcity or multitude easy to understand by a man in search of his fortune. That is why the accuracy of his measurements is a peculiar modus vivendi that brings Crusoe back to his familiar world of business. The idea of integration is cleverly associated in the novel with digestion. Crusoe is continually preoccupied with food, growing grains and taming wild animals. When he has an assured basis for survival and has symbolically digested the island completely, coup de thtre. Cannibals appear. Crusoe finds himself now in the position of the hunted animal and possible victim. The island strikes back, as it were, and a reversed situation endangers his physical integrity. The island appears now to be ready to digest him. Sanity is another important and a bit unrealistic theme of the novel. Once he is shipwrecked on the island Crusoe starts getting informed about the essentials of his position. He does not despair, he has no metaphysical fears. He is in perfect mastery of his actions and thoughts. He retains his self-control and continues to do so by keeping


track of time (the calendar) but also by recording even the most uneventful events (the diary). In order to keep sane a man has to be in perpetual connection with himself and monitor his most intimate reactions. To record events, to remember things and search for details is a fine exercise for maintaining self-awareness alert. His egocentric universe helps him in many ways to remain self-conscious and sane. The narrative voice is Crusoes, therefore the novel is in the first person, but at times he leaves the task of recounting to a third person. Though he presents his own point of view and his feelings, the tone is rather detached and objective. He never bothers to analyze his feelings or study his motives. He is more interested in the concatenation of actions, and the dynamism of events is the general feature of his account. He presents his disappointment or elation when something important happens but you can guess his feelings are never overwhelming. He has no intense personal life and no taste for introspection. He feels more at home with factual events and inventories. That is why his story is dynamic but lacks depth and color. Discussion: 1. Define in what way Robinson Crusoe created a new modern myth. 2. Comment on two important themes in the novel. 3.Comment on your own impressions when reading the book as a child and now.


Fragments from Robinson Crusoe Chapter 10 Tames Goats I cannot say that after this, for five years, any extraordinary thing happened to me, but I lived on in the same course, in the same posture and place, as before; the chief things I was employed in, besides my yearly labour of planting my barley and rice, and curing my raisins, of both which I always kept up just enough to have sufficient stock of one year's provisions beforehand; I say, besides this yearly labour, and my daily pursuit of going out with my gun, I had one labour, to make a canoe, which at last I finished: so that, by digging a canal to it of six feet wide and four feet deep, I brought it into the creek, almost half a mile. As for the first, which was so vastly big, for I made it without considering beforehand, as I ought to have done, how I should be able to launch it, so, never being able to bring it into the water, or bring the water to it, I was obliged to let it lie where it was as a memorandum to teach me to be wiser the next time: indeed, the next time, though I could not get a tree proper for it, and was in a place where I could not get the water to it at any less distance than, as I have said, near half a mile, yet, as I saw it was practicable at last, I never gave it over; and though I was near two years about it, yet I never grudged my labour, in hopes of having a boat to go off to sea at last. However, though my little periagua was finished, yet the size of it was not at all answerable to the design which I had in view when I made the first; I mean of venturing over to the TERRA FIRMA, where it was above forty miles broad; accordingly, the smallness of my boat assisted to put an end to that design, and now I thought no more of it. As I had a boat, my next design was to make a cruise round the island; for as I had been on the other side in one place, crossing, as I have already described it, over the land, so the discoveries I made in that little journey made me very eager to see other parts of the coast; and now I had a boat, I thought of nothing but sailing round the island. For this purpose, that I might do everything with discretion and consideration, I fitted up a little mast in my boat, and made a sail too out of some of the pieces of the ship's sails


which lay in store, and of which I had a great stock by me. Having fitted my mast and sail, and tried the boat, I found she would sail very well; then I made little lockers or boxes at each end of my boat, to put provisions, necessaries, ammunition, &c., into, to be kept dry, either from rain or the spray of the sea; and a little, long, hollow place I cut in the inside of the boat, where I could lay my gun, making a flap to hang down over it to keep it dry. I fixed my umbrella also in the step at the stern, like a mast, to stand over my head, and keep the heat of the sun off me, like an awning; and thus I every now and then took a little voyage upon the sea, but never went far out, nor far from the little creek. At last, being eager to view the circumference of my little kingdom, I resolved upon my cruise; and accordingly I victualled my ship for the voyage, putting in two dozen of loaves (cakes I should call them) of barley-bread, an earthen pot full of parched rice (a food I ate a good deal of), a little bottle of rum, half a goat, and powder and shot for killing more, and two large watch-coats, of those which, as I mentioned before, I had saved out of the seamen's chests; these I took, one to lie upon, and the other to cover me in the night. It was the 6th of November, in the sixth year of my reign - or my captivity, which you please - that I set out on this voyage, and I found it much longer than I expected; for though the island itself was not very large, yet when I came to the east side of it, I found a great ledge of rocks lie out about two leagues into the sea, some above water, some under it; and beyond that a shoal of sand, lying dry half a league more, so that I was obliged to go a great way out to sea to double the point. When I first discovered them, I was going to give over my enterprise, and come back again, not knowing how far it might oblige me to go out to sea; and above all, doubting how I should get back again: so I came to an anchor; for I had made a kind of an anchor with a piece of a broken grappling which I got out of the ship. (The Literature Network,


Discussion: 1. Comment on the use of the significant detail and the use of inventory in the fragment above. 2. Comment on the sanity of the narrator. Chapter 11 Finds Print Of Man's Foot On The Sand It would have made a Stoic smile to have seen me and my little family sit down to dinner. There was my majesty the prince and lord of the whole island; I had the lives of all my subjects at my absolute command; I could hang, draw, give liberty, and take it away, and no rebels among all my subjects. Then, to see how like a king I dined, too, all alone, attended by my servants! Poll, as if he had been my favourite, was the only person permitted to talk to me. My dog, who was now grown old and crazy, and had found no species to multiply his kind upon, sat always at my right hand; and two cats, one on one side of the table and one on the other, expecting now and then a bit from my hand, as a mark of especial favour. But these were not the two cats which I brought on shore at first, for they were both of them dead, and had been interred near my habitation by my own hand; but one of them having multiplied by I know not what kind of creature, these were two which I had preserved tame; whereas the rest ran wild in the woods, and became indeed troublesome to me at last, for they would often come into my house, and plunder me too, till at last I was obliged to shoot them, and did kill a great many; at length they left me. With this attendance and in this plentiful manner I lived; neither could I be said to want anything but society; and of that, some time after this, I was likely to have too much. (The Literature Network,


Discussion: 1. Comment on the feelings of self-fulfillment and implied self-irony that Crusoe displays in this fragment


Unitatea de nvare nr.4

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)

Obiective: familiarizarea studenilor cu romanul Gullivers Travels i tipul de satir pe care l promoveaz. - familiarizarea studenilor cu posteritatea romanului i critica adiacent Timpul alocat temei: 4 ore Bibliografie: 1. SANDERS, A. (1994): The Short History of English Literature, Clarendon Press, Oxford 2. FORD, B. (ed.) (1982): The New Pelican Guide to English Literature, Harmmondsworth, Penguin (Vol. 4: From Dryden to Johnson) 3. GORING, P. (2008): Eighteenth Century Literature and Culture, Continuum, London 4. RICHETTI, J. (ed.) (1998): The Cambridge Companion to the Eighteenth Century Novel, CUP, Cambridge

Short biographical note Jonathan Swift was born in Dublin, Ireland, on November 30, 1667. An orphan of his father, his was raised by a relative and in 1688 he graduated from Trinity College. The same year he became the secretary of Sir William Temple, a well-known English politician and a member of the Whig party, in whose library he studied a lot, teaching himself to be a man of letters. He took holy orders in the Church of Ireland in 1694 but


continued with Temple for some time before he became the chaplain of the earl of Berkeley back in Ireland. He started his literary career by writing satires and pamphlets on political and religious issues. He also met various literary men and together with Alexander Pope became the most prominent figures of the so-called Martinus Scriblerus Club, which was founded to expose abuses of learning of every sort. In 1714 Swift returned to Dublin where he became the dean of St. Patricks. Gullivers Travels was published in 1726 and was from the beginning a controversial work. The novel is considered a biting satire, both humorous and critical, openly attacking British and European societies through its descriptions of imaginary countries and their odd inhabitants. He died in 1745 after a couple of years paralysis caused by a stroke.

Gullivers Travels, or, Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, by Lemuel Gulliver (1726) Gullivers Travels records the story of Lemuel Gulliver, an English surgeon who takes to the seas after he got bankrupt. The book comprises four voyages, each to an imaginary country very different from England yet a mocking copy of her institutions, individuals, organization and religion. Gullivers first adventure is in Lilliput, a country on whose shores he is shipwrecked. To his great amazement the inhabitants are six inches tall, but very friendly to the giant they find lying on their shores. Gulliver is taken to the capital city and is introduced to the emperor. They are both interested in each other like two champions. Gulliver becomes a trusted counselor, whose advice is most valued in the war with their neighboring enemies, the people of Blefuscu. But Gulliver puts out a fire in the royal palace by urinating on it and this is considered a manifestation of high treason. He is convicted but eventually escapes to the country of Blefuscu from where he sails back home.


Gulliver leaves again after only two months, his next sea voyage taking him to Brobdingnag, the country of giants. Here his status has changed, he is no longer in a position of power, playing the friendly giant, but is treated as if he were an animal, a pet sold to the queen. But to be a subject of entertainment is not something one can boast of. He is not only diminished in size and importance but his whole range of sensations is affected. He is horrified by the gross physicality of the Brobdingnagians. Every single detail of their physical appearance (skin) and common activities (eating) are several times magnified and take apocalyptic dimensions in Gullivers eyes. His life is in perpetual danger because of the animals and insects that look like dinosaurs to poor dwarfed Gulliver. But the giants king is a good, caring one, he is concerned about his peoples well-being and fate and is not interested in buying the secret of gunpowder. If the Liliputians symbolized smallness, pettiness, the Brobdingnagians stand for generosity and magnanimity. Gulliver leaves Brobdingnag by accident when his cage is stolen by an eagle and dropped into the sea. His eagerness to travel prompts him to set on a third voyage and he finds himself in Laputa. There is a powerful tension here between the floating island of Laputa, inhabited by learned people, and the oppressed land below, called Balnibarbi. The scientific research carried out in Laputa and in Balnibarbi is focused on abstract thinking and rejects any connection with practical issues. That is why their main preoccupation is to change things for the worse and destroy whatever is well done. Taking a short trip to Glubbdubdrib, Gulliver is able to see Julius Caesar and other ancient military key-figures. After visiting the Luggnaggians and the Struldbrugs, he sails to Japan and from there to England. On his fourth journey Gulliver sets foot on a land populated by Houyhnhnms, rational horses, and by Yahoos, brutish humanlike creatures, who, though resembling humans, are debased, squalid, repulsive. There is an inversion in terms of mastery between humans and horses, in the sense that horses are the superior beings whose community is based on a strict discipline, while humans are depicted as underdeveloped, beast-like creatures. Gulliver approaches the horses quite naturally, learns their language and is impressed by their kindness. He comes to understand their society, he learns a lot from their social structure, culture and manners. They live a sort of pastoral life, are


compassionate with all their likes, never lie because they cannot think anything beyond truth, do not fear death. On the contrary, he is horrified by the Yahoos, who stand for human corruption, aggressiveness, greed and irrational behavior. Eventually the Houyhnhnms consider him to be more like a Yahoo than one of theirs and he is expelled from their country. Embittered, he will sail back to England where he cannot help seeing all humans as repelling Yahoos. The book ends with him preferring the company of horses in his own country, which, of course, speaks for itself about the impact this last country had on his psyche. Discussion: 1. Name the countries Gulliver visited and identify differences from normal countries in their presentation. Gulliver is the main character and, at the same time, the narrator in the book but he can hardly be called a hero. He is more of a witness, a good reporter that recounts his first hand experience. He is neither a brave adventurer nor a cowardly victim of misfortune. He proves on several occasions he has the stamina and courage to fight for his life, when he is confronted with a huge rat, hostile pygmies, or spiteful pirates. There are several moments when he feels depressed or frustrated, alone and deserted by friends, far from humanity in general. Nevertheless he is not a genuine protagonist, a truly heroic figure. He does not cherish great or generous ideas, he has no ideal to fight for nor does he nurture lofty aspirations. He lacks a goal in his voyages, he is more of a tourist who embarks upon journey after journey for the sake of travelling, out of curiosity. His travels are never quests and at the end he is left with nothing else than a memory packed with oddities and strange, unbelievable peoples and customs. His conscious non-involvement is obvious in the way he solves the problematic situations he finds himself in. He shows neither wit nor resourcefulness and is saved by others or by chance. He undergoes very little change throughout the book and is neither cleverer nor wiser at its end. He is a misanthrope, instead. His difficulty to adapt to normality at the end of each of his travels also speaks about his immature behavior and lack of common sense.


Gullivers name may be a variant of gullible, thus revealing his major feature: credulity. He fails to notice facts and situations and his approach is never subtle. He cannot make out that his services to the Lilliputians are regarded as acts of servitude not even when his loyalty is questioned and he is sentenced to be blinded. When he gives minute accounts about how his country is run and structured in social, political, economic terms, he is never able to make speculations about the cultural differences among countries or to criticize forms of government, religious dissentions, political rivalries, to philosophize over the future of human race. He simply states facts. His non reflective nature, the lack of deep emotional response, his non-involvement are so sincere that readers take him for a mask, a voice and not a genuine person, with human needs and weaknesses. Swift created Gulliver a little better than an antihero precisely because he wanted him to be his spokesperson. He did not need a fully developed character, his novel is a travelogue not a Bildungsroman and his aim was to criticize British society, monarchy, religion, political structure and economy, as well as the whole range of human vices and degradation, not to present his characters transformation. Gulliver performs the task of a message-bearer in the book. The novel is not his story but the history of humankind, past, present and future. Gullivers Travels is one of the bitterest satires in the whole English literature. Swift used relative size as an excellent literary device to satirize England and its institutions and morals. A highly efficient way of achieving satire is to look at familiar things from a different perspective and thus present hidden or distorted aspects in a new light. You perceive better such exaggerations as pompous behaviour in a six inches tall emperor who calls himself the most Mighty Emperor of Lilliput, Delight and Terror of the Universe than in a normal sized human being. Extrapolation is ready at hand. The Lilliputians are tiny frail creatures but they are courageous, curious and resourceful. Yet they stand for pettiness, for moral smallness. They fight over trifling matters because they are trifles, too. Their long lasting warfare with the neighboring country, a France to Swifts contemporary England, is based on the moral and religious controversy whether to break the egg at the smaller end or the larger end, which sounds ridiculous. Swifts aim was to show that all controversies that lead to wars are absurd


whatever the reason. Political rivalries in Lilliput arise from the high or low heels the members of the parliament wear, which speaks very openly about the political programs the two political parties promote. Rope dancing is the major ability that qualifies a person to be part of the government. The Lilliputians merciless nature is obvious when they decide to convict Gulliver in spite of all the good service Gulliver had done to them. On the contrary, it is clear that the giants are the symbols of what is lofty and great in human nature. They are generous, humane, open to novelty. Their state is run wisely by a king who is concerned with his subjects prosperity, hates war and is not interested in buying such secrets that could bring death into his country. On the other hand the giants are not very nice to look at and whatever seems graceful and noble in a normal size person seems ridiculously large and repulsive in a giant: skin, hairs, eating, playing. Using a shrewd device - the interplay of small or large sizes - Swift allows himself plenty of opportunities to bring under focus relativity and mans limitations. But he also mocks at mans absurd vanities and petty standards. In the country of Laputa Swift intended to reconstruct a distorted image of the Royal Society that, in his opinion, encouraged pseudo-science and ineffectual scientists. The so-called Universal artist wastes his time on totally irrational and nonscientific research work. Though physically normal, the people in Laputa have one eye turned inside to help them with mathematical calculations, and one to the sky to study the stars trajectory. They are all mathematicians, musicians and astronomers but all their efforts are vain and pathetic manifestations of the scientific research that did not lead anywhere. The most disturbing voyage and the bitterest in terms of the future of the human race is the last one. Here some superior breed of horses makes a sort of utopian community in which everything is just, equal, rational. Better than human beings, the horses are exempt from evil doing, they never speak untrue things and treat all their likes in a similar, kind way. The only thing that mars their society is the debased race of Yahoos, men who had gone very primitive. They are repulsive in appearance and horrible in behaviour. They are jealous, greedy, beast-like and far from anything human. Their passion for gold and shining stones perplexes the Houyhnhnms who cannot understand their foolish crave after the priceless stones. This voyage is perhaps the darkest of all and


the future of the whole human race is questioned in terms of nobility of heart and wit. It earned Swift the reputation of a misanthrope but he reiterated his belief that reason, common sense and Christian morality could improve man and restore him his initial purity of heart and mind. It is interesting to note the kind of societies Gulliver comes into contact with when repeatedly shipwrecked on strange shores. They are evidently reflections of England and her problems, hierarchies, rivalries and social relations. The first utopian model of society is that of Lilliputians where children were raised outside their families, as some communal goods, in order to ensure a developed sense of community appurtenance. Nevertheless grown-ups are treacherous, cruel and revengeful, so the educational aim of breaking families apart is of no beneficial consequence. The Houyhnhnms, on the other hand, have well formed families. They also have family planning and, if nature sometimes fails, they are ready to mend the mistake and exchange children among themselves: one son too many could be exchanged for an extra daughter, so that each family had a son-daughter pair and be happy. Their communal goal is again above their natural parent-child bond and children are regarded as commune heritage. Moreover, they do not have proper names and despite some minor differences they all look alike. They are devoid of identity exactly because they do not count as individuals but are taken as a body of individuals, as an indistinct society. By contrast, Gulliver has no sense of appurtenance to his own society. He prefers going to sea to staying with family in a cozy little English home. Actually he cannot integrate in any of the communities he meets, they are either too small, too large or belong to some other race than his. Gulliver is in this sense one of the first modern alienated characters who fails to integrate into societies because he perceives them inappropriate for him. England is one of them since Gulliver never voices regrets about leaving his home or family. His final misanthropic feelings reveal his isolated self and his acute sense of being misfit. He feels at home neither among humans nor among animals (horses). At the end of the book we sense Swifts touch of irony when he describes Gullivers incapacity to tear himself away from his disturbing adventures and experiences in order to live a normal life in England. He is traumatized in a modern sense and is repelled at the sight of humans, whom he


considers Yahoos, and converses with horses, which he takes to be rational, superior, noble creatures. Like himself. The story is told by Lemuel Gulliver, therefore it is in the first person, resembling a confession. He describes events and people as they appear to him. He is nevertheless quite detached because he gives very little information about his own reactions, fears or inner torments. He is rather superficial in his recording and makes few comments. He simply records. His account about his own country and its customs is intentionally nave. The satire of the English institutions, social and political structure and religious adversities is understated in his otherwise rather flat discourse.

Questions: 1. Does Gulliver change as a character as the story progresses? 2. Describe one country Gulliver visits and mention in what way it is a distorted image of England. 3. What do the Lilliputians/Brobdingnagianss/Laputans/Houyhnhnms stand for? 4. What is the major literary device used in the novel to achieve satire?


Fragments from Gullivers Travels CHAPTER VII. [The author, being informed of a design to accuse him of high-treason, makes his escape to Blefuscu. His reception there.] Before I proceed to give an account of my leaving this kingdom, it may be proper to inform the reader of a private intrigue which had been for two months forming against me. I had been hitherto, all my life, a stranger to courts, for which I was unqualified by the meanness of my condition. I had indeed heard and read enough of the dispositions of great princes and ministers, but never expected to have found such terrible effects of them, in so remote a country, governed, as I thought, by very different maxims from those in Europe. When I was just preparing to pay my attendance on the emperor of Blefuscu, a considerable person at court (to whom I had been very serviceable, at a time when he lay under the highest displeasure of his imperial majesty) came to my house very privately at night, in a close chair, and, without sending his name, desired admittance. The chairmen were dismissed; I put the chair, with his lordship in it, into my coat-pocket: and, giving orders to a trusty servant, to say I was indisposed and gone to sleep, I fastened the door of my house, placed the chair on the table, according to my usual custom, and sat down by it. After the common salutations were over, observing his lordship's countenance full of concern, and inquiring into the reason, he desired "I would hear him with patience, in a matter that highly concerned my honour and my life." His speech was to the following effect, for I took notes of it as soon as he left me:"You are to know," said he, "that several committees of council have been lately called, in the most private manner, on your account; and it is but two days since his majesty came to a full resolution.


"You are very sensible that Skyresh Bolgolam" (GALBET, or high-admiral) "has been your mortal enemy, almost ever since your arrival. His original reasons I know not; but his hatred is increased since your great success against Blefuscu, by which his glory as admiral is much obscured. This lord, in conjunction with Flimnap the high-treasurer, whose enmity against you is notorious on account of his lady, Limtoc the general, Lalcon the chamberlain, and Balmuff the grand justiciary, have prepared articles of impeachment against you, for treason and other capital crimes." This preface made me so impatient, being conscious of my own merits and innocence, that I was going to interrupt him; when he entreated me to be silent, and thus proceeded:"Out of gratitude for the favours you have done me, I procured information of the whole proceedings, and a copy of the articles; wherein I venture my head for your service. "'Articles of Impeachment against QUINBUS FLESTRIN, (the Man-Mountain.) ARTICLE I. "'Whereas, by a statute made in the reign of his imperial majesty Calin Deffar Plune, it is enacted, that, whoever shall make water within the precincts of the royal palace, shall be liable to the pains and penalties of high-treason; notwithstanding, the said Quinbus Flestrin, in open breach of the said law, under colour of extinguishing the fire kindled in the apartment of his majesty's most dear imperial consort, did maliciously, traitorously, and devilishly, by discharge of his urine, put out the said fire kindled in the said apartment, lying and being within the precincts of the said royal palace, against the statute in that case provided, etc. against the duty, etc. ARTICLE II.


"'That the said Quinbus Flestrin, having brought the imperial fleet of Blefuscu into the royal port, and being afterwards commanded by his imperial majesty to seize all the other ships of the said empire of Blefuscu, and reduce that empire to a province, to be governed by a viceroy from hence, and to destroy and put to death, not only all the Big-endian exiles, but likewise all the people of that empire who would not immediately forsake the Big-endian heresy, he, the said Flestrin, like a false traitor against his most auspicious, serene, imperial majesty, did petition to be excused from the said service, upon pretence of unwillingness to force the consciences, or destroy the liberties and lives of an innocent people. (The Literature Network, Discussion: 1. Comment on the use of proper names in the fragment. 2. Comment on the language of the articles of impeachment 3. Comment on the use of satire in the fragment

CHAPTER XXVI If they can avoid casualties, they die only of old age, and are buried in the obscurest places that can be found, their friends and relations expressing neither joy nor grief at their departure; nor does the dying person discover the least regret that he is leaving the world, any more than if he were upon returning home from a visit to one of his neighbours. I remember my master having once made an appointment with a friend and his family to come to his house, upon some affair of importance: on the day fixed, the mistress and her two children came very late; she made two excuses, first for her husband, who, as she said, happened that very morning to SHNUWNH. The word is strongly expressive in their language, but not easily rendered into English; it signifies, "to retire to his first mother." Her excuse for not coming sooner, was, that her husband dying late in the morning, she was a good while consulting her servants about a convenient place where his body should be laid; and I observed, she behaved herself at our house as cheerfully as the rest. She died about three months after.


They live generally to seventy, or seventy-five years, very seldom to fourscore. Some weeks before their death, they feel a gradual decay; but without pain. During this time they are much visited by their friends, because they cannot go abroad with their usual ease and satisfaction. However, about ten days before their death, which they seldom fail in computing, they return the visits that have been made them by those who are nearest in the neighbourhood, being carried in a convenient sledge drawn by YAHOOS; which vehicle they use, not only upon this occasion, but when they grow old, upon long journeys, or when they are lamed by any accident: and therefore when the dying HOUYHNHNMS return those visits, they take a solemn leave of their friends, as if they were going to some remote part of the country, where they designed to pass the rest of their lives. I know not whether it may be worth observing, that the HOUYHNHNMS have no word in their language to express any thing that is evil, except what they borrow from the deformities or ill qualities of the YAHOOS. Thus they denote the folly of a servant, an omission of a child, a stone that cuts their feet, a continuance of foul or unseasonable weather, and the like, by adding to each the epithet of YAHOO. For instance, HHNM YAHOO; WHNAHOLM YAHOO, YNLHMNDWIHLMA YAHOO, and an illcontrived house YNHOLMHNMROHLNW YAHOO. I could, with great pleasure, enlarge further upon the manners and virtues of this excellent people; but intending in a short time to publish a volume by itself, expressly upon that subject, I refer the reader thither; and, in the mean time, proceed to relate my own sad catastrophe. (The Literature Network, Discussion: 1. Comment on the issue of death and how the Houyhnhnms viewed it. 2. Comment on issues connected to language


Unitatea de nvare nr.5

Laurence Sterne (1713-1768)

Obiective: familiarizarea studenilor cu inovaiile tehnice ale naraiunii scrise de Laurence Sterne nelegerea de ctre studeni a evoluiei romanului ca gen n perioada iluminist

Timpul alocat temei: 4 ore Bibliografia: SANDERS, A. (1994): The Short History of English Literature, Clarendon Press, Oxford FORD, B. (ed.) (1982): The New Pelican Guide to English Literature, Harmmondsworth, Penguin (Vol. 4: From Dryden to Johnson) GORING, P. (2008): Eighteenth Century Literature and Culture, Continuum, London

Short biographical note Laurence Sterne was born in Ireland in 1713. His father was an army officer, so he spent the first part of his life moving from town to town with his family. After graduating from Jesus College Cambridge University in 1737, Sterne took holy orders (Anglican church) and settled in Yorkshire where he married. He lived with his wife in Sutton for twenty years. Having been ill of tuberculosis most of his life he did not travel much till the end of his life when he hoped that France and Italy would offer a milder climate to his failing lungs. His two major novels, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, a highly innovative work, and A Sentimental Journey, were written


later in his life. The former, in particular, gained him international fame and was well received at home and on the continent. He died on 18 March 1768, in London.











It took Sterne several years to write Tristram Shandy, now one of the landmarks of English literature and a true forerunner of modernist and postmodernist writing. The novel was published in five installments, each consisting of two volumes, while the last installment contained only Volume 9, the last one. The writer cleverly arrested the readers attention and curiosity by using some narrative devices specific to serially published books: anticipations, leaving things suspended, purposefully delaying events, feigning forgetfulness. The book was a breakthrough with conventional narrative form in the sense that, despite the fact that it is apparently meant to be a Bildungsroman, it is a long, rather loose essay. The element that gives the book coherence is the declared aim of presenting the life and opinions of Tristram Shandy, namely some insight into the life of the protagonist and his views on everything else. Which is exactly what the novel does, only it displays an unconventional approach, certainly not the chronological one. One can better characterize it as a clever, early attempt to speak about authorship and the art of writing. Sterne gives a very good example of the liberties an author can take when inventing his fictional world and embodying God, pulling strings and pursuing whatever alley he chooses. Although the book sets out to present the evolution of Tristrams life, the boy is born only in the fourth volume and at the end of the novel is still very young. From beginning to end the book fails the promise stated in the title. In the 20th century Tristam Shandy was considered to have been written under the influence by John Lockes theory on the association of ideas. Locke believed that ideas are not innate but they are the consequence of the individuals personal contact with life, they stem from his/her own experience. No more do they exist by themselves. They


generally trigger other ideas out of the subjects pool of experience, through the process of association, which inevitably makes each individual the prisoner of his/her own past. Sterne uses the device of the association of ideas and makes the most diverse and numerous digressions that have ever been made in a novel. Not only does he not follow a plot pattern, but all the information he provides is expanded into sometimes minor, sometimes major digressions which do not lead anywhere, although Sterne thought it differently. He informs his reader that In a word, my work is digressive, and it is progressive, too and at the same time., which becomes, in a way, his literary manifesto. He sees actual progression in his too often and intricate digressions that he uses like yardsticks for his almost nonexistent plot. His narrative will therefore allow room for sermons, translations, essays, a blank sheet of paper or a collection of asterisks, blanks and dashes. His dedication comes up in Chapter 9 and his preface in the 3rd volume. The novel is erratic, seems to have no logic and no plan and, as Tristram himself describes John Lockes Essay Concerning Human Understanding, is a history book of what passes in a mans own mind. Using postponing and interruption, the novel moves ahead without much story to tell, involving not too many characters (Tristam, his mother, his father, Uncle Toby and a couple of servants and neighbors), through a maze of ideas and, more importantly, through a whirlpool of verbal inventiveness. The real driving force of the novel lies in its word power and verbal creativity as deliberate means of narrative progression. The novel highlights the force of language as a system of encoding traumatic experiences. The characters obsessions, or hobby-horses, as Sterne names them, relate to the bond between language and a traumatic event in their lives. Uncle Toby was wounded at the siege of Namur and he will subsequently start studying history, ballistics and physics in an attempt to understand the circumstances of his suffering. Walter Shandy, Tristams father, is obsessed with noses and their phallic implications. To somehow chronologically order the events in the novel one must mention that the little action in the book revolves around two main threads, one linked to Tristram and the other to his Uncle Toby. The one involving Tristram describes the way he was conceived, then born, christened and finally unexpectedly circumscribed by a falling


sash-window. The latter plot centers on Uncle Toby and his on-going attempt to understand his (ill)fate by plunging himself into the history of war, defense, strategy and their consequences on mans sexual life. The novel was often criticized for its bawdy language and overt allusions to sexuality. The two adult Shandies have, each, an obsession and both relate to genitals. Walter Shandy is over-concerned with noses, phallic symbols, while his son, Tristram, has two unhappy incidents involving his nose, which was crashed by Dr. Slops forceps at his birth, and his private parts, cut by a falling sash-window when he was a boy. Uncle Toby, too, was wounded in his groin, which might have affected his sexual potential, as well. In the early chapters of the book, Sterne presents the erotic scene which may have lead to the conception of young Tristram. But the normal act is comically and abruptly interrupted when Mrs. Shandy asks her husband if he has wound the clock. Coitus interruptus is therefore a metaphor for the negative sexuality the book revolves around and is also indicative of the major quality of the narrative discourse. All stories in the book are continuously interrupted and nothing is ever completed, messages are aborted all the time and the words in the text seem to be as impotent as the male characters. Sterne found inspiration for his dirty jokes and approach in Rabelaiss books, which he greatly admired. Time is a key element in the novel along with words. Narrative time is very special in Tristram Shandy as the author plays ad libitum with it. Not only does Sterne disregard simple chronology but he moves in time forward and backward, sometimes in the same sentence, creating the illusion of a continuum. By permanently inserting longer or shorter digressions, he dilates and contracts time, and further plays a game of wasteme-not with his reader. When he states that his narrative is both digressive and progressive he speaks the truth of his narrative which progresses very slowly by being so utterly digressive and defying the readers expectations. Tristam Shandy is often referred to as an antinovel precisely because it breaks all the laws of novel structure and writing. There is no proper plot, no time scheme, the characters do not develop and the novel seems to lead nowhere.


Questions and debate: 1.Describe the novelties that Tristam Shandy brings in terms of literary technique. 2.In what way is digression a source of progression in the book? Fragments from Tristram Shandy Chapter 1.XIX. I would sooner undertake to explain the hardest problem in geometry, than pretend to account for it, that a gentleman of my father's great good sense,knowing, as the reader must have observed him, and curious too in philosophy,wise also in political reasoning,and in polemical (as he will find) no way ignorant,could be capable of entertaining a notion in his head, so out of the common track,that I fear the reader, when I come to mention it to him, if he is the least of a cholerick temper, will immediately throw the book by; if mercurial, he will laugh most heartily at it;and if he is of a grave and saturnine cast, he will, at first sight, absolutely condemn as fanciful and extravagant; and that was in respect to the choice and imposition of christian names, on which he thought a great deal more depended than what superficial minds were capable of conceiving. His opinion, in this matter, was, That there was a strange kind of magick bias, which good or bad names, as he called them, irresistibly impressed upon our characters and conduct. The hero of Cervantes argued not the point with more seriousness,nor had he more faith,or more to say on the powers of necromancy in dishonouring his deeds,or on Dulcinea's name, in shedding lustre upon them, than my father had on those of Trismegistus or Archimedes, on the one handor of Nyky and Simkin on the other. How many Caesars and Pompeys, he would say, by mere inspiration of the names, have been rendered worthy of them? And how many, he would add, are there, who might have done exceeding well in the world, had not their characters and spirits been totally depressed and Nicodemus'd into nothing?


I see plainly, Sir, by your looks, (or as the case happened) my father would saythat you do not heartily subscribe to this opinion of mine,which, to those, he would add, who have not carefully sifted it to the bottom,I own has an air more of fancy than of solid reasoning in it;and yet, my dear Sir, if I may presume to know your character, I am morally assured, I should hazard little in stating a case to you, not as a party in the dispute,but as a judge, and trusting my appeal upon it to your own good sense and candid disquisition in this matter;you are a person free from as many narrow prejudices of education as most men;and, if I may presume to penetrate farther into you,of a liberality of genius above bearing down an opinion, merely because it wants friends. Your son,your dear son,from whose sweet and open temper you have so much to expect.Your Billy, Sir!would you, for the world, have called him Judas?Would you, my dear Sir, he would say, laying his hand upon your breast, with the genteelest address,and in that soft and irresistible piano of voice, which the nature of the argumentum ad hominem absolutely requires,Would you, Sir, if a Jew of a godfather had proposed the name for your child, and offered you his purse along with it, would you have consented to such a desecration of him?O my God! he would say, looking up, if I know your temper right, Sir,you are incapable of it;you would have trampled upon the offer;you would have thrown the temptation at the tempter's head with abhorrence. Your greatness of mind in this action, which I admire, with that generous contempt of money, which you shew me in the whole transaction, is really noble;and what renders it more so, is the principle of it;the workings of a parent's love upon the truth and conviction of this very hypothesis, namely, That was your son called Judas,the forbid and treacherous idea, so inseparable from the name, would have accompanied him through life like his shadow, and, in the end, made a miser and a rascal of him, in spite, Sir, of your example. I never knew a man able to answer this argument.But, indeed, to speak of my father as he was;he was certainly irresistible;both in his orations and disputations;he was born an orator;(Greek).Persuasion hung upon his lips, and the elements of Logick


and Rhetorick were so blended up in him,and, withal, he had so shrewd a guess at the weaknesses and passions of his respondent,that Nature might have stood up and said,'This man is eloquent.'In short, whether he was on the weak or the strong side of the question, 'twas hazardous in either case to attack him.And yet, 'tis strange, he had never read Cicero, nor Quintilian de Oratore, nor Isocrates, nor Aristotle, nor Longinus, amongst the antients;nor Vossius, nor Skioppius, nor Ramus, nor Farnaby, amongst the moderns;and what is more astonishing, he had never in his whole life the least light or spark of subtilty struck into his mind, by one single lecture upon Crackenthorp or Burgersdicius or any Dutch logician or commentator;he knew not so much as in what the difference of an argument ad ignorantiam, and an argument ad hominem consisted; so that I well remember, when he went up along with me to enter my name at Jesus College in...,it was a matter of just wonder with my worthy tutor, and two or three fellows of that learned society,that a man who knew not so much as the names of his tools, should be able to work after that fashion with them. ( Discussion: 1. Point out the digressions in the fragment and their impact on the quality of the text. 2. Discuss the erudite character of the fragment.


Unitatea de nvare nr.6

William Blake (1757-1827)

Obiective: familiarizarea studenilor cu mitologia eclectic i personalitatea artistic desosebit a lui William Blake introducerea noiunilor de romantism i ideologie romantic familiarizarea studenilor cu aspecte legate de critica poetic britanic

Timpul alocat temei: 2 ore Bibliografie: WATSON, J. R.,(1992), English Poetry of the Romantic Period, 1789-1830, Longman, London and New York BLOOM, H. (1971), The Visionary Company, A Reading of English Romantic Poetry, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York Short biographical note William Blake was born in London to a family of Dissenters. When eight years old he had his first vision of a tree full of angels and from that moment on he continued to believe in a parallel world that exists beyond our senses. Because he was very gifted, his father apprenticed him with Mr. Pars drawing school. After his nineteen-year old younger brother, Robert, died he claimed he conversed with him in spirit and that Robert dictated him some entire poems (Milton ) or helped him innovate his drawing technique. He used what is now called relief etching, bathing copper plates in acids after having covered some areas with wax. He was a revolutionary artist and his poetry combined with his art of drawing in the sense that he manufactured his books all alone, writing the


verses and printing his own accompanying drawings. In this way text and graphic illuminate each other. He was greatly influenced by Emanuel Swedenborg, a Swedish mystic and theologian, who claimed he had access to the world of spirits. When he ascribed cognitive powers to the imagination, Blake was following into his steps. Later he became familiar with Jacob Boehme, a German mystic and astrologer. The latter inspired Blake in his concept of the contraries (concordia oppositorum) that are bound to co-exist to ensure the progress of humankind. Blake developed his own religious ideology based on a fresh re-reading of the Bible. He died in 1827 alone and poor, singing religious hymns. William Blake preceded the Romantics but his poetry was valued long after his death. He shared their revolutionary fervor and bias for the Imagination. He also introduced in his Songs of Innocence and of Experience a new poetic diction: he used the nursery rhyme form to tell serious, sometimes dramatic, truths about children and their exploited life.

The Lamb Little Lamb, who made thee? Dost thou know who made thee? Gave thee life, and bid thee feed By the stream and o'er the mead; Gave thee clothing of delight, Softest clothing, woolly, bright; Gave thee such a tender voice, Making all the vales rejoice? Little Lamb, who made thee? Dost thou know who made thee? Little Lamb, I'll tell thee, Little Lamb, I'll tell thee: He is called by thy name,


For he calls himself a Lamb. He is meek, and he is mild; He became a little child. I a child, and thou a lamb. We are called by his name. Little Lamb, God bless thee! Little Lamb, God bless thee! (The Literature Network, First published in Songs of Innocence in 1789 and later in the joint collection Songs of Innocence and of Experience, the poem The Lamb continues to move its readers through its simple yet profound message. By using a playful tone, feigning innocence, the poems in this collection speak about abandoned or exploited children, about the perilous position they may find themselves in if working as chimney sweepers, or if they are sold by their parents. Blake repeatedly accused grown-ups for the misfortunes that attend children, though in a veiled tone, articulating a sort of pastoral atmosphere in which innocent children mix with innocent animals. The lamb in the poem is in a mute dialogue with a shepherd child who asks him a religious question: Do you know who made thee?, and because the lamb cannot answer, the little boy comes up with a reply plunging rapidly into a Biblical equation that involves three little children, himself, the lamb and Jesus Christ, all of them easy preys to the rapacious world around them. Using a simple but complex vision, the poet addressed the issue of innocent sacrifice that the Bible contains but cannot explain. This poem has a pendant in the section of Songs of Experience, the poem The Tyger ,constructed along the same pattern of questions that are not answered. This time it is not longer a child who asks the questions because the figure of the tiger is much more frightening. Discussion: Identify the literary devices through which the Lamb is associated with Jesus Christ.


The Tyger Tyger! Tyger! burning bright In the forests of the night, What immortal hand or eye Could frame thy fearful symmetry? In what distant deeps or skies Burnt the fire of thine eyes? On what wings dare he aspire? What the hand dare sieze the fire? And what shoulder, & what art. Could twist the sinews of thy heart? And when thy heart began to beat, What dread hand? & what dread feet? What the hammer? what the chain? In what furnace was thy brain? What the anvil? what dread grasp Dare its deadly terrors clasp? When the stars threw down their spears, And watered heaven with their tears, Did he smile his work to see? Did he who made the Lamb make thee? Tyger! Tyger! burning bright


In the forests of the night, What immortal hand or eye Dare frame thy fearful symmetry? (The Literature Network, The poem was first published in the 1794 collection Songs of Experience and was included later in the joint collection mentioned before. Using a highly musical tone, albeit terrifying by the powerful image of a tiger whose skin flashes in the dark of the forest at night, the poem is made entirely of questions regarding its creator. By wanting to know the source of the force and vitality of the tiger the poet enumerates all the attributes that make it so very special, a torch lurking in the dark, a creature manufactured in the workshop of a legendary blacksmith like Hephaistos, for instance. The poet mixed Biblical incidents, like the war in heaven between angels, with Greek mythology in order to better render the huge power and delicate craftsmanship needed to forge such a splendid but terrifying creature. Though the last question in the last but one stanza associates the lamb, a symbol of frailty and beauty, to the tiger, a wild and rapacious creature, this poem does not intend to present the tiger as the lambs antagonist, a form of evil that only and ravishes and destroys. On the contrary, the tiger is presented as a complementary form of Energy, which was always positive with Blake, a contrary to the lamb but a necessary one that ensures the harmony in the universe. Discussion: Comment on the antithesis between the tiger and the lamb.


Unitatea de nvare nr. 7

William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

Obiective: familiarizarea studenilor cu personalitatea artistic a lui William Wordsworth, ntemeietorul romantismului britanic introducerea noiunilor de romantism i ideologie romantic familiarizarea studenilor cu aspecte legate de critica poetic britanic

Timpul alocat temei: 4 ore Bibliografie: WATSON, John Richard (1992), English Poetry of the Romantic Period, 1789-1830, Longman, London and New York BLOOM, Harold (1971), The Visionary Company, A Reading of English Romantic Poetry, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York WU, Duncan (ed.) (1995), Romanticism, a Critical Reader, Blackwell, Oxford, UK, and Cambridge, U.S.A. Short biographical note William Wordsworth was born in Cockermouth, England on April 7th, 1770. An orphan of his mother when he was only eight, he spent his early life reading and rambling in the countryside, where his maternal grandparents lived. These encounters with raw nature, the moors, the plains and the hills in Cumberland, forged his sense of a deep and personal communion with nature that was later transferred into his poems and shaped his philosophical outlook. After his father died, he studied at Cambridge and, more


importantly, he visited revolutionary France first in 1790 and then in 1791. In the beginning he was very much inflamed by the idealistic goals of the French revolution and was deeply moved by the claims of liberty and equality that the revolutionary agenda contained. On his second visit, though, Wordsworth got disillusioned with the way the French revolutionaries put into practice the noble ideals they had fought for. Back in England, due to a legacy that he received in 1795, he was able to move to Grasmere, in Somerset, with his beloved sister Dorothy. He was thus close to Robert Southey, another literary scholar, and made friends with Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The three poets were later known as the Lake District Poets. In 1798 he published a joint collection of poetry Lyrical Ballads together with S. T. Coleridge. For the second edition, published in 1800, he wrote a Preface, whose importance exceeded by far that of a mere introduction: it was considered the manifesto of Romantic poetry and it identified the new directions of the trend that was later called Romanticism. He married, had five children and his sister, Dorothy, with whom he had a special artistic and spiritual relationship, kept close to the family. He published several collections of poetry out of which The Prelude, published posthumously by his widow, is now considered his masterpiece. In 1843, upon the death of Robert Southey, he was appointed Poet Laureate (a government appointment which requires that the poet should write poems on state occasions). He died in 1850 and was buried in Grasmere. Preface to Lyrical Ballads (1800) The Preface greatly surpassed Wordsworths intentions and expectations. It was written, as its author confesses, to smooth the reception of the poems the collection contained, which, quite obviously, differed in many ways from the poems readers had been accustomed to. He starts by speaking of the topics and the language that the two poets chose for their poems and justified their choice of incidents and situations from common life by saying that humble and rustic life offered better soil for human passions and their


expression. Poetry, in other words, should reflect real life and simple, unspoiled, natural feelings that spring from rural forms of existence. He later referred to the language of poetry which, ideally, should be the one really used by men, and not the language of social vanity or the arbitrary and capricious habits of expression that poets invent only to deepen the gap between themselves and ordinary people. Trying to explain to his readers what were his basic requirements of good poetry and a responsible poet, Wordsworth actually laid the foundations of a new artistic creed. He claimed that poetry could escape the supremacy of reason and the constraints of form (Augustan demands) when he defined poetry as the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings. He further insisted that feelings should be pondered over carefully and only after they were controlled by deep and generous thoughts, could they be turned into poetic diction. Moreover, the language of poetry should, except for the meter, copy the language of well-written prose. He later defined poetry as emotion recollected in tranquility, underscoring thus the effect of first-hand experience that is effectively worked upon in a state of serene and calm recollection by the poetic mind. The next rhetorical question Wordsworth embarked upon to answer was What is a Poet? And here, again, he turned to the relationship between a special person, the poet, and his fellows, ordinary people, who should permanently be his source of inspiration. He is a man speaking to men: a man, it is true, endowed with more lively sensibility, more enthusiasm and tenderness, who has a greater knowledge of human nature, and a more comprehensive soul. The poet is endowed with the same qualities as all his fellows, they only differ in degree. He is endowed in excess, as it were, with all the qualities that make a simple man more sensitive, intelligent and apt to express himself in a superior, yet simple manner. Questions: 1. Which are the major breakthroughs that Wordsworth writes about in the Preface to Lyrical Ballads?


2. In what way did they change the poetry of the 19th century?

The Solitary Reaper (from Memorials of a Tour in Scotland, 1803) BEHOLD her, single in the field, Yon solitary Highland Lass! Reaping and singing by herself; Stop here, or gently pass! Alone she cuts and binds the grain, And sings a melancholy strain; O listen! for the Vale profound Is overflowing with the sound. No Nightingale did ever chaunt More welcome notes to weary bands Of travellers in some shady haunt, Among Arabian sands: A voice so thrilling ne'er was heard In spring-time from the Cuckoo-bird, Breaking the silence of the seas Among the farthest Hebrides. Will no one tell me what she sings?-Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow For old, unhappy, far-off things, And battles long ago: Or is it some more humble lay, Familiar matter of to-day? Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain, That has been, and may be again?


Whate'er the theme, the Maiden sang As if her song could have no ending; I saw her singing at her work, And o'er the sickle bending;-I listened, motionless and still; And, as I mounted up the hill The music in my heart I bore, Long after it was heard no more. (The Literature Network Wordsworth had a very personal attachment to nature and to him mans relation to nature was organic, just like poetry. He claimed that the poet, owing to his imagination and particular powers can penetrate beyond the surface and communicate with the inner core of things. He considered that the surrounding milieu is imbued with a sense of Divinity that has a powerful impact on human consciousness and it is this chemistry that he sought to capture and render in his poems. His poems reveal common peoples emotions when they encounter various forms of nature. Most of the time Wordsworth is under the spell of natures overwhelming otherness but there are moments when he depicts it using religious terms. Moreover nature is perceived as teaching humans lessons of immortality, imposing moral norms and precepts on their corrupted souls. He preferred solitary characters, humble people that identify with nature and sometimes tend to become genuine extensions of its rocks, or trees, or marshes. They find solace in nature just like the poet finds inspiration. The Solitary Reaper" describes a girl that he saw one day in the field working and singing aloud. As the poem belongs to the collection of poems he wrote after his trip to Scotland, the girl has a well-defined local identity, she is a Highland lass. The poet is impressed by her naturalness while she is working and by her resonant song, which voices not only her mood but also her physical strength and health. Like most of his characters she is solitary, therefore inclined to feel comfortable and unrestrained. The


poet would gladly decipher the melancholy strain and would like to know if it speaks about major, long-forgotten events or if it deals with trifling matters, perhaps some sad private affair. But, irrespective of the lyrics, the song has such an impact on his mind that he compares it to the natural songs heard either in the Arabian desert or in the Hebrides woods: the nightingales or the cuckoos. Long after he could hear it no longer, the girls song echoed within the poets mind. The fluid quality of the song integrated so well into the scenery that it became part of it and gave it new life. The poem is a ballad consisting of four eight-line stanzas and it speaks in simple words about an unforgettable moment that the poet will certainly translate into a future poem. It deals not only with the power of music, that is of art, and the lasting impression it leaves onto sensitive human minds, but it also deals with memory and how important this faculty of the human mind is in storing and recalling sense-impressions. Moreover, the poets imagination is also stirred since he tries to identify the lyrics and comes up with several variants, but none is validated by the girl. The poem also speaks about the possibility that this ephemeral moment be transformed into an eternal one, due to the poets ability to put private experience into words. Questions: 1. What is the relation between nature and man in Wordsworths poetry? 2. What does the girls song stand for? 3. In what way does the poet relate to the girl (direct address, signs, articulated speech)?


Unitatea de nvare nr. 8

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772- 1834)

Obiective: familiarizarea studenilor cu personalitatea artistic a lui S. T.Coleridge introducerea noiunilor de romantism i ideologie romantic familiarizarea studenilor cu aspecte legate de critica poetic britanic

Timpul alocat temei: 4 ore Bibliografie: WATSON, J. R.,(1992), English Poetry of the Romantic Period, 1789-1830, Longman, London and New York BLOOM, H. (1971), The Visionary Company, A Reading of English Romantic Poetry, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York

Short biographical note Samuel Taylor Coleridge was born on 21 October 1772 to the family of a vicar. When his father died, young Coleridge was sent to a charitable institution where he actually grew up, a solitary, introvert person, inclined to writing poetry and dreaming of impossible things. He later attended Jesus College, Cambridge, which he never graduated, but where he won a literar prize for writing an ode. Later, together with another Romantic poet, Robert Southy, he tried to establish a commune/like society, called Pantisocracy, in America but it was a failure, as were his major enterprizes. He met Wordsworth and planned to publish the joint collection of


poems Lyrical Ballads, to which he contributed his much revered The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Kubla Kan and Christabel. He wrote a tract on literary criticism Biographia Literaria in which he dealt with a lot of Romantic issues connected to Romantic ars poetica. Unfortunately he grew an opium addict, separated from his wife and quarrelled with Wordworth. He died in London on 25 July 1834. S. T.Coleridge is considered one of the major Romantic poets, who reconsidered the tradition of Platonic philosophy and was greatly influenced by German idealism, Kant in particular. In his entire career he tried to bring together poetry, philosophy, religion and education. Like all Romantic poets he was committed to his exploration of the Poet and the special faculties that make him/her a creator. In his Biographia literaria Coleridge strove to explore the unconscious workings of the mind. He insisted on facts of mind and on an ideal poet, whose roundness of character should imply the absolute oneness of the universe. He definitely was a disciple of the creative theory of the mind and viewed acts of creation beyond mere writing. The act of perception was also a form of creativity as was reading, and thus Coleridge paved the way for 20th century criticism which insisted on reading as a form of re-writing of the work. Coleridge also developed an interesting theory of the Imagination, the faculty that, the Romantics thought, enabled poets to be creators. He identified three types of the Imagination: primary imagination the living power and prime Agent of all human perception; The secondary I consider as an echo of the former, coexisting with the conscious will, yet still identical with the primary in the kind of its agency, and differing only in degree, and in the mode of its operation. Fancy, on the contrary, plays only with fixities and definites, it is ordinary memory which operates through the law of association. Coleridge reconsidered language from a new angle. Words were no longer separated from meaning or viewed as the external clothing of ideas. A poem was an organic, living entity. To Colerige the image was one with the truth it expressed and he


described words as the wheels of the intellect. As a consequence, words and concepts are fused together into a new, powerful organism, which is alive in the hands of the poet. Fragments from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798) It is an ancient Mariner, And he stoppeth one of three. `By thy long grey beard and glittering eye, Now wherefore stopp'st thou me? The bridegroom's doors are opened wide, And I am next of kin; The guests are met, the feast is set: Mayst hear the merry din.' He holds him with his skinny hand, "There was a ship," quoth he. `Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!' Eftsoons his hand dropped he. He holds him with his glittering eye The Wedding-Guest stood still, And listens like a three years' child: The Mariner hath his will. The Wedding-Guest sat on a stone: He cannot choose but hear; And thus spake on that ancient man, The bright-eyed Mariner. ..


Discussion: Comment on the powerful, almost ghastly mariner and the way he arrests a wedding-guests attention.

Part II Down dropped the breeze, the sails dropped down, 'Twas sad as sad could be; And we did speak only to break The silence of the sea! All in a hot and copper sky, The bloody sun, at noon, Right up above the mast did stand, No bigger than the moon. Day after day, day after day, We stuck, nor breath nor motion; As idle as a painted ship Upon a painted ocean. Water, water, every where, And all the boards did shrink; Water, water, every where, Nor any drop to drink. The very deep did rot: O Christ! That ever this should be! Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs Upon the slimy sea.


.. Discussion: Comment on the imagery used by Coleridge to depict the unnatural immobility of the sea. Part V The loud wind never reached the ship, Yet now the ship moved on! Beneath the lightning and the moon The dead men gave a groan. They groaned, they stirred, they all uprose, Nor spake, nor moved their eyes; It had been strange, even in a dream, To have seen those dead men rise. The helmsman steered, the ship moved on; Yet never a breeze up blew; The mariners all 'gan work the ropes, Where they were wont to do; They raised their limbs like lifeless tools We were a ghastly crew. The body of my brother's son Stood by me, knee to knee: The body and I pulled at one rope, But he said nought to me. .. (The Literature Network, Discussion: Comment on the spectral image of the dead bodies steering the ship


The poem is a ballad and was very well received from its very first publication, as it delighted its readers through the musicality of its verses and the unusual, rather Gothic, theme. It is the account of a most terrifying experience at sea that an old sailor is bound to tell from time to time as if the expiate the horrible sin of having killed an albatross, an innocent bird, and having escaped death at sea. Due to his weird experience, the mariner is described as an alien who finds it difficult to integrate within a community. He is the perpetual sinner and repenter who has to reenact through telling his awe-inspiring experience. He stands for the individual who cannot escape his own conscience after having committed crime against One Life. Retaining a wedding-guest from the feast that follows a wedding by the force of his glittering eye and skinny hand, the mariner enforces on this one his story as a trasferrable burden. At the end of the story, the guest is no longer able to attend the wedding party and returns home. Listening to the old mariners story he partook of the old mans sin-and-redemption act and the next morning he rises a wiser but a sadder man. Moreover, the poem follows the pattern of a journey, which starts under good auspices and is then marred by the strange incident of the albatross shooting, which adds a mythical dimension to the poem. The story of the mariners ghastly experience also relates to borderland experience. It is the sort of event that occurs on the threshold between two worlds, the material world and the unknown. The poem can also be interpreted as a journey into the realms of the mind, into the subconscious where, as in one of the fragments chosen to illustrate our point, the sea is calm and silent, as if dead, where curses operate freely on people and Death and her mate, Life-in Death, cast dice and win or lose people. But the poem also contains a highly Christian lesson. It renders the fate of all sinners who have to pass through the purgatory voyage towards ultimate forms of repentance, and only after having experienced it all, death, humiliation, isolation, life-in death, can they find their way to Divinity and be saved by telling a simple blessing.


Discussion: 1. Describe the way utter immobility at sea is depicted as a sort of antechamber to death 2. Enlarge upon the theme of the voyage as described in the poem


Final discussion topics: 1. Define the long 18th century and its main cultural characteristics. 2. Discuss the 18th century novels that were presented in the course. Compare them in terms of plot, characters, time scheme, space setting and point of view. 3. Discuss some particularities of the Romantic doctrine as presented in the course. 4. Comment on a favorite poem.