The first edition of Lord Ifor Evans1 A Short History of English Literature was hailed by the Observer: 3Professor Evans writes to the classical model, brief and . Secretary, the British Institute of Adult Education. A SHORT HISTORY OF. ENGLISH LITERATURE. BY. B. IFOR EVANS i;z 72, PE FOACES. Leave this boolc. Nothine in Oid English Literature can compaxe with Beol’ Ai i has tbe size ad dignity of a cldsical he nehB &v{l to the stories of the Germanic .

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A Short History of English Literature

Samuel Johnson who created the dictionary!! Lord Byron has been over-discussed as a man and underestimated as a poet. The whole of the English countryside in its Maydays and fairings and its half-pagan rustic ritual comes to life in his poems.

Eric rated it really liked it Apr 22, Often in his verses he returns to the image of a boat upon a moonlit sea; or the crescent moon itself, shaped like a boat, burning in the clear Italian night. Spenser had chosen from the medieval romances, and particularly the Arthurian stories, a medley of narrative which he could weave into a series of allegorical adventures.

Actually no one did imitate the best in Chaucer. From collection he was led to invention and a series of poems followed which included Marmion and The Lady of the Lake Dec 20, Hagar rated it really liked it.

A Short History of English Literature by Benjamin Ifor Evans

Suppose him then at Petersburgh; suppose That pleasant capital of painted snows; Though criticism should concentrate on the poetry, one cannot escape Byron the man, for the man intrudes him- self everywhere into the verse. Wulfstan makes a flaming indictment of Aethelred, a weak and cowardly king, accusing him of unpreparedness in defence, of villages destroyed, of moral and national disintegration.

They made his reputation not in England alone, but throughout Europe from France to Russia. Some of his sonnets are addressed not to a woman but to a young man, ofor they are in if terms of warmest affection. All in a hot and copper sky, The bloody Sun, at noon, Right up above the mast did stand, No bigger tlian the Moon. litrrature

Dm Juan is one of the great poems m our language, a performance of rare artistic skill. Thought must be the harder: He saw that the France of the young Buonaparte was following, not the vision of the liberties of man, but the path of Charlemagne.

He gave an ah of authenticity to his adventures, with even the suggestion that he had himself indulged in similar exploits. One tradition has gone on too long. The text-books sometimes speak of the age which fol- lowed Pope as if it were dominated by his example.

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A Short History of English Literature – Ifor Evans, Bernard Bergonzi – Google Books

Though the Angles brought the story to England, it is not even about the Angles, but about the Scandinavians. Charles Churchill used the couplet in The Rosriad, his satire on actors, and in his political satire, but despite vehemence and an adroit expression he never matched Pope in the employment of the chosen medium.

Wyatt and Surrey are greater in the traditions which they literathre than in the poetry which they themselves produced, though, as already suggested, their own contri- bution has often been underestimated. The poem was unwise, unjust, and impertinent but rt had spirit and a flair for satire.

He felt, as Swift and Steme had done, the cruel disparity between what life was and what it might be. Let evns to new worlds have gone, Let Maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown, Let us possess one worM, each hath one, and is one.

The untidy and largely disreputable life of Christopher Smart culminated not merely in litsrature but in the madhouse-cell. Some of this melancholy may have been a hisgory, a delight in ruins, spectres, and midnight walks among the tombs, but it was real enough to colour the whole life of Thomas Graythe author of the ‘Elegy’.

He is most widely known shotr ‘John Gilpin ‘, a good jest, but actually the jest of a mind fretful and tormented, fighting in secret for its sanity. University of South Australia Library. Contraries exist in his mind, hietory they are ever moving one into the other He is the young gallant evqns ends his life as Dean of St Paul’s. Whilst round about them pleasantly did sing Many fair Ladies, and lascivious boys, That ever mixed their song with light licentious toys.

If tyranny were removed, and cruelty, and the corruption of man by man through jealousy and the exercise of power, life would be beautiful, and an experience governed by love. The German tribes, though they warred with each other, and with anyone else within reach, had a ‘free trade’ in stories.

And oft inclining down with kisses light, For fear of waking him, his lips bedewed, And through his humid eyes did suck his spright, Quite molten into lust and pleasure vy Wherewith she sighed soft, as if his case she rued. University of Queensland Library.

Once he had mastered an idea himself his desire to reveal it to others diminished. There are twelfth-century records at Ely, suggesting that lyric poetry was extant there at that time and giving to Canute the privilege of being one of the earliest of medieval poets. David rated it liked it Jun 04, It is true that his vision had limitations: The absence of this illustrative material was always felt as a serious loss.


The volume was an experiment, for Wordsworth was attempt- ing to make verse out of the incidents of simple rustic life, in a language that was a selection from the phrases of ordinary speech. The blight of commercialism.

T’was so; But this, all pleasures fancies be. If his verses are less read than once they were, and even if he is remem- bered by that ode ‘To a Hkstory, the least characteristic of his poems, he has had some permanent influence on life, for with his translucent spirit he has touched the philoso- phy of progress untii it has become vision, and from vision, Hie may come, John Keats 1 1the last-born of the romantics, and the first to die, has a story as miraculous as any in English literature.

There was a time when he would, confidently, be described as a greater poet than Blake, but recent criticism, even when not hostile, has dealt very severely with his work. One has to stretch across the years to reach Drayton and Daniel, but John Donne 1 seems often to stand before us as a contemporary.

The arid and negative ap- proach to Milton has now happily diminished, for the stature of works such as his cannot long be concealed It is true that in his own age he stood englsh apart, and that poetry followed other ways.

Oc could be less true. With these poets the text-books have always put Gavin Douglas, and so that the four may not be separated his name is added here. Open to the public. Courage must be greater as our strength grows less. Religion blushing veils her sacred fires, And unawares Morality expires.

In The Traveller and The Deserted VillageJohnson’s contemporary, Oliver Goldsmiththe son of an Irish clergyman, depicted the social and economic evils of his time in both England and Ireland.

He was a bourgeois who understood theCourt, buthehad akeeneyefor the ordinary man and he was a reader who had studied most of the literature hstory at his time. In his marriage he appears at his worst and then, for a short time, he seems to have been insane The world of sentimentality and self-conscious moral rectitude, in which Lady Literatufe lived, tormented him He histogy freedom of spirit only in Italy, sgort amid the Wild icmale creatures whom he gathered around himself m Venice, or in the gentle ministrations of Countess Guiccioh.