Only $35.99/year

Terms in this set (167)


"Dover Beach"
The most poignant image is the sea. The sea includes the visual imagery, used to express illusion, as well as the auditory imagery, used to express
reality. A vivid description of the calm sea in the first eight lines allows a picture of the sea to unfold. However, the next six lines call upon auditory
qualities, especially the words "Listen," "grating roar," and "eternal note of sadness." The distinction between the sight and sound imagery
continues into the third stanza. Sophocles can hear the Aegean Sea, but cannot see it. He hears the purposelessness "of human misery," but
cannot see it because of the "turbid ebb and flow" of the sea. The allusion of Sophocles and the past disappears abruptly, replaced by the auditory
image, "But now I only hear/ Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar/ Retreating to the breath/ Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear/ Andnaked shingles of the world" (Lines 24-28). The image is intensely drawn by Arnold to vividly see the faith disappearing from the speaker's world.
The image of darkness pervades the speaker's life just like the night wind pushes the clouds in to change a bright, calm sea into dark, "naked
In the final stanza, the speaker makes his last attempt to hold on to illusion, yet is forced to face reality. John Ciardi affirms, "Love, on the other
hand, tries to imagine a land of dreams and certitude" (196). Humanitarian sympathy becomes distinct in the spiritual image of love, even though the love which the speaker refers to is the unseen second person to which he communes.

The sea is calm to-night.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; -on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night air!...
Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light..

Other works:

• (A collection some of his best known poems, including Friday's Child)
o "As I Walked Out One Evening,"
o "Epitaph on a Tyrant,"
o "First Things First,"
o "Friday's Child,"
o "In Memory of Sigmund Freud,"
o "In Memory of W.B. Yeats,"
o "Lullaby,"
o "September 1, 1939,"
o "The Fall of Rome,"
o "The Shield of Achilles,"
o "Musee des Beaux Arts,"
o "The Unknown Citizen"

"In Memory of WB Yeats"
Three different sections memorializing Yeats: Repeating line -- Today was a cold, dark day.

He disappeared in the dead of winter:
The brooks were frozen, the airports almost
And snow disfigured the public statues;
The mercury sank in the mouth of the dying day.
What instruments we have agree
The day of his death was a dark cold day.
You were silly like us; your gift survived it all:
The parish of rich women, physical decay,
Yourself. Mad Ireland hurt you into poetry.
Now Ireland has her madness and her weather still,
For poetry makes nothing happen: it survives
In the valley of its making where executives
Would never want to tamper, flows on south
From ranches of isolation and the busy griefs,
Raw towns that we believe and die in; it survives,
A way of happening, a mouth.
(this is the whole of part II)
Earth, receive an honoured guest:
William Yeats is laid to rest.
Let the Irish vessel lie
Emptied of its poetry.
In the nightmare of the dark
All the dogs of Europe bark,
And the living nations wait,
Each sequestered in its hate
In the deserts of the heart
Let the healing fountain start,
In the prison of his days
Teach the free man how to praise.
Le Père Goriot (Old Goriot or Father Goriot) is an 1835 novel by Honoré de Balzac

The novel opens with an extended description of the Maison Vauquer, a boarding house in Paris' rue Neuve-Sainte-Geneviève covered with vines, owned by the widow Madame Vauquer. The residents include the law student Eugène de Rastignac, a mysterious agitator named Vautrin, and an elderly retired vermicelli-maker named Jean-Joachim Goriot. The old man is ridiculed frequently by the other boarders, who soon learn that he has bankrupted himself to support his two well-married daughters.

Rastignac, who moved to Paris from the south of France, becomes attracted to the upper class. He has difficulty fitting in, but is tutored by his cousin, Madame de Beauséant, in the ways of high society. Rastignac endears himself to one of Goriot's daughters, Delphine, after extracting money from his own already-poor family. Vautrin, meanwhile, tries to convince Rastignac to pursue an unmarried woman named Victorine, whose family fortune is blocked only by her brother. He offers to clear the way for Rastignac by having the brother killed in a duel.

Rastignac refuses to go along with the plot, balking at the idea of having someone killed to acquire their wealth, but he takes note of Vautrin's machinations. This is a lesson in the harsh realities of high society. Before long, the boarders learn that police are seeking Vautrin, revealed to be a master criminal nicknamed Trompe-la-Mort ("Cheater of Death"). Vautrin arranges for a friend to kill Victorine's brother, in the meantime, and is captured by the police.

Goriot, supportive of Rastignac's interest in his daughter and furious with her husband's tyrannical control over her, finds himself unable to help. When his other daughter, Anastasie, informs him that she has been selling off her husband's family jewelry to pay her lover's debts, the old man is overcome with grief at his own impotence and suffers a stroke.

Delphine does not visit Goriot as he lies on his deathbed, and Anastasie arrives too late, only once he has lost consciousness. Before dying, Goriot rages about their disrespect toward him. His funeral is attended only by Rastignac, a servant named Christophe, and two paid mourners. Goriot's daughters, rather than being present at the funeral, send their empty coaches, each bearing their families' respective coat of arms. After the short ceremony, Rastignac turns to face Paris as the lights of evening begin to appear. He sets out to dine with Delphine de Nucingen and declares to the city: "À nous deux, maintenant!" ("It's between you and me now!")
Lost Illusions — is a serial novel written by the French writer Honoré de Balzac between 1837 and 1843

Lucien Chardon, the son of a lower middle-class father and an impoverished mother of remote aristocratic descent, is the pivotal figure of the entire work. Living at Angoulême, he is impoverished, impatient, handsome and ambitious. His widowed mother, his sister Ève and his best friend, David Séchard, do nothing to lessen his high opinion of his own talents, for it is an opinion they share.

Even as Part I of Illusions perdues, Les Deux poètes (The Two Poets), begins, Lucien has already written a historical novel and a sonnet sequence, whereas David is a scientist. But both, according to Balzac, are "poets" in that they creatively seek truth. Theirs is a fraternity of poetic aspiration, whether as scientist or writer: thus, even before David marries Ève, the two young men are spiritual brothers.

Lucien is introduced into the drawing-room of the leading figure of Angoulême high society, Mme de Bargeton, who rapidly becomes infatuated with him. It is not long before the pair flee to Paris where Lucien adopts his maternal patronymic of de Rubempré and hopes to make his mark as a poet. Mme de Bargeton, on the other hand, recognises her mésalliance and, though remaining in Paris, severs all ties with Lucien, abandoning him to a life of destitution.

In Part II, Un Grand homme de province à Paris, Lucien is contrasted both with the journalist Lousteau and the high-minded writer Daniel d'Arthez. Jilted by Mme de Bargeton for the adventurer Sixte du Châtelet, he moves in a social circle of high-class actress-prostitutes and their journalist lovers: soon he becomes the lover of Coralie. As a literary journalist he prostitutes his talent. But he still harbours the ambition of belonging to high society and longs to assume by royal warrant the surname and coat of arms of the de Rubemprés. He therefore switches his allegiance from the liberal opposition press to the one or two royalist newspapers that support the government. This act of betrayal earns him the implacable hatred of his erstwhile journalist colleagues, who destroy Coralie's theatrical reputation. In the depths of his despair he forges his brother-in-law's name on three promissory notes. This is his ultimate betrayal of his integrity as a person. After Coralie's death he returns in disgrace to Angoulême, stowed away behind the Châtelets' carriage: Mme de Bargeton has just married du Châtelet, who has been appointed prefect of that region.

Meanwhile, at Angoulême David Séchard is betrayed on all sides but is supported by his loving wife. He invents a new and cheaper method of paper production: thus, at a thematic level, the commercialization of paper-manufacturing processes is very closely interwoven with the commercialization of literature. Lucien's forgery of his brother-in-law's signature almost bankrupts David, who has to sell the secret of his invention to business rivals. Lucien is about to commit suicide when he is approached by a sham Jesuit priest, the Abbé Carlos Herrera: this, in another guise, is the escaped convict Vautrin whom Balzac had already presented in Le Père Goriot. Herrera takes Lucien under his protection and they drive off to Paris, there to begin a fresh assault on the capital.
Eugénie Grandet is an 1833 novel by French author Honoré de Balzac

Eugénie Grandet is set in the town of Saumur. Eugénie's father Felix is a former cooper who has become wealthy through both business ventures and inheritance (having inherited the estates of his mother-in-law, grandfather-in-law, and grandmother all in one year). However, he is very miserly, and he, his wife, daughter, and their servant Nanon live in a run-down old house which he is too miserly to repair. His banker des Grassins wants Eugénie to marry his son Adolphe, and his lawyer Cruchot wants Eugénie to marry his nephew President Cruchot des Bonfons, both parties eyeing the inheritance from Felix. The two families constantly visit the Grandets to get Felix's favour, and Felix in turn plays them off against each other for his own advantage.

On Eugénie's birthday, in 1819, Felix's nephew Charles Grandet arrives from Paris unexpectedly at their home having been sent there by his father Guillaume. Charles does not realise that his father, having gone bankrupt, is planning to take his own life. Guillaume reveals this to his brother Felix in a confidential letter which Charles has carried.

Charles is a spoilt and indolent young man who is having an affair with an older woman. His father's ruin and suicide are soon published in the newspaper, and Charles' uncle Felix reveals his{[whose|date=February 2017}} problems to him. Felix considers Charles to be a burden and plans to send him off overseas to make his own fortune. However, Eugénie and Charles fall in love with each other, and hope to eventually marry. She gives him some of her own money to help with his trading ventures.

Meanwhile, Felix hatches a plan to profit from his brother's ruin. He announces to Cruchot des Bonfons that he plans to liquidate his brother's business, so avoid a declaration of bankruptcy, and therefore save the family honour. Cruchot des Bonfons volunteers to go to Paris to make the arrangements, provided Felix pays his expenses. The des Grassins then visit just as Felix and Cruchot des Bonfons are in the middle of discussions, and the banker des Grassins volunteers to do Felix's bidding for free, so Felix accepts des Grassins' offer instead of Cruchot des Bonfons'. The business is liquidated, and the creditors get 46% of their debts, in exchange for their bank bills. Felix then ignores all demands to pay the rest, whilst selling the bank bills at a profit.

By now, Charles has left to travel overseas. He entrusts Eugénie with a small gold-plated cabinet which contains pictures of his parents.

Later, Felix is angered when he discovers that Eugénie has given her money (all in gold coins) to Charles. This leads to his wife's falling ill with grief, and his daughter's being confined to her room. Eventually they are reconciled, and Felix reluctantly agrees that Eugénie can marry Charles.

In 1827, Charles returns to France. By now both of Eugénie's parents have died. However, Charles is no longer in love with Eugénie. He has become very wealthy through his trading, but he has also become extremely corrupt. He becomes engaged to the daughter of an impoverished aristocratic family, in order to make himself respectable. He writes to Eugénie to announce his marriage plans and to break off their engagement. He also sends a cheque to pay off the money that she gave him. Eugénie is heartbroken, especially when she discovers that Charles had been back in France for a month when he wrote to her. She sends back the cabinet.

Eugénie then decides to become engaged to Cruchot des Bonfons on two conditions: one is that she remains a virgin after marriage, and the other is that he agrees to go to Paris to act for her to pay off all the debts due Guillaume Grandet's creditors. Cruchot des Bonfons carries out the debt payment in full. This comes just in time for Charles to find that his future father-in-law objects to letting his daughter marry the son of a bankrupt. When Charles meets Cruchot des Bonfons, he discovers that Eugénie is in fact far wealthier than he is. During his brief stay at Saumur, he had assumed from the state of their home that his relatives were poor.

Cruchot des Bonfons marries Eugénie hopeful of becoming fabulously wealthy. However, he dies young, and at the end of the book Eugénie is a very wealthy widow of 33 having now inherited her husband's fortune. At the end of the novel, although by the standards of the time she should be unhappy - childless and widowed - she is instead quite content with her lot. She has learned to live life on her own terms, and has learned of the hypocrisy and shallowness of the bourgeois, and that her best friends will come from the lower classes.

Samuel Beckett was born to a Protestant family near Dublin, Ireland. He moved to Paris and become good friends with Joyce. Samuel Beckett's
first play, Eleutheria, mirrors his own search for freedom, revolving around a young man's efforts to cut himself loose from his family and social
obligations. His first real triumph, however, came on January 5, 1953, when Waiting for Godot premiered at the Theatre de Babylone. He wrote all
his major plays in French even though English was his native language. Other notable play: Endgame

Characters from Godot:
a boy

Characters from Endgame:

The main character, Hamm, behaves badly. At the end, he is alone in an apparently depopulated world.

The English title is taken from the last part of a chess game, when there are very few pieces left (the French title applies to games besides chess and Beckett lamented the fact that there was no precise English equivalent); Beckett himself was an avid chess player.

In the Paris Review article "Exorcising Beckett", Lawrence Shainberg claims that according to Beckett the characters' names signify the following: Hamm for Hammer, Clov for clou (the French for nail), Nagg for nagel (the German for nail), and Nell because of its resemblance to the death knell of the deceased.[1]

In his article, Developmental Psychology Re-discovered: Negative Identity and Ego Integrity vs. Despair in Samuel Beckett's Endgame,[2] Cakirtas claims that Beckett's characters have contradictory and ambivalent relationships with each other. They are in search for their identity through their inner thoughts' interaction with the external world—the world of 'existence and non-existence'. They are in necessity for 'trust' and the relatedness between age and ego. Although these efforts are attempts to cover prospective contingency, the negativity of the past responds to the brokenness of the same life, in the same breath. Flashbacks turn identity search inside out, and the feeling of 'self-integrity versus despair' gains intensity in the process of old age. Needs vary from childhood to old age; accordingly, the reaction-based inferences relieve not only the ontological existence of the characters, but also their mental and spiritual beings. These reaction-based inferences lead sometimes to identity distortion, and sometimes bodily/physical depressions, and sometimes spiritual meltdowns; so, Beckett refers to the vital skills of the characters/ in modern/post-modern world order.[3]

The first professional woman writer in English, lived from 1640 to 1689. After John Dryden, she was the most prolific dramatist of the Restoration,
but it is for her pioneering work in prose narrative that she achieved her place in literary history.
Her Satyr on Doctor Dryden is a harsh, reflexive critique on Dryden's conversion from Protestantism to Catholicism. A Satyr on Doctor Dryden is
the Protestant rebuttal to Dryden's anti-Protestantism seen in MacFlecknoe. Behn begins the poem by getting right to her point, "Scorning religion
all thy life time past, / And now embracing popery at last.
GRE in Literature Test Preparation 5/26/17, 10*17 AM Page 4 of 48
Oroonoko, or The Royal Slave
Oroonoko, an African prince and later a slave to the English who called him "Caesar"; Imoinda, his lover, also enslaved and sometimes called
"Clemene"; Jamoan, an opposing warrior chief who, conquered by Oroonoko, becomes his vassal; the King of Coramantien, whom Oroonoko
serves and later betrays, and who betrays him; the slave-running English ship captain; and various English colonists, especially the supposedly
sympathetic plantation overseer named Trefrey, the colony's deputy governor named William Byam, the gallant Colonel Martin, and "Bannister,
a wild Irishman
Synopsis: The prince, who has gotten to know Behn while he is a slave in Guiana and she is a sympathetic listener, tells her his story. Successful
in battle, he falls in love with a young woman who also catches the eye of the king. Having pursued their love surreptitiously, the couple is
discovered and Imoinda is sold into slavery. Oroonoko, a slave-owner himself, despairs and nearly is defeated in battle by Jamoan's army, but he
is roused to martial prowess by the pleas of his own troops. Lured upon an English ship by a captain with whom he previously had bought and
sold slaves, Oroonoko and all his men are betrayed and taken as slaves to Guiana. There he is reunited with Imoinda, and his noble bearing
attracts the praise of all who know him. However, circumstances force him to rebel against his masters and to lead an army of ex-slaves to seek
their freedom. His capture, his murder of his own wife, and his torture and execution by the English slave-owners end Behn's narrative.

English poet, noted for his mastery of dramatic monologue. Browning was long unsuccesful as a poet and financially depenent upon his family until
he was well into adulthood. He became a great Victorian poet. In his best works people from the past reveal their thoughts and lives as if speaking
or thinking aloud.

o "Caliban upon Setebos" (commentary)
o "Rabbi Ben Ezra," (Commentary)
o "How They Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix,"
o "Evelyn Hope,"
o "The Pied Piper of Hammelin,"
o "A Grammarian's Funeral,"
o "A Death in the Desert,"
o "The Bishop Orders His Tomb,"
o "Fra Lippo Lippi,"
o "My Last Duchess,"

Fra Lippo Lippi (First and Last)
I am poor brother Lippo, by your leave!
You need not clap your torches to my face.
Zooks, what's to blame? you think you see
a monk!
What, 'tis past midnight, and you go the
And here you catch me at an alley's end
Where sportive ladies leave their doors
ajar? [...]
Your hand, sir, and good-bye: no lights, no
The street's hushed, and I know my own
way back,
Don't fear me! There's the grey beginning.
Porphria's Lover (First and Last)
THE rain set early in to-night,
The sullen wind was soon awake,
It tore the elm-tops down for spite,
And did its worst to vex the lake:
I listened with heart fit to break.
When glided in Porphyria; straight
She shut the cold out and the storm [...]
Porphyria's love: she guessed not how
Her darling one wish would be heard.
And thus we sit together now,
And all night long we have not stirred,
And yet God has not said a word!
My Last Duchess (first and last)
That's my last Duchess painted on the wall,
Looking as if she were alive. I call
That piece a wonder, now: Fra Pandolf's hands
Worked busily a day, and there she stands.
Will `t please you sit and look at her? I said
"Fra Pandolf" by design, for never read
Strangers like you that pictured countenance,
[']Nay, we'll go
Together down, sir. Notice Neptune, though,
Taming a sea horse, thought a rarity,
Which Claus of Innshruck cast in bronze for me!
In his Biographia Literaria, the English Romantic poet Samuel T. Coleridge propounded the organic principle as the constitutive definition of the
poem: the whole is in every part, and every part can be found in the whole. The poem is that species of composition characterized, unlike works of
science, by the immediate purpose of pleasure, and also by special metric and phonetic arrangements; it produces delight as a whole and this
delight is compatible with the distinct gratification generated by each component part, which harmonizes with the other elements. T. S. Hulme, a
20th century English thinker, elucidated Coleridge's concept quite graphically in his Speculations: Essays on Humanism and the Philosophy of Art:
unlike mechanical complexity, vital or organic is that kind of complexity "in which the parts cannot be said to be elements as each one is modified
by the other's presence, and each one to a certain extent is the whole. The leg of a chair by itself is still a leg. My leg by itself wouldn't be."
In Coleridge's view, expounded in Biographia Literaria, a great poem is the product of both the primary imagination. "The secondary imagination"
dissolves, disperses, scatters, in order to re-create the material of the primary imagination; it represents creation as against vision.
Another important principle which the New Critics borrowed from Coleridge's poetic is contextualism. The English poet viewed the poem as a
product of the form-creating man; it had an independent existence, within the organic system of mutual relationships among the terms that made
up the context of the poem. Thus the poem was regarded outside any and all non-poetic contexts. ***This piece is very important to the new
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

OVERVIEW: This poem, the first part of which was written in 1797, is also a fragment. Coleridge had wanted to include it in the 1800 Lyrical
Ballads, but it was not yet finished; it was still incomplete when he finally published it in 1816. As it stands, the poem is the beginning of a medieval
GRE in Literature Test Preparation 5/26/17, 10*17 AM Page 6 of 48
tale about a demon or witch.' It is writen in a strange meter of four stresses to a line, and a varying number of unstressed syllables. (Such a meter
was used in medieval Anglo-Saxon poetry.)
PART 1. At the poem's opening, it is midnight in Landdale Castle. Everyone is asleep except Christabel, the lovely daughter of Sir Leoline, the lord
of the castle. Christabel is roaming in the woods, thinking about her lover, a knight to whom she is betrothed but who is now far away. Hearing a
moaning coming from the other side of an oak tree, Christabel discovers a beautiful pale lady, barefoot and with jewels in her hair, who begs for
help. Her name is Geraldine. She tells Christabel that she was abducted from her home by five warriors, who tied her to a white horse and brought
her to this oak tree and left her, vowing to return. Geraldine begs Christabel for help. They walk back to the castle of Sir Leoline, at the entrance to
which Geraldine falls down and must be lifted over the doorstep. This is the first of several hints that Geraldine is an evil spirit, because such
beings cannot pass on their own through a doorway that has been blessed. Likewise, when Christabel utters a prayer of thanks to "the Virgin" that
they are safe inside, Geraldine cannot join in the prayer. The old watchdog does not bark at this stranger; he only mutters in his sleep, and the
ashes in the fireplace suddenly flame up as Geraldine passes by. In Christabel's chamber the two ladies undress for sleep. They lie down together,
Christabel wrapped in the arms of Geraldine. As Christabel sleeps, the guardian spirit of her dead mother is driven away by Geraldine. Thus, by the
end of the first part, the poet has led the reader to the conclusion that Geraldine is entrapping Christabel or trying to seduce her, to capture her
soul. But he reminds us that "saints will aid if men will call."
PART 2. It is morning. Geraldine and Christabel rise and dress, but Christabel retains an uneasy sense of the sinister influence of Geraldine. They
visit Sir Leoline, to whom Geraldine introduces herself as the daughter of Lord Roland de Vaux, a man who had once been Sir Leoline's closest
friend but had since become a bitter enemy. Captivated by the beauty of Geraldine, who embraces and kisses him, Sir Leoline tells his bard Bracey
to travel to the castle of Lord Roland and invite him to come back to Langdale Castle. Meanwhile, Sir Leoline challenges the five scoundrels who
abducted Geraldine to appear at a tournament one week later to defend, if they can, their honor. But, seeing Geraldine's influence over her father,
Christabel asks that the guest be sent home at once. Sir Leoline, captivated by Geraldine and in a fury at this breech of hospitality, responds
angrily to his daughter. Christabel cannot explain her fears because her tongue has been bewitched by Geraldine. The second part ends with the
poet's meditation about the irrational anger of a parent toward an innocent child.
Faulkner's fourth novel, his favorite, primarily, he says, because it is his "most splendid failure." Depicting the decline of the once-aristocratic
Compson family, the novel is divided into four parts, each told by a different narrator.
Benjy Compson: Idiot, youngest child. He narrates the first section, and he is the key to the novel's title, which alludes to Macbeth: "It is a tale /
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, / Signifying nothing." He was castrated after allegedly sexually assaulting a young girl.
Quentin: Quentin's section has flashbacks to fewer moments in the past and is less disjointed than Benjy's section, but because he is more
intellectual and abstract, his section is much more fragmented. Nearly all of Quentin's flashbacks, except minor memories (such as breaking his
leg) and those depicting conversation with his father, concern Caddy's sexuality and/or Quentin's reaction to it. Commits suicide.
Compson, Candace (Caddy): Caddy is the veritable centerpiece of The Sound and the Fury and she played a different role in the eyes of her
three brothers: a caring, maternal figure to Benjy, a virgin/***** who upset his sense of the propriety of Southern womanhood to Quentin, and an
object of envy and detestation, who ruined his one chance at success, to Jason.' Does not have her own section.
Compson, Jason: A confirmed sadist, Jason Compson reveled in his cruelty to others, including his mother, their black servant Dilsey. A childless
bachelor, Jason thus represented the end of the Compson dynasty, since his older brother, Quentin, committed suicide in 1910 and his younger
brother, Benjy, was castrated. In 1933, following the death of his mother, he committed Benjy to the state asylum and sold the Old Compson Place
to a man wishing to open a boarding-house
William Faulkner

Faulkner's first novel published after The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, like the novel before it, is told in stream-of-conscious fashion by
fifteen different speakers in some 59 chapters. In its depiction of the Bundren family's quest to Jefferson to bury their dead matriarch, Addie, among
her "people," against the threats of flood and fire, the novel explores the nature of grieving, community, and family.
Cash Bundren: carpenter, broke his leg trying to get casket across the river, Anse (his dad) almost kills him by making a cast out of cement.
Darl Bundren: most prolific voice in AILD. Is clairvoyant. Committed at the end for burning down a barn. Goes crazy and talks about himself in 3rd
Dewey Dell Bundren: only daughter. Pregnant by Lafe and trying to get an abortion. Pissed at Darl because he figured out she was pregnant ' is
the main one that tries to commit him.
Jewel Bundren: (think Scarlet Letter), illegitimate child from Addie and Rev. Whitfield. She likes him best. He only has one monologue. Only Darl
knows he's illegitimate.
Quote: "If it had just been me when Cash fell off of that church and if it had just been me when pa aid sick with that load of wood fell on him, it
would not be happening with every bastard in the county coming in to stare at her because if there is a God what the hell is He for. It would just be
me and her on a high hill and me rolling the rocks down the hill at their faces, picking them up and throwing them down the hill faces and teeth and
all by God until she was quiet...."
Vardamann Bundren: youngest child. Catches a fish the day his mom dies and starts calling him mom the fish. (My mother is a fish) Thinks that
Dr. Peabody killed his mom.
• 1716-1771
o "Elegy Written in a Country Church Yard,"
o "Ode on the Death of a Favorite Cat, Drowned in a Tub of Gold Fishes"

Gray was the 5th and only surviving child of 12 children. Escaped an unhappy childhood (abusive father) when his uncle took him to Eton. Friends
with Horace Walpole (wrote the first Gothic novel, The Castle of Otranto ) and Richard West. Let us not forgot the amazing poem, "Ode on the
Death of a Favourite Cat, Drowned in a Tub of Gold Fishes". Alfred Lord Tennyson, a century later, spoke of Elegy's "divine truisms that make us
weep." It went through four editions in two months, and eleven in a short time, besides being imitated, satirized, translated into many languages,
and constantly pirated. (4line stanzas abab)

The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea,
The plowman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.

Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless breast
The little tyrant of his fields withstood;
Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,
Some Cromwell guiltless of his country's blood.

The Epitaph (to the poet Richard West)
Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth
A youth to Fortune and to Fame unknown.
Fair Science frown'd not on his humble birth,
And Melancholy mark'd him for her own.

Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere,
Heav'n did a recompense as largely send:
He gave to Mis'ry all he had, a tear,
He gain'd from Heav'n ('twas all he wish'd) a friend.

No farther seek his merits to disclose,
Or draw his frailties from their dread abode,
(There they alike in trembling hope repose)
The bosom of his Father and his God.

The Sun Also Rises is set in the bars and cafes of Paris and the bull-rings of Pamplona during the Festival of San Fermin and the running of the
bulls in the 1920s. The story is about a group of young Americans and English expatriats in Paris trying to enjoy their lives after the First World
War. Alocohol plays an important part of the story, often making the characters reveal their true selves when they are drunk.
Jacob Barnes (known as Jake) is the narrator of the story and the hero. He is an American from Kansas City now living in Paris and working as
writer/newspaper reporter. Jake is impotent after being wounded in the war but he is deeply in love with a woman called Brett - her full name is
Lady Brett Ashley, the title she inherited from her husband. Brett is seeking a divorce from her husband and it quickly becomes clear she is a very
shallow person who loves to tease men and have affairs with them but she is incapable of having any real deep feeling for anyone.
The story spans just a few weeks in the lives of Jake, Brett and a circle of friends. Hemingway makes much of the comaderie Jake has with men
and the support he always offers Brett, despite her rejection of him because he is impotent. Jake sits back and watches Brett's relationships with
men in a calm, controlled way but always painfully aware of his own physical inadequacies. Every time she breaks up with someone or is feeling
depressed she turns to Jake.
There is repetition in the story. The inevitability that Brett will have another affair, Jake is always there to comfort her. Michael is always there to put
up with her. Each character goes away to heal their wounds. Just like the sun always rising every morning and setting every night. Jake has one
friend, called Bill Gordon, he is the only male character not to fall in love with Brett but just enjoys the company of Jake in Spain, whilst they fish
and watch the bull fights. A bullfighter, called Pedro Romero also falls in love with Brett. He is a young, confident and handsome Spaniard, admired
by all for his expertise in the ring. He tries to change Brett, to make her into a more womanly woman. He wants her to grow her hair long, (she has
short boyish hair). Pedro will lose respect in his country if he carries on his liaison with Brett. They part but Brett is distraught, perhaps for the first
time. She runs to Jake for support. The story finishes with Brett telling Jake they should be together but they can't because he is impotent. Last
lines: As they ride in a taxi through the Spanish capital, Brett laments that she and Jake could have had a wonderful time together. Jake responds,
"Yes, isn't it pretty to think so?"
Told largely through dialogue. The story opens with a description of the setting, in rural Spain. We see a railway station between two lines of rails. It
is hot, and there is no shade or trees. The two central characters, an American man and a girl (whose nationality is not disclosed), sit at a table
waiting for a train to Madrid. The girl notes distant white hills against the warm, dry country, and comments that they look like White Elephants. The
man's response and her reaction to it hint at tension between the pair.
Eventually, on the third drink, the man raises the subject of an operation he is encouraging the girl to have. It becomes apparent that the operation
is an abortion. The man assures the woman that it is natural and that he will be there to support her if she goes ahead with it. Afterwards, he tells
her, they will go on as before. The girl seems unsure about having the abortion. When the American says he's known lots of people who've done it,
she says she has too, and adds with a hint of sarcasm that they were 'so happy' afterwards. When the man tells her she doesn't have to do it if she doesn't want to, she finally becomes serious, knowing the issue needs to be discussed. She questions whether things will be like they were before,
and whether the man will still love her. He tries to reassure her, saying things will be better between them when he doesn't have to worry about
their current situation. The girl seems persuaded, saying she will do it to make things 'fine' and because she doesn't care about herself.
Leaving the table the girl wanders to the edge of the station and looks at the scenery. In contrast to the scenery already noted, on the other side of
the tracks she sees fields and trees, even a river. Her mood seems to change when she returns to the table. The landscape has, to her, mirrored
their choice on one side barren aridity, on the other, fertile life. Their relationship has been changed by his attempts to manipulate her and they will
never get it back. His actions have made their future barren.
When the man tries to placate her, sensing her mood shift, she tells him to stop talking. She indicates that it is too late for him to make things
better. He notes the other people waiting reasonably for their train ' implying that he sees the girl as unreasonable. The story ends after he goes
back, with the girl reassuring him that she feels 'fine'.
In the tenth year of the war between the Greeks and the Trojans, Chryses, a priest of Apollo, comes to the Greek camp to ask for the return of his
daughter Chryseis. She had been captured during a raid and given as a prize to Agamemnon. When Agamemnon refuses to return the girl,
Chryses begs Apollo to punish the Greeks. The result is that a plague is sent upon them. A few days later, Achilles, the greatest of the Greek
warriors, calls an assembly of the Greek forces to discuss how they can bring the plague to an end. The prophet Calchas explains why Apollo isangry with the Greeks and proposes that Agamemnon give up Chryseis. Agamemnon agrees to let the girl if Briseis, the prize of Achilles, is given
to him. Achilles protests the loss of Briseis, but Agamemnon sends his men to take her away. Achilles is furious at this insult inflicted on him by
Agamemnon and refuses to take any further part in the fighting. He also asks his mother, Thetis, to persuade Zeus to humble Agamemnon and the
Greeks. Since Zeus favors Thetis, he agrees to honor her request.
On the next day, Agamemnon marshals the Greek forces, excluding Achilles and his men, and attacks the Trojans. The Greeks succeed in their
efforts due to the brilliant fighting of Diomedes. On the second day of battle, the gods, following Zeus' orders, begin to help the Trojans, and the
Greeks are driven back by the Trojans. At the end of the day, the Trojans do not even return to Troy for protection; instead, they are so confident of
their abilities that they camp on the plain, ready for an onslaught on the Greek camp the next day.
Worrying about the Greek losses of the day, Agamemnon realizes how greatly his army depends upon the prowess of Achilles. As a result, he
sends an embassy to the Greek hero to admit that he was wrong and offering to restore Briseis and give Achilles many other gifts if he would rejoin
the fighting. The proud Achilles refuses the offer.
To restore the morale of the Greek forces, Odysseus and Diomedes make a successful night attack upon the camp of one of the Trojan allies; but
when the fighting begins on the third day, the Trojans, with the help of the gods, again drive the Greeks into retreat. All the great Greek heroes,
except Aias, are wounded in the fighting and are forced to leave the battle. As a result, the Trojans succeed in breaking through the Greek wall and
are at the point of setting fire to their ships. Worried about the eminent defeat of the Greeks, Patroclos approaches his friend Achilles and
begs him to return to the fight. Achilles agrees to let his men help in the battle and lends Patroclos his own armor for the fight.
The reappearance of Achilles' forces temporarily turns the tide of the battle in favor of the Greeks, and they are able to force the Trojans back.
Hector, however, is successful in killing Patroclos and stripping the armor of Achilles from his body. Suffering over the loss of Patroclos and the
armor, the Greeks are easily pushed by the Trojans into full retreat once again. Achilles, learning of the events of the day, has had enough. The
death of Patroclos motivates him to rejoin the fighting. When he returns to the Greek camp and shouts his battle cry, the Trojans tremble in fear and
retreat. Zeus also makes the decision to let the gods help on both sides of the fighting.
o "To the Memory of My Beloved Master William Shakespeare"
o "To the Reader,"
o "Pleasure Reconciled to Virtue,"
o "On My First Son,"
o "Perfection in Small Things"

In Volpone, Ben Jonson celebrates the joy of a good trick. He emphasizes the fun and the humor of deceit, but he does not overlook its nastiness,
and in the end he punishes the deceivers. The play centers around the wealthy Volpone, who, having no wife or children, pretends to be dying and,
with the help of his wily servant Mosca, eggs on several greedy characters, each of whom hopes to be made Volpone's sole heir. Jonson's ardent
love of language reveals itself throughout the play, but especially in the words of Mosca and Volpone, who relish the deceptive powers of language.
Volpone himself pursues his schemes partly out of greed, but partly out of his passionate love of getting the best of people. He cannot resist the
temptation to outsmart those around him, particularly when fate delivers him such perfect gulls as the lawyer Voltore, the merchant Corvino, the
doddering old Corbaccio, and the foolish English travelers Sir Politic and Lady Would-Be. Mosca too revels in his ability to beguile others,
remarking "I fear I shall begin to grow in love / With my dear self," so thrilled is he with his own manipulations. His self-love, however, proves his
undoing, as it does for Volpone. Both characters become so entranced by their own elaborate fictions that they cannot bring themselves to stop
their scheming before they betray themselves.
o The Lives of the English Poets,
o The Rambler
• "The Vanity of Human Wishes"
o Rasselas

History of Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia (1709-83)

Johnson's only work that is fictional. Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia, leaves the easy life of the Happy Valley, accompanied by his sister Nekayah,
her attendant Pekuah, and the much-travelled philosopher Imlac. Their journey takes them to Egypt, where they study the various conditions of
men's lives, before returning home in a `conclusion in which nothing is concluded'. Johnson's tale is not only a satire on optimism, but also an
expression of truth about the human mind and its infinite capacity for hope.

Preface to Shakespeare

Johnson makes his Shakespearian criticism the foundation for general statements about man, nature, and literature. He is a true neo-classicist in
his concern with the universal rather than with the particular; the highest praise he can bestow upon Shakespeare is to say that his plays are "justrepresentations of general nature." The dramatist has relied upon his knowledge of human nature, rather than on bizarre effects, for his success.
"The pleasures of sudden wonder are soon exhausted, and the mind can only repose on the stability of truth," Johnson concludes. It is for this
reason that Shakespeare has outlived his century and reached the point at which his works can be judged solely on their own merits, without the
interference of personal interests and prejudices that make criticism of one's contemporaries difficult. Keywords: universal, natural.
One of Johnson's most stringent objections to Shakespeare's work arises from his strong conviction that literature is essentially didactic. He is
disturbed by Shakespeare's disregard of "poetic justice." Johnson was convinced that the writer should show the virtuous rewarded and the evil
punished, and he finds that Shakespeare, by ignoring this premis, "sacrifices virtue to convenience." The fact that in life evil often triumphs over
good is no excuse in Johnson's eyes: "It is always a writer's duty to make the world better."' Shakespeare's careless plotting and his "disregard for
distinctions of time and place" are also noted as flaws. Although Johnson dislikes Shakespeare's bawdry, he is willing to concede that that fault, at
least, might have rested with the indelicacy of the ladies and gentlemen at the courts of Elizabeth I and James I, rather than with the playwright.
These minor "errors" are far less irritating to Johnson than Shakespeare's use of puns: "A quibble was to him the fatal Cleopatra for which he lost
the world, and was content to lose it."

Adapted from Boccaccio's Decameron, Isabella is written in ottava rima (the stanza form that Byron brought back from Italy). Isabella and Lorenzo
fall in love with each other, but he is in a society class beneath her, she is from a wealthy family and lives with her two brothers. For a while they
are secretly in love, but do not speak of it. Then she falls ill and Lorenzo braves the risk of being shunned. But she is ill because she is in love with
Lorenzo and is pining away. When he speaks of his love to her, her spirits are lifted and they begin to steal secret moments together. Her two
brothers overhear and see them, and because he is of a lower class and unable to support her financially, they plot to murder him so that she has
no chance of marrying him against their wishes.
So they slay him in the forest and bury him. Then they return to tell Isabell they had sent him on business far away. She pines for Lorenzo and after
months, starts to fade in beauty because of her loss of love and life without Lorenzo. One night Lorenzo appears to her in a vision and tells her of
his death at the hands of her brothers and where he is buried. She takes an old nurse with her and together they unearth his grave. Isabella
removes his head from his body and wraps it in a scarf, then plants it in a pot and covers it with basil.
She cares for the basil with her tears and love, laments over the potted basil and grieves like a widow. The brothers are puzzled over her obsession
for the basil and steal it away from her. Then they discover the secret beneath the basil, and destroy it. Isabella is destroyed as well, and cries for
her sweet basil.
Fair Isabel, poor simple Isabel!
Lorenzo, a young palmer in Love's eye!
They could not in the self-same mansion dwell
Without some stir of heart, some malady;
They could not sit at meals but feel how well
It soothed each to be the other by;
They could not, sure, beneath the same roof sleep
But to each other dream, and nightly weep.
Form: Blank verse (for main plot), unrhymed iambic pentameter, set in 13 scenes with a prologue, three internal choruses, and an epilogue (the"A text" published in 1604) or five acts, composed of 4, 3, 3, 7, and 3 scenes, and all but the last scene begins with a "Chorus" delivering a
transitional epilogue (the significantly longer "B text" published in 1616, and probably contributed to by later poets). Subplot passages involving
Wagner, the Clown, the Horse Courser etc. usually are in prose and use colloquial diction to comic effect, though Faustus becomes involved with
the subplot in the end.
Characters: Major characters include Faustus, a German professor at Wittenberg who has turned magician, his servant Wagner, Mephistopholis
the tempting demon and Lucifer, his lord, and a host of minor characters (three scholars who hope to learn from Faustus, a troop of "clowns" or
country bumpkins whose quest for silly powers parodies Faustus' own desires, a set of high status characters including the pope and the emperor,
and a set of allegorical characters including Faustus' good and bad angels, and the Seven Deadly Sins (a stock favorite of medieval moralities--
Everyman transformed them into social types).
Summary: The scholar seeks the ultimate wisdom, and with it, the ultimate power, but becomes obsessed with power to the neglect of his spirit. A
demon, summoned, tempts him to surrender his soul for a brief period of exotic earthly powers. His servant and a gang of comic characters, in a
subplot, mirror Faustus' search for earthly power but with markedly less success (and, hence, less risk to their souls!). Faustus trades his spirit for
illusions like his vision of Helen, a "dumbshow" (silent play) or metadrama that occurs within his own life's play and mocks his ambitions. Unlike
Goethe's Faust, Marlowe's Faustus remains confident in his own damnation until the end, and therefore he is correct, though also morally wrong.
Marlowe's own view of Faustus' career remains much more complex, however, since he shares many qualities with the necromancer.
Andrew Marvell, 1681

Andrew Marvell was born in Winestead-in-Holderness in 1621. He was a friend of John Milton who recommended him for the post of Assistant
Latin Secretary to the Council of State in 1653 - he finally got the job in 1657! While most of his poetry was not published during his lifetime, he did
have a number of satires published, notably The Rehearsal Transposed which was published in two parts and was a rebuttal of the opinions of the
Archdeacon of Canterbury. Samuel Parker. Thought of mostly as a metaphysical poet.
To His Coy Mistress is a poem of two halves: the first splendidly flatters by setting out what would be proper lengths of time in which to adore her, if
there was sufficient time. But having set her up, he follows on by telling her that there just isn't the time for all that "And your quaint honour turn to
dust" and so they should "tear our pleasures with rough strife". Human nature hasn't changed too much over the last three hundred years but I bet
few young ladies receive requests to dispense with their virginity in such a form today! The final couplet seems to confuse many. (Poem is 46 lines
long in heroic couplets.)
Had we but world enough, and time, 1.
This coyness Lady were no crime.
We would sit down and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love's day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges' side
Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the flood,
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews
But at my back I always hear
Times winged chariot hurrying near;.
Let us roll all our strength and all
Our sweetness up into one ball,
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough the iron gates of life:
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run. 46
One of the leaders of the Harlem Renaissance; known for his socialist politics. Different from the others because he adhered to old forms to write
his protest poetry. The Lynching, Harlem Dancer, America, Africa and If We Must Die are all sonnets. Also wrote the book Home to Harlem.

THE sun sought thy dim bed and brought forth light,
The sciences were sucklings at thy breast;
When all the world was young in pregnant night
Thy slaves toiled at thy monumental best.
Thou ancient treasure-land, thou modern prize,
New peoples marvel at thy pyramids!
The years roll on, thy sphinx of riddle eyes
Watches the mad world with immobile lids.
The Hebrews humbled them at Pharaoh's name.
Cradle of Power! Yet all things were in vain!
Honor and Glory, Arrogance and Fame!
They went. The darkness swallowed thee again.
Thou art the harlot, now thy time is done,
Of all the mighty nations of the sun.

Harlem Dancer
APPLAUDING youths laughed with young prostitutes
And watched her perfect, half-clothed body sway;
Her voice was like the sound of blended flutes
Blown by black players upon a picnic day.
She sang and danced on gracefully and calm,
The light gauze hanging loose about her form;
To me she seemed a proudly-swaying palm
Grown lovelier for passing through a storm.
Upon her swarthy neck black shiny curls
Luxuriant fell; and tossing coins in praise,
The wine-flushed, bold-eyed boys, and even the girls,
Devoured her shape with eager, passionate gaze;
But looking at her falsely-smiling face,
I knew her self was not in that strange place.

If We Must Die
If we must die, let it not be like hogs
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
Making their mock at our accursed lot.
If we must die, O let us nobly die,
So that our precious blood may not be shed
In vain; then even the monsters we defy
Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!
O kinsmen we must meet the common foe!
Though far outnumbered let us show us brave,
And for their thousand blows deal one deathblow!
What though before us lies the open grave?
Like men we'll face the murderous, cowardly pack,
Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!

Although she feeds me bread of bitterness,
And sinks into my throat her tiger's tooth,
Stealing my breath of life, I will confess
I love this cultured hell that tests my youth!
Her vigor flows like tides into my blood,
Giving me strength erect against her hate.
Her bigness sweeps my being like a flood.
Yet as a rebel fronts a king in state,
I stand within her walls with not a shred
Of terror, malice, not a word of jeer.
Darkly I gaze into the days ahead,
And see her might and granite wonders there,
Beneath the touch of Time's unerring hand,
Like priceless treasures sinking in the sand.

Moby Dick is told by Ishmael, a young man who wants to go to sea as a sailor to seek adventure and excitement. He signs on the whaling ship,
Pequod, along with his newfound Indian friend, Queequeg, whom he has met one night at the Spouter Inn in New Bedford. Queequeg is a native of
the Fiji islands and an expert harpooner.
The captain of the ship, the dark brooding Ahab, is obsessed with hunting a giant white sperm whale, Moby Dick. Some years ago during an
encounter at sea, Moby Dick had bitten off Ahab's leg. Thirsting for revenge, the one-legged Ahab decides to hunt the whale down. Thus, Ishmael,
along with the ship's crew, is caught under the spell of Ahab's obsession for Moby Dick.
The Pequod leaves Nantucket on Christmas Day for the Pacific, and along its journey, the narrator introduces the reader to quite a few of the ship's
members. Starbuck is the chief mate, Stubb, the second mate, and Flask, the third. There are also three harpooners: Queequeg, Tashtego, and
Daggoo. The narrator not only describes the crew but also provides a lot of information about sperm whales and how they are spotted and hunted.
One night Ahab gathers the crew around him and tells them of his quest: to catch the great white whale. The crew excitedly backs up his challenge
to kill this deadly creature; the rest of the night is spent in revelry. Ishmael discovers that Moby Dick is a temperamental and wicked beast who is
capable of sinking a whaling ship.
While Moby Dick is being hunted, the crew catches several sperm whales. On the first sighting of a whale, Ishamael ends up falling into the ocean
after his boat is capsized; the crew enjoys his misadventure. Another time Pip, the cabin boy, is thrown overboard and left for dead. Later he is
rescued and declared mentally insane from the experience of being in the sea. Along the way, the Pequod meets several other ships; Ahab has
only one question for each of them: "Hast seen the white whale, Moby Dick?" Some ships give Ahab news about the elusive white whale, but they
report that all their attempts to catch him have ended in disaster. One of the captains has lost an arm to the whale. Ahab, excited by this news,
goes back to the ship to make a new harpoon; in his excitement, he splinters his ivory leg.
The Pequod enters the Pacific Ocean much to the dismay of Starbuck and Stubb, who now realize the danger they are in and would prefer to
abandon their mission. Eventually, the Pequod enters the Japanese sea, where the white whale is often sighted. Then a typhoon hits the ship,
battering it with heavy seas. Ahab then spies the Rachel, whose crew explains that the white whale has destroyed a whole boat of crewmen,
including the captain's son.
Soon after meeting the Rachel, the Pequod sights the white whale. Two attempts on two consecutive days go in vain as Moby Dick escapes. On
the third day, Ahab drives a harpoon into Moby Dick's side. Furious, the wounded whale drives its massive head into the Pequod's side, smashing
its bow. Ahab still refuses to give up the chase. He throws another harpoon at the whale, as his entire ship is sinking. As he throws the second
harpoon, the rope gets entwined around Ahab's neck and drags him down into the water. The captain drowns, along with his crew. Only Ishmael
survives, rescued by the Rachel. In this tragic story, the writer paints a brilliant portrait of life at sea and the American whaling industry during the

After entering the harbor at St. Maria, off the coast of Chile, Captain Amasa Delano soon sees another ship approaching as well; it is an old and
majestic Spanish galleon. Delano then notices that the second ship has tattered sails and wanders here and there, nearly running aground, even
though it is clearly manned. Delano has one of his small boats lowered and is taken over to the ship to offer his assistance. He is met by a skeletal
Spanish captain (Benito Cereno), his attentive black servant (Babo), and a motley crew.
When Captain Delano offers his aid, no one seems eager about his assistance; they offer only apathetic thanks. As Delano waits for his crew to
return to his ship and get the necessary supplies to help the San Dominick, he gets the story of the strange ship's troubles and observes many odd
Benito Cereno begins to explain why the ship appears so tattered and broken. He tells Delano that the San Dominick tried to round Cape Horn and
hit terrible weather. Then disease broke out on board and killed all but a few of the Spaniards and many of the Africans. Next the ship was largely
stuck in calm water for two months. The ship has come to St. Maria to get water and food, for the few people on board are starving and dying of
thirst. Most of Cereno's explanation is plausible to Captain Delano, except for the two months of calm. As a result, he feels sympathetic to their
As he spends the day on the ship, Captain Delano sees several oddities. He notes that Babo seems to be a devoted servant, never leaving
Cereno's side; sometimes, however, he seems rather forward and acts rather inappropriately. Delano also notices that the Africans on board seem
to be in charge of the deck, supposedly because most of the crew has died; these powerful black men strike him as a bit threatening, even though they work in orderly fashion. Additionally, Delano notices that many times during the course of the day Cereno is reduced to trembling and
speechless gagging. Delano asks many questions, both orally and silently. When Delano's questions become especially direct, Babo leads Cereno
away into the hold in order to shave him; he explains that they are on a strict schedule. Although he is shocked at the poor manner in which
Cereno runs his ship, Delano cannot help having pity for Benito Cereno.
By the time the crew of The Bachelor's Delight returns with water and supplies, Captain Delano has decided to wash his hands of the whole weird
affair. After making sure that the San Dominick has the minimum necessary supplies, he takes his leave of Benito Cereno and climbs into the
waiting boat with his crew. As they push off, Benito Cereno jumps into the boat with them. Then Babo jumps in after Cereno and attempts to stab
him. Captain Delano quickly understands what has been happening on the San Dominick; he realizes that the African slaves have revolted and
control the ship. When the small boat finally pulls away, Babo has been taken prisoner, and Cereno has become the grateful cargo. As they depart,
a shroud falls from the bowsprit of the San Dominick; it has a human skeleton tied to it. Underneath are the scrawled words: Follow your leader.

Pope's "Essay on Criticism" is a didactic poem in heroic couplets, begun, perhaps, as early as 1705, and published, anonymously, in 1711. It is his
response to an ongoing critical debate, which centered on the question of whether poetry should be "natural" or written according to predetermined
"artificial" rules inherited from the classical past.
The poem commences with a discussion of the rules of taste which ought to govern poetry, and which enable a critic to make sound critical
judgements. In it Pope comments, too, upon the authority which ought properly to be accorded to the classical authors who dealt with the subject;
and concludes that the rules of the ancients are in fact identical with the rules of Nature: poetry and painting, that is, like religion and morality,
actually reflect natural law.
Pope then proceeds to discuss the laws by which a critic should be guided--insisting, as any good poet would, that critics exist to serve poets, not
to attack them. He then provides, by way of example, instances of critics who had erred in one fashion or another. What, in Pope's opinion (here as
elsewhere in his work) is the deadliest critical sin--a sin which is itself a reflection of a greater sin? All of his erring critics, each in their own way,
betray the same fatal flaw.
The final section of the poem discusses the moral qualities and virtues inherent in the ideal critic, who is also the ideal man--and who, Pope
laments, no longer exists in the degenerate world of the early eighteenth century.

The strongest defence of Pope came from Byron. If there were a general wreck of English literature, he wrote to his publisher, the English would
rush to save Shakespeare and Milton, but the rest of the world would save Pope's work first, because Pope was 'the moral poet of all civilisation'.
Byron was ready to defend Pope against all comers, and pretty much on any grounds -- as a poet of imagination and invention, as well as the poet
of good sense -- but in particular he insisted that what others called Pope's artificiality was in truth his faultlessness'.
Belinda arises to prepare for the day's social activities after sleeping late. Her guardian sylph, Ariel, warned her in a dream that some disaster will
befall her, and promises to protect her to the best of his abilities. Belinda takes little notice of this oracle, however. After an elaborate ritual of
dressing and primping, she travels on the Thames River to Hampton Court Palace, an ancient royal residence outside of London, where a group of
wealthy young socialites are gathering for a party. Among them is the Baron, who has already made up his mind to steal a lock of Belinda's hair. He
has risen early to perform and elaborate set of prayers and sacrifices to promote success in this enterprise. When the partygoers arrive at the
palace, they enjoy a tense game of cards, which Pope describes in mock-heroic terms as a battle. This is followed by a round of coffee. Then the
Baron takes up a pair of scissors and manages, on the third try, to cut off the coveted lock of Belinda's hair. Belinda is furious. Umbriel, a
mischievous gnome, journeys down to the Cave of Spleen to procure a sack of sighs and a flask of tears which he then bestows on the heroine to
fan the flames of her ire. Clarissa, who had aided the Baron in his crime, now urges Belinda to give up her anger in favor of good humor and good
sense, moral qualities which will outlast her vanities. But Clarissa's moralizing falls on deaf ears, and Belinda initiates a scuffle between the ladies
and the gentlemen, in which she attempts to recover the severed curl. The lock is lost in the confusion of this mock battle, however; the poet
consoles the bereft Belinda with the suggestion that it has been taken up into the heavens and immortalized as a constellation.

Marcel Proust was born to bourgeois parents living in Paris. His father was a doctor and his mother came from a rich and cultured Jewish family. In
1912 Proust produced the first volume of his seven-part major work, A la Recherche du Temps Perdu (Remembrance of Things Past). The massive
story of 3 000 pages occupied the last decade of his life. Remembrance of Things Past does not have a clear and continuous plot line. The
narrator is Marcel. He is not Proust but resembles him in many ways. Marcel is initially ignorant - only slowly does he begin to grasp the essence of
the hidden reality. At the end he is preparing to write a novel which is like the one just presented to the reader. Marcel's childhood memories start to
flow when he tastes a madeleine cake dipped in linden tea such as he was given as a child. "And as soon as I had recognised the taste of the
piece of madeleine soaked in her decoction of lime-blossom which my aunt used to give me (although I did not yet know and must long postpone
the discovery of why this memory made me so happy) immediately the old grey house upon the street, where her room was, rose up like a stage
set to attach itself to the little pavilion opening on to the garden which had been built out behind it for my parents (the isolated segment which until
that moment had been all that I could see); and with the house the town, from morning to night and in all weathers, the Square where I used to be
sent before lunch, the streets along which I used to run errands, the country roads we took when it was fine."

During the 20s and 30s he was one of the most widely read poets in the nation. He is known for using simple language in his poems to celebrate
the working people using the cadences of ordinary speech as his meter and rhyme. Best known for his poem about life in Chicago.

o "Chicago,"
o "Fog"
o "The Seafarer"

HOG Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler;
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders:
They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I
have seen your painted women under the gas lamps
luring the farm boys.
And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it
is true I have seen the gunman kill and go free to
kill again [...]

THE dago shovelman sits by the railroad track
Eating a noon meal of bread and bologna.
A train whirls by, and men and women at tables
Alive with red roses and yellow jonquils,
Eat steaks running with brown gravy,
Strawberries and cream, eclaires and coffee.
The dago shovelman finishes the dry bread and bologna,
Washes it down with a dipper from the water-boy,
And goes back to the second half of a ten-hour day's work
Keeping the road-bed so the roses and jonquils
Shake hardly at all in the cut glass vases
Standing slender on the tables in the dining cars.

PILE the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.
Shovel them under and let me work
I am the grass; I cover all.

And pile them high at Gettysburg
And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun.
Shovel them under and let me work.
Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor:
What place is this?
Where are we now?

Cool Tombs
WHEN Abraham Lincoln was shoveled into the tombs, he
forgot the copperheads and the assassin in the dust, in the
cool tombs.

And Ulysses Grant lost all thought of con men and Wall Street, cash and collateral turned ashes ' in the dust, in the
cool tombs.

Pocahontas' body, lovely as a poplar, sweet as a red haw
in November or a pawpaw in May, did she wonder? does
she remember? in the dust, in the cool tombs?
Prospero, rightful duke of Milan; a magician
Gonzalo, a good old counselor
Miranda, Prospero's daughter
Trinculo, Alonso's jester
Ferdinand, son of the King of Naples
Stephano, Alonso's drunken butler
Ariel, a bird-like spirit, servant of Prospero
Adrian & Francisco: attendants to Naples
Caliban, half man, half beast
Master of the Ship
Alonso, King of Naples
Sebastian, Alonso's traitorous brother
Antonio, Prospero's usurping brother
Iris, Ceres, Juno: spirits of the pageant
Gonzalo, a good old counselor
Nymphs and reapers

Act I: A tempest at sea batters the ship of the King of Naples, which is returning from the wedding of the King's daughter in Africa. On a nearby
island, Prospero, a magician and a Duke who has lost his realm, controls the sea and brings to shore his usurping brother and other old enemies
aboard the ship. Prospero and his daughter Miranda came to this isle after having been set adrift by his brother, Antonio. Only the assistance of a
good old counselor, Gonzalo, allowed their survival. On the isle, Prospero commands a spirit of the winds, Ariel, who has been the agent of the
tempest. He also rules over the island's only other occupant, the fishy Caliban, born of the witch Sycorax. Prospero brings all the voyagers safelyashore, but scatters them in groups about the island. Ferdinand, the young Prince of Naples, is led by Ariel's singing to Prospero's cave. Miranda,
who has seen no man other than her father, falls instantly in love with him
Act Two Stranded in another part of the island, Alonso, Sebastian, Antonio, and Gonzalo presume Ferdinand is dead. Alonso and Gonzalo fall
asleep, but Sebastian and Antonio remain awake, plotting the death of the sleeping king and his counselor. Ariel wakes the intended victims just in
time. In another area of the island, Trinculo, the jester, encounters Caliban. Stephano joins them and provides Caliban with liquor, so engaging his
Act Three Just as Sebastian and Antonio, upon arriving in this new land, plot to kill the King of Naples, so too Stephano and Trinculo engage
Caliban in a plot to kill Prospero and seize the island. Meantime, Miranda exchanges vows with Ferdinand, whom Prospero has set upon a labor of
log-bearing as a testament of his devotion. On the shore, Ariel mocks the royal party with a vanishing banquet and appears in the form of a Harpy
to remind them of their crime against Prospero and his daughter
Act Four At the cave, Prospero produces a pre-wedding masque for Ferdinand and Miranda, which is peopled with the spirits of goddesses and
nymphs. Remembering the threat of Caliban's plot, the magician abruptly stops the masque and sends Ariel to punish the conspirators, whom Ariel
pursues in the form of hunting dogs and drives through filthy ditches.
Act Five The royal party is now brought, spell-bound by Ariel's music, to Prospero, who reveals himself to them, orders Antonio to restore his
dukedom, and warns Sebastian against further plots. Alonso is allowed a view within the cave of Ferdinand and Miranda playing at chess. Ariel
brings in the three drunken conspirators, and Caliban submits himself to his true master. The task of reconciling past wrong and reforming
character completed, Prospero abjures his magic. All prepare to sail to Naples the next day.
Macbeth begins as King Duncan and his son, Malcolm, both fresh from battle, encounter a bloody sergeant, who reports that Macbeth and Banquo
have fought successfully and bravely for the king. Duncan punishes the Thane of Cawdor, who has turned traitor, and gives his title to Macbeth.
Macbeth and Banquo, returning from battle, encounter three 'weird sisters' on the heath. The sisters prophesy that Macbeth will become both
Thane of Cawdor and King and that Banquo will be the father of kings.As the weird sisters disappear, Ross and Angus arrive and greet Macbeth as
the new Thane of Cawdor.
Lady Macbeth receives a letter from her husband telling her of the prophecy. When he arrives at his castle, Dunsinane, she pushes him to bring the
prophecy to pass by killing the king, who will stay in their home that evening. That evening, Macbeth and Banquo discuss the sisters' prophecies,
then Macbeth imagines he sees daggers floating around him. After all are in bed, Macbeth kills the sleeping king and, horrified by what he has
done, rejoins Lady Macbeth. She takes the daggers from him and smears the sleeping guards with blood to put the blame on them.
As the Macbeths go to clean up, there is a knocking at the gate, which is answered by the drunken porters. Macduff and Ross arrive and discover
the murdered king. Macbeth murders the sleeping guards. The princes, Malcolm and Donalbain, flee because they fear for their lives, and
suspicion falls on them. The scene shifts to Macduff, the Thane of Fife, and his wife at home with their children, and we discover that Macbeth has
been crowned king. Macbeth, fearing Banquo and his heirs, arranges to have Banquo and Fleance murdered, but Fleance escapes. That night at a
state dinner, Macbeth is haunted by Banquo's ghost.
Tormented, Macbeth seeks the sisters again and receives three new prophecies: that he should beware Macduff, that no one born of woman will
harm him, and that he will never be vanquished until Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane Hill. They also show him that Banquo's heirs will
eventually rule Scotland. After they leave, Macbeth learns that Macduff has fled to Malcolm in England and he orders Macduff's family murdered.
When Macduff learns of the deaths, his intense grief steels his resolve to march on Scotland with Malcolm, Donalbain, Ross, and Siward.
Back at the castle, Lady Macbeth sleepwalks, distraught over all that has happened. A doctor can offer Macbeth no hope for her. Macbeth prepares
for the coming battle, but he is confident in the protection offered him by his prophecies. Lady Macbeth kills herself. A messenger reports that
Birnam Wood appears to be moving toward Dunsinane; in reality, Malcolm's soldiers are using tree branches to disguise their numbers. The battle
begins and it seems as though Macbeth will win the day until, confronted with Macduff, he finds that Macduff was not born of woman, but from his
mother's womb untimely ripped. Macbeth continues the battle, but is killed. Malcolm will become king.
Arms and the Man is one of Shaw's earliest plays. It was first produced in London in 1894. Set in Bulgaria in 1885, a soldier barely escapes from
battle during wartime and finds himself hiding in the daughter's room of the most prominent family in town. Her impending marriage plans are
thrown into pandemonium. In a war between Bulgaria and Serbia, the Serbian soldiers are fleeing. A Serbian soldier surprises Raina, the heroine,
by entering her bedroom for shelter. The Serbian officer is a Swiss mercenary soldier fighting on the Serbian side, his name is Captain Bluntschli.
Raina Petkoff had been dreaming of her fianc' Sergius; about how valiantly he had led the Bulgarians to victory. Bluntschli is a soldier who prefers asupply of chocolates to bullets when he goes to the front. Chocolate Cream Soldier
Raina Petkoff: Raina, the heroine of the play, is the only child of Major Petkoff and Catherine Petkoff. She is a "romantic" and had romantic notions
of love and war.
Catherine Petkoff: Catherine Petkoff, Raina's mother, is a middle-aged affected woman, who wishes to pass off as a Viennese lady. She is
"imperiously energetic" and good-looking. Major Petkoff, her husband, is a wealthy soldier.
Sergius: Sergius is handsome, as a romantic hero ought to be, has a good position in the army and supposed to be brave. He is supposed to be in
love with Raina but flirts with Louka (the family servant).
Bluntschli: Bluntschli is a Swiss professional soldier fighting for the Serbs (against Bulgaria). He believes that it is
better to be armed with chocolates than with ammunition on the battlefield. In contrast to Sergius "he is of middling stature and undistinguished
appearance". He is energetic and carries himself like a soldier.

Shelley was moved to write this essay by an ironic statement made by Thomas Love Peacock in his volume The Four Ages of Poetry. Peacock
stated that poetry was no longer useful because of the progress of technology and science. Shelley began his defense of poetry by distinguishing
between reason and imagination, asserting that reason is a lesser faculty, having to do only with the analysis of things. He argued that imagination
sees values and relationships and therefore is a creative faculty. Poetry, Shelley stated, is the expression of the imagination.
Shelley traces the development of poetry from early "savage" times to mature civilizations. He believes that the function of poetry is to give order to
the world and thereby to give pleasure. Thus, poets act as legislators, inventing the "art" of life, and also as prophets, because they focus on the
GRE in Literature Test Preparation 5/26/17, 10*17 AM Page 38 of 48
eternal and infinite rather than just the local and temporary. By this broad definition even philosophers like Plato or Bacon were poets, and the great
poets--Shakespeare, Dante, and Milton--were philosophers.
The effect of poetry is, first of all, pleasure. But more than that, poetry makes people better by softening their natures, by enlarging their
sympathies, by encouraging love, and by not being narrowly moralistic. Shelley states that the best poets do not try to teach and that society needs
poets. He argues that humans have more practical and technical knowledge than they can possibly use, but that without the values embodied in
poetry such knowledge is used to exploit people and cause them misery.
Shelley further proposes that poetry does not come from the reason or the will but rather form the mind in moments of inspiration. He states that
the imagination creates far more beautiful images than the composing poet can record. Thus a poet is a person of greater than ordinary sensibility.
The poet is happy in the operations of his own mind because he "turns all things to loveliness."
Finally, Shelley proposes in a second part (never written) to discuss contemporary poetic practice. He felt that he was living in an era of great
poetry, at a time when enormous social and political upheaval was inspiring poetry. What he called "the spirit of the age" gave power to each
individual poet. Shelley concluded with the most famous phrase of the essay: "Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the World." (Also
mentions Dante)
Quote: We have more moral, political, and historical wisdom than we know how to reduce into practice; we have more scientific and economic
knowledge than can be accommodated to the just distribution of the produce which it multiplies. The poetry in these systems of thought is
concealed by the accumulation of facts and calculating processes. . . . We want the creative faculty to imagine that which we know; we want the
generous impulse to act that which we imagine; we want the poetry of life; our calculations have outrun our conception. . . . The cultivation of those
sciences which have enlarged the limits of the empire of man over the external world has for want of the poetical faculty proportionally
circumscribed those of the internal world; and man, having enslaved the elements, remains himself a slave.
Richard Sheridan

Same person who wrote The School For Scandal.
malapropism is derived from Mrs Malaprop, continually trying to impress with long words but using the wrong ones). It is, in form, a parody of a
conventional romance, having two pairs of young lovers rather different from the norm.
To take the less important pair first, Faulkland is an exaggeration of the sensitive, jealous lover. His girl, Julia, is fairly insipid, but this is necessary
because the audience should instantly appreciate that his fears spring entirely from his own mind, and have no basis in her behaviour or
inclinations. (An example of this: when Julia returns to her country home briefly and he remains in Bath, Faulkland is at first made unhappy by the
thought that her life will be unhappy without him; but when, to reassure him, he is told that she continues to enjoy herself, he is tormented by the
thought that this proves her indifferent to him.)
In contrast to Faulkland and Julia, in the other pair of lovers it is not the man who is of interest but the woman. Jack Absolute is a typical young
hero, rather in the mould of Fielding's Tom Jones. Lydia Languish, however, is not just the more interesting of the two of them, but the play's main
character. (Having the major character in the play female is unusual for the period.) She is a hopeless romantic, addicted to the novels frequently
condemned by contemporaries as responsible for the corruption of the morals of young ladies. (The absurdity of that idea is one of the targets
Sheridan is attacking.)
In her desperate search for romance, Lydia rejects the fate of marriage to a young nobleman which is the allotted fate for a young lady of fortune.
She wants to elope with a penniless man, forcing Jack, who would be the sort of suitor of whom Lydia's family would approve, to disguise himself
as a poor army officer. Enjoying her clandestine meetings with "Ensign Beverley", Lydia is enraged when she discovers that he is, in fact, a
gentleman - and is only mollified when Jack persuades her that he is only pretending to be rich to trick her family so that he can spend more time
with her. (This is of course agreeably dangerous and romantic.)
-- Illiterate him, I say, quite from your memory. -- The Rivals. Act i. Sc. 2.
--'T is safest in matrimony to begin with a little aversion. -- The Rivals. Act i. Sc.
--A progeny of learning. -- The Rivals. Act i. Sc. 2.
--A circulating library in a town is as an evergreen tree of diabolical knowledge. -- The Rivals. Act iii. Sc. 1.
--He is the very pine-apple of politeness! -- The Rivals. Act iii. Sc. 3.
--If I reprehend anything in this world, it is the use of my oracular tongue, and a nice derangement of epitaphs! -- The Rivals. Act iii. Sc. 3.
Richard Sheridan

Brothers Joseph and Charles Surface, and their cousin Maria, are orphans in the care of their uncle, Sir Peter Teazle. Both brothers wish to
marry Maria. Lady Sneerwell, a malicious gossip and founder of The School for Scandal, wants to marry Charles and spreads false rumours about
an affair between Charles and Lady Teazle in an attempt to make Maria reject Charles. Meanwhile, Joseph is attempting to seduce Lady Teazle.
The brothers have a rich uncle, Sir Oliver, whom they have never met, and who visits them both incognito to test their characters before deciding
which of them shall inherit his fortune. He finds that Joseph is a sanctimonious hypocrite, and that Charles is a generous libertine, and prefers
In a farcical scene involving characters hiding behind furniture, Sir Peter learns of the plotting between Joseph and Lady Sneerwell, that the
rumours about Charles and Lady Teazle are false, and that his wife is merely a victim of Joseph's flattery. He is therefore reconciled with his wife,
and decides that Charles deserves to marry Maria. Lady Teazle, who has had a narrow escape from ruin, delivers an epilogue warning of the
dangers of scandal-making.
Here is the whole set! a character dead at every word. -- School for Scandal. Act ii. Sc. 2.
I leave my character behind me. -- School for Scandal. Act ii. Sc. 2.
Here's to the maiden of bashful fifteen;
Here's to the widow of fifty;
Here's to the flaunting, extravagant quean,
And here's to the housewife that's thrifty!
Let the toast pass;
Drink to the lass;
I 'll warrant she 'll prove an excuse for the glass. -- School for Scandal. Act iii. Sc. 3.
(497/6-406/5 BC)

o Antigone,
o Oedipus the King

Oedipus Rex

SOME twelve years before the action of the play begins, Oedipus has been made King of Thebes in gratitude for his freeing the people from the
pestilence brought on them by the presence of the riddling Sphinx. Since Laius, the former king, had shortly before been killed, Oedipus has been
further honored by the hand of Queen Jocasta.
Now another deadly pestilence is raging and the people have come to ask Oedipus to rescue them as before. The King has anticipated their need,
however. Creon, Jocasta's brother, returns at the very moment from Apollo's oracle with the announcement that all will be well if Laius' murderer be
found and cast from the city.
In an effort to discover the murderer, Oedipus sends for the blind seer, Tiresias. Under protest the prophet names Oedipus himself as the criminal.
Oedipus, outraged at the accusation, denounces it as a plot of Creon to gain the throne. Jocasta appears just in time to avoid a battle between the
two men. Seers, she assures Oedipus, are not infallible. In proof, she cites the old prophecy that her son should kill his father and have children by
his mother. She prevented its fulfillment, she confesses, by abandoning their infant son in the mountains. As for Laius, he had been killed by
robbers years later at the junction of three roads on the route to Delphi.
This information makes Oedipus uneasy. He recalls having killed a man answering Laius' description at this very spot when he was fleeing from his
home in Corinth to avoid fulfillment of a similar prophecy. An aged messenger arrives from Corinth, at this point, to announce the death of King
Polybus, supposed father of Oedipus, and the election of Oedipus as king in his stead. On account of the old prophecy Oedipus refuses to return to
Corinth until his mother, too, is dead. To calm his fears the messenger assures him that he is not the blood son of Polybus and Merope, but a
foundling from the house of Laius deserted in the mountains. This statement is confirmed by the old shepherd whom Jocasta had charged with the
task of exposing her babe. Thus the ancient prophecy has been fulfilled in each dreadful detail. Jocasta in her horror hangs herself and Oedipus
stabs out his eyes. Then he imposes on himself the penalty of exile which he had promised for the murderer of Laius.
o "Sunday Morning,"
o "The Emperor of Ice Cream,"
o "Thirteen Ways of Looking at A Blackbird,"
o "Anecdote of the Jar,"
o "The Snow Man"
o "Of Mere Being"
Typical modernist searching for something to bind his life now that religion, etc fails.
Was a lawyer; composed poems to and from the office.
Is now considered pretty major,
Poems include 'The Snowman, Sunday Morning, Death of a Soldier, Of Modern Poetry

Of Modern Poetry
The poem of the mind in the act of finding
What will suffice. It has not always had
To find: the scene was set; it repeated what
Was in the script.
Then the theatre was changed
To something else. Its past was a souvenir.
It has to be living, to learn the speech of the place.
It has to face the men of the time and to meet
The women of the time. It has to think about war
And it has to find what will suffice. It has
To construct a new stage. It has to be on that stage,
And, like an insatiable actor..

Sunday Morning
Complacencies of the peignoir, and late
Coffee and oranges in a sunny chair,
And the green freedom of a cockatoo
Upon a rug mingle to dissipate
The holy hush of ancient sacrifice.
She dreams a little, and she feels the dark
Encroachment of that old catastrophe,
As a calm darkens among water-lights.
The pungent oranges and bright, green wings
Seem things in some procession of the dead,
Winding across wide water, without sound.
The day is like wide water, without sound.
Stilled for the passing of her dreaming feet
Over the seas, to silent Palestine,
Dominion of the blood and sepulcher...
Henry David Thoreau, Walden (Transcendentalist)
As stated by Thoreau, the theme of Walden is self-realization and self-fulfillment. Self-actualization is attained through human unity with Nature.
Every aspect of Walden is focused on this idea. Thoreau moved to Emerson's household and became his handyman. He lived there from 1841 to
Since Walden is the autobiographical, non-fiction recounting of Henry David Thoreau's stay at Walden Pond, every event in the text is essentially
factual rather than imagined or created. The action is simply comprised of the events that happen to Thoreau during the two years that he spends
in the woods. The narrator feels that society has strayed too far from the pursuit of excellence and purity. He claims that mankind has become too
ambitious and greedy, enslaved by his own desire to own and possess. People have strayed away from simple lives offered by Nature's example.
The narrator decides to move to the woods, where he builds a small cabin. He plants a garden and lives off of what he can produce or capture. He
is isolated from other people for the most part, though he does have occasional visitors. He spends his time observing nature, wildlife, and the
seasons and contemplating the nature of man and the universe. He also reflects on the differences and similarities between society and nature. At
the end of two years, he returns to society. He writes down the factual story of his time in the woods, along with his interpretation of the events that
occurred. He offers his work as encouragement and motivation in the hope that society will purify itself.
"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears,
however measured or far away."
The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation."
Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
Thoreau begins his essay with the well-known motto - "That government is best which governs least." This carried to its natural conclusion is no
government at all, which he says will happen when people are prepared. He objects particularly to a standing army and the current "Mexican war,
the work of comparatively a few individuals using the standing government as their tool." Yet Thoreau realizes that the immediate need is not for no
government but for better government. "Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one
step toward obtaining it." Majorities usually rule because they are the strongest physically, and their policies are based upon expediency. Thoreau
asks whether it is not better to decide right and wrong by conscience which everyone has. "It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so
much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume, is to do at any time what I think right." But a corporation has no
conscience, although conscientious people may be a corporation with a conscience. Undue respect for law leads to soldiers marching to the wars against their wills, common sense, and consciences. Such men have let themselves become machines, serving the state with their bodies. Others,
like lawyers and politicians, serve the state with their heads. A few, reformers and martyrs, serve the state with their consciences also, but they are
usually treated as enemies.
Thoreau declares that he cannot associate with the American government, because it is a slave's government. He appeals to the right of revolution
and the case of 1775. He laments, "A sixth of the population of a nation which has undertaken to be the refuge of liberty are slaves." It has become
a military state, and honest men ought to rebel. He criticizes not only southern slave-owners but northern merchants and farmers who care more
about commerce and agriculture than they do about humanity. Thousands are against slavery and the war, but they do nothing about it. Voting, he
says, is like playing a game with right and wrong. Voting for the right does nothing for it if the majority passes the expedient instead. Thoreau
accurately predicts that by the time the majority abolishes slavery there will be no slavery left to abolish. Although it is not necessarily a man's duty
to work to eradicate a wrong, it is his duty not to support practically a wrong. We must not only refuse to fight in an unjust war, but also refuse to
support the unjust government which conducts the war. Thoreau suggests that individuals refuse to pay their quota into the treasury.
Virgil, The Aeneid
Bk I: After seven years of wandering, the Trojans are leaving Sicily for Italy. Juno, for a number of reasons, chief among them her continued
resentment of all things Trojan, arouses a storm that drives them off course to Carthage. They are welcomed by Queen Dido, who settled Carthage
after escaping her brother, who killed her husband. Venus makes Dido fall in love with Aeneas (as a way preemptively to thwart Juno). At a
banquet, Dido asks to hear the stories of his wanderings.
Bk II: An intense and tragic flashback to the Fall of Troy, including an account of the Trojan horse, the death of Priam, Aeneas\'92s loss of his wife
Creusa while he escapes with his father, Anchises, and his son, Iulus (also called Ascanius).
Bk III: Aeneas continues his narrative with a telling of his six years of wandering . His account includes the founding of several ill-fated settlements;
an encounter with the Harpies (perhaps contrived by Virgil so that Aeneas can share an experience with Jason and the argonauts); a meeting
Hector's widow Andromache (now married to Helenus, son of Priam); Apollo's prophetic advice-- including instructions to see the Sibyl at Cumae;
landing on the island of the Cyclops and meeting Achaemenides (thus, Aeneas shares an experience with Odysseus); and finally to Sicily, where,
we learn at the end of this book, Anchises dies.
Bk IV: The love affair of Aeneas and Dido. Jupiter sends Mercury to order Aeneas to leave Carthage and fulfill his divine mission to found Rome.
He immediately realizes he must sacrifice his personal happiness to his national and religious duty (he is "pious Aeneas"). He tries to explain to
Dido, but she accepts no explanation and, as the Trojans depart, she kills herself in despair.
Bk V: The Trojans return to Sicily and hold funeral games for Anchises. Juno causes Trojan women to set fire to the ships, but Jupiter puts the fire
out. While on the final leg of the journey, the helmsman Palinurus is swept overboard by the god Sleep.
Bk. VI: The Trojans land at Cumae in Italy (as instructed by Apollo), and Aeneas descends with the Sibyl to the underworld in order to consult the
ghost of his father. He sees Dido while he is there. Future heroes of Roman history pass in a pageant before him, and he returns to the upper world
Book VII: The Trojans reach the Tiber, and are welcomed by King Latinus, who recognizes Aeneas as the stranger referred to in an oracle as the
one who would marry his daughter Lavinia. She is already betrothed to Turnus the Rutulian. Juno intervenes and ensures that Turnus will fight the
Trojans. War breaks out.
Book VIII: Aeneas visits Evander, an Arcadian living on the site of Rome (Pallanteum), to seek help. Evander's son Pallas heads the Arcadian contingent. Venus has a shield made for her son Aeneas, and on it are pictures from (future) Roman history. The description of these at the end of
the book remind us why Aeneas has to fight Turnus, and what is at stake.
Book IX: While Aeneas is away, Turnus achieves great deeds. In a much remarked upon passage, Nisus and Euryalus are killed. Turnus breaks
into the Trojan camp but, because of pride and overconfidence, fails to open the gates so that his forces can join him. He escapes by jumping into
the Tiber.
Book X: Aeneas returns with Pallas and the war continues. Turnus seeks out Pallas and kills him, arrogantly boating over him and stripping off his
sword-belt. Aeneas, in anger an guilt, rages over the battlefield, killing, among others, Lausus, whose father, Mezentius, in depair, recklessly
engages Aeneas and is killed.
Book XI: The funeral for Pallas. A truce for burial of the dead is made, but the fighting shortly resumes. The deeds and death of Camilla, an Italian
warrior-maiden, are described.
Book XII: A single combat is arranged between Aeneas and Turnus; but the truce is broken-- by Juturna, Turnus's sister, who is instigated by Juno-
- and Aeneas is wounded. On Olympus, Juno accepts defeat on condition that the Italians shall be dominant in the Trojan-Italian stock from which
the Romans will descend. Aeneas pursues Turnus (as Achilles pursued Hector in the Iliad), and wounds him. Turnus begs for mercy. Aeneas
hesitates but, on seeing Pallas's sword-belt on Turnus's shoulder, kills him.
Subsequent events (told by Jupiter in Book I, line 266ff.): Aeneas founds Lavinium; three years later, Ascanius succeeds him and rules for 30
years before moving the settlement to Alba Longa. The Alban kings rule for 300 years (Aeneid 6.760) until Romulus, grandson of Numitor, founds
Known for his disagreements with other modernists.
He wrote stories, plays and autobiographies as well as poems. His most memorable achievement is probably his five books of poetry about the
humble and downtrodden Northern New Jersey city of Paterson, which few people would have seen as a fit subject for an epic poem. "No ideas but
in things," he writes in the first page, and to hammer the point home he studs this unpretentious but dramatic work with ancient newspaper articles,
anecdotes and letters from friends and admirers.
One of the letter-writers was A.G., an enthusiastic young poet admirer from Paterson. This was the then-unknown Allen Ginsberg. Williams wrote
the introduction for Ginsberg's first book of poetry, "Howl and Other Poems", in 1955. He died on March 4, 1963, the same year he was awarded
the Pulitzer Prize for Literature. Look for few words per line.

o "The Red Wheelbarrow,"
o "The Young Housewife," (Commentary)
o "Asphodel, That Greeny Flower," (excerpt)
o "This is Just to Say"

This Is Just To Say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox
and which
you were probably
for breakfast
Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold


When the world takes over for us
and the storm in the trees
replaces our brittle consciences
(like ships, female to all seas)
when the few last yellow leaves
stand out like flags on tossed ships
at anchor--our minds are rested
Yesterday we sweated and dreamed
or sweated in our dreams walking
at a loss through the bulk of figures
that appeared solid, men or women,
but as we approached down the paved
corridor, melted--Was it I?--like
smoke from bonfires blowing away

Landscape with the Fall of Icarus

According to Brueghal
when Icarus fell
it was spring
a farmer was ploughing
his field
the whole pageantry
of the year was
awake tingling
the edge of the sea
with itself

The Red Wheelbarrow

so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white
o Poetics
In it, Aristotle offers an account of what he calls "poetry" (a term which in Greek literally means "making" and in this context includes drama - comedy, tragedy, and the satyr play - as well as lyric poetry and epic poetry). They are similar in the fact that they are all imitations but different in the three ways that Aristotle describes:

Differences in music rhythm, harmony, meter and melody.
Difference of goodness in the characters.
Difference in how the narrative is presented: telling a story or acting it out.
In examining its "first principles", Aristotle finds two: 1) imitation and 2) genres and other concepts by which that of truth is applied/revealed in the poesis. His analysis of tragedy constitutes the core of the discussion

Aristotle distinguishes between the genres of "poetry" in three ways:

language, rhythm, and melody, for Aristotle, make up the matter of poetic creation. Where the epic poem makes use of language alone, the playing of the lyre involves rhythm and melody. Some poetic forms include a blending of all materials; for example, Greek tragic drama included a singing chorus, and so music and language were all part of the performance. These points also convey the standard view. Recent work, though, argues that translating rhuthmos here as "rhythm" is absurd: melody already has its own inherent musical rhythm, and the Greek can mean what Plato says it means in Laws II, 665a: "(the name of) ordered body movement," or dance. This correctly conveys what dramatic musical creation, the topic of the Poetics, in ancient Greece had: music, dance, and language. Also, the musical instrument cited in Ch 1 is not the lyre but the kithara, which was played in the drama while the kithara-player was dancing (in the chorus), even if that meant just walking in an appropriate way. Moreover, epic might have had only literary exponents, but as Plato's Ion and Aristotle's Ch 26 of the Poetics help prove, for Plato and Aristotle at least some epic rhapsodes used all three means of mimesis: language, dance (as pantomimic gesture), and music (if only by chanting the words).[15]
Also "agents" in some translations. Aristotle differentiates between tragedy and comedy throughout the work by distinguishing between the nature of the human characters that populate either form. Aristotle finds that tragedy treats of serious, important, and virtuous people. Comedy, on the other hand, treats of less virtuous people and focuses on human "weaknesses and foibles".[16] Aristotle introduces here the influential tripartite division of characters in superior (βελτίονας) to the audience, inferior (χείρονας), or at the same level (τοιούτους).[17][18][19]
One may imitate the agents through use of a narrator throughout, or only occasionally (using direct speech in parts and a narrator in parts, as Homer does), or only through direct speech (without a narrator), using actors to speak the lines directly. This latter is the method of tragedy (and comedy): without use of any narrator.
Having examined briefly the field of "poetry" in general, Aristotle proceeds to his definition of tragedy:

Tragedy is a representation of a serious, complete action which has magnitude, in embellished speech, with each of its elements [used] separately in the [various] parts [of the play] and [represented] by people acting and not by narration, accomplishing by means of pity and terror the catharsis of such emotions.

By "embellished speech", I mean that which has rhythm and melody, i.e. song. By "with its elements separately", I mean that some [parts of it] are accomplished only by means of spoken verses, and others again by means of song (1449b25-30).[20]

He then identifies the "parts" of tragedy:

plot (mythos)
Refers to the "structure of incidents" (actions). Key elements of the plot are reversals, recognition, and suffering. The best plot should be "complex" (i.e. involve a change of fortune). It should imitate actions arousing fear and pity. Thus it should proceed from good fortune to bad and involve a high degree of suffering for the protagonist, usually involving physical harm or death. However, new work also questions these traditional views: Aristotle says in three different places that tragedy can also go from misfortune to fortune, and the best type of tragedy in Ch 14 (like Cresphontes) ends happily and is explicitly ranked by him over Oedipus, which ends with great suffering.[21]
Actions should be logical and follow naturally from actions that precede them. They will be more satisfying to the audience if they come about by surprise or seeming coincidence and are only afterward seen as plausible, even necessary.
When a character is unfortunate by reversal(s) of fortune (peripeteia known today in pop culture as a plot twist), at first he suffers (pathos) and then he can realize (anagnorisis) the cause of his misery or a way to be released from the misery.
character (ethos)
It is much better if a tragical accident happens to a hero because of a mistake he makes (hamartia) instead of things that might happen anyway. That is because the audience is more likely to be "moved" by it. A hero may have made it knowingly (in Medea) or unknowingly (Oedipus). A hero may leave a deed undone (due to timely discovery, knowledge present at the point of doing deed). Character is the moral or ethical character in tragic play. In a perfect tragedy, the character will support the plot, which means personal motivations will somehow connect parts of the cause-and-effect chain of actions producing pity and fear.
Main character should be
good—Aristotle explains that audiences do not like, for example, villains "making fortune from misery" in the end. It might happen though, and might make the play interesting. Nevertheless, the moral is at stake here and morals are important to make people happy (people can, for example, see tragedy because they want to release their anger)
appropriate—if a character is supposed to be wise, it is unlikely he is young (supposing wisdom is gained with age)
consistent—if a person is a soldier, he is unlikely to be scared of blood (if this soldier is scared of blood it must be explained and play some role in the story to avoid confusing the audience); it is also "good" if a character doesn't change opinion "that much" if the play is not "driven" by who characters are, but by what they do (audience is confused in case of unexpected shifts in behaviour [and its reasons and morals] of characters)
"consistently inconsistent"—if a character always behaves foolishly it is strange if he suddenly becomes smart. In this case it would be good to explain such change, otherwise the audience may be confused. If character changes opinion a lot it should be clear he is a character who has this trait, not a real life person - this is also to avoid confusion
thought (dianoia)—spoken (usually) reasoning of human characters can explain the characters or story background
diction (lexis) Lexis is better translated according to some as "speech" or "language." Otherwise, the relevant necessary condition stemming from logos in the definition (language) has no followup: mythos (plot) could be done by dancers or pantomime artists, given Chs 1, 2 and 4, if the actions are structured (on stage, as drama was usually done), just like plot for us can be given in film or in a story-ballet with no words.[15]
Refers to the quality of speech in tragedy. Speeches should reflect character, the moral qualities of those on the stage. The expression of the meaning of the words.
melody (melos) "Melos" can also mean "music-dance" as some musicologists recognize, especially given that its primary meaning in ancient Greek is "limb" (an arm or a leg). This is arguably more sensible because then Aristotle is conveying what the chorus actually did.[22]
The Chorus too should be regarded as one of the actors. It should be an integral part of the whole, and share in the action. Should be contributed to the unity of the plot. It is a very real factor in the pleasure of the drama.
spectacle (opsis)
Refers to the visual apparatus of the play, including set, costumes and props (anything you can see). Aristotle calls spectacle the "least artistic" element of tragedy, and the "least connected with the work of the poet (playwright). For example: if the play has "beautiful" costumes and "bad" acting and "bad" story, there is "something wrong" with it. Even though that "beauty" may save the play it is "not a nice thing". Spectacle is like a suspenseful horror film.
He offers the earliest-surviving explanation for the origins of tragedy and comedy:

Anyway, arising from an improvisatory beginning (both tragedy and comedy—tragedy from the leaders of the dithyramb, and comedy from the leaders of the phallic processions which even now continue as a custom in many of our cities) [...] (1449a10-13)
Matthew Arnold

The central argument of the essay responds to what Arnold felt to be the prevailing attitude that the constructive, creative capacity was much more important than the critical faculty. Arnold's expanded definition of criticism, however--"the endeavour, in all branches of knowledge, theology, philosophy, history, art, science, to see the object as in itself it really is"--renders criticism a necessary prerequisite for truly valuable creation. Specifically, criticism is what generates "fresh" and "intelligent" ideas during a specific time and place in history, and Arnold claim that since literature works with current ideas (literature is "synthesis and exposition"), great works can only be generated in a climate of great ideas. Thus, Arnold argues that criticism prepares the way for creation.

Arnold pegs the work of the romantic poets after the French Revolution and in the earlier part of the century as creative, but without the quality of ideas necessary for truly great work. This is because, Arnold explains, the French Revolution devolved into an obsession with the political and practical, "quitting the intellectual sphere and rushing furiously into the political sphere." While Arnold praises the intellectual quality of the initial ideas, particularly Burke's, coming out of this "epoch of concentration," Arnold disparages the devolution of these ideas too manically into the political and practical.

In the present time, Arnold argues, criticism must maintain a position of "disinterestedness," keeping aloof from "the practical view of things" in order to "know the best that is known and thought in the world, and in its turn making this known, to create a current of true and fresh ideas." Its logic runs counter to that of self-satisfaction (what Arnold felt to be the problematic attitude of middle-class reformers) and thus leads men to desire greater perfection.

Arnold concedes, finally, that the work of the critic is "slow and obscure" and doesn't quite give an answer as to how the critic can make his work known to the so-called "practical" men. Arnold holds that the critic will be misunderstood, and English society is likely to be on the side of the likes of Bishop Colenso and Miss Cobbe, who offer "constructive" suggestions for living. Nevertheless, Arnold seems deeply hopeful that the recent commentary on the youth of today having less "zeal" means that they are in fact thinking more, and cultivating a more disinterested, critical life and in doing so, coming up with fresh, intelligent ideas.
Erich Auerbach, 1946

Mimesis famously opens with a comparison between the way the world is represented in Homer's Odyssey and the way it appears in the Bible. From these two seminal Western texts, Auerbach builds the foundation for a unified theory of representation that spans the entire history of Western literature, including even the Modernist novelists writing at the time Auerbach began his study.

Mimesis gives an account of the way in which everyday life in its seriousness has been represented by many Western writers, from ancient Greek and Roman writers such as Petronius and Tacitus, early Christian writers such as Augustine, Medieval writers such as Chretien de Troyes, Dante, and Boccaccio, Renaissance writers such as Montaigne, Rabelais, Shakespeare and Cervantes, seventeenth-century writers such as Molière and Racine, Enlightenment writers such as Voltaire, nineteenth-century writers such as Stendhal, Balzac, Flaubert, and Zola, all the way up to twentieth-century writers such as Proust, and Woolf. Despite his treatment of the many major works, Auerbach apparently did not think he was comprehensive enough, and apologized in the original publication in 1946 explaining that he had access only to the 'insufficient' resources available in the library at Istanbul University where he worked.[2] Many scholars consider this relegation to primary texts a happy accident of history, since in their view one of the great strengths of Auerbach's book is its focus on fine-grained close reading of the original texts rather than an evaluation of critical works.

The mode of literary criticism in which Mimesis operates is often referred to among contemporary critics as historicism, since Auerbach largely regarded the way reality was represented in the literature of various periods to be intimately bound up with social and intellectual conventions of the time in which they were written. Auerbach considered himself a historical perspectivist in the German tradition (he mentioned Hegel in this respect) exploring specific features of style, grammar, syntax, and diction claims about much broader cultural and historical questions. Of Mimesis, Auerbach wrote that his "purpose is always to write history."

He is in the same German tradition of philology as Ernst Curtius, Leo Spitzer, and Karl Vossler, having a mastery of many languages and epochs and all-inclusive in its approach, incorporating just about any intellectual endeavor into the discipline of literary criticism.

Auerbach was a Romance language specialist, which explains his admitted bias towards treating texts from French compared to other languages. Chaucer and Wordsworth are not mentioned even in passing, though Shakespeare and Virginia Woolf are given full chapters and Dickens and Henry Fielding make appearances.

Mimesis is almost universally respected for its penetrating insights on the particular works it addresses but is frequently criticized for what is sometimes regarded as its lack of a single overarching claim. For this reason, individual chapters of the book are often read independently. Most critics praise his sprawling approach for its reveling in the complexities of each work and epoch without resorting to generalities and reductionism. However, a work of this complexity comes with problems of its own. Auerbach has the habit sometimes of using a minor work as a representation of an era, such as upholding the obscure Antoine de la Sale as representative of the inferiority of Medieval prose literature while ignoring monuments like the Prose Lancelot or Prose Tristan.

By far the most frequently reprinted chapter is chapter one, "Odysseus' Scar" in which Auerbach compares the scene in book 19 of Homer's Odyssey, when Odysseus finally returns home from his two decades of warring and journeying, to Genesis 22, the story of The Binding of Isaac. Highlighting the rhetorically determined simplicity of characters in the Odyssey (what he calls the "external") against what he regards as the psychological depth of the figures in the Old Testament, Auerbach suggests that the Old Testament gives a more powerful and historical impression than the Odyssey, which he classifies as closer to "legend" in which all details are leisurely fleshed out and all actions occur in a simple present - indeed even flashbacks are narrated in the present tense.

Auerbach summarizes his comparison of the texts as follows:

The two styles, in their opposition, represent basic types: on the one hand [The Odyssey 's] fully externalized description, uniform illustration, uninterrupted connection, free expression, all events in the foreground, displaying unmistakable meanings, few elements of historical development and of psychological perspective; on the other hand [in the Old Testament], certain parts brought into high relief, others left obscure, abruptness, suggestive influence of the unexpressed, "background" quality, multiplicity of meanings and the need for interpretation, universal-historical claims, development of the concept of the historically becoming, and preoccupation with the problematic.

Auerbach concludes by arguing that the "full development" of these two styles, the rhetorical tradition with its constraints on representing reality and the Biblical or "realist" tradition with its engagement of everyday experience, exercised a "determining influence upon the representation of reality in European literature."

It is in the context of this comparison between the Biblical and the Homeric that Auerbach draws his famous conclusion that the Bible's claim to truth is "tyrannical," since

What he [the writer of the Old Testament] produced then, was not primarily oriented towards "realism" (if he succeeded in being realistic, it was merely a means, not an end): it was oriented to truth.

However, by the time Auerbach treats the work of Flaubert we have come full circle. Like the Biblical writers whose faith in the so-called "tyrannical" truth of God produces an authentic expression of reality, Flaubert's "faith in the truth of language" (ch. 18) likewise represents "an entire human experience."
Harold Bloom, 1973

It was the first in a series of books that advanced a new "revisionary" or antithetical[1] approach to literary criticism. Bloom's central thesis is that poets are hindered in their creative process by the ambiguous relationship they necessarily maintained with precursor poets. While admitting the influence of extraliterary experience on every poet, he argues that "the poet in a poet" is inspired to write by reading another poet's poetry and will tend to produce work that is in danger of being derivative of existing poetry, and, therefore, weak. Because poets historically emphasize an original poetic vision in order to guarantee their survival into posterity (i.e., to guarantee that future readers will not allow them to be forgotten), the influence of precursor poets inspires a sense of anxiety in living poets. Thus Bloom attempts to work out the process by which the small minority of 'strong' poets manage to create original work in spite of the pressure of influence. Such an agon, Bloom argues, depends on six revisionary ratios,[2] which reflect Freudian and quasi-Freudian defense mechanisms, as well as the tropes of classical rhetoric.

Clinamen - Bloom defines this as "poetic misreading or misprision proper".[3] The author makes a swerve away from a precursor, alluding to the proposition that the original work was only precise and accurate up until a particular end; at which point, the successive author makes the corrective motion.[4][5]
Tessera - Bloom defines this as "completion and antithesis".[6] The author elaborates upon a precursor's work, maintaining the precursor's terms and ideas but constituting them in another sense, with the implication that the predecessor failed to take the argument far enough in the first instance [7] [8]
Kenosis - Bloom defines this as a "breaking device similar to the defence mechanisms our psyches employ against repetition compulsions".[9] The author seeks a state of discontinuity, in the act of isolating themself from the influence of the precursor [10] [11]
Daemonization - Bloom defines this as a "movement towards a personalised Counter-Sublime, in reaction to the precursor's Sublime".[12] The author manipulates an apparent power of a precursor that they believe is superior to the precursor in an effort to dismiss the originality of the predecessor's work and perpetuate the greatness of their own.
Askesis - Bloom defines this as a "movement of self-purgation which intends the attainment of a state of solitude". In this process, the author diminishes both his own and his precursor's achievements, purging themself of all remnants of influence, with a rationale for independent, individual success and achievement.
Apophrades - Bloom defines this as the "return of the dead".The author is encumbered by his previous state of solitude and holds his work open for inspection with that of his predecessors Geddes 1999). Instead of proving detrimental to the author, this instead has the effect of the successor overpowering the predecessor, with the predecessor's work being read in terms of the successor's work.
Wayne C. Booth, 1961

In what was likely Booth's most-recognized book, The Rhetoric of Fiction, he argued that all narrative is a form of rhetoric.

The book can be seen as his critique of those he viewed as mainstream critics. Booth argues that beginning roughly with Henry James, critics began to emphasize the difference between "showing" and "telling" in fiction and have placed more and more of a dogmatic premium on "showing."

Booth argued that despite the realistic effects that modern authors have achieved, trying to distinguish narratives in this way is simplistic and deeply flawed, because authors invariably both show and tell. Booth observed that they appear to choose between the techniques based upon decisions about how to convey their various "commitments" along various "lines of interest."

Booth's criticism can be viewed as distinct from traditional biographical criticism (still practiced, especially among popular critics), the new criticism that argued that one can talk only about what the text says, and the modern criticism that argues for the "eradication" of authorial presence. Booth claimed that it is impossible to talk about a text without talking about an author, because the existence of the text implies the existence of an author.

Booth argued not only that it does not matter whether an author—as distinct from the narrator—intrudes directly in a work, since readers will always infer the existence of an author behind any text they encounter, but also that readers always draw conclusions about the beliefs and judgments (and also, conclusions about the skills and "success") of a text's implied author, along the text's various lines of interest:

However impersonal he may try to be, his readers will inevitably construct a picture of the official scribe who writes in this manner -- and of course that official scribe will never be neutral toward all values. Our reaction to his various commitments, secret or overt, will help to determine our response to the work.[2]

This implied author (a widely used term that Booth coined in this book; whom he also called an author's "second self"[3]) is the one who "chooses, consciously or unconsciously, what we read; we infer him as an ideal, literary, created version of the real man; he is the sum of his own choices."[4]

In The Rhetoric of Fiction Booth coined the term "unreliable narrator".

Booth also spent several chapters—which include numerous references to and citations from widely recognized works of fiction—describing the various effects that implied authors achieve along the various lines of interest that he identifies, and the pitfalls they fall into, depending upon whether the implied author provides commentary, and upon the degree to which a story's narrator is reliable or unreliable, personal or impersonal.

Booth detailed three "Types of Literary Interest" that are "available for technical manipulation in fiction":

(1) Intellectual or cognitive: We have, or can be made to have, strong intellectual curiosity about "the facts," the true interpretation, the true reasons, the true origins, the true motives, or the truth about life itself. (2) Qualitative: We have, or can be made to have, a strong desire to see any pattern or form completed, or to experience a further development of qualities of any kind. We might call this kind "aesthetic," if to do so did not suggest that a literary form using this interest was necessarily of more artistic value than one based on other interests. (3) Practical: We have, or can be made to have, a strong desire for the success or failure of those we love or hate, admire or detest; or we can be made to hope for or fear a change in the quality of a character. We might call this kind "human," if to do so did not imply that 1 and 2 were somehow less than human.[5]

In the 1983 edition of The Rhetoric of Fiction, which included a lengthy addendum to the original 1961 edition, Booth outlined various identities taken on by both authors and readers: The Flesh-and Blood Author, the Implied Author, the Teller of This Tale, the Career Author, and the "Public Myth"; and, the Flesh-and-Blood Re-Creator of Many Stories, the Postulated Reader, the Credulous Listener, the Career Reader, and the Public Myth about the "Reading Public."[6]
Joseph Campbell, 1949

Campbell explores the theory that important myths from around the world which have survived for thousands of years all share a fundamental structure, which Campbell called the monomyth. In a well-known quote from the introduction to The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Campbell summarized the monomyth:

A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.[3]

In laying out the monomyth, Campbell describes a number of stages or steps along this journey. The hero starts in the ordinary world, and receives a call to enter an unusual world of strange powers and events (a call to adventure). If the hero accepts the call to enter this strange world, the hero must face tasks and trials (a road of trials), and may have to face these trials alone, or may have assistance. At its most intense, the hero must survive a severe challenge, often with help earned along the journey. If the hero survives, the hero may achieve a great gift (the goal or "boon"), which often results in the discovery of important self-knowledge. The hero must then decide whether to return with this boon (the return to the ordinary world), often facing challenges on the return journey. If the hero is successful in returning, the boon or gift may be used to improve the world (the application of the boon).

Very few myths contain all of these stages—some myths contain many of the stages, while others contain only a few; some myths may have as a focus only one of the stages, while other myths may deal with the stages in a somewhat different order. These stages may be organized in a number of ways, including division into three sections: Departure (sometimes called Separation), Initiation and Return. "Departure" deals with the hero venturing forth on the quest, "Initiation" deals with the hero's various adventures along the way, and "Return" deals with the hero's return home with knowledge and powers acquired on the journey.[citation needed]

The classic examples of the monomyth relied upon by Campbell and other scholars include the stories of Osiris, Prometheus, the Buddha, Moses, Mohammed, and Jesus, although Campbell cites many other classic myths from many cultures which rely upon this basic structure. The alleged similarities between these shared hero legends is one of the basic arguments of the Christ myth theory.

While Campbell offers a discussion of the hero's journey by using the Freudian concepts popular in the 1940s and 1950s, the monomythic structure is not tied to these concepts. Similarly, Campbell uses a mixture of Jungian archetypes, unconscious forces, and Arnold van Gennep's structuring of rites of passage rituals to provide some illumination.[4] However, this pattern of the hero's journey influences artists and intellectuals worldwide, suggesting a basic usefulness for Campbell's insights not tied to academic categories and mid-20th century forms of analysis.
Henry James, 1888

The Art of Fiction was a response to remarks by English critic Walter Besant, who wrote an article that literally attempted to lay down the "laws of fiction." For instance, Besant insisted that novelists should confine themselves to their own experience: "A young lady brought up in a quiet country village should avoid descriptions of garrison life." James argued that a sufficiently alert novelist could catch knowledge from everywhere and use it to good purpose: "The young lady living in a village has only to be a damsel upon whom nothing is lost to make it quite unfair (as it seems to me) to declare to her that she shall have nothing to say about the military. Greater miracles have been seen than that, imagination assisting, she should speak the truth about some of these gentlemen."

James continually argues for the fullest freedom in the novelist's choice of subject and method of treatment: "The only obligation to which in advance we may hold a novel, without incurring the accusation of being arbitrary, is that it be interesting." In particular, James is suspicious of restraining fiction with specific moral guidelines: "No good novel will ever proceed from a superficial mind; that seems to me an axiom which, for the artist in fiction, will cover all needful moral ground."

James followed his own advice in criticizing the various writers included in Partial Portraits. In his long, engrossing essay on Maupassant, for instance, he couldn't help noticing the Frenchman's propensity for what James called the "monkeys' cage" view of human existence. But that didn't stop James from approving wholeheartedly of Maupassant's vigor, precision and conciseness in describing life as he saw it.

Similarly, James found much to appreciate in the intellectual force of George Eliot, the stolid but comprehensive detail-work of Anthony Trollope, the unbounded imagination of Robert Louis Stevenson, and the genial common sense of Alphonse Daudet. All very different writers, but all speak with validity from their personal view on life. This wide range presages the "house of fiction" image James would include in the New York Edition preface to The Portrait of a Lady, where each novelist looks at life from a particular window of the house and thus composes a unique and personally characteristic account.
Jacques Lacan, 1966

In his paper "The Mirror Stage as Formative of the Function of the I as Revealed in Psychoanalytic Experience," published in his book Écrits, Jacques Lacan attempts to understand the experience of an infant looking in the mirror and how it relates to the child's concepts of "self," moving, as Dr. Tamise van Pelt, retired professor of English from Idaho State University, says, in "a development sequence through a mirror 'stage' into a symbolic order [...]" (van Pelt). Lacan believes that the experience is helpful in understanding more specifically the construction of self, which Lacan refers to as "I." Because of this, he also believes that it completely invalidates the Descartian concept of cogito ergo sum, the belief that the ability to think proves and, by derivation, forms a unified self (1285). According to John Zuern, associate professor of English at the University of Hawaii, in Lacan's view, "any self-knowledge is to some degree an illusion" ("Lacan").

Lacan was fascinated by how children between the ages of six and 18 months engage in a kind of self-discovery play by looking in a mirror. He gives an archetypal example of a child in a walker to help him (and the child is always "him") learn to walk, which also restrains the child's movements and holds him upright, giving him the best possible view of the mirror. The child notices his movements in the mirror, and in so doing, realizes that he is seeing a reflection of himself. As a result, he forms his first impressions of himself, both in terms of his appearance and his physically mastery over the world around him. Lacan calls this stage of child development the "Mirror Stage" (1285).

Lacan believes that this stage is a part of a machine-like process of our psychological growth that reinforces his belief in "paranoiac knowledge" (1286), which is to say that he believes the formation of self that we experience while looking in a mirror is part of our drive to make sense of our world, creating a rational view of the world which, in Lacan's opinion, isn't so easily ordered.

For Lacan, when we look in the mirror, we "assume an image" - namely, a way of picturing ourselves (1286). Yet, because we have not yet learned language or learned to take on the images that the rest of society has for us, it is the very first such image that we take on and is a unique experience. All other self-images occur after we have learned language and started interacting with others, and so all other self-images are constructs of the other.

The I that we are experiencing, because it is untainted, is, Lacan believes, what Freud would call the "Ideal-I" (or "Ideal-Ich" or "Ideal-Ego") (1286). But because this I is formed in a mirror, it is a fantasy, an unreal image that only seems real. As Dr. Allen Thiher, Professor of French Literature at the University of Wisconsin, explains, "the ego exists for us only in the illusory identifications the imaginary offers, while our 'authentic being' is found in the absent world of signifiers, constituted by the Other, over which we have no control. In a sense we live in fictions [...]" (Thiher). The result is that, as we strive for paranoiac knowledge, for completion of our self-image, we have partially constructed it with a fantasy and thus it will always remain a fantasy. The irony of human development, then, is that we will forever remain broken, unable to fulfill our desire for rational order.

The case is further compounded by the fact that our self-image is one of incompletion, thanks to the fact that we see ourselves in the mirror and attempt to move, but our movements are awkward, jerky, and untrained. This, Lacan believes, is a result of "specific prematurity of birth" (1288). While other animals are born and can walk and run within hours, humans must be carefully tended by their parents for years, thus showing that when we come from the womb we are not fully developed as other animals are and, thus, are premature. Since we're already forming ideas of self while in this premature stage, we must also adopt our awkwardness into our I. Lacan believes this is the source of dreams involving such things as "disjointed limbs" and "growing wings," the idea that our own body is in some way broken or "fragmented" (1288). The I, however, is represented in dreams by images of strength and security and, at the same time, images of waste (1288). This, he believes, shows that while our I always seeks paranoiac knowledge, it also knows that this perfect self is a future possibility, and not the present reality, which is imperfect.

Zuern says that this understanding of the mirror stage gives us a way to diagnose patients, as the moment of moving out of the mirror stage, which involves the taking on of external images (the "social I") onto what had previously been an entirely self-formed I (the "specular I") ("Lacan"). After this point, Lacan says, the human desire is no longer for things of the self, but for input from other people (1289). We further begin to take on the social norms that make requirements against our desires, thus creating danger for ourselves (1289). Zuern says that the classic example of this, and the one Lacan uses, is the Oedipal Complex, for the general social norm that creates "[t]he prohibition of incest [...]" ("Lacan"). Lacan says that understanding this problem for the I helps us to understand the power struggle between the "libido and the sexual libido" (1289) which means, basically, our attempts to grow and improve versus our desires toward self-gratification. Even things such as "Samaritan" ideals, which appear altruistic, are not. Zuern says these acts help create a "gratifying vision of ourselves, for example, as saintly, self-sacrificing people" ("Lacan"). This concept is very similar to the Nietzschean belief that altruism is merely a disguise for an attempt to gain power over others, although Lacan would instead see this as a response to the influence of others. Taking on such images from others causes "a speaking subject" to be "decentered from an ideal ego whose unattainable image of perfection the child narcissistically wishes to find reflected by others, especially the mother" (van Pelt).

The entire problem creates an existential image - that we are identified by otherness and not self. Because of this, it's easy to fall into what Lacan sees as the trap of existentialist philosophy. However, according to Zuern, this creates the problem that the consciousness must be "self-aware," but Zuern also says that Lacan does not believe in self-awareness; instead, the I is formed from "méconnaissances" - misunderstandings that cause us to have an image of ourselves that is an illusion, and that we do not really know the real us because of this illusion. ("Lacan").

In the end, while Lacan believes this understanding of the mirror stage can help aid in psychoanalysis, can help us to figure out where we went wrong, he believes that the limit of psychoanalysis is similar to leading a horse to water - the analyst can accompany the patient on the journey, can ask him the proper questions to help him see his subconscious desires, but cannot force him to make that final discovery, that paradigm shift that helps him to see what his own true nature is (1290). This is the unfortunate limit of psychology. According to Zuernt, "we might say that the patient 'comes to terms with desire [...]'" ("Lacan") rather than actually understanding it.
F. R. Leavis (1895 - 1978) was a British literary critic of the early-to-mid-twentieth century. He taught for much of his career at Downing College, Cambridge and later at the University of York.

Leavis' proponents claimed that he introduced a "seriousness" into English studies, and some English and American university departments were shaped very much by Leavis's example and ideas. Leavis appeared to possess a very clear idea of literary criticism and he was well known for his decisive and often provocative, and idiosyncratic, judgements. Leavis insisted that valuation was the principal concern of criticism, and that it must ensure that English literature should be a living reality operating as an informing spirit in society, and that criticism should involve the shaping of contemporary sensibility.[21]

Leavis's criticism is difficult to directly classify, but it can be grouped into four chronological stages. The first is that of his early publications and essays including New Bearings in English Poetry (1932) and Revaluation (1936). Here he was concerned primarily with reexamining poetry from the seventeenth to twentieth centuries, and this was accomplished under the strong influence of T. S. Eliot. Also during this early period Leavis sketched out his views about university education.

He then turned his attention to fiction and the novel, producing The Great Tradition (1948) and D. H. Lawrence, Novelist (1955). Following this period Leavis pursued an increasingly complex treatment of literary, educational and social issues. Though the hub of his work remained literature, his perspective for commentary was noticeably broadening, and this was most visible in Nor Shall my Sword (1972).

Two of his last publications embodied the critical sentiments of his final years; The Living Principle: 'English' as a Discipline of Thought (1975), and Thought, Words and Creativity: Art and Thought in Lawrence (1976). Although these later works have been sometimes called "philosophy", it has been argued that there is no abstract or theoretical context to justify such a description. In discussing the nature of language and value, Leavis implicitly treats the sceptical questioning that philosophical reflection starts from as an irrelevance from his standpoint as a literary critic - a position set out in his famous early exchange with René Wellek (reprinted in 'The Common Pursuit'). Others, however, have argued that although Leavis's thinking in these later works is hard to classify - itself an important datum - it provides valuable insights into the nature of a language.

On poetry[edit]
Though his achievements as a critic of fiction were impressive, Leavis is often viewed as having been a better critic of poetry than of the novel.[23] In New Bearings in English Poetry Leavis attacked the Victorian poetical ideal, suggesting that nineteenth-century poetry sought the consciously 'poetical' and showed a separation of thought and feeling and a divorce from the real world. The influence of T. S. Eliot is easily identifiable in his criticism of Victorian poetry, and Leavis acknowledged this, saying in The Common Pursuit that, "It was Mr. Eliot who made us fully conscious of the weakness of that tradition" .[24] In his later publication Revaluation, the dependence on Eliot was still very much present, but Leavis demonstrated an individual critical sense operating in such a way as to place him among the distinguished modern critics.

The early reception of T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound's poetry, and also the reading of Gerard Manley Hopkins, were considerably enhanced by Leavis's proclamation of their greatness. His criticism of John Milton, on the other hand, had no great impact on Milton's popular esteem. Many of his finest analyses of poems were reprinted in the late work, The Living Principle.

On the novel[edit]
As a critic of the novel, Leavis's main tenet stated that great novelists show an intense moral interest in life, and that this moral interest determines the nature of their form in fiction.[25] Authors within this "tradition" were all characterised by a serious or responsible attitude to the moral complexity of life and included Jane Austen, George Eliot, Henry James, Joseph Conrad, and D. H. Lawrence, but excluded Thomas Hardy and Charles Dickens. In The Great Tradition Leavis attempted to set out his conception of the proper relation between form/composition and moral interest/art and life. This proved to be a contentious issue in the critical world, as Leavis refused to separate art from life, or the aesthetic or formal from the moral. He insisted that the great novelist's preoccupation with form was a matter of responsibility towards a rich moral interest, and that works of art with a limited formal concern would always be of lesser quality.
J.S. Mill, 1833

1) Poetry is not "matter of fact or science."

2) Poetry's purpose is to "act upon the emotions."

3) The interest felt in a novel . . . and is derived from incident.

4) The interest excited by poetry comes from the representation of feeling.

5) Poetry works internally--this is the appeal of poetry.

6) Novels work externally--this is the appeal of eloquence.

7) That which is eloquent aims primarily to achieve a desired effect on other people.

8) That which is poetic is "feeling confessing itself to itself . . . in symbols.

9) Eloquence is heard; poetry is overheard.
Mill begins his search for a definition of what poetry is by telling us what it is not. Poetry is not "matter of fact or science." Poetry's purpose is to "act upon the emotions." Science "addresses itself to the belief" (roughly corresponding to Shelley's category of reason), while poetry addresses itself to the "feelings" (Shelley's category of imagination).
But, Mill says, poetry isn't the only thing which acts on the emotions. Novelists work to make an emotional impression on readers just as poets do. Here Mill makes his primary categorical distinction: "there is a radical distinction between the interest felt in a novel . . . and the interest excited by poetry; for the one is derived from incident, the other from the representation of feeling." Poetry works internally; novels work externally. Mill calls these the appeals of poetry and of eloquence. That which is eloquent aims primarily to achieve a desired effect on other people; that which is poetic is "feeling confessing itself to itself . . . in symbols which are the nearest possible representations of the feeling in the exact shape in which it exists in the poet's mind." Eloquence is heard; poetry is overheard.
The passion for story is the passion of an individual's childhood of a society's primitivism: "the minds and hearts of greatest depth and elevation are commonly those which delight in poetry."
George Orwell, 1946

The essay focuses on political language, which, according to Orwell, "is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind." Orwell believed that the language used was necessarily vague or meaningless because it was intended to hide the truth rather than express it. This unclear prose was a "contagion" which had spread to those who did not intend to hide the truth, and it concealed a writer's thoughts from himself and others.[1] Orwell encourages concreteness and clarity instead of vagueness, and individuality over political conformity.

Orwell relates what he believes to be a close association between bad prose and oppressive ideology:

In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenceless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements. Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them.

One of Orwell's points is:

The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.

The insincerity of the writer perpetuates the decline of the language as people (particularly politicians, Orwell later notes) attempt to disguise their intentions behind euphemisms and convoluted phrasing. Orwell says that this decline is self-perpetuating. He argues that it is easier to think with poor English because the language is in decline, as the language declines, "foolish" thoughts become even easier, reinforcing the original cause:

A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.

Orwell discusses "pretentious diction" and "meaningless words". "Pretentious diction" is used to make biases look impartial and scientific, while "meaningless words" are used to stop the reader from seeing the point of the statement. According to Orwell: "In certain kinds of writing, particularly in art criticism and literary criticism, it is normal to come across long passages which are almost completely lacking in meaning."

Five passages[edit]
Orwell chooses 5 passages of text which "illustrate various of the mental vices from which we now suffer." The samples are: by Harold Laski ("five negatives in 53 words"), Lancelot Hogben (mixed metaphors), an essay by Paul Goodman[2] on psychology in the July 1945 issue of politics ("simply meaningless"), a communist pamphlet ("an accumulation of stale phrases") and a reader's letter in Tribune (in which "words and meaning have parted company"). From these, Orwell identifies a "catalogue of swindles and perversions" which he classifies as "dying metaphors", "operators or verbal false limbs", "pretentious diction" and "meaningless words". (see cliches, prolixity, peacock terms and weasel words).

Orwell notes that writers of modern prose tend not to write in concrete terms but use a "pretentious latinized style" (compare Anglish). He claims writers find it is easier to gum together long strings of words than to pick words specifically for their meaning, particularly in political writing, where Orwell notes that "[o]rthodoxy ... seems to demand a lifeless, imitative style." Political speech and writing are generally in defence of the indefensible and so lead to a euphemistic inflated style.

Orwell criticises bad writing habits which spread by imitation. He argues that writers must think more clearly because thinking clearly "is a necessary first step toward political regeneration". He later emphasises that he was not "considering the literary use of language, but merely language as an instrument for expressing and not for concealing or preventing thought."

"Translation" of Ecclesiastes[edit]
As a further example, Orwell "translates" Ecclesiastes 9:11:

I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

— into "modern English of the worst sort":

Objective consideration of contemporary phenomena compels the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account.

Orwell points out that this "translation" contains many more syllables but gives no concrete illustrations, as the original did, nor does it contain any vivid, arresting, images or phrases.

The headmaster's wife at St Cyprian's School, Mrs. Cicely Vaughan Wilkes (nicknamed "Flip"), taught English to Orwell and used the same method to illustrate good writing to her pupils. She would use simple passages from the King James Bible and then "translate" them into poor English to show the clarity and brilliance of the original.[3] Walter John Christie, who followed Orwell to Eton College, wrote that she preached the virtues of "simplicity, honesty, and avoidance of verbiage",[4] and pointed out that the qualities Flip most prized were later to be seen in Orwell's writing.[5]

Remedy of Six Rules[edit]
Orwell said it was easy for his contemporaries to slip into bad writing of the sort he had described and that the temptation to use meaningless or hackneyed phrases was like a "packet of aspirins always at one's elbow". In particular, such phrases are always ready to form the writer's thoughts for him to save him the bother of thinking, or writing, clearly. However, he concluded that the progressive decline of the English language was reversible,[6] and suggested six rules which, he claimed, would prevent many of these faults although, "one could keep all of them and still write bad English".

Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print. (Examples which Orwell gives of breaking this rule include ring the changes, Achilles' heel, swan song, and hotbed. He describes these as "dying metaphors", and argues that these phrases are used without knowing what is truly being said. Furthermore, he says that using metaphors of this kind makes the original meaning of the phrases meaningless, because those using the phrases do not know their original meaning. Orwell states that "some metaphors now current have been twisted out of their original meaning without those who use them even being aware of the fact.")
Never use a long word where a short one will do.
If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
Never use the passive where you can use the active.
Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
Walter Pater, 1873

Preface: According to Pater, the role of (aesthetic) critic was to "distinguish, to analyse, separate from its adjuncts, the virtue by which a [work of art] produce[s]this special impression of beauty or pleasure, to indicate what the source of that impression is, and under what conditions it is experienced." This is what he seeks to do in his collection of essays, which explore works of art and poetry spanning a historical period of over 500 years (the work is bracketed by explorations of what he sees as the spirit of the Renaissance from the 12th-century and the 18th-century).

Two Early French Stories: Pater makes the case that there were elements of what he considers to be the spirit of the Renaissance much before the traditionally understood Renaissance in fifteenth-century Italy. He cites two early 12th-century French stories as examples, Amis and Amile (the story of deep, male friendship and love, in which Amile is willing to slay his own children to cure Amis's leprosy) and Nicolette and Aucassin (the love story of a Saracen slave girl and the son of a Count).

Pico della Mirandola: Pater singles out Pico as a 15th-century Italian who sought to reconcile Christian and Pagan traditions. Pater particularly admires him for his non-historical/non-intellectual approach of making "Plato and Homer...speak agreeably to Moses." He evinces the spirit of looking for some kind of "diviner signification" than the temporally or spatially specific. Pater says it is not important that he was scientifically wrong about many things (for example, he thought the earth at the center of universe) but values him for his humanist spirit his passion for seeing the world as full of spiritual signification." For Pater, Pico was unmatched in his belief in "the spirit of order and beauty." In a word, Pico represents how "Renaissance of the fifteenth century was...great rather by what it designed or aspired to do, than by what it actually achieved."

Sandro Botticelli: Botticelli, generally known in Pater's time as a minor artist, embodied for Pater an "undercurrent of original sentiment" which was distinct from the dramatic passion of Giotto's (Generally Pater was critical of dramatic, spectatorial passion and a proponent for an internally motivated passion). Pater describes Botticelli's aesthetic as containing something of exile and loss, as well as struggle (for example, Botticelli's paintings of those who struggle in Dante's Divine Comedy between heaven and hell). "Sympathy for humanity in its uncertain condition" is what Botticelli captures.

Luca Della Robbia: Luca represents the "intense and individualized expression" of Tuscan 15th-century sculptors, shared by greats like Michelangelo. At the same time, Luca also manages to adhere to a sense of Hellenic "breadth, generality, universality." For Pater, Luca's work in low relief particularly enabled this "middle-way" between individuality and universality, the form's incompletion relieving a sense of the "hard realism" which tended to inhere in Greek sculpture.

The poetry of Michelangelo: Pater mainly characterizes Michelangelo as someone who unites the seemingly paradoxical attributes of "strength and sweetness." Most of his disciples, he argues, are men that tend to recognize only his "strength" and not his "sweetness." Characteristic of Michelangelo is also a kind of "incompleteness, which...trusts to the spectator to complete the half emergent form." The "sweetness" comes in part from a humanistic preoccupation with creation of man (Michelangelo doesn't take forms of nature as subjects). Pater re-reads Michelangelo's poetry/sonnets as not really about Vittoria Collona, as is traditionally thought, but as the "disappointment" of affection that may yet "charm." Finally, within Michelangelo's aesthetic is a willful consideration of serious topics like death, often yielding a serious and dignified sentiment of pity (as embodied by his "Pieta"). Pater views the "Pieta" as not an expression primarily of religious sorrow, but an aesthetic one in which a mother struggles with physical reality of "the stiff limbs and colourless lips" of her son.

Leonardo da Vinci: For Pater, Leonardo is fascinating for the "enigmatical" in his work. Pater narrates different life stages of Leonardo from his apprenticeship to Verocchio, a period of discontentment in which he embarked upon a frenzied study of nature, to his recommendation to Ludovico Sforza in 1483. The fruit of Leonardo's discontentment and desire for knowing how nature (broadly defined, including man) worked, was a "curiosity often in conflict with the desire of beauty, but generating, in union with it, a type of subtle and curious grace." In his landscape paintings, Leonardo looked for the "bizarre" and also did the same with human personality. For example his type of female beauty was often "nervous, electric, faint" and "clairvoyant." The Mona Lisa has "something sinister in it" and though based on a specific Florentine, Pater compares her to a kind of vampire, who has "is older than the rocks among with she sits" and who rather uncannily contains all of human history.

The School of Giorgione: Pater begins with observations on how different arts (art, music, poetry) express via different sensory apparatuses and so they are not equivalent. Aesthetic criticism seeks, in part, to explain such distinctions. One of Pater's most famous theses is that "all art aspires toward the condition of music" because in music, form and matter are least distinct (matter being the subject, or content). Lyric poetry approaches closer to music than other forms of poetry. Pater's "Giorgionesque" (not attributable, necessarily, to Giorgione the man) encompasses the spirit which approaches this kind of identity of form and matter, through its focus on the decorative (colors, lines, sensory details). Pater further describes the "Giorgionesque" as having "tact in selecting such matter as lends itself most readily and entirely to pictorial form." Subjects often include people playing music, listening to something (either in music, in nature, or in poetry), and also pictures which unite landscape and persons.

Joachim du Bellay: Bellay, a literary from the 16th-century French Renaissance, was one who provided a "softening" touch to the hardened, Rabelaisian aesthetic of his contemporaries. Bellay focused on form, trying to "ennoble the French language, to give it lustre" and to argue that contemporary French culture could be just as refined as classical culture. Bellay's aesthetic is representative of an age which "threw a large part of its energy into the work of decoration."

Winckelmann: This is the longest of the essays in The Renaissance and probably most completely reveals Pater's deep-seated Hellenism. In Protestant, eighteenth-century Germany, Winckelmann became interested in the "Hellenic ideal," finding in it, a more free way of living. Though Winckelmann never made it to Greece, Pater argues for affiliations of spirit rather than of nation: it is perfectly plausible that an individual growing up poor in Protestant Germany might feel a kinship with the artists of antiquity. This is an affinity of temperament, and it is with this kind of affinity that Pater concerns himself in his "history." Central to this Hellenic ideal were male-to-male love, as well as male beauty; Pater's extended musings on this topic is often drawn upon now to speak to Pater's gay sensibilties. Pater gives the interesting history of Winckelmann being murdered before getting a chance to meet Goethe on his return to Germany, but stresses that Goethe is to have been influenced by the Hellenic ideal via Winckelmann (again, affinities of temperament are available without physical meeting).

In delineating the Hellenic ideal, Pater describes "man at unity with himself, with his physical nature, with the outward world," something evident particularly in Greek sculpture which possesses a sensuousness that is not ashamed of itself as a Christian, ascetic might imagine. It is also not weighted down by worldly details that might be apparent from painting (the eyes are blank, the hair is like drapery). In a word, the human form is abstracted from the grossness of everyday life but yet intensely physical in an idealized way.

The essay ends with Pater saying that the modern world can't have this kind of sculpture but instead needs poetry which he understands as "all literary production which attains the power of giving pleasure by its form, as distinct from its matter. Only in this varied literary form can art command that width, variety, delicacy of resoruces, which will enable it to deal with the conditions of modern life." According to Pater, freedom in modern life is only available through such channelsm and Pater singles out Goethe as one who tries to wrestle with whether the Hellenic ideal of unity, "blitheness and repose" might be brought to the modern world (I think, by the way, this "blitheness and repose" might be something like Bataille's notion of being in water like water).

Conclusion: Pater's conclusion was to become infamous because people thought it might be a call for hedonism. In it, he describes life as a bunch of forces coalescing for a moment, and so thoughts too should have the same existence. Life and thoughts contribute to a "strange perpetual weaving and unweaving of ourselves," and experiences become subordinated to "impressions" that they make within the mind. Freedom inheres in the individual mind reigning supreme while controlling its impressions. Like Arnold, Pater believes in avoiding the trap of stale orthodoxy, and this is why this "strange perpetual weaving and unweaving" is necessary (and besides, natural, as his imagery of all of life and nature as forces coalescing suggests).

I rather like Pater's original title, because it signals his writing an alternate history--one based on aesthetic temperament as he so explicitly gives throughout his essays. It isn't misleading, then, but illuminating. Pater seeks to stand in place of traditional, scholarly understandings of an artist as constitutive of his biographical realities and sociocultural contexts. As Pater remarks in his chapter on Giorgione, he has no use for the scholars who would argue about whether or not any given painting is "authentic" or not—the point is that he is tracing a certain temperament or passion which he associates with the notion of a Renaissance. (Where Pater's notions--and also Arnold--seem paradoxical is that he does in fact associate the "Renaissance" spirit with specific historical periods, antiquity, and also 15th-century Italy as somehow particularly productive of this temperament. Thus while writing against scholarly cultural or biographical histories, he acknowledges the effect of such histories on the production of this artistic spirit which he values).

In writing this kind of history of temperamental affiliation, Pater, like Matthew Arnold, envisions the existence of an ideal which stands apart from (or perhaps, takes root deeper than) historical contingencies like social, political, or religious identification. For both, Hellenism is a cornerstone of this ideal, though Pater calls the ideal art and Arnold "culture." Inhering in both Paterian and Arnoldian philosophy is a kind of dream of equality (and relatedly, of freedom) via this apartness from such historical contingencies. Hadley's critique of Arnold, that this kind of dream of equality and freedom is in fact contingent on the culturally specific language of liberalism might then also apply to Pater. Additionally, inhering in both is the notion of universality--the faith that there exists an aesthetic ideal or cultural ideal that is "the best" and which may be agreed upon, which might seem immediately suspect to our modern doubt that such claims can be made.

Wilde's "Critic as Artist" offers a complementary framework for thinking about Pater's work as alternate history. In acting as the aesthetic critic, Pater is himself the artist, making known the Renaissance ideal to modern audiences through the literary form of criticism. As Pater himself remarks in his chapter on Winckelmann, such art forms as sculpture don't quite work anymore, because they can't account for the "conflicting claims," "entangled interest" and "distracted...sorrows" of a modern age. Pater's criticism is an attempt at art in the modern era, which requires variety and reflexivity, but which nevertheless reaches towards the unity, "bliteness and repose" associated with the Hellenistic spirit.
Ezra Pound, 1918

Ezra Pound's contribution to poetry is marked by his promotion of Imagism, a movement centered on clarity, economic language, and rhythm. Pound started this movement after studying Japanese forms of poetry like waka verse and haiku. These forms have strict conventions and are typically very frugal with words. According to Imagism, poets should write "in fear of abstractions." Imagism was based on three principles, compiled by Pound, Richard Aldington, and Hilda Doolittle:

1. Direct treatment of the "thing," whether subjective or objective.

2. To use absolutely no word that does not contribute to the presentation.

3. Regarding rhythm: to compose in the sequence of a musical phrase, not in the sequence of a metronome.

Though Ezra Pound had work published in a few small American publications, the poet started to make an impact on the literary scene only after moving to Europe. In July 1908, he published his first book of poetry called A Lume Spento (With Tapers Spent). Pound contributed to literary magazines such as Poetry, The New Freewoman, The Egoist, and BLAST while he was living in London and Paris, and helped other contemporary poets like T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost, James Joyce, and Ernest Hemingway shape their work.

Some of Ezra Pound's most famous works include Ripostes, Hugh Selwyn Mauberley, and The Cantos. Ripostes, a collection of 25 of Pound's poems, was published by Swift and Co. in London in February of 1912. Eight of these poems had appeared in magazines before this collection was published, and one was a repeat from his first book of poetry, A Lume Spento. Ripoestes marks the beginning of Pound's adoption of the Imagist style, and appropriately, it is the first time Pound uses the word "Imagiste."

Critics and scholars regard Hugh Selwyn Mauberley as a major turning point in Pound's career, and he completed it shortly before he left England. The Cantos is a long, 120-section poem that Pound was never able to finish. It contains his opinions on government, economics, and culture, and includes Chinese characters and other non-English quotations. The section of The Cantos that Pound wrote at the end of World War II in occupied Italy is called the The Pisan Cantos, and it won the first Bollingen Prize in 1948.

Pound's work has received mixed reviews, mainly because of the nature of his writing style. Critics identify Pound's strong lyricism and modernity, and also recognize that his Imagism was a reaction against abstraction in writing. Pound drew inspiration from the clarity of Chinese and Japanese verse as well as Greek classics in order to combat the increasing generalities in poetry. His legacy lives on because of the profound impact Imagism has had on modern poetry, and also because he nurtured many other poets' careers as the editor of numerous literary publications. In addition to the aforementioned writers, Pound also worked with Marianne Moore, Jacob Epstein, e. e. cummings, and George Oppen. However, Pound's work never gained a wide audience, and Pound himself recognized his own shortcomings as a writer because of his adherence to certain idealogical fallacies.
John Crowe Ransom, 1941

The New Critical theory, which dominated American literary thought throughout the middle 20th century, emphasized close reading, and criticism based on the texts themselves rather than on non-textual bias or non-textual history. In his seminal 1937 essay, "Criticism, Inc." Ransom laid out his ideal form of literary criticism stating that, "criticism must become more scientific, or precise and systematic." To this end, he argued that personal responses to literature, historical scholarship, linguistic scholarship, and what he termed "moral studies" should not influence literary criticism. He also argued that literary critics should regard a poem as an aesthetic object.[14] Many of the ideas he explained in this essay would become very important in the development of The New Criticism. "Criticism, Inc." and a number of Ransom's other theoretical essays set forth some of the guiding principles that the New Critics would build upon. Still, his former students, specifically Allen Tate, Cleanth Brooks, and Robert Penn Warren, had a greater hand in developing many of the key concepts (like "close reading") that later came to define the New Criticism.

1. Early in the 1940s Ransom described poetic composition as a "contention" between the logical meaning intended to be conveyed and formal properties such as meter, yielding for the poet an "excess" of "indeterminate" meanings and sound patterns (New Criticism 299), with which the poet can subsequently experiment (324). id.

o How to Read a Page
o Principles of Literary Criticism

I.A. Richards' paternity of the New Criticism is in two books of critical theory, The Principles of Literary Criticism (1924) and Practical Criticism (1929). The first book, The Principles of Literary Criticism, discusses the subjects of form, value, rhythm, coenesthesia (awareness of inhabiting one's body, caused by stimuli from various organs), literary infectiousness, allusiveness, divergent readings, and belief. The second book, Practical Criticism (1929), is an empirical study of inferior response to a literary text.

The critical method derived from that pedagogical approach did not propose a new hermeneutics, a new methodology of interpretation, but questioned the purposes and efficacy of the critical process of literary interpretation, by analysing the self-reported critical interpretations of university students. To that end, effective critical work required a closer aesthetic interpretation of the literary text as an object; which methodology produced the empirical-study work about the teaching of composition, e.g. "A Cognitive Process Theory of Writing " (1981), by Linda Flower and John R. Hayes (see: Writing process).

To substantiate interpretive criticism, Richards provided theories of metaphor, value, and tone, of stock response, incipient action, and pseudo-statement; and of ambiguity. This last subject, the theory of ambiguity, was developed in Seven Types of Ambiguity (1930), by William Empson, a former student of Richards'; moreover, additional to The Principles of Literary Criticism and Practical Criticism, Empson's book on ambiguity became the third foundational document for the methodology of the New Criticism.

To Richards, literary criticism was impressionistic, too abstract to be readily grasped and understood, by most readers; and he proposed that literary criticism could be precise in communicating meanings, by way of denotation and connotation. To establish critical precision, Richards examined the psychological processes of writing and of the reading of poetry. That in reading poetry and making sense of it "in the degree in which we can order ourselves, we need nothing more"; the reader need not believe the poetry, because the literary importance of poetry is in provoking emotions in the reader.[5]
John Ruskin, 1843-60

Ruskin coined the term "pathetic fallacy" to attack the sentimentality that was common to the poetry of the late 18th century, and which was rampant among poets including Burns, Blake, Wordsworth, Shelley, and Keats. Wordsworth supported this use of personification based on emotion by claiming that "objects ... derive their influence not from properties inherent in them ... but from such as are bestowed upon them by the minds of those who are conversant with or affected by these objects."[8] However Tennyson, in his own poetry, began to refine and diminish such expressions, and introduced an emphasis on what might be called a more scientific comparison of objects in terms of sense perception. The old order was beginning to be replaced by the new just as Ruskin addressed the matter, and the use of the pathetic fallacy markedly began to disappear. As a critic, Ruskin proved influential and is credited with having helped to refine poetic expression.[5]

The meaning of the term has changed significantly from the idea Ruskin had in mind.[9] Ruskin's original definition is "emotional falseness", or the falseness that occurs to one's perceptions when influenced by violent or heightened emotion. For example, when a person is unhinged by grief, the clouds might seem darker than they are, or perhaps mournful or perhaps even uncaring.[2][10]

There have been other changes to Ruskin's phrase since he coined it: The particular definition that Ruskin used for the word "fallacy" has since become obsolete. The word "fallacy" nowadays is defined as an example of a flawed logic, but for Ruskin and writers of the 19th century and earlier, "fallacy" could be used to mean simply a "falseness".[11] In the same way, the word "pathetic" simply meant for Ruskin "emotional" or "pertaining to emotion".[12]

Setting aside Ruskin's original intentions, and despite this linguistic 'rocky road', the two-word phrase has survived, though with a significantly altered meaning.
Edward W. Said, 1978

Orientalism is a 1978 book by Edward W. Said, about the cultural representations that are the bases of Orientalism, defined as the West's patronizing representations of "The East"—the societies and peoples who inhabit the places of Asia, North Africa, and the Middle East. According to Said, orientalism (the Western scholarship about the Eastern World) is inextricably tied to the imperialist societies who produced it, which makes much Orientalist work inherently political and servile to power.[1]

In the Middle East, the social, economic, and cultural practices of the ruling Arab élites indicate they are imperial satraps who have internalized the romanticized "Arab Culture" created by French, British and, later, American Orientalists; the examples include critical analyses of the colonial literature of Joseph Conrad, which conflates a people, a time, and a place into a narrative of incident and adventure in an exotic land.[2]

The critical application of post-structuralism in the scholarship of Orientalism influenced the development of literary theory, cultural criticism, and the field of Middle Eastern studies, especially regarding how academics practice their intellectual enquiry when examining, describing, and explaining the Middle East.[3] The scope of Said's scholarship established Orientalism as a foundation text in the field of Post-colonial Culture Studies, which examines the denotations and connotations of Orientalism, and the history of a country's post-colonial period.[4]

As a public intellectual, Edward Said debated Orientalism with historians and scholars of area studies, notably, the historian Bernard Lewis, who described the thesis of Orientalism as "anti-Western".[5] For subsequent editions of Orientalism, Said wrote an "Afterword" (1995)[6] and a "Preface" (2003)[7] addressing criticisms of the content, substance, and style of the work as cultural criticism.

Orientalism is the exaggeration of difference, the presumption of Western superiority, and the application of clichéd analytical models for perceiving the Oriental world .[8] As such, Orientalism is the source of the inaccurate, cultural representations that are the foundations of Western thought and perception of the Eastern world, specifically about the region of the Middle East. The principal characteristic of Orientalism is a "subtle and persistent Eurocentric prejudice against Arab-Islamic peoples and their culture", which prejudice derives from Western images of what is Oriental (cultural representations) that reduce the Orient to the fictional essences of "Oriental peoples" and "the places of the Orient"; such cultural representations dominate the communications (discourse) of Western peoples with non-Western peoples.[9]
Tolstoy, 1897

While Tolstoy's basic conception of art is broad[15] and amoral,[13] his idea of "good" art is strict and moralistic, based on what he sees as the function of art in the development of humanity:

just as in the evolution of knowledge - that is, the forcing out and supplanting of mistaken and unnecessary knowledge by truer and more necessary knowledge - so the evolution of feelings takes place by means of art, replacing lower feelings, less kind and less needed for the good of humanity, by kinder feelings, more needed for that good. This is the purpose of art.[16]

Tolstoy's analysis is influenced by his radical Christian views (see The Kingdom of God is Within You), views which led him to be excommunicated from the Russian Orthodox Church in 1901.[17] He states that Christian art, rooted in "the consciousness of sonship to God and the brotherhood of men":[18]

can evoke reverence for each man's dignity, for every animal's life, it can evoke the shame of luxury, of violence, of revenge, of using for one's pleasure objects that are a necessity for other people, it can make people sacrifice themselves to serve others freely and joyfully, without noticing it.[19]

Ultimately, "by calling up the feelings of brotherhood and love in people under imaginary conditions, religious art will accustom people to experiencing the same feelings in reality under the same conditions".[19]

"Universal" art[20] illustrates that people are "already united in the oneness of life's joys and sorrows"[22] by communicating "feelings of the simplest, most everyday sort, accessible to all people without exception, such as the feelings of merriment, tenderness, cheerfulness, peacefulness, and so on".[18] Tolstoy contrasts this ideal with art that is partisan in nature, whether it be by class, religion, nation, or style.[23]
Virginia Woolf,

The dramatic setting of A Room of One's Own is that Woolf has been invited to lecture on the topic of Women and Fiction. She advances the thesis that "a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction." Her essay is constructed as a partly-fictionalized narrative of the thinking that led her to adopt this thesis. She dramatizes that mental process in the character of an imaginary narrator ("call me Mary Beton, Mary Seton, Mary Carmichael or by any name you please—it is not a matter of any importance") who is in her same position, wrestling with the same topic.

The narrator begins her investigation at Oxbridge College, where she reflects on the different educational experiences available to men and women as well as on more material differences in their lives. She then spends a day in the British Library perusing the scholarship on women, all of which has written by men and all of which has been written in anger. Turning to history, she finds so little data about the everyday lives of women that she decides to reconstruct their existence imaginatively. The figure of Judith Shakespeare is generated as an example of the tragic fate a highly intelligent woman would have met with under those circumstances. In light of this background, she considers the achievements of the major women novelists of the nineteenth century and reflects on the importance of tradition to an aspiring writer. A survey of the current state of literature follows, conducted through a reading the first novel of one of the narrator's contemporaries. Woolf closes the essay with an exhortation to her audience of women to take up the tradition that has been so hardly bequeathed to them, and to increase the endowment for their own daughters


"I" - The fictionalized author-surrogate ("call me Mary Beton, Mary Seton, Mary Carmichael or by any name you please—it is not a matter of any importance") whose process of reflection on the topic "women and fiction" forms the substance of the essay.
The Beadle - An Oxbridge security official who reminds the narrator that only "Fellows and Scholars" are permitted on the grass; women must remain on the gravel path.
Mary Seton - Student at Fernham College and friend of the narrator.
Mary Beton - The narrator's aunt, whose legacy of five hundred pounds a year secures her niece's financial independence. (Mary Beton is also one of the names Woolf assigns to her narrator, whose identity, she says, is irrelevant.)
Judith Shakespeare - The imagined sister of William Shakespeare, who suffers greatly and eventually commits suicide because she can find no socially acceptable outlets for her genius.
Mary Carmichael - A fictitious novelist, contemporary with the narrator of Woolf's essay. In her first novel, she has "broken the sentence, broken the sequence" and forever changed the course of women's writing.
Mr. A - An imagined male author, whose work is overshadowed by a looming self-consciousness and petulant self-assertiveness.
-developed a semiotic version of Freud, converting the basic concepts of psychoanalysis into formulations derived from the linguistic theory of Saussure, and applying these concepts not to the mental processes of human individuals but to the operations of the process of signification
-"The unconscious is structured like a language"
-reformulated the Oedipus complex to a prelinguistic state of development called the imaginary and the stage after the acquisition of language that he calls the symbolic.
-In the imaginary stage, there is no clear distinctino between the subject and an object, or between the individual self and other selves. Intervening between these two stages is the mirror stage, the moment when the infant learns to identify with his or her image in a mirror, and so begins to develop a sense of a separate self, and an illusory understanding of oneself as an autonomous subject

Imaginary - a preverbal/verbal stage in which a child (around 6-18 months of age) begins to develop a sense of separateness from her mother as well as other people and objects; however, the child's sense of sense is still incomplete.
Symbolic - the stage marking a child's entrance into language (the ability to understand and generate symbols); in contrast to the imaginary stage, largely focused on the mother, the symbolic stage shifts attention to the father who, in Lacanian theory, represents cultural norms, laws, language, and power (the symbol of power is the phallus--an arguably "gender-neutral" term).
Real - an unattainable stage representing all that a person is not and does not have. Both Lacan and his critics argue whether the real order represents the period before the imaginary order when a child is completely fulfilled--without need or lack, or if the real order follows the symbolic order and represents our "perennial lack" (because we cannot return to the state of wholeness that existed before language).
A sociological approach to literature that viewed works of literature or art as the products of historical forces that can be analyzed by looking at the material conditions in which they were formed. In Marxist ideology, what we often classify as a world view (such as the Victorian age) is actually the articulations of the dominant class. Marxism generally focuses on the clash between the dominant and repressed classes in any given age and also may encourage art to imitate what is often termed an "objective" reality. Contemporary Marxism is much broader in its focus, and views art as simultaneously reflective and autonomous to the age in which it was produced. The Frankfurt School is also associated with Marxism (Abrams, p. 178, Childers and Hentzi, pp. 175-179). Major figures include Karl Marx, Terry Eagleton, Fredric Jameson, Raymond Williams, Louis Althusser (ALT-whos-sair), Walter Benjamin (ben-yeh-MEEN), Antonio Gramsci (GRAWM-shee), Georg Lukacs (lou-KOTCH), and Friedrich Engels, Theordor Adorno (a-DOR-no), Edward Ahern, Gilles Deleuze (DAY-looz) and Felix Guattari (GUAT-eh-ree).

Key Terms (note: definitions below taken from Ann B. Dobie's text, Theory into Practice: An Introduction to Literary Criticism - see General Resources below):

Commodificaion - "the attitude of valuing things not for their utility but for their power to impress others or for their resale possibilities" (92).

Conspicuous consumption - "the obvious acquisition of things only for their sign value and/or exchange value" (92).

Dialectical materialism - "the theory that history develops neither in a random fashion nor in a linear one but instead as struggle between contradictions that ultimately find resolution in a synthesis of the two sides. For example, class conflicts lead to new social systems" (92).

Material circumstances - "the economic conditions underlying the society. To understand social events, one must have a grasp of the material circumstances and the historical situation in which they occur" (92).

Reflectionism - associated with Vulgar Marxism - "a theory that the superstructure of a society mirrors its economic base and, by extension, that a text reflects the society that produced it" (92).

Superstructure - "The social, political, and ideological systems and institutions--for example, the values, art, and legal processes of a society--that are generated by the base" (92).
New Historicism (sometimes referred to as Cultural Poetics) emerged in the 1970s and 1980s, largely in reaction to the lingering effects of New Criticism and its ahistorical approach. "New" Historicism's adjectival emphasis highlights its opposition to the old historical-biographical criticism prevalent before the advent of New Criticism. In the earlier historical-biographical criticism, literature was seen as a (mimetic) reflection of the historical world in which it was produced. Further, history was viewed as stable, linear, and recoverable--a narrative of fact. In contrast, New Historicism views history skeptically (historical narrative is inherently subjective), but also more broadly; history includes all of the cultural, social, political, anthropological discourses at work in any given age, and these various "texts" are unranked - any text may yield information valuable in understanding a particular milieu. Rather than forming a backdrop, the many discourses at work at any given time affect both an author and his/her text; both are inescapably part of a social construct. Stephen Greenblatt was an early important figure, and Michel Foucault's (fou-KOH) intertextual methods focusing especially on issues such as power and knowledge proved very influential. Other major figures include Clifford Geertz, Louis Montrose, Catherine Gallagher, Jonathan Dollimore, and Jerome McCann.

Key Terms:

Discourse - [from Wolfreys - see General Resources below] - "defined by Michel Foucault as language practice: that is, language as it is used by various constituencies (the law, medicine, the church, for example) for purposes to do with power relationships between people"

Episteme - [from Wolfreys - see General Resources below] - "Michel Foucault employs the idea of episteme to indicate a particular group of knowledges and discourses which operate in concert as the dominant discourses in any given historical period. He also identifies epistemic breaks, radical shifts in the varieties and deployments of knowledge for ideological purposes, which take place from period to period"

Power - [from Wolfreys - see General Resources below] - "in the work of Michel Foucault, power constitutes one of the three axes constitutive of subjectification, the other two being ethics and truth. For Foucault, power implies knowledge, even while knowledge is, concomitantly, constitutive of power: knowledge gives one power, but one has the power in given circumstances to constitute bodies of knowledge, discourses and so on as valid or invalid, truthful or untruthful. Power serves in making the world both knowable and controllable. Yet, in the nature of power, as Foucault suggests in the first volume of his History of Sexuality, is essentially proscriptive, concerned more with imposing limits on its subjects."

Self-positioning - [from Lois Tyson - see General Resources below] - "new historicism's claim that historical analysis is unavoidably subjective is not an attempt to legitimize a self-indulgent, 'anything goes' attitude toward the writing of history. Rather, the inevitability of personal bias makes it imperative that new historicists be aware of and as forthright as possible about their own psychological and ideological positions relative to the material they analyze so that their readers can have some idea of the human 'lens' through which they are viewing the historical issues at hand."

Thick description - a term developed by Clifford Geertz; [from Charles Bressler - see General Resources below]: a "term used to describe the seemingly insignificant details present in any cultural practice. By focusing on these details, one can then reveal the inherent contradictory forces at work within culture. "
To speak of "Feminism" as a theory is already a reduction. However, in terms of its theory (rather than as its reality as a historical movement in effect for some centuries) feminism might be categorized into three general groups:

theories having an essentialist focus (including psychoanalytic and French feminism);
theories aimed at defining or establishing a feminist literary canon or theories seeking to re-interpret and re-vision literature (and culture and history and so forth) from a less patriarchal slant (including gynocriticism, liberal feminism); and
theories focusing on sexual difference and sexual politics (including gender studies, lesbian studies, cultural feminism, radical feminism, and socialist/materialist feminism).
Further, women (and men) needed to consider what it meant to be a woman, to consider how much of what society has often deemed inherently female traits, are culturally and socially constructed. Simone de Beauvoir's study, The Second Sex, though perhaps flawed by Beauvoir's own body politics, nevertheless served as a groundbreaking book of feminism, that questioned the "othering" of women by western philosophy. Early projects in feminist theory included resurrecting women's literature that in many cases had never been considered seriously or had been erased over time (e.g., Charlotte Perkins Gilman was quite prominent in the early 20th century but was virtually unknown until her work was "re-discovered" later in the century). Since the 1960s the writings of many women have been rediscovered, reconsidered, and collected in large anthologies such as The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women.

However, merely unearthing women's literature did not ensure its prominence; in order to assess women's writings the number of preconceptions inherent in a literary canon dominated by male beliefs and male writers needed to be re-evaluated. Betty Friedan's The Feminist Mystique (1963), Kate Millet's Sexual Politics (1970), Teresa de Lauretis's Alice Doesn't: Feminism, Semiotics, Cinema (1984), Annette Kolodny's The Lay of the Land (1975), Judith Fetterly's The Resisting Reader (1978), Elaine Showalter's A Literature of Their Own (1977), or Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar's The Madwoman in the Attic (1979) are just a handful of the many critiques that questioned cultural, sexual, intellectual, and/or psychological stereotypes about women.

Key Terms (this list is woefully inadequate; suggestions for additional terms would be appreciated):

Androgyny - taken from Women Studies page of Drew University - "'...suggests a world in which sex-roles are not rigidly defined, a state in which 'the man in every woman' and the 'woman in every man' could be integrated and freely expressed' (Tuttle 19). Used more frequently in the 1970's, this term was used to describe a blurring, or combination of gender roles so that neither masculinity or femininity is dominant."

Backlash - a term, which may have originated with Susan Faludi, referring to a movement ( ca. 1980s) away from or against feminism.

Écriture féminine - Écriture féminine, literally women's writing, is a philosophy that promotes women's experiences and feelings to the point that it strengthens the work. Hélène Cixous first uses this term in her essay, "The Laugh of the Medusa," in which she asserts, "Woman must write her self: must write about women and bring women to writing, from which they have been driven away as violently as from their bodies. Écriture féminine places experience before language, and privileges the anti-linear, cyclical writing so often frowned upon by patriarchal society' (Wikipedia).

Essentialism - taken from Women Studies page of Drew University - "The belief in a uniquely feminine essence, existing above and beyond cultural conditioning...the mirror image of biologism which for centuries justified the oppression of women by proclaiming the natural superiority of men (Tuttle 90)." Tong's use of the term is relative to the explanation of the division of radical feminism into radical-cultural and radical libertarian.

Gynocentrics - "a term coined by the feminist scholar-critic Elaine Showalter to define the process of constructing "a female framework for analysis of women's literature [in order] to develop new models [of interpretation] based on the study of female experience, rather than to adapt to male models and theories'" (Bressler 269, see General Resources below).

Jouissance - a term most commonly associated with Helene Cixous (seek-sou), whose use of the word may have derived from Jacques Lacan - "Cixous follows Lacan's psychoanalytic paradigm, which argues that a child must separate from its mother's body (the Real) in order to enter into the Symbolic. Because of this, Cixous says, the female body in general becomes unrepresentable in language; it's what can't be spoken or written in the phallogocentric Symbolic order. Cixous here makes a leap from the maternal body to the female body in general; she also leaps from that female body to female sexuality, saying that female sexuality, female sexual pleasure, feminine jouissance, is unrepresentable within the phallogocentric Symbolic order" (Dr. Mary Klages, "Postructuralist Feminist Theory")

Patriarchy - "Sexism is perpetuated by systems of patriarchy where male-dominated structures and social arrangements elaborate the oppression of women. Patriarchy almost by definition also exhibits androcentrism, meaning male centered. Coupled with patriarchy, androcentrism assumes that male norms operate through out all social institutions and become the standard to which all persons adhere" (Joe Santillan - University of California at Davis).

Phallologocentrism - "language ordered around an absolute Word (logos) which is "masculine" [phallic], systematically excludes, disqualifies, denigrates, diminishes, silences the "feminine" (Nikita Dhawan).

Second- and Third-Wave feminism - "Second-wave feminism refers to a period of feminist thought that originated around the 1960s and was mainly concerned with independence and greater political action to improve women's rights" (Wikipedia). "Third-wave feminism is a feminist movement that arguably began in the early 1990s. Unlike second-wave feminism, which largely focused on the inclusion of women in traditionally male-dominated areas, third-wave feminism seeks to challenge and expand common definitions of gender and sexuality" (Wikipedia).

Semiotic - "[Julia] Kristeva (kris-TAYV-veh) makes a distinction between the semiotic and symbolic modes of communication:

Symbolic = how we normally think of language (grammar, syntax, logic etc.)
Semiotic = non-linguistic aspects of language which express drives and affects
A sense that black writing comes out of a sociological, political, ideological and cultural situation marked by oppression and marginalization. 'Black' reading then must negotiate the difficult boundaries between textual and cultural meanings, between 'aesthetic' and ideological impacts.

A sense that criticism is inevitably ideological and political, and that black experience and the expression of that experience is a historical, cultural formation of oppression. The 'art' of black art is inevitably, then, a very complex cultural formation. Black criticism has substantial ties to post-colonial criticism, and to the issues in it of the representation of the 'other', the reclamation of identity in the forms and language of the oppressor, and the notions of parody, mimicry and hybridity.

An awareness that black experience is historical and cultural: that it has ties to African language, cultural practices and attitudes, that it is formed through the experience of slavery and violence, that it has endured a long and troubled negotiation with white culture, so that black aesthetic production in white cultures is marked by white culture positively and negatively. As Barbara Johnson puts it,
New logical models are needed for describing the task of finding a 'vernacular' theory, models that acknowledge the ineradicable trace of Western culture within Afro-American culture (and vice versa) without losing the 'signifying black difference.'...And [that] the 'master's home' could not be what it is without all that was stolen from the slave.
There are differing focuses on different aspects of black experience -- on the African heritage, on the evolved American black culture, on the possibility of adaptation to a new non-racial cultural formation.

An attempt to recognize and celebrate that which is distinctively and positively black in black art, that is, which owes its meaning and expression to the particular expressions and traditions of black culture and experience. The most influential black aesthetic contribution, jazz, forms for many a model or metonym for black aesthetics and culture.

A struggle over the relation of race, reading and critical theory, similar in some respects to that of feminist theory: who 'speaks for' blacks?; can only blacks 'read' black literature?; can black literature be read with the tools of contemporary criticism or does it demand a more basic, moral and ideological commitment? In the opinion of one of the most influential poststructural black theorists, Henry Louis Gates Jr., "For non-Western, so-called non-canonical critics, 'getting the man off your eye-ball' [a phrase from Alice Walker's The Color Purple] means using the most sophisticated critical theories and methods available to reappropriate and redefine our own 'colonial' discourses. We must use these theories and methods insofar as they are relevant to the study of our own literatures" He cites the danger of the 'Naipaul fallacy' (after the writer V.S. Naipaul) of attempting to demonstrate that post-colonial literature is worthy of study because it is fundamentally the same as European literature (a characteristic of much black criticism before the mid-70's): "We must, I believe, analyze the ways in which writing relates to race, how attitudes toward racial differences generate and structure literary texts by us and about us. We must determine how critical methods can effectively disclose the traces of ethnic differences in literature."

A reading of white writing in racist countries which illumines the nature of the oppression of blacks -- something akin to the feminine critique. Toni Morrison, for instance, argues that American culture is built on, and is premised by, and always includes, the presence of blacks, as slaves, as outsiders. Morrison likens the unwillingness of academics in a racist society to see the place of Africanism in literature and culture to the centuries of unwillingness to see feminine discourse, concerns, and identity. She posits whiteness as the 'other' of blackness, a dialectical pair (each term both creates and excludes the other): no freedom without slavery, no white without black. She ties in the 'blackness' of blacks to the blackness of the territory of the unknown and evil in the romance tradition:

There is no romance free of what Herman Melville called 'the power of blackness,' especially not in a country in which there was a resident population, already black, upon which the imagination could play; through which historical, moral, metaphysical, and social fears, problems, and dichotomies could be articulated.
Morrison believes that one can read blackness in white American writing because, in cultural, ideological, political terms, race is intrinsic to America: if one says someone is an African, one then says they are a white or a black African -- you designate either; if one says someone is an American, that means they are white, unless otherwise noted -- the 'white' is automatic. In the terms of the European theorist Jurgen Habermas, the violence against blacks is embedded in the uses of language and in the cultural practices of the nation.

An attempt to come to terms with the whole issue of what 'race' is. Historically race has been seen as something essential. That race is inherent, a matter of 'blood', was and is firmly believed by Americans, is clear from the recent autobiography of an American, Gregory Howard Williams, now Dean of the Law School at Ohio State, Life on the Color Line, a man who looks white, and whose father passed as Italian in Virginia, where his family was not known. He was in virginia accepted and treated as white, but he was treated as black (and hence was the victim of exclusion and other prejudicial behavior) when the family returned to their home town of Muncie, Indiana: there they knew that his grandmother was black -- therefore he was black. When is white black?-- When you have some 'black blood' -- check that: when people know or think you have 'black blood'..
Literally, postcolonialism refers to the period following the decline of colonialism, e.g., the end or lessening of domination by European empires. Although the term postcolonialism generally refers to the period after colonialism, the distinction is not always made. In its use as a critical approach, postcolonialism refers to "a collection of theoretical and critical strategies used to examine the culture (literature, politics, history, and so forth) of former colonies of the European empires, and their relation to the rest of the world" (Makaryk 155 - see General Resources below). Among the many challenges facing postcolonial writers are the attempt both to resurrect their culture and to combat preconceptions about their culture. Edward Said, for example, uses the word Orientalism to describe the discourse about the East constructed by the West. Major figures include Edward Said (sah-EED), Homi Bhabha (bah-bah), Frantz Fanon (fah-NAWN), Gayatri Spivak, Chinua Achebe (ah-CHAY-bay) , Wole Soyinka, Salman Rushdie, Jamaica Kincaid, and Buchi Emecheta.

Key Terms:

Alterity - "lack of identification with some part of one's personality or one's community, differentness, otherness"

Diaspora (dI-ASP-er-ah- "is used (without capitalization) to refer to any people or ethnic population forced or induced to leave their traditional ethnic homelands, being dispersed throughout other parts of the world, and the ensuing developments in their dispersal and culture" (Wikipedia).

Eurocentrism - "the practice, conscious or otherwise, of placing emphasis on European (and, generally, Western) concerns, culture and values at the expense of those of other cultures. It is an instance of ethnocentrism, perhaps especially relevant because of its alignment with current and past real power structures in the world" (

Hybridity - "an important concept in post-colonial theory, referring to the integration (or, mingling) of cultural signs and practices from the colonizing and the colonized cultures ("integration" may be too orderly a word to represent the variety of stratagems, desperate or cunning or good-willed, by which people adapt themselves to the necessities and the opportunities of more or less oppressive or invasive cultural impositions, live into alien cultural patterns through their own structures of understanding, thus producing something familiar but new). The assimilation and adaptation of cultural practices, the cross-fertilization of cultures, can be seen as positive, enriching, and dynamic, as well as as oppressive" (from Dr. John Lye - see General Literary Theory Websites below).

Imperialism - "the policy of extending the control or authority over foreign entities as a means of acquisition and/or maintenance of empires, either through direct territorial control or through indirect methods of exerting control on the politics and/or economy of other countries. The term is used by some to describe the policy of a country in maintaining colonies and dominance over distant lands, regardless of whether the country calls itself an empire" (
The application of specific psychological principles (particularly those of Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan [zhawk lawk-KAWN]) to the study of literature. Psychoanalytic criticism may focus on the writer's psyche, the study of the creative process, the study of psychological types and principles present within works of literature, or the effects of literature upon its readers (Wellek and Warren, p. 81). In addition to Freud and Lacan, major figures include Shoshona Felman, Jane Gallop, Norman Holland, George Klein, Elizabeth Wright, Frederick Hoffman, and, Simon Lesser.

Key Terms:

Unconscious - the irrational part of the psyche unavailable to a person's consciousness except through dissociated acts or dreams.

Freud's model of the psyche:

Id - completely unconscious part of the psyche that serves as a storehouse of our desires, wishes, and fears. The id houses the libido, the source of psychosexual energy.
Ego - mostly to partially (<--a point of debate) conscious part of the psyche that processes experiences and operates as a referee or mediator between the id and superego.
Superego - often thought of as one's "conscience"; the superego operates "like an internal censor [encouraging] moral judgments in light of social pressures" (123, Bressler - see General Resources below).
Lacan's model of the psyche:

Imaginary - a preverbal/verbal stage in which a child (around 6-18 months of age) begins to develop a sense of separateness from her mother as well as other people and objects; however, the child's sense of sense is still incomplete.
Symbolic - the stage marking a child's entrance into language (the ability to understand and generate symbols); in contrast to the imaginary stage, largely focused on the mother, the symbolic stage shifts attention to the father who, in Lacanian theory, represents cultural norms, laws, language, and power (the symbol of power is the phallus--an arguably "gender-neutral" term).
Real - an unattainable stage representing all that a person is not and does not have. Both Lacan and his critics argue whether the real order represents the period before the imaginary order when a child is completely fulfilled--without need or lack, or if the real order follows the symbolic order and represents our "perennial lack" (because we cannot return to the state of wholeness that existed before language).
A form of criticism based largely on the works of C. G. Jung (YOONG) and Joseph Campbell (and myth itself). Some of the school's major figures include Robert Graves, Francis Fergusson, Philip Wheelwright, Leslie Fiedler, Northrop Frye, Maud Bodkin, and G. Wilson Knight. These critics view the genres and individual plot patterns of literature, including highly sophisticated and realistic works, as recurrences of certain archetypes and essential mythic formulae. Archetypes, according to Jung, are "primordial images"; the "psychic residue" of repeated types of experience in the lives of very ancient ancestors which are inherited in the "collective unconscious" of the human race and are expressed in myths, religion, dreams, and private fantasies, as well as in the works of literature (Abrams, p. 10, 112). Some common examples of archetypes include water, sun, moon, colors, circles, the Great Mother, Wise Old Man, etc. In terms of archetypal criticism, the color white might be associated with innocence or could signify death or the supernatural.

Key Terms:

Anima - feminine aspect - the inner feminine part of the male personality or a man's image of a woman.

Animus - male aspect - an inner masculine part of the female personality or a woman's image of a man.

Archetype - (from Makaryk - see General Resources below) - "a typical or recurring image, character, narrative design, theme, or other literary phenomenon that has been in literature from the beginning and regularly reappears" (508). Note - Frye sees archetypes as recurring patterns in literature; in contrast, Jung views archetypes as primal, ancient images/experience that we have inherited.

Collective Unconscious - "a set of primal memories common to the human race, existing below each person's conscious mind" (Jung)

Persona - the image we present to the world

Shadow - darker, sometimes hidden (deliberately or unconsciously), elements of a person's psyche
These linguistic movements began in the 1920s, were suppressed by the Soviets in the 1930s, moved to Czechoslovakia and were continued by members of the Prague Linguistic Circle (including Roman Jakobson (YAH-keb-sen), Jan Mukarovsky, and René Wellek). The Prague Linguistic Circle viewed literature as a special class of language, and rested on the assumption that there is a fundamental opposition between literary (or poetical) language and ordinary language. Formalism views the primary function of ordinary language as communicating a message, or information, by references to the world existing outside of language. In contrast, it views literary language as self-focused: its function is not to make extrinsic references, but to draw attention to its own "formal" features--that is, to interrelationships among the linguistic signs themselves. Literature is held to be subject to critical analysis by the sciences of linguistics but also by a type of linguistics different from that adapted to ordinary discourse, because its laws produce the distinctive features of literariness (Abrams, pp. 165-166). An important contribution made by Victor Schklovsky (of the Leningrad group) was to explain how language--through a period of time--tends to become "smooth, unconscious or transparent." In contrast, the work of literature is to defamiliarize language by a process of "making strange." Dialogism refers to a theory, initiated by Mikhail Bakhtin (bahk-TEEN), arguing that in a dialogic work of literature--such as in the writings of Dostoevsky--there is a "polyphonic interplay of various characters' voices ... where no worldview is given superiority over others; neither is that voice which may be identified with the author's necessarily the most engaging or persuasive of all those in the text" (Childers & Hentzi, p. 81).

Key Terms:

Carnival - "For Bakhtin, carnival reflected the 'lived life' of medieval and early modern peoples. In carnival, official authority and high culture were jostled 'from below' by elements of satire, parody, irony, mimicry, bodily humor, and grotesque display. This jostling from below served to keep society open, to liberate it from deadening..." (Bressler 276 - see General Resources below).

Heteroglossia - "refers, first, to the way in which every instance of language use - every utterance - is embedded in a specific set of social circumstances, and second, to the way the meaning of each particular utterance is shaped and influenced by the many-layered context in which it occurs" (Sarah Willen, "Dialogism and Heteroglossia")

Monologism - "having one single voice, or representing one single ideological stance or perspective, often used in opposition to the Bakhtinian dialogical. In a monological form, all the characters' voices are subordinated to the voice of the author" (Malcolm Hayward).

Polyphony - "a term used by Mikhail Bakhtin to describe a dialogical text which, unlike a monological text, does not depend on the centrality of a single authoritative voice. Such a text incorporates a rich plurality and multiplicity of voices, styles, and points of view. It comprises, in Bakhtin's phrase, "a plurality of independent and unmerged voices and consciousnesses, a genuine polyphony of fully valid voices" (Henderson and Brown - Glossary of Literary Theory).
Structuralism is a way of thinking about the world which is predominantly concerned with the perceptions and description of structures. At its simplest, structuralism claims that the nature of every element in any given situation has no significance by itself, and in fact is determined by all the other elements involved in that situation. The full significance of any entity cannot be perceived unless and until it is integrated into the structure of which it forms a part (Hawkes, p. 11). Structuralists believe that all human activity is constructed, not natural or "essential." Consequently, it is the systems of organization that are important (what we do is always a matter of selection within a given construct). By this formulation, "any activity, from the actions of a narrative to not eating one's peas with a knife, takes place within a system of differences and has meaning only in its relation to other possible activities within that system, not to some meaning that emanates from nature or the divine" (Childers & Hentzi, p. 286.). Major figures include Claude Lévi-Strauss (LAY-vee-strows), A. J. Greimas (GREE-mahs), Jonathan Culler, Roland Barthes (bart), Ferdinand de Saussure (soh-SURR or soh-ZHOR), Roman Jakobson (YAH-keb-sen), Vladimir Propp, and Terence Hawkes.

Semiotics, simply put, is the science of signs. Semiology proposes that a great diversity of our human action and productions--our bodily postures and gestures, the the social rituals we perform, the clothes we wear, the meals we serve, the buildings we inhabit--all convey "shared" meanings to members of a particular culture, and so can be analyzed as signs which function in diverse kinds of signifying systems. Linguistics (the study of verbal signs and structures) is only one branch of semiotics but supplies the basic methods and terms which are used in the study of all other social sign systems (Abrams, p. 170). Major figures include Charles Peirce, Ferdinand de Saussure, Michel Foucault (fou-KOH), Umberto Eco, Gérard Genette, and Roland Barthes (bart).

Key Terms (much of this is adapted from Charles Bressler's Literary Criticism: An Introduction to Theory and Practice - see General Resources below):

Binary Opposition - "pairs of mutually-exclusive signifiers in a paradigm set representing categories which are logically opposed and which together define a complete universe of discourse (relevant ontological domain), e.g. alive/not-alive. In such oppositions each term necessarily implies its opposite and there is no middle term" (Daniel Chandler).

Mythemes - a term developed by Claude Lévi-Strauss--mythemes are the smallest component parts of a myth. By breaking up myths into mythemes, those structures (mythemes) may be studied chronologically (~ diacrhonically) or synchronically/relationally.

Sign vs. Symbol - According to Saussure, "words are not symbols which correspond to referents, but rather are 'signs' which are made up of two parts (like two sides of a sheet of paper): a mark,either written or spoken, called a 'signifier,' and a concept (what is 'thought' when the mark is made), called a 'signified'" (Selden and Widdowson 104 - see General Resources below). The distinction is important because Saussure contended that the relationship between signifier and signified is arbitrary; the only way we can distinguish meaning is by difference (one sign or word differs from another).

The relational nature of language implied by Saussure's system rejects the concept that a word/symbol corresponds to an outside object/referent. Instead, meaning--the interpretation of a sign--can exist only in relationship with other signs. Selden and Widdowson use the sign system of traffic lights as an example. The color red, in that system, signifies "stop," even though "there is no natural bond between red and stop" (105). Meaning is derived entirely through difference, "a system of opposites and contrasts," e.g., referring back to the traffic lights' example, red's meaning depends on the fact that it is not green and not amber (105).

Structuralist narratology - "a form of structuralism espoused by Vladimir Propp, Tzvetan Todorov, Roland Barthes, and Gerard Genette that illustrates how a story's meaning develops from its overall structure (its langue) rather than from each individual story's isolated theme. To ascertain a text's meaning, narratologists emphasize grammatical elements such as verb tenses and the relationships and configurations of figures of speech within the story" (Bressler 275 - see General Resources below).
Post-Structuralism (which is often used synonymously with Deconstruction or Postmodernism) is a reaction to structuralism and works against seeing language as a stable, closed system. "It is a shift from seeing the poem or novel as a closed entity, equipped with definite meanings which it is the critic's task to decipher, to seeing literature as irreducibly plural, an endless play of signifiers which can never be finally nailed down to a single center, essence, or meaning" (Eagleton 120 - see reference below under "General References"). Jacques Derrida's (dair-ree-DAH) paper on "Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences" (delivered in 1966) proved particularly influential in the creation of post-structuralism. Derrida argued against, in essence, the notion of a knowable center (the Western ideal of logocentrism), a structure that could organize the differential play of language or thought but somehow remain immune to the same "play" it depicts (Abrams, 258-9). Derrida's critique of structuralism also heralded the advent of deconstruction that--like post-structuralism--critiques the notion of "origin" built into structuralism. In negative terms, deconstruction--particularly as articulated by Derrida--has often come to be interpreted as "anything goes" since nothing has any real meaning or truth. More positively, it may posited that Derrida, like Paul de Man (de-MAHN) and other post-structuralists, really asks for rigor, that is, a type of interpretation that is constantly and ruthlessly self-conscious and on guard. Similarly, Christopher Norris (in "What's Wrong with Postmodernism?") launches a cogent argument against simplistic attacks of Derrida's theories:

On this question [the tendency of critics to read deconstruction "as a species of all-licensing sophistical 'freeplay'"), as on so many others, the issue has been obscured by a failure to grasp Derrida's point when he identifies those problematic factors in language (catachreses, slippages between 'literal' and 'figural' sense, subliminal metaphors mistaken for determinate concepts) whose effect--as in Husserl--is to complicate the passage from what the text manifestly means to say to what it actually says when read with an eye to its latent or covert signifying structures. This 'free-play' has nothing whatsoever to do with that notion of an out-and-out hermeneutic license which would finally come down to a series of slogans like "all reading is misreading," "all interpretation is misinterpretation," etc. If Derrida's texts have been read that way--most often by literary critics in quest of more adventurous hermeneutic models--this is just one sign of the widespread deformation professionelle that has attended the advent of deconstruction as a new arrival on the US academic scene. (151)

In addition to Jacques Derrida, key poststructuralist and deconstructive figures include Michel Foucault (fou-KOH), Roland Barthes (bart), Jean Baudrillard (zhon boh-dree-YAHR), Helene Cixous (seek-sou), Paul de Man (de-MAHN), J. Hillis Miller, Jacques Lacan (lawk-KAWN), and Barbara Johnson.

Key Terms :

Aporia (ah-por-EE-ah)- a moment of undecidability; the inherent contradictions found in any text. Derrida, for example, cites the inherent contradictions at work in Jean-Jacques Rousseau's use of the words culture and nature by demonstrating that Rousseau's sense of the self's innocence (in nature) is already corrupted by the concept of culture (and existence) and vice-versa.

Différance - a combination of the meanings in the word différance. The concept means 1) différer or to differ, 2) différance which means to delay or postpone (defer), and 3) the idea of difference itself. To oversimplify, words are always at a distance from what they signify and, to make matters worse, must be described by using other words.

Erasure (sous rature) - to highlight suspect ideologies, notions linked to the metaphysics of presence, Derrida put them under "erasure," metaphorically pointing out the absence of any definitive meaning. By using erasure, however, Derrida realized that a "trace" will always remain but that these traces do not indicate the marks themselves but rather the absence of the marks (which emphasize the absence of "univocal meaning, truth, or origin"). In contrast, when Heidegger similarly "crossed out" words, he assumed that meaning would be (eventually) recoverable.

Logocentrism - term associated with Derrida that "refers to the nature of western thought, language and culture since Plato's era. The Greek signifier for "word," "speech," and "reason," logos possesses connotations in western culture for law and truth. Hence, logocentrism refers to a culture that revolves around a central set of supposedly universal principles or beliefs" (Wolfreys 302 - see General Resources below).

Metaphysics of Presence - "beliefs including binary oppositions, logocentrism, and phonocentrism that have been the basis of Western philosophy since Plato" (Dobie 155, see General Resources below).

Supplement - "According to Derrida, Western thinking is characterized by the 'logic of supplementation', which is actually two apparently contradictory ideas. From one perspective, a supplement serves to enhance the presence of something which is already complete and self-sufficient. Thus, writing is the supplement of speech, Eve was the supplement of Adam, and masturbation is the supplement of 'natural sex'....But simultaneously, according to Derrida, the Western idea of the supplement has within it the idea that a thing that has a supplement cannot be truly 'complete in itself'. If it were complete without the supplement, it shouldn't need, or long-for, the supplement. The fact that a thing can be added-to to make it even more 'present' or 'whole' means that there is a hole (which Derrida called an originary lack) and the supplement can fill that hole. The metaphorical opening of this "hole" Derrida called invagination. From this perspective, the supplement does not enhance something's presence, but rather underscores its absence" (from Wikipedia - definition of supplement).

Trace - from Lois Tyson (see General Resources below): "Meaning seems to reside in words (or in things) only when we distinguish their difference from other words (or things). For example, if we believed that all objects were the same color, we wouldn't need the word red (or blue or green) at all. Red is red only because we believe it to be different from blue and green (and because we believe color to be different from shape). So the word red carries with it the trace of all the signifiers it is not (for it is in contrast to other signifiers that we define it)" (245). Tyson's explanation helps explain what Derrida means when he states "the trace itself does not exist."

Transcendental Signifier - from Charles Bressler (see General Resources below): a term introduced by Derrida who "asserts that from the time of Plato to the present, Western culture has been founded on a classic, fundamental error: the searching for a transcendental signified, an external point of reference on which one may build a concept or philosophy. Once found, this transcendental signified would provide ultimate meaning. It would guarantee a 'center' of meaning...." (287).
Reader-response theory may be traced initially to theorists such as I. A. Richards (The Principles of Literary Criticism, Practical Criticism and How to Read a Page) or Louise Rosenblatt (Literature as Exploration or The Reader, the Text, the Poem). For Rosenblatt and Richards the idea of a "correct" reading--though difficult to attain--was always the goal of the "educated" reader (armed, of course, with appropriate aesthetic apparatus). For Stanley Fish (Is There a Text in this Class?, Surprised by Sin: The Reader in "Paradise Lost" and Self-Consuming Artifacts: The Experience of the Seventeenth-Century Reader), the reader's ability to understand a text is also subject a reader's particular "interpretive community." To simplify, a reader brings certain assumptions to a text based on the interpretive strategies he/she has learned in a particular interpretive community. For Fish, the interpretive community serves somewhat to "police" readings and thus prohibit outlandish interpretations. In contrast Wolfgang Iser argued that the reading process is always subjective. In The Implied Reader, Iser sees reading as a dialectical process between the reader and text. For Hans-Robert Jauss, however (Toward an Aesthetic of Reception, and Aesthetic Experience and Literary Hermeneutics), a reader's aesthetic experience is always bound by time and historical determinants.

Key Terms:

Horizons of expectations - a term developed by Hans Robert Jauss to explain how a reader's "expectations" or frame of reference is based on the reader's past experience of literature and what preconceived notions about literature the reader possesses (i.e., a reader's aesthetic experience is bound by time and historical determinants). Jauss also contended that for a work to be considered a classic it needed to exceed a reader's horizons of expectations.

Implied reader - a term developed by Wolfgang Iser; the implied reader [somewhat akin to an "ideal reader"] is "a hypothetical reader of a text. The implied reader [according to Iser] "embodies all those predispositions necessary for a literary work to exercise its effect -- predispositions laid down, not by an empirical outside reality, but by the text itself. Consequently, the implied reader as a concept has his roots firmly planted in the structure of the text; he is a construct and in no way to be identified with any real reader" (Greig E. Henderson and Christopher Brown - Glossary of Literary Theory).

Interpretive communities - a concept, articulated by Stanley Fish, that readers within an "interpretive community" share reading strategies, values and interpretive assumptions (Barbara McManus).

Transactional analysis - a concept developed by Louise Rosenblatt asserting that meaning is produced in a transaction of a reader with a text. As an approach, then, the critic would consider "how the reader interprets the text as well as how the text produces a response in her" (Dobie 132 - see General Resources below).