Essay On English Literature History Essay On English Literature

As with the , essays existed in Japan several centuries before they developed in Europe with a genre of essays known as — loosely connected essays and fragmented ideas. Zuihitsu have existed since almost the beginnings of Japanese literature. Many of the most noted early works of Japanese literature are in this genre. Notable examples include (c. 1000), by court lady , and (1330), by particularly renowned Japanese Buddhist monk . Kenkō described his short writings similarly to Montaigne, referring to them as "nonsensical thoughts" written in "idle hours". Another noteworthy difference from Europe is that women have traditionally written in Japan, though the more formal, Chinese-influenced writings of male writers were more prized at the time.

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The Old English Literature History Essay

Then there is Emerson, a son of the manse and once a minister himself. He was, therefore, perfectly familiar with the English Bible. He did not accept it in all its religious teaching. Indeed, we have never had a more marked individualist in our American public life than Emerson. At every point he was simply himself. There is very little quotation in his writing, very little visible influence of any one else. He was not a follower of Carlyle, though he was his friend. If there is any precedent for the construction of his sentences, and even of his essays, it is to be found in the Hebrew prophets. As some one puts it, "he uttered sayings." In many of his essays there is no particular reason why the paragraphs should run one, two, three, and not three, two, one, or two, one, three, or in any other order. But Mr. Emerson was just himself. It is yet true that "his value for the world at large lies in the fact that after all he is incurably religious." It is true that he could not see any importance in forms, or in ordinary declarations of faith. "He would fight no battle for prelacy, nor for the Westminster confession, nor for the Trinity, but as against atheism, pessimism, and materialism, he was an ally of Christianity." The influence of the Bible on Emerson is more marked in his spirit than in anything else. Once in a while, as in that familiar address at Concord (1873), you run across Scripture phrases: "Shall not they who receive the largest streams spread abroad the healing waters?" That figure appears in literature only in the Bible, and there are others like it in his writings.

Old English Literature: Critical Essays on JSTOR

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The literature of which we are thinking in this narrower sense is in the sphere of art rather than in the sphere of distinct achievement. De Quincey's division is familiar: the literature of knowledge, and the literature of power. The function of the first is to teach; the function of the second is to move. Professor Dowden points out that between the two lies a third field, the literature of criticism. It seeks both to teach and to move. Our concern is chiefly with De Quincey's second field—the literature of power. In the first field, the literature of knowledge, must lie all history, with Hume and Gibbon; all science, with Darwin and Fiske; all philosophy, with Spencer and William James; all political writing, with Voltaire and Webster. Near that same field must lie many of those essays in criticism of which Professor Dowden speaks. This which we omit, this literature of knowledge, is powerful literature, though its main purpose is not to move, but to teach. We are only reducing our field so that we can survey it. For our uses just now we shall find pure literature taking the three standard forms: the poem, the essay, and the story. It is the influence of the English Bible on this large field of literature which we are to observe.

ESSAYS ON MIDDLE ENGLISH LITERATURE ESSAYS ON MIDDLE .. and, to those wonders used also by the Old English and Old Norse writers, they add

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It is in the Victorian age (1840-1900) that the field is most bewildering. It is true, as Frederick Harrison says, that "this Victorian age has no Shakespeare or Milton, no Bacon or Hume, no Fielding or Scott—no supreme master in poetry, philosophy, or romance whose work is incorporated with the thought of the world, who is destined to form an epoch, to endure for centuries." 11 The genius of the period is more scientific than literary, yet we would be helpless if we had not already eliminated from our discussion everything but the works and writers of pure literature. The output of books has been so tremendous that it would be impossible to analyze the influences which have made them. There are in this Victorian period at least twelve great English writers who must be known, whose work affects the current of English literature. Many other names would need mention in any full history or any minute study; but it is not harsh judgment to say that the main current of literature would be the same without them. A few of these lesser names will come to mind, and in the calling of them one realizes the influence, even on them, of the English Bible. Anthony Trollope wrote sixty volumes, the titles of most of which are now popularly unknown. He told George Eliot that it was not brains that explained his writing so much, but rather wax which he put in the seat of his chair, which held him down to his daily stint of work. He could boast, and it was worth the boasting, that he had never written a line which a pure woman could not read without a blush. His whole Framley Parsonage series abounds in Bible references and allusions. So Charlotte Bronte is in English literature, and Jane Eyre does prove what she was meant to prove, that a commonplace person can be made the heroine of a novel; but on all Charlotte Bronte's work is the mark of the rectory in which she grew up. So Thomas Grey has left his "Elegy" and his "Hymn to Adversity," and some other writing which most of us have forgotten or never knew. Then there are Maria Edgeworth and Jane Austen. We may even remember that Macaulay thought Jane Austen could be compared with Shakespeare, as, of course, she can be, since any one can be; but neither of these good women has strongly affected the literary current. Many others could be named, but English literature would be substantially the same without them; and, though all might show Biblical influence, they would not illustrate what we are trying to discover. So we come, without apology to the unnamed, to the twelve, without whom English literature would be different. This is the list in the order of the alphabet: Matthew Arnold, Robert Browning (Mrs. Browning being grouped as one with him), Carlyle, Dickens, George Eliot, Charles Kingsley, Macaulay, Ruskin, Robert Louis Stevenson, Swinburne, Tennyson, and Thackeray.

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Category: Writing History Essays; Title: Literature and Time Periods. As exemplified by the Old English poem Beowulf and the Middle English poetry of