British and Irish Literature and Its Times: Beginnings until 1830s
Joyce Moss, Lorraine Valestuk
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World Literature and its Times - Volume 3
This series of literary criticism from Gale takes a wholly unique approach--it analyzes works from a historical, political, and social perspective rather than a strictly literary view. The projected 12-volume series is arranged geographically, with volumes 3 and 4 covering British and Irish Literature from their beginnings to the present day. Each volume profiles 50 works including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama, and essays. A team of experts from both high schools and universities selected the works, while scholars in English literature and history reviewed the essays for accuracy. The essays were written by Ph.D. candidates and associate professors at universities both in the U.S and abroad.
In each of the volumes under review, a time line presents historical events in Britain and Ireland during the period, with the related literary works listed at the time of their publication. These chronologies are quite extensive and help place the works in their historical framework. Volume 3 includes works by Charlotte Bronte, Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens, T. S. Eliot, Bram Stoker, Alfred Tennyson, and more. Among the writers covered in volume 4 are Seamus Heaney, Kazuo Ishiguro, Iris Murdoch, Salman Rushdie, Muriel Spark, and Tom Stoppard. Arranged alphabetically by title and written in a style that is accessible for high-school students and above, each entry generally follows a standard format, with background information on the author; a discussion of the events at the time in which the literary work is set; a synopsis of the work, with discussion of its historical, social, and political themes; a summary of events at the time the work was written; and a short bibliography of related books. All terms and events are well explained and related to the piece of literature. The represented works tend to be each author's best known or most often studied by students. They are also the works that fit the themes being discussed in the volume. Although Charles Dickens' novels cover many topics, Great Expectations is discussed because it illustrates the themes of political reform and the treatment of convicts.
until the middle of the nineteenth century. The French and Spanish struggle over Naples revealed the weaknesses of Italy's political structure, in which a number of citystates guarded their independence so jealously that they could not unite even to fight a common foe. essence, this involves a promise by two people to marry, in the presence of a witness. Official religious dogma held that these marriages, although sinful, were legally binding. Such In 1443 peace was restored by means of war.
gradually gave way to self-interest and rule by force. By mid-century, the rising star of Roman politics was Julius Caesar, who made his fortune by becoming governor, in 61 B.C.E., of the province of Spain and, a few years later, of Cisalpine and Transalpine Gaul (today's northern Italy and southern France). Caesar had obtained his lucrative governorships by allying himself with the two richest generals of the day, Crassus and Pompey the Great. Together, these three military strongmen made up the
reform swept through many English monasteries in the mid-tenth century, under the leadership of Dunstan, archbishop of Canterbury. In 975, when King Edgar (who had supported the reform movement) died, the then-senior ealdorman Aelfhere of Mercia sought to return the monasteries to their former, B R I T I S H / I R I S H less strict, mode of observance. Byrhtnoth and Aethelwine stood firm in opposition, and their victory in this matter (accomplished with the threat of violence) greatly increased
release lent. him from his cell, promising to send for her as In the second act, Macheath meets his gang soon as the search for him cools. of robbers at a tavern near Newgate and tells W O R L D L I T E R A T U R E A N D ITS TIMES -^ V O L U M E 3 As the third act begins, Macheath has escaped, leaving behind a furious Lockit and a humiliated Lucy, who now suspects she was duped by her former lover. Believing that Peachum means to cheat him out of his share of the reward money, Lockit
between tragic fate and free will that characterized ancient Greek tragedy. Marlowe thus adapted the Protestant preoccupation with faith and predestination to the tragic stage: critics also describe the play as the first Christian tragedy, insofar as the conflict is over a human soul rather than a social or political issue (as in Greek tragedy). In the face of opposition by zealous Protestant reformers, the theater companies often sought the patronage and protection of wealthy and powerful men.