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2006

QUESTO VOLUME, PARTE DI UN’OPERA INDIVISIBILE, È DA CONSIDERARSI “FUORI COMMERCIO” IN QUANTO SPROVVISTO DI PREZZO, E NON CEDIBILE SEPARATAMENTE DAGLI ALTRI COMPONENTI DELLA CONFEZIONE.

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Genres Portfolio (guida all’analisi dei generi letterari)

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CD-ROM (testi aggiuntivi con analisi del testo e ascolti in mp3)

Le caratteristiche del corso Un Corso cronologico costruito con l’aiuto degli insegnanti L’esperienza degli insegnanti ha aiutato nella selezione di autori, testi, approfondimenti, e nella trattazione di aspetti importanti quali le strategie di studio, la scelta dei temi, le parti in preparazione dell’esame e i test. Forti legami interdisciplinari e percorsi tematici e di attualità Molti i percorsi CLIL, i riferimenti ad altre letterature e a temi di educazione alla convivenza civile. Un percorso di studio guidato Alla fine di ogni modulo lo studente trova glossari, riassunti e esercizi in preparazione di prove e interrogazioni. Una guida allo studio è inoltre presente in fondo al volume. Attenzione alle abilità linguistiche Dopo le attività di analisi del testo si propongono spesso esercizi di scrittura creativa, dal titolo Writer’s Corner, e attività guidate di Discussion.

Materiale per lavagne interattive (LIM) I testi aggiuntivi presenti sul CD-ROM per lo studente possono essere utilizzati in classe con l’ausilio della lavagna interattiva. Lo stesso può essere fatto con gli spezzoni video del DVD per la classe e con il materiale presente nell’area WEB.

Area WEB Autori e brani completi di analisi del testo, non contenuti nei volumi, né nei testi aggiuntivi su CD-ROM. Testi aggiuntivi e schede di analisi contenuti nei CD-ROM Audio contenuti nei CD-ROM

Per l’insegnante e la classe Teacher’s Guide (soluzioni, script degli spezzoni video e test) DVD con spezzoni di film e, nella sezione Extra, i test in formato modificabile 2 CD audio per la classe

online in www.imparosulweb.eu QUESTO CORSO È COSTITUITO DA: IPER LO STUDENTE ISBN 978-88-201-2006-1 VOLUME UNICO + CD-ROM + GENRES PORTFOLIO

With Rhymes and Reason

With Rhymes and Reason Compact Edition From the Origins to Modern Times

Volume From the Origin to Modern Times

Medaglia, Young

In copertina: Sir John Lavery, Girl in a red dress reading by a swimming pool, 1887, oil on canvas, Private Collection. © Christie’s Images/ The Bridgeman Art Library/Archivi ALinari

With Rhymes and Reason Compact Edition

Cinzia Medaglia, Beverley Anne Young

From the Origins to Modern Times

Compact Edition

con CD-ROM

PER L’INSEGNANTE ISBN 978-88-201-2007-8 TEACHER’S GUIDE + DVD PER LA CLASSE ISBN 978-88-201-7086-8 2 CD AUDIO PER LA CLASSE

QUESTO VOLUME NON È CEDIBILE SEPARATAMENTE DAGLI ALTRI COMPONENTI DELLA CONFEZIONE

2006

2006_ph1_Medaglia_06.indd 1

2006_PH1

MEDAGLIA, YOUNG WITH RHYMES AND REASON COMPACT EDITION + CD-ROM + GENRES PORTFOLIO

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The Romantic Age

1760-1837

Literature

Samuel Taylor Coleridge The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Thomas Gray ‘Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard’

Matthew Lewis The Monk William Wordsworth Lyrical Ballads

William Blake Songs of Innocence and of Experience

Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice

1796 1751

1760-1820

George III’s reign

1775-83

1776

American War of Independence

American Declaration of Independence

History

17981800 1798

1789-94

1783-1801 1804-06

1789

William Pitt the Younger prime minister

French Revolution

1789-97

George Washington President of US

1792-1815

1813

1814-15

Congress of Vienna

Napoleonic Wars


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4 Edgar Allan Poe Tales of the Grotesque and the Arabesque

Mary Shelley Frankenstein Walter Scott Ivanhoe

John Keats ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’ 1818

1819

John Keats Lord Byron ‘Ode on a Don Juan Grecian Urn’

1819-24

1820

1820-30

George IV’s reign

1840

1830-37

William IV’s reign

1832

First Reform Bill

1833

1833

1834

Factory Act Britain abolishes slavery

Poor Law Amendment Act


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4 The Historical Background The Romantic Age (1760-1837) The years of revolution The early Romantic age is also known as the Age of Revolutions, because in this relatively short period three revolutions took place: the American Revolution by which the American colonies gained independence, the French Revolution of 1789 and the Industrial Revolution that was slo wly changing Britain from a rural to an industrial society.

George III and William Pitt the Younger During his reign (1760-1820), George III st rove to increase control over the country by surrounding himself with loyal supporters. One such supporter was William Pitt the Younger who was prime minister from 1783 to 1801 and again from 1804 to 1806. During his time in office, Pitt the Younger strengthened the position of prime minister by increasing his power. He distinguished himself as a political guide against the French hegemony in Europe in the last years of the French Revolution and during Napoleonic rule. He supported the king in his conservative ideas and in defending the interests of the aristocracy. The result was a r igid governing policy that aimed at r epressing any form of revolt.

The French Revolution The French Revolution broke out in 1789 and the ideas whic h created it spread all through Europe and England. In its first phase the revolution found supporters amongst intellectuals and poets lik e Blake, Wordsworth and Coleridge. But as the r evolution became bloody and violent, the general attitude changed and only a few continued to defend it. Furthermore, the subsequent invasion of the Rhineland and the Netherlands by French troops alarmed England, who feared the increasing power of France, a power which became real with the Napoleonic wars. Y The storming of the Bastille in 1789.

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The Historical Background

Y Serment du Jeu de Paume (1791), Jacques-Louis David. Palace of Versailles, Paris.

The Napoleonic wars From 1792 to 1815 a series of wars between France and the other E uropean powers raged. General Napoleon Bonaparte proclaimed himself Emperor of France in 1804 and led France in a bitt er race to conquer Europe. His fleet was defeat ed by Admiral Horatio Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, but it was not until1815 that Napoleon was finally defeated at the Battle of Waterloo by the Duke of Wellington. At the Congress of Vienna (1814-15) the victors – England, Austria, Prussia and Russia – drew up a new political map of Europe.

After the war By the end of the war the English felt opressed by heavy taxation, unemployment and a myriad of social problems. The Industrial Revolution, which had started around 1760, was gaining impetus and transforming the agrarian and handicraft economy into one based on machinery. This brought about great changes in employment. Gradually workers were being replaced by machines. As a consequence there was a great increase in production but also growing unemployment and frustration among workers which exploded with the Luddite Riots (1811-12). The Luddites (who took their name from an 18th-century Leicestershire workman, Ned Ludd) destroyed machines, first in Nottingham then all over England. The disruption caused by the Luddites was so bad that an Act of Parliament was passed stating that any man found guilty of destroying machinery would be sentenced to death. General unrest and dissatisfaction reached a climax in 1819 with the Peterloo Massacre. Eleven people were killed in St. Peter’s Fields, Manchester, by the local militia who charged a peaceful gathering of 60,000 people who had met to discuss the rise in bread prices.

The Industrial Revolution Between 1790 and 1830, while the Industrial Revolution spread in towns, poverty and suffering reigned in the countryside. Farmers became richer but the labourers suffered due to the Enclosure Acts (Psee p. 138), the decline of domestic industries, poor harvests and high prices. The result was that many people were driven away from the 185


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The Romantic Age country to look for work in towns. Meanwhile, in towns two new social classes began to emerge: entrepreneurs and workers. Both g roups had no land and w ere therefore not represented in parliament.

Poverty and exploitation

Y An Iron Forge (1772), Joseph Wright of Derby. Collection of Lord and Lady Romsey, Broadlands, Romsey.

Many workers were exploited and made to work in extreme conditions, often for up to 16 hours a da y. Wages were low, and children were also employed in the same harsh c onditions, as schooling was still not compulsory. While the middle classes gradually became more important thanks to their increasing wealth and quality of life, the vast major ity of the population remained poor. The attitude which prevailed was one of ‘laissez-faire’, or rather, no state intervention in the economy. Under the influence of the economist Adam Smith and his work The Wealth of Nations (1776), it was thought that the best results could be achieved from unregulated competition. But unfortunately housing and fac tory building was also unregulated. Many people li ved in slums, neig hbourhoods whic h had been quickly built t o accommodate the mass mig ration from the countryside to towns (the population of Manchester increased five-fold in the space of two decades).

A time of reform George IV became king on the death of his father in 1820. He had been prince regent since 1811 as his father suffered from mental illness. William IV’s reign followed (183037) and was a time of important reforms despite his disinterest in government. In 1832 the First Reform Bill was passed, extending the vote to the new middle classes. The Factory Act, passed in 1833, made it illegal to employ children under the age of nine to work in factories and restricted the hours in a working day for children from ages nine to seventeen. The Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 gave the homeless lodg ings and

Y Workers’ houses (19th century).

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The Historical Background work in the infamous workhouses (Psee p. 282). B ut the li ving and w orking conditions in these houses were even worse than in the fac tories and the w orkhouse came to be seen as the‘last-resort’ for most poor people.

The position of women Women of the lower classes worked in factories along w ith men, but they were often subject to discrimination. They were paid less despite working just as hard. The condition of women in the upper and middle classes was vastly differ ent, however. They did not work, had servants, and received a basic education, which consisted mainly in learning French, music and dance.

The American War of Independence The War of Independence broke out in 1775, after years of discontent in the 13 British colonies in North America and a g rowing demand for g reater administrative and economic independenc e. On 4th July 1776 the Declaration of Independence announced the separ ation of the 13 N orth American British colonies from Great Britain and sa w the first for mulation of human rights based on: freedom and independence. The war whic h ensued lasted eight years and saw the defeat of the British. In 1783 Britain acknowledged the independence of the United States of America with the signing of the Treaty of Paris.

Y Engraving of London (1800s) by Gustave Doré.

The birth of the United States George Washington became the first President of the United States (1789-97). In the first years after the Declaration of Independence there was a g radual increase in migration towards the West, especially after the discovery of gold, and many Europeans took part. The Native Americans, theoretically, had the same rights as the colonists but there were endless wars and they were almost exterminated. They were not actually given American Y George Washington citizenship until 1924. (1795-96), Gilbert

English colonies

Stuart. Frick Collection

In spite of the Napoleonic Wars and the American War of Independence, England’s colonial expansion accelerated. In 1820 about 200 million people lived in countries under British control. Slavery, which was one of Britain’s most profitable trades due to their colonies, became one of the main c oncerns of new humanitarian movements in this per iod. As a r esult of r igorous campaig ning of one suc h humanitarian movement, the total abolition of slavery in the British colonies was brought about in 1833, making Britain the first country in Europe to abolish slavery.

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Over to you 1 Complete the following sentences. 1. This period is also known as the Age of Revolutions, because ..................................................................... ............................................................................................................................. . 2. The three revolutions were ....................................................... ............................................................................................................................. . 3. George III wanted to ...................................................................... ............................................................................................................................. . 4. The policy of the government was ................................... ............................................................................................................................. . 2 Answer the following questions. 1. Who was William Pitt the Younger? 2. How did most of Europe react to the French Revolution? Why did this reaction change? 3. What were the after-effects of the Napoleonic wars? 3 Complete this table about the key steps of the Industrial Revolution. Economy of the countryside

3. What was the cause of the Luddite riots and how were they stopped? 4. What happened at the Peterloo Massacre and what caused it? 5. Who reigned England from 1820-30? 6. What reforms were introduced from 1830-34? 7. Which of these reforms aimed at improving the living conditions of the poor? Was it effective? 8. How did the position of women from the lower and upper classes differ? 7 Focus on American history and answer these questions. 1. When was the American War of Independence? 2. How many British colonies were there in America at that time? 3. When was the Declaration of Independence? 4. Who was George Washington? 5. What happened to the Native Americans after the Declaration of Independence? 8 Focus on ‘English colonies’ and answer these questions.

Effects on population

Birth of new social classes

4 List the problems related to the first phase of the Industrial Revolution. 5 Put these events in chronological order. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo Peterloo Massacre Luddite Riots Battle of Trafalgar beginning of George III’s reign

6 Answer the following questions. 1. What is Admiral Horatio Nelson famous for? 2. Which countries combined efforts to win the Napoleonic wars?

188

1. What was one of the main concerns of the new humanitarian movements? 2. Which of the reforms from this period had an influence on the colonies?


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The Literary Context The Romantic Age Towards the age of sensibility In the second half of the 18th century literary styles were changing. There was still a love of reason, rationality and harmony, but it was slowly being replaced by sensibility and imagination. It was the intellectual, social and political ferment at the end of the century that brought writers to seek new ways of expressing themselves. Pre-Romantic and Romantic tendencies in England were anticipated by the German literary movement Sturm und Drang (Storm and Stress) of the late 18th century. The poets belonging to this movement (Herder, Goethe and Schiller) rebelled against Classicism, focusing on the individual, feelings and nature.

Key concepts The German critic Friedrich Schlegel (1772-1829) described the term ���Romantic’ as that which ‘depicts emotional matter in an imaginative form’. In fairness, the definition is very vague, as is e verything that concerns Romanticism and its boundar ies, but it helps highlight the key concepts of the literature of the age: emotions and imagination. By opposing all the norms, aesthetic and social, which came from the Enlightenment, the Romantics built a new theory of knowledge: it was the inner self which was given the po wer t o int erpret and r eshape r eality, g iving wa y t o a mor e subjective interpretation. The Romantics did not want t o obey established r ules of decency, rationality and poetic value. They believed in freedom of the individual and equality of all human beings. As the German philosopher Johann Fichte (1762-1814) stated, ‘reality was to take on the form that poets and artists imagined it should have’. As the century advanced, this concept became stronger. Dreams and visions, sometimes evoked with the help of drugs such as opium, became the fa vourite background for poets to find inspiration for their creativity. The poets’ main interest became the workings of their minds, thus introducing a strong autobiographical element. Y Morning in the Riesengebirge (181011), Caspar David Friedrich. Schloss Charlottenburg, Berlin.

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The Romantic Age

The role of the poet These developments in the world of poetry changed the role of the poet. He became a prophet, a teacher, a unique voice able to trace new paths which would then be follo wed by others. He did not addr ess a selective audience but wanted to be understood by everybody. This was why the Romantic poet also turned to fresh means of expression, to popular literary forms such as ballads, and a language ‘really used by men’, as Wordsworth ( P see p. 209) w rote in his ‘Preface’ to Lyrical Ballads.

Romantic themes

Y The Bard (1817), John Martin. Newcastle, Laing Art Gallery.

The fact that the Romantics focused on the inner self did not mean that they disregarded the outer world; on the contrary, they developed a greater interest in nature. They saw nature as a source of inspiration, the pantheistic expression of God. This is wh y they preferred country to town. Towns at that time w ere suffering from deep transformations brought on by the Industrial Revolution and were rapidly becoming uglier and more hostile places (Psee ‘London’ p. 205). Nature offered the poets solitude wher e they could shape their romantic visions. The need to form a fresh image of the world also brought about a strong interest in childhood. The poet learnt to look at the world from a child’s point of view with no adult preconceptions. ‘The Child is father of the Man’, is Wordsworth’s famous phrase from his poem ‘My Heart Leaps Up’ (Psee p. 213).

The pre-Romantic poets In this period two writers in particular represent a different aspect of this complex age of transition. The first was Thomas Gray (1716-71). His poetry is classical in form, but, as is clear in ‘Elegy Written in a C ountry Churchyard’, he introduced certain novelties, one being a new interest in the lives of humble people. The second writer, William Blake (1757-1827), both a poet and a paint er, was a for erunner of the R omantic poets (Wordsworth and Coleridge in particular). Most of his poetry is easy to understand, but at the same time presents visionary elements and symbolism that have made him unique. His most famous work is Songs of Innocence and of Experience.

The Romantic poets The poets of this period are usually divided into First Generation, William Wordsworth (1770-1850) and Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), and Second Generation, Lord Byron (1788-1824), Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) and John Keats (17951821). Wordsworth and Coleridge created what is considered to be the Manifesto of English Romanticism: Lyrical Ballads, published in 1798 followed by the addition of the famous Preface in 1800. These two poets were quite different as individuals, but they were both mainly concerned with the need to define this new type of poetry. They both rejected the 18th-century spirit in poetry (Psee p. 142) and later became bitterly disillusioned with the consequences of the French Revolution, about which they had previously been so enthusiastic. 190


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The Literary Context The poets of the Second Generation remained revolutionary throughout their lives, both in their poetry and in their lifestyles. They all died young, far from England, and they defy any form of generalisation. Lord Byron represents the satanic poet, rebellious towards any social and mor al norm. Percy B. Shelley embodies the R omantic poet, critical of every form of tyranny, political or ideological. John Keats is Romantic in his unrivalled capacity for reproducing immediate sensations in his poetry. In their poetr y they gave voice to their desire for a better world, a world of justice, freedom and beauty.

Fiction during the Romantic age Fiction was not the main literary form of this period as the new tendencies were best expressed in poetry. The gothic novel, however, fully absorbed the Romantic passion for the supernatural and mysterious. These novels were set in gothic building s like castles, mansions and monasteries. Important gothic novels include The Castle of Otranto (1764) by Horace Walpole, The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794) by Ann Radcliffe, The Monk (1796) by Matthew Gregory Lewis and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818), one of the most famous novels in English literature, which, despite certain differences, can still be considered part of the gothic tradition. The most important writers of the first part of the 19th century were Jane Austen (17751817), whose novels of manners connect her to the 18th-century novelists and the father of the historical novel, Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832). Unknown during her lifetime, Austen has become one of the greatest novelists in English literature, as David Daiches says: ‘she wrote of human comedy with profound art to produce novels unequalled in English literature for technical brilliance, ironic poise and a wareness of the differ ing claims of personality and society’.

Other literary forms In the field of non fiction, the Romantic age witnessed an increasing popularity in the essay. In comparison to the well polished and ordered essay of the previous age, it now tended to be more introspective and freer in expression, so mirroring the subjective mood of the period. Accomplished writers such as Charles Lamb (1775-1834), William Hazlitt (1778-1830) and Thomas De Quincey (1785-1859) contributed to the success of this genre. Drama was not so popular during the Romantic age, being considered an ‘inferior’ and vulgar form of art. The works produced were usually ‘closet dramas’, which are plays not meant to be staged and usually w ritten in verse: Byron’s Manfred and Shelley’s Prometheus Unbound are good examples of this dramatic genre.

Y Fourth of July Celebration in Center Square (1819), John Lewis Krimmel. The Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

The rise of American literature The first half of the 19th c entury saw the rise of a new lit erature in the Eng lish language: American literature. Although they w ere w riting in Eng lish, the new authors (essentially of fic tion) tried to distinguish themselves from the English literary models. This need to differentiate themselves from British writers went hand in hand with a reinforced awareness of a separate American historical and social identity which began with the American War of Independence. 191


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The Romantic Age

Influences on American literature American culture and literature were strongly influenced by Puritanism. Its values per meated e very aspec t of thought and life. Hard work, a spirit of adventure, a sense of duty and honesty were the principles of Puritan thought. From this came the origins of the idea of the ‘self-made man’, someone who could build a suc cessful futur e for himself fr om nothing , whic h, lat er developed into the idea of the ‘American Dream’. The gothic tradition was interpreted by one of the most famous American writers: Edgar Allan Poe (1809-49). In his Tales of the G rotesque and o f the Arabesque (1840) he e xplored the psychology of anguish and terror.

Y Illustration by Alberto Martini for Poe’s short story ‘William Wilson’.

Over to you 1 Focus on the first four paragraphs. 1. What nationality was the movement that anticipated pre-Romantic and Romantic tendencies? German Italian French American 2. What did the poets belonging to the Sturm und Drang movement focus on? 3. What were the key concepts of the literature of the time? 4. The Romantics opposed the aesthetic and social norms of the Enlightenment. How? 5. How did the role of the poet change during the Romantic period? 6. The Romantics were particularly interested in two major themes. What were they? 2 Answer the following questions about Romantic poets and writers. 1. Who were the pre-Romantic poets? 2. Who were considered the most important Romantic poets of the First Generation? 3. What was the Manifesto of Romanticism? 4. Who were the poets of the Second Generation and what did they have in common? 192

5. Write a short summary of the gothic novel mentioning at least two famous authors of the genre. 6. What type of novels did Austen and Scott write? 7. Mention some essayists and playwrights of the time, then state the characteristics of the following. a. the essay b. drama 3 Focus on American literature. Answer true or false. 1. American literature began in the first half of the 18th century. 2. The need for independence influenced American literature. 3. The ideal of the ‘self-made man’ was purely European. 4. The two main influences on American literature were Puritanism and nature. 5. There is no American representative of the gothic tradition.

T

F

T

F

T

F

T

F

T

F


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The Literary Context

Insight to the Age The sublime A particular influence was exerted on literature in the Romantic age by the philosopher Edmund Burke with his A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1757). He stated that a reaction to the sublime is aroused by indeterminate forces which are obscure and not even harmonious. The imagination is moved to awe and instilled with horror by what is dark, uncertain and confusing. Thus the sublime may inspire horror, but also a sensation of pleasurable pain. His theory was very influential at the time (particularly on the gothic movement) and resulted in a passion for this kind of non-rational experience, one of the elements which helped contrast the Romantic age with the Age of Reason.

Revolution in poetry During the Romantic period a radical change was introduced in the form and content of literature. Generally speaking, in the previous literary periods poets used certain figures of speech to obtain a refined language and a classical

poetic form. The publication of the ‘Preface’ to Lyrical Ballads (Psee Literary Context, p. 190) brought about the birth of a new style in poetry.

Revolutions and poetic subversion The Romantic poets’ ‘subversive’ attitude is somehow connected to the historical revolutions of the age. They were all deeply shocked by the French Revolution because it was as if this historical event had unleashed their most secret and unspeakable desires, so one can say that their new conception of poetry mirrored the political changes of the day. For example, some of Wordsworth’s best works of imagination date back to the period in which he embraced the outbreak of the French Revolution. The ‘big six’: Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley and Keats, revolutionised the concept of imagination and overturned the rules of poetic diction (Psee p. 190).

A definition of imagination The Romantic poets felt, and

believed, that creativity was something that enabled them to see far beyond the real world and they strove to define exactly what it was. The task, however, was difficult, and this difficulty mainly derived from the fact that for them creativity and imagination belonged to the spiritual, the inconceivable. Sometimes creativity was compared to a God-like act.

The aspiration to a better world It is possible to say, then, that the aspiration towards something above and beyond human experience was the hallmark of Romantic poetry. These exalted poets saw evil, injustice, poverty, ‘the mind-forged manacles’ of civilisation (Psee Blake, p. 205) around them and they wanted to change this chaos through the power of imagination, by creating a better world in their poetry. What was lacking in reality they found elsewhere. In their most creative moments some even dared to claim that imagination was the link between themselves and God.

Over to you 1 Answer the following questions about the first paragraph. 1. Who elaborated the theory of the sublime? 2. Which of these short descriptions would you define as ‘sublime’? a meadow full of flowers a field of corn a sinister wood a stormy sea the rapids of a river a lake at sunset 2 Scan the rest of the text and state the following. 1. What radical change the Romantic poet introduced. 2. What the hallmark of Romantic poetry was. 193


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The Romantic Age

Thomas Gray (1716-71) Biographical notes After being schooled at Eton College, Thomas Gray spent most of his life at Cambridge University, where he became professor of Modern History. He was a br illiant scholar, called by one of his friends ‘the most learned man in Europe’. However, he did not produce many literary works as, despite an interest in newly discovered Welsh, Norse and Celtic poetry, he was mainly conditioned by the neo-classical sear ch for precision and perfection in w riting which was typical of the first half of the century. He was a good friend of Horace Walpole (the founder of the gothic no vel) and is most remembered for his ‘Elegy Written in a C ountry C hurchyard’, composed after the death of his fr iend, Richard West, in 1742 and published later in 1750.

Main works 3 ‘Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College’ (1742) 3 ‘Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard’ (1742-50) 3 ‘The Bard’(1757) 3 ‘On Lord Holland’s Seat Near Margate, Kent’(1769) Y Thomas Gray.

Commentary Thomas Gray’s scholarly interest in alternative verse forms, especially Celtic, and his travels and appreciation of the Lake District and the Alps in Europe – later seen as c haracteristics of the Romantic poets and their sear ch for the sublime – may explain how Gray, in his writings, and above all in the ‘Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard’, moves away from the neo-classical themes t owards a more Romantic sensitivity.

‘Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard’: structure The structure of Gray’s ‘Elegy’, however, is decidedly neo-classical. The language is rich and complex, as he himself wrote, ‘the language of the age is ne ver the language of poetry.’ The poem is made up of thirty-two quatrains with an abab rhyme scheme throughout. Iambic pentameter is used along w ith internal rhyme, alliteration and onomatopoeia, all working together effectively to produce the tone, mood and atmosphere which have made Gray’s ‘Elegy’ so famous.

Themes In keeping with the classical idea of an eleg y, Gray’s poem is a meditation on death, but not only ; the poet’s thoughts move from the moment of death back to the lives which preceded it and he ponders how social differences, fame and for tune are all destined to be extinguished by man’s mortality. Gray’s sympathies seem to lie mainly with the poor villagers and their humble but dignified lives. In the ‘Epitaph’ at the end of the poem he feels at one with the villagers and desires their anonymity: ‘A youth to fortune and to fame unknown’ and ‘No farther seek his merits to disclose’. Focusing on the lowly and not the elevated in society is another point which distinguishes Gray���s poem from the more typical neo-classical themes. He seems to be questioning the social hierarchy itself and therefore making the poem quietly radical for the period. Gray anticipates the Romantic themes of a later date, as does the poet’s own ‘presence’ within the poem. 194


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Thomas Gray Although preceded by the ‘graveyard’ poetry of Edward Young (‘Night Thoughts’, 174245) and Robert Blair (‘The Grave’, 1743), Gray’s ‘Elegy’ was much more influential. The Italian writer, Ugo Foscolo, for example, was inspired by it for Dei Sepolcri (1807) (Psee p. 198).

‘Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard’ (1742-50) Let’s get started 1 Collins English Dictionary defines an elegy as ‘a mournful or plaintive poem, a lament for the dead’. Read and listen to the first stanzas of the poem and see if it corresponds to this definition of an elegy. Identify the tone, choosing from the possibilities below (you may choose more than one). pensive

MP3 18

CD1 18

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light-hearted

melancholic

didactic

‘Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard1’ The curfew tolls2 the knell3 of parting day, The lowing herd4 wind slowly o’er the lea5, The ploughman homeward plods6 his weary way, And leaves the world to darkness and to me. Now fades the glimmering landscape7 on the sight, And all the air a solemn stillness holds, Save8 where the beetle9 wheels his droning10 flight, And drowsy11 tinklings12 lull13 the distant folds14; Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tower15 The moping owl16 does to the moon complain Of such, as wandering near her secret bower17, Molest18 her ancient solitary reign.

Y The parish church of St Giles in Stoke Poges, where it is thought that Gray took inspiration for his ‘Elegy’.

1. churchyard: cimitero. 2. curfew tolls: la campana batte il coprifuoco (per segnalare la fine della giornata). 3. knell: lento suono di campana (di solito per funerali). 4. lowing herd: le mucche che muggiscono. 5. lea: prato. 6. plods: cammina pesantemente (per stanchezza). 7. glimmering: affievolisce. 8. save: eccetto. 9. beetle: scarabeo. 10. droning: ronzante. 11. drowsy: che inducono sonno. 12. tinklings: suoni metallici(le campane delle mucche). 13. lull: cullano. 14. folds: greggi. 15. ivy-mantled tower: una torre coperta da edera. 16. moping owl: gufo melanconico. 17. bower: posto all’ombra. 18. molest: disturba.

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The Romantic Age 19. rugged elms: olmi robusti. 20. yew-tree’s shade: l’ombra del tasso. 21. heaves the turf: la terra viene spinta verso la superficie (dall’albero). 22. mouldering heap: tumuli che marciscono. 23. narrow: stretto. 24. rude: poco colti. 25. hamlet: piccolo villaggio. 26. swallow: rondine. 27. cock: gallo. 28. rouse: svegliare. 29. blazing hearth: fuoco vivace. 30. ply: impegnata a. 31. lisp: salutare (ma con il linguaggio dei bambini). 32. sire’s return: il rientro del padre.

Beneath those rugged elms19, that yew-tree’s shade20, Where heaves the turf 21 in many a mouldering heap22, Each in his narrow23 cell forever laid, The rude24 forefathers of the hamlet25 sleep.

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The breezy call of incense-breathing morn, The swallow26 twittering from the straw-built shed, The cock’s27 shrill clarion or the echoing horn, No more shall rouse28 them from their lowly bed.

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For them no more the blazing hearth29 shall burn, Or busy housewife ply30 her evening care; No children run to lisp31 their sire’s return32, Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share.

Over to you Understanding the text 1 Read and listen to the poem again then answer the following questions. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Who is ‘me’ in line 4? Where is the poem set? What is the poet doing? What time of day is it? Who does ‘them’ refer to in the 5th and 6th stanzas? What is their ‘lowly bed’? What type of life does the poet imagine the villagers had? Give examples.

Analysis and interpretation 2 The poem is written in quatrains with an iambic metric pattern. Is the rhyme scheme regular? 3 How does the rhythm of the poem help to reinforce the tone? 4 From the first three stanzas of the poem underline the words which tell us that the day is ending. 5 The ‘Elegy’ is written in a country churchyard and talks about nature. Go through the first five stanzas. 1. Complete the left-hand column of the chart with who or what the poet refers to. Who/What

Description

Men: ploughman Animals: Insects: Plants: 2. Now fill in right-hand column with the descriptive adjectives and verbs associated with the nouns and say what kind of atmosphere is created by Gray’s choice. 196


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Thomas Gray

Context 6 The ‘Elegy’ represents a subtle break with the neo-classical style and hints at new themes in poetry and a different ‘sense’ of the poet which will later develop into what we know and regard as characteristics of the Romantic period. Let’s now look at the poem as the link between the neo-classical period and the beginning of Romanticism. Below we can find the main characteristics of the two literary styles. Tick the ones we can find in Gray’s poem. Neo-classical

Romantic

The poet must use an elegant language which is specific to poetry.

The language of ordinary men can be used by the poet.

The poet is not directly involved in his poetry as he is writing on behalf of all men.

The poet is looking for originality in self-expression, his thoughts and feelings are present in his poetry.

A good poet can find an elevated language for commonly accepted ideas.

A good poet should find a clear way to express his spontaneous feelings.

Poetry should have a didactic aim.

Nature is one of the main sources of inspiration.

Famous people and their lives are often used as subject matter.

Simple people in their rural environments are often the subject matter.

Review

Y Engraving by C. Grignion for the frontispiece to the 1753 edition of Gray’s ‘Elegy’.

1 Complete the passage by underlining the correct alternative. Thomas Gray’s ‘Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard’ is often considered the link /continuation (1) between one literary period and another. Although his contents /style (2) is typical of the neo-classical period in that he uses a simple /an elevated (3) language, regular rhyme scheme and iambic pentameter, his themes show similarities with the Romantic period /Victorian period (4) of a later date. In his ‘Elegy’ he focuses on the lives of the wealthy /humble (5) people in the village and his subtle praise /criticism (6) of the social hierarchy gives the poem a slightly conservative /radical (7) feel which is again similar to the poetry of a later date. The opening lines, with their descriptions of the graveyard as night is falling, can also be described as quite gothic /modern (8) in tone, another element which distinguishes it from other, neo-classical writers of the period. The fact that the poet himself has a ‘presence’ within the poem makes it much more subjective /objective (9) and introduces thoughts and feelings which help to create a sensitive, meditative mood, 197


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The Romantic Age

Literature Around the World

Gray and Foscolo The Italian poet Ugo Foscolo was inspired by Gray’s ‘Elegy’ when he wrote Dei Sepolcri (1807). Foscolo came into contact with and read a great deal of English literature, having lived in the country for many years. We’re going to look now at the first part (lines 115) of Dei Sepolcri and compare it to Gray’s ‘Elegy’.

Dei Sepolcri by Foscolo

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All’ombra de’ cipressi e dentro l’urne confortate di pianto è forse il sonno della morte men duro? Ove più il Sole per me alla terra non fecondi questa bella d’erbe famiglia e d’animali, e quando vaghe di lusinghe innanzi a me non danzeran l’ore future, né da te, dolce amico, udrò piú il verso e la mesta armonia che lo governa, né più nel cor mi parlerà lo spirto delle vergini Muse e dell’amore, unico spirto a mia vita raminga, qual fia ristoro a’ dì perduti un sasso che distingua le mie dalle infinite ossa che in terra e in mar semina Morte?

Y Ugo Foscolo.

Over to you 1 What references in Foscolo’s opening lines are to be found in Gray’s ‘Elegy’? 2 Compare lines 6-11 of Dei Sepolcri with stanza 6 of Gray’s ‘Elegy’. How are they similar? 3 The most famous line of Gray’s ‘Elegy’ comes in stanza 8 when he writes ‘The paths of glory lead but to the grave.’ What do you think Gray means with these words? 4 How do lines 12-15 of Dei Sepolcri echo this message? 198

Y Elegie romaine (1791), Jacques-Henri Sablet. Musée des Beaux-Arts, Brest.


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The Romantic Age

A Different Perspective Art

Johann Heinrich Füssli

The Nightmare (1781) In the last two decades of the eighteenth century, parallel to the gothic movement, a new type of art which was visionary and fantastic began to spread throughout Europe. The movement was particular strong in England and its greatest representative was the Swiss-born painter, who settled in Lond on in 1764, Johann Heinrich Füssli (1741-1825), or Henry Fuseli in English. His paintings investigate the depths of the unconscious mind and express the desire, which was typical of the Romantics, to go beyond the boundaries of reason. This same visionary quality is to be found in Blake’s engravings. In his painting, The Nightmare, gothic aesthetics of terror and horror are linked with a dream-like, unconscious state of mind. The visions of the mind and the ghosts of the night are clearly represented and they seem to have the same r ight to exist side by side, as if they were everyday realities. Füssli once said that: ‘one of the most unexplored regions of art are dreams and what may be called the personifications of sentiments’.

Over to you 1 Describe the picture by answering the following questions. 1. What is the girl doing? 2. What frightening creatures can we see around her? 3. What is the predominant colour? 2 Describe the girl’s pose. 3 What could the two beings represent? 4 What feelings does the picture arouse in you? Choose from the following. curiosity attraction fear repulsion tranquillity

bewilderment apprehension

Y The Nightmare (1781), Johann Heinrich Füssli. The Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit.

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The Romantic Age

ON SCREEN STARRING

Keira Knightley, Matthew Macfadyen, Brenda Blethyn, Donald Sutherland and Judi Dench

Pride and Prejudice Directed by Joe Wright (2005)

DVD

Four Oscar nominations w ent to this production of Pride and Prejudice directed by Joe Wright. This manicured version of the novel manages t o respect the int ricacies of Austen’s text while at the same time g iving the film a moder n appeal, especially w ith the casting of Keira Knightley as Elizabeth (Lizzie) Bennet. The stunning photography, which concentrates on the English countryside and its stately homes, also captures the mood of the period.

The story on screen so far... Tensions ha ve been r ising, along w ith Lizzie ’s pr ejudice t owards Mr Darcy. As you will remember from the extracts you read, Elizabeth holds Darcy responsible for her sister’s unhappiness, Mr Bingley having jilted her follo wing Dar cy’s ad vice. H owever, Lizzie seems t o find Dar cy around e very c orner, little kno wing that his lo ve for her has been growing all this time until he can no longer r esist displaying it in this first, rather clumsy and arrogant attempt at proposal. Now watch the film extract and answer the following questions.

Over to you 1 Watch and listen to the first part of the dialogue twice, then fill in the missing words. ‘Miss Elizabeth, I have ........................... (1) in vain and I can ........................... (2) it no longer. These ........................... (3) have been a torment. I came to Rosings for the single object of seeing you. I ........................... (4) you. I’ve fought against my better ........................... (5), my family’s expectations, the ........................... (6) of your birth, my rank, circumstance, all these things and I’m willing to put them ........................... (7) and ask you to end my ........................... (8).’

2 Listen to the whole scene again and write down who says the following lines, put D for Darcy or E for Elizabeth. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

‘I don’t understand’ ‘I’m very sorry to have caused you pain’ ‘Are you laughing at me?’ ‘...why with so little endeavour of civility I’m thus repulsed?’ ‘...you chose to tell me you like me against your better judgement.’

3 Why do you think the director, Joe Wright, made these choices? In your opinion do they add to or detract from the moment? 4 ‘I have other reasons. You know I have’. What are the other reasons for Elizabeth’s rejection of Mr Darcy? 5 Who do you sympathise with most in this scene, Darcy or Elizabeth? 6 Are the characters of Darcy and Elizabeth in the film how you imagined them to be? Explain why or why not.

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The Historical Background The Romantic Age

ON AND OFF SCREEN

Etiquette, dating and dancing in Austen’s time DVD

In this second film e xtract we will see the film ’s director, Joe Wright, actor Matthew Macfayden (Mr Darcy) and actress Keira Knightley (Elizabeth Bennet) talking about the rules of dating 1 and etiquette2 and the impor tance of the danc e in Jane Austen’s time.

1. dating: corteggiamento. 2. etiquette: il protocollo da rispettare in società.

Over to you 1 Before watching the extract look at the following words and expressions used by the speakers and match them with their definition on the right. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

code of conduct courting to throw off the shackles to bow to form collisions charged to shake hands a carriage

a. b. c. d. e. f. g. h.

to bend forward in a sign of respect a formal gesture when saying hello rules of behaviour physical contact attracting the opposite sex a form of transportation using horses to free oneself of restrictions full of excitement and anticipation

2 Now watch the extract and answer true or false. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Joe Wright feels that there are still rules of courting today. Matthew Macfayden thinks that the rules of conduct in Jane Austen’s time were very restrictive. Socialising between the sexes was very easy in Jane Austen’s time. Dancing was a very important way of meeting people. Women and men would always shake hands when they met.

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F F F F F

3 Watch the extract again and answer the following questions in your own words. 1. What does Matthew Macfayden like about the etiquette of Jane Austen’s time? 2. Give two reasons why the dance was so important as a social occasion. 3. Why was it a significant moment when Darcy helped Elizabeth into the carriage? 4 Visual activity. 1. Matthew Macfayden is ‘on set’ as he speaks. What can you see in the background? 2. In the dance scene, although Elizabeth and Darcy are still cold with each other how can we tell that there is a ‘chemistry’ developing between them? 5 Dancing today: discuss in small groups the following and then compare your answers with the rest of the class. 1. How important is ‘the dance’ today as a way of meeting people? 2. Do young people still dance together? 3. What is the accepted etiquette of courting today among teenagers. How do you attract the opposite sex? 4. Do you think ‘breaking the ice’ today is easier, more difficult or just the same as in Jane Austen’s time? 5. How acceptable is physical contact in public in your country? Do you think it is the same in all countries? Use the Internet to find out.

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The Romantic Age

From marriage proposals to bride wars Mrs Bennet was so eager for her daughters to marry because in Jane Austen’s time daughters could not receive any inheritance. It would have to go to the first male heir, which in their case would have been a cousin. But these days times have changed, people don’t have to get married if they don’t want to – or do they? Recent studies have shown that ‘singles’ die earlier, drink more (because they have to go out to socialise), smoke more cigarettes (so consequently have more health problems) and have more weight problems too because they tend to have irregular meals as they don’t have to respect family meal times. This desperate need to get married at ‘the right time’ and in ‘the right place’ can be seen from the recent film Bride wars (2009), in which even the best of friends will stop at nothing to tie the knot!

Y Bride Wars (2009) directed by G. Winick.

Over to you Review 1 Choose the correct alternative to complete the following sentences. 1. Which was the largest social class in Jane Austen’s time? middle class lower class aristocracy gentry 2. Which classes does Jane Austen represent in her novels? all social classes only the gentry and the aristocracy only the middle class 3. Jane Austen was mainly interested in (more than one) people historical events society in general social problems human relationships 4. Where are her novels generally set? London provincial towns villages European cities 240

5. How can Jane Austen’s style be defined (more than one) witty ironic elegant direct realistic sarcastic refined revolutionary 6. Why can’t her works be defined as ‘Romantic’? chronologically they do not belong to the Romantic age they suggest a balance between feeling and reason she does not give any importance to feelings 7. The heroines in her novels are often victims independent rebellious passionate unconventional 2 Answer the following questions. 1. Which type of novel is Jane Austen the main representative of? 2. What are the characteristics of this novel? 3. To which social classes do the characters from the extracts you have read belong?


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The Romantic Age

Theme The Negative Hero

The Negative Hero Heroes and heroines often stand out because they have particular qualities, usually good or super human qualities whic h distinguish them fr om the average person. But not all her oes are like this. Here we are going to present two heroes who are completely different from each other and from the stereotypical ideas we have of heroes. These, so called, negati ve her oes, typical of the Romantic period, a re doomed to a destiny. They may hide a mysterious secret, be attracted to evil, corrupt other characters so that they too share their fatal destiny, or they may be transformed into victims themselves, so losing their heroic qualities. Y Shrek (2001) directed by A. Adamson and V. Jenson.

í˘ą

í˘˛

Over to you Look at these paintings and images. In what ways can the figures depicted be considered ‘heroes’ and in what ways are they ‘negative’? If necessary refer back to the introduction. 252

Y La Belle Dame Sans Merci (1839), John William Waterhouse. Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt.


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Theme The Negative Hero í˘ł

Y Fight Club (1999) directed by D. Fisher.

í˘ľ

í˘´

Y The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in Sun (1806-09), William Blake. Brooklyn Museum, New York.

Y Satan Calls Belzebub (1802), Johann Heinrich FĂźssli. Kunst-haus, Zurich.

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The Romantic Age

Theme Matthew Lewis The The Monk (1796) Negative Typical of the gothic novel, the monk is a fascinating man with charisma and power, Hero apparently a real hero, if it weren’t for the fact that he g radually reveals the obscure aspects of his character: his wickedness and cruelty. Matthew Lewis (1775-1818) wrote the novel The Monk when he was nineteen years old, and it soon became very successful when published. He wrote it anonymously but on becoming a member of Parliament could not resist acknowledging himself as author. The story is a mixture of lust, murder and the supernatural. The reader becomes involved, along with the main character, in a spiral of blood, death and despair right up to its apocalyptic ending. Many frightening characters, typical of the horror story, appear: a bleeding nun, the wandering Jew and Lucifer himself. But the dominant figure of the novel is its negative hero, the monk Ambrosio. Although he is wicked and perverse, an epitome of the devil, he fascinates the reader with his charisma, great intellectual and physical powers and his fascinating past. The Monk contributes to the developing tradition of the negative hero (from Marlowe’s Faustus and Milton’s Satan) making Ambrosio’s character one in whic h splendid potential is twisted and defeated by destructive conflicting qualities. The plot itself follows his fall: from an initial situation in which Ambrosio is idolised as ‘a man of holiness’ to the seduction of Matilda, up to his final ruin. Ambrosio is torn between his duties towards the monastery and his carnal desires. He is unable to accept old values and respect the rules, but he is also unable to break with his world. In the end he w ill be cr uelly punished for his crimes. The Monk as a novel and as a heroic figure became so famous that L ewis himself became kno wn as ‘The monk’.

Y The Fall of the Damned, detail, (c. 1450), Dieric Bouts. Musée des BeauxArts, Lille.

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Pagina 255

Theme The Negative Hero

The Monk Text 1 A description of Ambrosio. His stature was lofty1, and his features uncommonly handsome. His nose was aquiline, his eyes large black and sparkling2, and his dark brows almost joined together. […] Tranquillity reigned upon his smooth un wrinkled forehead3; and content, expressed upon 4 every feature, seemed t o announce the man equally unacquainted with cares and crimes. He bowed himself 5 with humility to the audienc e: still ther e was a c ertain severity in his look and manner that inspired universal awe6, and few sustain the glance7 of his eye at once fiery and penetrating. Such was Ambrosio, Abbott of the Capuchins, and surnamed ‘The Man of Holiness8’.

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Over to you

1. lofty: alta. 2. sparkling: brillanti. 3. unwrinked forehead: fronte priva di rughe. 4. upon: (qui) attraverso. 5. he bowed himself: s’inchinò. 6. awe: timore, soggezione. 7. glance: sguardo. 8. The Man of Holiness: il santo.

1 Which of the following sentences are true about Ambrosio? 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

He is a good-looking man. He looks honest and correct. He is a simple monk. He looks shy and inoffensive. His humility is only apparent.

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F F F F F

Text 2 Ambrosio is with Antonia, a young and beautiful virgin in the vault of the monastery.

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With every moment the F riar1’s passion became mor e ardent, and Antonia’s terror more intense. She struggled to disengage herself2 from his arms: Her exertions3 were unsuccessful; and finding that Ambrosio’s conduct became still freer, she shrieked4 for assistance with all her strength. […] Her alarm, her evident disgust, and inc essant opposition, seemed only t o inflame the M onk’s desire, and supply his brutality with5 additional strength.

1. Friar: frate, qui Ambrosio. 2. disengage herself: divincolarsi. 3. exertions: sforzi. 4. shrieked: gridò. 5. supply with: dare.

Over to you 1 The good and beloved monk has become a monster. What is he trying to do to Antonia? 2 What features of Ambrosio as a negative hero are emphasised here? 3 How do you think this scene will end?

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The Romantic Age

Theme The Negative Hero

John Keats

‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’ (1819) The title of this lyrical ballad by John Keats (Psee p. 228) (in English, ‘The beautiful lady without pity’) already prepares the reader for a more Romantic hero compared to Lewis’s monk. Here we see all the ingredients of the Romantic gothic: a medieval setting, a quest for idealised love along with a supernatural atmosphere. What is interesting, and at the same time overwhelmingly ‘Romantic’, is what brings about this hero’s downfall. What transforms him from a chivalrous knight into a tragic victim. For many, the lady of the poem is seen as a t emptress who enslaves the knig ht and prevents him from ever living a normal life again; condemned as he is to ‘sojourn’ on the hillside hoping she’ll return. In this interpretation the knight is the lady’s victim. Looking at the poem in the c ontext of Keats’s life, however, we may find a differ ent reading. At the time of writing Keats had just disc overed he was suffer ing from tuberculosis, a disease which had already killed his brother. At the same time he had also recently fallen in love with a young woman, Fanny Brawne. The loss of his brother, the discovery of his own illness and his love for Fanny, which almost certainly had no future, created an inner torment, sadness and frustration. In view of this, the lady and her relationship with the knight may change. Is she still a temptress or does she represent something more? Could the knight now be seen as the poet himself, and if so, how?

MP3 27

1. ail: affliggere. 2. knight-at-arms: cavaliere. 3. palely loitering: indugiando. 4. the sedge has withered: il carice è appassito. 5. haggard: afflitto. 6. woe-begone: abbattuto. 7. lily: giglio (simbolo di morte). 8. moist: umida, sudata. 9. fever dew: sudore febbrile. 10. meads: prati. 11. zone: cinta. 12. steed: cavallo.

CD1 27

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‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’ O, what can ail1 thee, knight-at-arms2, Alone and palely loitering3? The sedge has withered4 from the lake, And no birds sing. O, what can ail thee, knight-at-arms, So haggard5, and so woe-begone6? The squirrel’s granary is full, And the harvest’s done. I see a lily7 on thy brow, With anguish moist8 and fever dew9; And on thy cheeks a fading rose Fast withereth too. I met a lady in the meads10, Full beautiful – a fairy’s child, Her hair was long, her foot was light, And her eyes were wild. I made a garland for her head, And bracelets too, and fragrant zone11; She looked at me as she did love, And made sweet moan. I set her on my pacing steed12, And nothing else saw all day long; For sidelong would she bend and sing A fairy’s song.

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Y La Belle Dame Sans Merci (1861), Arthur Hughes. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.


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Theme The Negative Hero 25

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She found me roots of relish13 sweet, And honey wild, and manna dew14, And sure in language strange she said – ‘I love thee true.’

13. relish: sapore. 14. manna dew: secrezione dolce prodotta dalle piante. 15. elfin grot: grotta fatata. 16. full sore: in modo angosciato. 17. lulled: cullava. 18. Woe betide: esclamazione di tristezza. 19. hath thee in thrall: ti ha reso schiavo. 20. gloam: crepuscolo. 21. gaped wide: aperte.

She took me to her elfin grot15, And there she wept and sighed full sore16, And there I shut her wild wild eyes With kisses four. And there she lulled17 me asleep, And there I dreamed – Ah! Woe betide18! The latest dream I ever dreamed On the cold hill’s side. I saw pale kings, and princes too, Pale warriors, death-pale were they all; They cried-‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci Hath thee in thrall!19’ I saw their starved lips in the gloam20, With horrid warning gaped wide21, And I awoke and found me here On the cold hill’s side.

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And this is why I sojourn here Alone and palely loitering, Though the sedge is withered from the lake, And no birds sing.

Over to you 1 In the first three stanzas the speaker addresses the knight and describes him. Complete the words associated with the knight. a_ _, p_ _ _ _ _/l_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ , h_ _ _ _ _ _ , w_ _-_ _ _ _ _ _,a_ _ _ _ _ _,f_ _ _ _/_ _ _, f_ _ _ _ _/_ _ _ _,w_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _. 2 How does this knight differ from the stereotypical figure of a medieval knight? 3 What do we learn about La Belle Dame Sans Merci and her past? 4 In what ways is she an ambiguous figure? 5 Why is she ‘sans merci’?

6 What elements can we find in Keats’s poem which do not appear in Lewis’s? Choose from the following. ambiguity provocation despair

mystery melancholy

horror anger

7 What do you think Keats is saying about love in his poem? How would La Belle Dame Sans Merci be seen today? Can you think of any examples from the media? 8 Looking at the two Romantic gothic works you have just studied what similarities can you find in the texts and in their ‘heroes’ and what differences? In what ways are they negative? Which negative hero do you empathise with most and why? 257


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The Romantic Age

In Short Glossary THE ROMANTIC AGE loyal: leale to rage: imperversare to reach a climax: raggiungere il culmine to strengthen: rafforzare to surround oneself: circondarsi to strive (strove, striven): cercare troop: truppa

THE ROMANTIC AGE (1760-1837) The Historical Background • The Age of Revolutions: the American Revolution (1775), the French Revolution (1789), the Industrial Revolution. • George III (1760-1820). Aimed at increasing control over the country with the help of prime minister William Pitt the Younger. Policies were conservative at home and abroad. • Napoleonic wars: B ritish v ictories at Battle of Trafalgar (1805) and Battle of Waterloo (1815). But wars left Eng land depressed w ith unemployment and poverty. • Industrial Revolution. Less work in the countryside led to more workers in the towns. • Two new social classes began t o emerge: the entrepreneurs and the workers. Both groups had no land and w ere ther efore not r epresented in parliament. The new ent repreneurs were also new employers. Workers were exploited, made t o work in extreme conditions often for up to 16 hours a day. Wages were low and children were also employed in the same c onditions as adults. The ent repreneurs and proletariat soon became hostile enemies. • William IV (1830-37). T ime of r eforms: First Reform Bill (1832), Factory Act (1833) and P oor Law Amendment Act (1834). • The American War of Independence broke out in 1775. Causes: discontent in the American colonies and a g rowing demand for g reater administrative and ec onomic independenc e. Things began t o precipitate when the B ritish government passed a series of restrictive laws against the c olonies. The war last ed eig ht y ears and sa w the defeat of the British. • The T reaty of P aris (1783). With this B ritain acknowledged the independenc e of the U nited States of America.

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The Literary Context • Late 18th-century literary styles began t o change. • Pre-Romantic and R omantic t endencies w ere anticipated by the German revolutionary movement known as Sturm und Drang (Storm and Stress), late 18th c entury, whic h r ebelled against Classicism, focusing on the indi vidual and on feelings and passion. • An int ellectual, social and political fer ment encouraged w riters t o seek new modes of expression: • g reat r elevance t o emotions and imagination • inner self had the power to interpret reality • dreams and visions, sometimes evoked with the help of drugs, became a source of inspiration. • Central topics: nature and childhood. • Poet took on the role of a prophet or teacher, but at the same time want ed t o be underst ood b y everyone. The Pre-Romantic poets

• Thomas G ray (1716-71). ‘Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard’ (1751) is classical in form but has novelties, such as a new int erest in the li ves of humble peo ple, whic h became t ypical of Romanticism.

• William Blake (1757-1827). Poet and painter, was a forerunner of the Romantic poets. Poetry is easy to understand, but incl udes v isionary elements and symbolism. Best-known for work Songs of Innocence and of Experience (1794). First Generation Romantic poets • William Wordsworth (1770-1850). Main work: the Lyrical Ballads (1798), together with Coleridge. It became the manifesto of English Romanticism. • Key concepts: in his poetr y the poet bec omes the subject. • The poet is a p rophet and a spir itual guid e f or everyone. • Language: clear, the common language of all men. • Topics: c hildhood, the life of humble people, memories and emotions recollected.

• Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834). Main work: The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798), written in the form of a ballad and made up of seven parts. • Key concepts: primary imagination (at the basis of knowledge) and secondary imagination (it can shape new worlds), fancy (it transforms what we perceive). • Gothic and supernatural elements. The mariner can be interpreted as the wandering Jew.


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In Short

Second Generation Romantic poets • Lord B yron (1788-1824). M ain w ork: Don J uan (1819-1824) an unfinished poem. Juan is a friendly character, represented with satire and irony. • Became famous all over Europe. His tales are rich in gothic and Romantic elements. • An unfinished poem. Juan is a fr iendly character, represented with satire and irony. • He created and t ried to embody the figur e of the Byronic hero: intelligent, confident, proud rebellious and abnormally sensitive.

• Mary Shelley (1797-1851). Main work: Frankenstein

• John K eats (1795-1821). M ain w ork: ‘Ode on a

Prejudice (1813). R epresentative of the no vel of manners. Characterisation and plot pla y a major role in this novel. • Austen emplo ys a polished and elegant st yle characterised b y w it and ir ony and is e xtremely skilful at orchestrating conversation. • Main themes: the complexities of people and their relationships.

Grecian Urn’ (1819). A rich and refined language, the poet is seen as endowed with negative capability (capable of living in unc ertainties and d oubt) and having a heightened perception of reality. • Central theme: the contemplation of beauty. Beauty is also seen as a form of knowledge. Prose • The gothic no vel, which typically includes terror, mystery and the supernatural. Gothic buildings like castles, mansions and monasteries create the setting for the action in the M iddle Ages, and in for eign countries. Main characters: usually simple and ‘one dimensional’ or flat, di vided int o good and e vil. Most famous work: The Castle of Otranto (1764) by Horace Walpole. • The gothic novel had a great influence on the history of literature with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Edgar Allan Poe’s tales, etc.

(1818). I t belong s t o the Gothic t radition, but differs from it in se veral ways (it d oes not c ontain supernatural elements and is not set in a castle). • Structure: a c ombination of differ ent v oices and texts. • Themes: the pursuit of knowledge, the responsibility of scientists, the solitude of the monster (who can be seen as a symbol for all those alienated in some way from society).

• Jane Austen (1775-1817). M ain w ork: Pride and

American literature

• Strongly influenced by Puritanism. • Main themes: the concept of the self-made man and the still w ild and une xplored environment of the country.

• Edgar Allan Poe (1809-49). Main work: Tales of the Grotesque and o f the Arabesque (1840). Influenced by the gothic tradition, he explored the psychology of anguish and terror. Master of the short story.

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The Romantic Age

General Overview The Historical Background 1 Answer the following questions. 1. What were the three important revolutions that occured in this age? 2. Which king reigned for sixty years? 3. Who defeated Napoleon’s troops at the Battle of Trafalgar? 4. What were England’s problems after the Napoleonic wars? 5. What were the positive consequences of the Industrial Revolution? 6. What were the negative effects of the Industrial Revolution? 2 Answer true or false about the US and the British colonies. 1. George Washington was the first president of the United States of America. 2. After the Declaration of Independence many people in the States migrated to the West. 3. The Native Indians in the States had the same rights as the Americans. 4. The abolition of slavery took place in England in 1833.

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The Literary Context 3 Answer the following questions. 1. Which German movement anticipated English Romanticism? 2. What were the two key words of the Romantic movement? 3. What role did the poet have in the Romantic age? 4. What were the most important themes? 5. Who were the most important poets of the first generation? And of the second generation? 6. Which three types of novel developed in this period? 7. What type of religion was American literature influenced by? 8. Who were the most important representatives of Romantic American literature?

Thomas Gray 4 Answer true or false. 1. Thomas Gray’s poetry was entirely Romantic. 260

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2. The language of the poem ‘Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard’ is complex and rich in imagery. 3. The poem is a meditation on death. 4. It centres on the lives of aristocratic people.

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William Blake 5 Answer true or false. 1. During his lifetime Blake was recognised as a famous poet. 2. Blake used simple and direct language in his poetry. 3. His poetry is rich in symbols. 4. Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience were two separate unrelated collections of poetry. 5. Blake did not give much importance to social themes in his poetry.

William Wordsworth 6 Complete the following passage. Wordsworth grew up in ................................................................ (1). He collaborated with the poet ......................................................................... (2). His main work was ......................................................................... (3), which contained the ......................................................................... (4) of English Romanticism. His work deals with the following themes: ......................................................................... (5) of humble people and ......................................................................... (6) landscapes. His style was innovative: he adopted a ......................................................................... (7) and common language in order to make his poetry comprehensible to everybody.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge 7 Answer true or false. 1. He wrote the Lyrical Ballads together with John Keats. 2. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner was written in the ballad form. 3. The poem’s language is rich in archaisms. 4. The Ancient Mariner is a young man. 5. In the poem an albatross appears.

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General Overview

Lord Byron

Jane Austen

8 Answer true or false. 1. Byron had an uneventful life. 2. There are many similarities between his work and that of the poets of the first generation like Wordsworth. 3. He became very famous in Europe as well as England. 4. He created the figure of the Byronic hero. 5. Don Juan is a dark and mysterious figure like Byron himself.

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1. Austen concentrated on historical events in her novels. 2. She had a very adventurous life. 3. She dealt with human relationships in her novels. 4. Her works are still very popular today.

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Mary Shelley

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12 Answer the following questions.

John Keats 9 What characterises Keats’s poetry? Choose (more than one is possible). refined language interest in the world of art and dreams supernatural elements everyday life personal relationships 10 Answer the following questions.

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1. What genre does Frankenstein belong to? 2. What are the main themes of Frankenstein? 3. What form does the novel take?

Edgar Allan Poe 13 Answer the following questions. 1. What sort of stories did Poe write? 2. What does his work often deal with? 3. What nationality was he?

1. What generation of Romantic poets does Keats belong to? 2. What is the title of Keats’s poem presented in this anthology?

Y Rain, Steam and Speed – The Great Western Railway (1844), Joseph Mallord William Turner. National Gallery, London.

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With rhymes and reason