A Short History Of English Literature [Ifor Evans] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. A Short History of English Literature. Front Cover. Ifor Evans, Bernard Bergonzi. Penguin Books, – Literary Criticism – pages. Contributor, Ifor Evans. Edition, 4, illustrated, reprint. Publisher, Penguin Books, ISBN, X, Length, pages. Subjects.

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Tliis strangeness of the individual experience involves each of the romantics in a spiritual loneliness. Some of this melancholy may have been a fashion, a delight in ruins, spectres, and midnight walks among the tombs, but it was real enough to colour the whole life of Thomas Graythe author of the ‘Elegy’.

A Short History of English Literature. By B. Ifor Evans.

And set to work millions of spinning worms, That in their green shops weave the smooth-hair’d silk To deck her sons; and that no corner might Be vacant of her plenty, in her own loins She hutch ‘d the all-worshipped a short history of english literature by ifor evans, and precious gems, To store her children with.

It was this loss of the final V diat led a poet such as Dryden, who greatly admired Chaucer, and who rendered a number of his poems into the language of his own time, to regard him as irregular. And o’er informed the Tenement of Clay. Of his life little is known. He was proud of his name, of his power over those who crossed his path, and half-con sciously he deter- mined to live out his life so that it would go easily into legend.

The poem was unwise, unjust, and impertinent but rt had spirit and a flair for satire. Sometimes it befell In these night wanderings, that a strong desire O’erpowered my better reason, and the bird Which was the captive of another’s toil Became my prey; and when the deed was done I heard among the solitary hills Low breathings coming after me, and sounds Of undistinguishable motion, steps Almost as silent as the turf they trod.

A dog starv’d at a short history of english literature by ifor evans Master’s Gate Predicts the ruin of the State.

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His long poem, ‘The Rapture’, has not been similarly honoured, for, whatever may be its poetical merit, it has a licentiousness of literatude anthologists do not normally approve. This equalitarian philosophy he discovered, not in the text- books of political theory, but from his own observation, and he expressed it admirably, even recklessly, in one of the literaturr of all his poems, ‘The Jolly Beggars’.

Its heaviness becomes insubstantial when compared with the huge body of the Polyolbivn, where using the long Alexandrine line Drayton conducts the reader in many thousand lines tlrrough the geography of England.

With very little help from any formal education, and with none a short history of english literature by ifor evans his family circle, evahs gathered around himself a world of beauty in which he could believe. So it is with Thomas Gccleve, and with John Lydgate, though die latter at least cannot be accused of indolence.

It is doubtful whether the modern reader will make his way joyfully through the Faerie Queene. His reputation as ‘untutored’, which he enylish helped to create, is false, for he had read widely both in earlier Scottish poetry and in Pope, Thomson, Gray, and Shakespeare. Itwould be only just to recall that the magnificence was only inter- mittent and isolated, but it did exist.

Like every scholar of his time he knew medieval Latin, and he had read diligently some of the Latin classics, especially Ovid and Vergil. But his sincerity in recording life as it was, and his eye for detail, have given The VillageThe Parish Registerand Tales a short history of english literature by ifor evans Verse an attraction for any- one who may submit himself to it.

And all that a short history of english literature by ifor evans, right over him she hung With her fake eyes fast fixed in his sight As seeking medicine, whence she was stung, Or greedily depasturing delight: I ne’er decide what I shall say, and this I call Much too poetical: Gray as a young man had seen the gay and elegant life of Europe in the company of Horace Walpole, the brilliant, dilettante son of Sir Robert Walpole, one of England’s most formidable Prime Ministers.

The whole con- ception of his achievement has been changed since Kathleen Coburn has been permitted, as late asto publish his note-books. Once he had mastered an idea enflish his desire to reveal it to others diminished. A few eans his followers, such as Abraham Cowley, accepted the new situation with a facile optimism, believing that somehow science and poetry could be employed each in the service of the other.

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Little read though it may now be, it has had its influence not on our literature only, but in some indirect way on the English temper itself. He also hopes that his work will enlarge the knowledge of the ‘boys of England’, in English itself. Tax not the royal Saint with vain expense, With ill-matched aims the Architect who planned – Albeit labouring for a scanty band Of white-robed Scholars only – this a short history of english literature by ifor evans And glorious Work of fine intelligence!

He seems sometimes more of a disembodied spirit than an ordinary human being. Wulfstan makes a flaming indictment of Aethelred, a weak and cowardly king, accusing him of unpreparedness in defence, of villages destroyed, of moral and national disintegration.

Wliat though the field be lost? Among the existing poems Sir Gawain is outstanding.

historh Some such image dwells in the mind even after his verses have been forgotten: Here and in some later poems such as The Everlasting Gospel he wrote with those fragrant intuitions which awaken the human mind to its own best and most inno- cent vision of itself. They could only hope to win by telling the new biblical stories in the old way.

They represent, nothing more clearly, the duality in Spenser’s mind.

A Short History Of English Literature Ifor Evans

The ‘courtesy’ of the Middle Ages, the romantic sentiment, idealized by Spenser in the ceremony of marriage, are here embodied in English literature, and they are part of a civilized attitude of life. If Grabbe shows a short history of english literature by ifor evans the older manner in poetry still had a fresh byy, Thomas Chatterton in his imitations of medieval poetry gave evidence of that awakening of wonder which led to romantic poetry.

The weakness of the poem, to some critics, lies in the story. He thought of Chaucer as one ‘who lived in the dawning of our language’ and whose verse had the ‘rude sweetness of a Scotch tune’.

Further, when the world of commerce was about to lay its ugly and contaminating fingers on life, here was a poem enshrining with security a world unstained by any com- mercial value. S rest were mainly sentimental songs and lyrics, of the type of ‘John Anderson my Jo’. Literature in the Anglo-Saxon period was recorded in manuscripts, and the life of a short history of english literature by ifor evans manuscript is a hard one.

He describes the more sober moral faith of his middle years, and the same shkrt austerity is present in ‘Laodamia’, one of his rare classical poems.

The account of the war with the Danes shows bow many suffered in that age, how bitter, insecure, and cruel life was. They say it is only a short history of english literature by ifor evans fairy story of monsters and dragons. No one who moves among these later poems can fail to feci the chill which blows around their massive colon nades s inducing a sense of loneliness, and a desire for ordinary human companionship.

His early work, The Shepherd’s Calendar, read for the first time, is an odd, difficult and old-fashioned work. For a time in the twentieth century his poems were ungenerously judged. He was a great divine, and his sermons are some of the a short history of english literature by ifor evans moving prose of the period, while his verse is also touched, especially in his ‘Holy Sonnets’, with his thoughts on life’s profundities: Others are written not with adora- tion but with an ah of disillusioned passion to a ‘dark lady’.

The teaching of Rousseau and his own experience convinced him that man was naturally good, In the French Revolution he saw a great movement for human freedom, welcoming litearture as many young men of a certain generation welcomed in ike twentieth century the coming of the Union of Soviet Republics.

His mind looked out beyond the Court to the people, to their superstitions and faiths, and he had even the grave moral aim of improving the England which he loved, but the Court and the Queen were in the forefront of his vision.