A History of English Literature by Robert Huntington Fletcher

By Robert Huntington Fletcher

Jonathan speedy, one other precise determine of very combined features, is like Defoe in that he connects the reign of William III with that of his successors and that, in line with the spirit of his age, he wrote for the main half no longer for literary yet for functional reasons; in lots of different respects the 2 are extensively various. speedy is likely one of the top representatives in English literature of sheer highbrow strength, yet his personality, his goals, his setting, and the conditions of his existence denied to him additionally literary fulfillment of the best everlasting value.

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John and St. Paul and the other medieval Christian divinities. The frank coarseness of the plays is often merely disgusting, and suggests how superficial, in most cases, was the medieval religious sense. With no thought of incongruity, too, these writers brought God the Father onto the stage in bodily form, and then, attempting in all sincerity to show him reverence, gilded his face and put into his mouth long speeches of exceedingly tedious declamation. The whole emphasis, as generally in the religion of the times, was on the fear of hell rather than on the love of righteousness.

Already in fourteenth century Italy, therefore, the movement for a much fuller and freer intellectual life had begun, and we have seen that by Petrarch and Boccaccio something of this spirit was transmitted to Chaucer. In England Chaucer was followed by the medievalizing fifteenth century, but in Italy there was no such interruption. The Renaissance movement first received definite direction from the rediscovery and study of Greek CHAPTER V. PERIOD IV. THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY. THE RENAISSANCE AND THE REIGN 40 OF ELIZA A History of English Literature literature, which clearly revealed the unbounded possibilities of life to men who had been groping dissatisfied within the now narrow limits of medieval thought.

Among these traditions were the disregard for unity, partly of action, but especially of time and place; the mingling of comedy with even the intensest scenes of tragedy; the nearly complete lack of stage scenery, with a resultant willingness in the audience to make the largest possible imaginative assumptions; the presence of certain stock figures, such as the clown; and the presentation of women's parts by men and boys. The plays, therefore, must be reckoned with in dramatic history. CHAPTER V.

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