Tuesday, June 30, 2009

1840 - 1807: "Jerusalem" to The Columbiad

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

William Blake. British. 1804. Poetry. “Jerusalem.” Theory that the world of imagination is the world of eternity after death.

Sir Walter Scott. British. 1805. Narrative Poetry. “The Lay of the Last Minstrel.” Lady Margaret and Baron Henry love each other, but a feud between their families is a problem. Features the martial prowess and the amorous success of the Baron.

William Wordsworth. British. 1807. Poetry. “Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood.” Learning is the recollection of knowledge gained in the pre-existent spiritual realm and lost to the individual at birth. The child retains some “trailing clouds of glory.”

William Wordsworth. British. 1807. Poetry. “The Daffodils.” Appreciation of an object of nature for its own sake.

Joel Barlow. American. 1807. Epic Poetry. The Columbiad. Columbus foresees the future of the North American continent.

Monday, June 29, 2009

1802 - 1804: The Genius of Christianity to "Milton"

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Francois Chateaubriand. French. 1802. Treatise. The Genius of Christianity. Extols Christianity. Describes it as the chief source of progress in the modern world.

Francois Chateaubriand. French. 1802. Romance. Rene. Set in America. Violently unhappy, morbidly introspective youth. Typical romantic.

Etienne Senancour. French. 1804. Novel. Oberman. Letters. Describes the author’s wanderings and moods. Restlessness, disillusionment, torment. Analytical. Introspective. Foreshadows modern fiction.

Friedrich Schiller. German. 1804. Play. Wilhelm Tell. Legend of famous Swiss hero. Vehicle for Schiller’s own idealism.

William Blake. British. 1804. Poetry. “Milton.” Milton returns to earth to correct misinterpretations of his works. Enters the spirit of Blake.

Friday, June 26, 2009

1800 - 1802: Castle Rackrent to Delphine.

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Maria Edgeworth. British. 1800. Novel. Castle Rackrent. Dissolute life of Irish landlords of 18th century.

Friedrich Schiller. German. 1800. Play. Mary Stuart. Presents Elizabeth as unable to command Mary’s death. Hasty official is blamed.

Friedrich Schiller. German. 1801. Play. The Maid of Orleans. Joan of Arc. Emphasizes Joan’s idealism, refusal to be diverted by earthly temptations.

Francois Chateaubriand. French. 1801. Novel. Atala. Violent passion in the primeval woods of North America. Started the Romantic movement in French literature.

Mme. de Stael. French. 1802. Novel. Delphine. Epistolary. Unfulfilled love. In the end he is shot as a traitor. She poisons herself.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

1700 to 1799: "...Ancient Mariner" to Wallenstein

Chronology of World, British and American Literature.

Coleridge. British. 1798. Poetry. “The Rime of the ancient Mariner.” Supernatural punishment of a seaman who shot an albatross, a good omen.

Wordsworth and Coleridge. British. 1798/1800/1802. Poetry. Lyrical Ballads. First important publication of the romantic period in English. Preface by Wordsworth in the second edition in 1800: Poetry should be drawn from everyday life and speech. Manifesto of English romanticism. Wordsworth: country scenes, people and written in plain language and style. “Tintern Abbey.”

Friedrich Schiller. German. 1798/99. Three Plays. Wallenstein. Intrigued by his power, Wallenstein begins to entertain the idea of deserting the emperor to establish his own political power. Never actually intends to commit treason. Letters are seized and given to the emperor. He flees but is murdered by his own generals.

Concludes the 1700s.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

1700 to 1799: "Hasty Pudding" to "Simon Lee"

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Joel Barlow. American. 1796. Poetry. “The Hasty Pudding.” Mock epic. Describes making and eating New England mush.

Goethe. German. 1797. Epic Poetry. Hermann and Dorothea. Idyllic. Honesty and simplicity of the love between two main characters as a balance to the unrest of the times.

Coleridge. British. 1797. Poetry. “Kubla Khan.” Unfinished. Interrupted by a visitor. Precursor of symbolism and surrealism.

Friedrich Holderlin. German. 1797/99. Epistolary Novel. Hyperion or the Hermit in Greece. Set in modern Greece. Expresses the longing for the human, artistic perfection of ancient Greece.

Wordsworth. British. 1798. Poetry. “Simon Lee.” Helps an old huntsman dig up the root of a tree and learns of the huntsman’s life.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

1700 to 1799: Wilhelm Meister to Jacques le fatalist

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Goethe. German. 1795. Novels. Wilhelm Meister. Original and classic example of the Bildungsroman. Progress from naïve, excitable youth to responsible manhood. Gradually develops modest, objective view of himself.

Matthew Gregory Lewis. British. 1795. Gothic Novel. The Monk. Monk seduced by demon in disguise. Destroyed by the Devil in a desert waste.

Friedrich Schiller. German. 1795/96. Essay. On Naïve and Sentimental Poetry. Naïve poet = realist. Sentimental poet = idealist.

George Washington. American. 1796. Speech. Farewell Address (from the Presidency). Never delivered. Reasons for not seeking a third term. Warned against the dangers of the party system. Avoid permanent foreign alliances. Temporary alliances in extraordinary circumstances.

Denis Diderot. French. 1796. Novel. Jacques le fatalist. Digressions. Stories within stories. Novel as medium for depicting reality. Determinism vs. fatalism.

Monday, June 22, 2009

1700 to 1799: An Enquiry...Political Justice to Mysteries of Udolpho

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

William Godwin. British. 1793. Nonfiction. An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice. All government is an obstacle to the development of mankind. Abolish all social, political institutions. Abolish government, law, wealth, marriage. Total confidence in the perfectibility of man. Influenced the Romantics.

William Godwin. British. 1794. Novel. The Adventures of Caleb Williams, or Things as They Are. Aristocrat for whom Caleb works is guilty of murder, for which someone else was convicted. Tries to keep Caleb from revealing his secret. When Caleb tells, he feels guilt at causing his master’s ruin. Suspense. Anticipated the detective novel. Comment on the positions of privileged and lower classes.

Goethe. German. 1794. Epic Poem. Reineke Fuchs. Retells the story of Reynard the Fox. The value of the amoral man to society: superior resourcefulness is a balance to the stultification of unchallenged morality.

Robert Burns. British. 1794. Poetry. Wha Hae Scots. Celebrates the victory of Robert Bruce over Edward II at Bannockburn.

Ann Radcliffe. British. 1794. Gothic Novel. The Mysteries of Udolpho. Heroine, raised by foolish aunt, becomes involved with an evil adventurer; escapes.

Friday, June 19, 2009

1700 to 1799: The Rights of Man to "La Marsellaise"

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Thomas Paine. American. 1791/92. Nonfiction. The Rights of Man. Defends French Revolution against attacks by Edmund Burke. Civil government exists only through contract with the majority to safeguard individual rights. Revolution OK if “natural rights” are interfered with.

Susannah Haswell Rowson. American. 1791/94. Novel. Charlotte Temple. Heroine is lured from her English home; deserted in New York by a British officer who later repents.

Benjamin Franklin. American. 1791/98. Autobiography. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. Covers Franklin’s many interests: philosophy, politics, religion, literature, practical affairs.

Hugh Henry Breckenridge. American. 1792. Satiric Novel. Modern Chivalry. American Don Quixote. Unflattering picture of manners in the early republic. The evil of men seeking office for which they are not qualified.

Claude DeLisle. French. 1792. Hymn. “La Marsellaise.” Hymn of the French Revolution. Made use of by other composers.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

1700 to 1799: Torquato Tasso to Julie....

Chronology of World, British and American Literature.

Goethe. German. 1790. Play. Torquato Tasso. Incompatibility of the poet’s inner nature with life in the external world.

Robert Burns. British. 1791. Narrative Poetry. “Tam O’Shanter.” Surprises witches and warlocks as they frolic. They chase him but cannot go farther than half way across a stream. He makes it past halfway, but the horse’s tail doesn’t.

James Boswell. British. 1791. Biography. The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. Boswell’s aim was completeness. No detail was too small. Features the brilliance and wit of Johnson’s conversation. Boswell was able to transform profusion of detail into a perceptive, lifelike portrait. Hawkins is a better source for Johnson’s youth. Thrale is better for the intimate, domestic life.

Marquis deSade. French. 1791. Novel. Justine. Celebrates a sexually persecuted heroine.

Rousseau. French. 1791. Novel. Julie ou la Nouvelle Heloise. Epistolary. Former lover comes to live with a wife and her husband at the invitation of the husband. Lover leaves because the situation is impossible but is recalled on her deathbed. He promises to care for her children. Intent is to attack hypocritical social morality.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

1700 to 1799: Book of thel to The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Chronology of World, British and American Literature.

William Blake. British. 1789. Poetry. Book of Thel. Blake’s first mystical writing. Theme is death, redemption and eternity. Free verse. Prophetic book.

William Blake. British. 1789/94. Poetry. Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience. Omnipresence of divine love and sympathy vs. the power of evil. Innocence vs. experience. Dualistic thinking is characteristic of Blake.

Edmund Burke. British. 1790. Nonfiction. Reflections on the French Revolution. Urges reform rather than rebellion to correct social and political abuses. Thought the Glorious Revolution and American Revolutions were OK, because people were asserting their rights. Saw the French Revolution as breaking the framework of tradition altogether.

Immanuel Kant. German. 1790. Nonfiction. Critique of Judgment. Aesthetic philosophy. Believed that the representation of a thing in art demonstrated partial understanding of the “thing in itself.”

William Blake. British. 1790. Prose. The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Attacks eighteenth-century Protestantism for reducing moral complexities to oversimplified formulas. Denies matter as reality, eternal damnation, and the right of authority. Doctrine of Contraries: Need “contraries” for progress.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

1700 to 1799: Constitution of the USA to Declaration of the Rights of Man.

Chronology of World, British and American Literature.

U.S. Congress. American. 1787/89. Nonfiction. Constitution of the United States of America. Establishes a republican form of government. Separates the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government. 26 amendments.

Immanuel Kant. German. 1788. Philosophy. Critique of Practical Reason. Constructed philosophy of ethics based on practical reason or free will of man. Morality (conscience) is unconditional, universal, and is called the “categorical imperative.”

Goethe. German. 1788. Play. Egmont. Upright, straightforward hero unable to survive subtle political machinations.

Sarah Wentworth Morton. American. 1789. Novel. The Power of Sympathy. First U.S. novel. Letters. Hero discovers he can’t marry his socially inferior lover. She is his half-sister. The shock of this discovery kills her. He commits suicide.

Anonymous. French. 1789. Nonfiction. Declaration of the rights of Man. Document setting forth the principles of the French Revolution. Modeled on the American Declaration of Independence.

Monday, June 15, 2009

1700 to 1799: The Anarchiad to The Federalist

Chronology of World, British and American Literature.

Hartford Wits. American. 1786. Satiric Poetry. The Anarchiad. Attack on French philosophy, paper money, Shays’s Rebellion and the attitude of Europeans toward Americans.

Robert Burns. British/Scottish. 1786. Poetry. “The Cotter’s Saturday Night.” Famous for the description of Scottish peasant life and for the story of Jenny.

Robert Burns. British/Scottish. 1786. Poetry. “The Holy Fair.” Ridicules the Holy Fair at Mauchline. Three “sisters,” Fun, Superstition and Hypocrisy, view scenes of immorality.

Friedrich Schiller. German. 1787. Play. Don Carlos. Idealistic Don Carlos, implicated in a plot against the king, rejects freedom to accept death by the Inquisition.

Hamilton, Madison and Jay. American. 1787/88. Essays. The Federalist. These essays urge New York voters to approve the U.S. Constitution. Great studies in the practical application of theory.

Friday, June 12, 2009

1700 to 1799: "John Gilpin" to Vathek.

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

William Cowper. British. 1782. Poetry/Ballad. “John Gilpin.” Preferring to ride on a horse rather than in a chaise, John is taken for a long ride by the horse.

George Crabbe. British. 1783. Poetry. The Village. Realistic response to the artificialities of the pastoral convention, exemplified by Goldsmith’s Deserted Village, a sentimentalized picture of rural life. Hardships, evils, sordidness and misery of country-dwellers of the day.

Friedrich Schiller. German. 1784. Play. Love and Intrigue. Love across social barriers. Musician’s daughter and an aristocrat whose father unwittingly causes their deaths.

William Cowper. British. 1785. Poetry. The Task. Purpose: Leave London and live life of rural ease and pleasure, piety and virtue. Topics: Nature, rural life, animals; simple, hard-working people, social reform. Inspiriting and healing qualities of nature: forerunner to Wordsworth. “God made the country and man made the town.”

William Beckford. British. 1786. Gothic Novel. Vathek, an Arabian Tale. Caliph sells his soul to the Devil to gain the throne of the Sultan. Finds that it is a place of torture and he is doomed to remain in it forever.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

1700 to 1799: Iphigenia in Tauris to Cecilia....

Chronology of World, British and American Literature.

Goethe. German. 1779. Play. Iphigenia in Tauris. From Euripides’ play. In place of “deus ex machine,” resolution results from “pure humanity.”

Samuel Johnson. British. 1779/81. Essays. The Lives of the Poets. Interested in establishing causal relationship between artist’s life and art. 52 English poets.

Immanuel Kant. German. 1781. Nonfiction. Critique of Pure Reason. Although reason can understand a thing as object, reason cannot understand the “thing itself.”

Michel Crevecoeur. American. 1782. Nonfiction. Letters from an American Farmer. Farm life on the American frontier. Idealized, yet unpleasant facts of the social life and customs in the Colonies. He saw America as a refuge for persecuted and oppressed people of the world.

Fanny Burney. British. 1782. Novel. Cecilia, or Memoirs of an Heiress. In order to keep her fortune, Cecilia, an heiress, must marry a man who is willing to adopt her name.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

1700 to 1799: The American Crisis to Nathan the Wise.

Chronology of World, British, and American Literature

Thomas Paine. American. 1776/83. Pamphlets. The American Crisis. Sixteen pamphlets touching on all the important issues of the Revolution. Later papers called for a strong federal union.

Edward Gibbon. British. 1776/88. Nonfiction. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Three periods, thirteen centuries. History is the record of “…crimes, follies, misfortunes of mankind.”

Richard B. Sheridan. British. 1777. Play. The School for Scandal. Ladies meet to create and spread gossip; complicated plot in which relationships—couples’ and relatives’—are tested and eventually reunited or rejected.

Fanny Burney. British. 1778. Novel. Evelina, or the History of a Young Lady’s Entrance into the World. Country girl goes to London; courted; misunderstandings; turns out to be of noble birth.

Ephraim Lessing. German. 1779. Play. Nathan the Wise
. Jerusalem during the Crusades. Essential unity of all religions. All religions are forms of one great truth.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

1700 to 1799: On Conciliation with the American Colonies to Common Sense

Chronology of World, British and American Literature.

Edmund Burke. British. 1775. Speech. On Conciliation with the American Colonies. Wanted to grant the colonies autonomy. Won only 58 votes.

John Trumbull. American. 1775/82. Poetry/Satire. M’Fingal. Modeled on Samuel Butler’s Hudibras; ridicules extremism on both sides of the Revolution.

Adam Smith. British. 1776. Nonfiction. The Wealth of Nations. Outlines a system of laissez-faire economics based on absolutely free economy.

Thomas Jefferson. American. 1776. Nonfiction. Declaration of Independence. Public act by which the Second Continental Congress declared the 13 North American colonies free and independent of England.

Thomas Paine. American. 1776. Nonfiction. Common Sense. Urges the immediate separation from England. Influential in bringing about the Declaration of Independence.

Monday, June 8, 2009

1700 to 1799: She Stoops to Conquer.... to The Barber of Seville

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Oliver Goldsmith. British. 1773. Play. She Stoops to Conquer, or, The Mistakes of a Night. Arranged marriage. Bashful Marlow thinks his future father-in-law is the impudent landlord of a village inn. His intended pretends to be a bar maid and a poor relative.

Goethe. German. 1773. Novel. The Sorrows of Young Werther. Epistolary. Gifted, artistic temperament. Loses himself in dreams and speculation. Commits suicide.

Edmund Burke. British. 1774. Speech. On American Taxation. Urged that duty on tea imported into American colonies be repealed. It wasn’t.

Richard B. Sheridan. British. 1775. Play. The Rivals. Complicated plot. Includes Mrs. Malaprop and numerous false identities.

Beaumarchais. French. 1775. Play. The Barber of Seville. Figaro, rascal of a barber, helps former master woo and win Bartholo’s ward, Rosine.

Friday, June 5, 2009

1700 to 1799: The Good Natur'd Man to Emilia Galotti

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Oliver Goldsmith. British. 1768. Play. The Good Natur’d Man. Uncle tires to show extravagant Honeywood that his friends will abandon him if he loses his wealth.

Oliver Goldsmith. British. 1770. Poetry. The Deserted Village. Rural depopulation in the latter 1700s because of luxury, foreign trade, enclosure, and the growth of London.

Henry Mackenzie. British. 1771. Novel. The Man of Feeling. Episodic adventures of the bashful, sensitive, kind-hearted sentimental hero.

Tobias Smollett. British. 1771. Epistolary Novel. The Expedition of Humphrey Clinker. Letters written by different characters with highly individual style, caricaturing themselves. Tour of England, Scotland. Correspondents express varied reactions to the same events, for example, the hot wells at Bath.

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing. German. 1772. Play. Emilia Galotti. Middle-class woman unwittingly arouses the passions of a prince who has her bridegroom murdered. To save her honor, her father stabs her to death.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

1700 to 1799: Laocoon..." to A Sentimental Journey

Chronology of World, British and American Literature.

Gotthold Lessing. German. 1766. Essay. “Laocoon, or On the Limits of Painting and Poetry.” Criticism of art and literature differ. Art exists in space with all parts perceived simultaneously. Work of literature exists in time with parts perceived one after another. The statue of Laocoon was one of his main examples. (Laocoon was a Trojan priest who offended Athene and was killed by sea snakes.)

Oliver Goldsmith. British. 1766. The Vicar of Wakefield. Vicar withstands a variety of misfortunes with fortitude.

Rousseau. French. 1766/70. Autobiography. Confessions (of Jean Jacques Rousseau). 12 volumes. Reveals details of his erratic, rebellious life. Began the fashion of the literature of confessions.

Gotthold Lessing German. 1767. Play. Minna von Barnheim. When a soldier refuses to marry because of a question of honor, Minna schemes and wins him.

Laurence Sterne. British. 1768. Narrative. A Sentimental Journey. Attacks sentimentalism in his tour of France and Italy. Caricature of moralizing.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

1700 to 1799: "Rameau's Nephew" to "Goody Two-Shoes."

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Denis Diderot. French. 1762. Sketch. “Rameau’s Nephew.” Satiric character sketch of lazy, hare-brained, sensual, utterly candid social parasite.

Horace Walpole. British. 1764. Gothic Novel. The Castle of Otranto. Villain is Manfred. Supernatural events. Isabella flees with Theodore, a peasant. Ghost destroys castle.

Thomas Percy. British. 1765. Poetry Collection. Reliques of Ancient English Poetry. Collection of ballads, sonnets, historical songs, and romances. One of the earliest histories of literature, 15th through 18th centuries.

Thomas Godfrey. American. 1765. Play. The Prince of Parthia. First play by an American. Villainous prince murders his father and keeps the elder brother from the throne.

Oliver Goldsmith. British. 1765. Tale. “Goody Two-Shoes.” Nursery tale written for publisher John Newbery. Poor girl delights in a new pair of shoes.