Thursday, July 16, 2009

1819 - 1820: Don Juan to Melmoth the Wanderer

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Lord Byron. British. 1819/24. Satiric Poetry. Don Juan. World-wide adventures. Digressions on wealth, power, society, chastity, poets, diplomats, England. Incomplete. Pronounced "Don Jew-un."

Percy Bysshe Shelley. British. 1820. Poetic Drama. Prometheus Unbound. Prometheus is the symbol of humanity, chained, tormented. Jupiter represents tyranny of kings and civil institutions. Jupiter overthrown by Demigorgon. Golden age begins, in which love and beauty reign.

John Keats. British. 1820. Poetry. “Isabella, or the Pot of Basil.” Based on a tale of Boccaccio. Florence. Brothers kill sister’s lover. She plants his head in a pot of Basil. The pot is stolen, and she dies of grief.

Percy Bysshe Shelley. British. 1820. Poetry. “The Cloud.” Lyric description of a cloud on its cyclical journey from sky to earth and back. Symbolizes rebirth.

Charles Maturin. Irish. 1820. Gothic Novel. Melmoth the Wanderer. Sells his soul to the Devil for prolonged life. To cancel the pact, he must find someone willing to do the same. No one, regardless of circumstances, is willing to make the same deal.

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