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ENGLISH
LITERATURE








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English Literature
The focus of this article is literature written in English from anywhere, not just the literature
of England, so that it includes writers from Scotland, the whole of Ireland, Wales, as well as
literature in English from former British colonies, including the US. But until the early 19th
century, it just deals with literature from Britain and Ireland written in English; then America
starts to produce major writers. In the 20th century America and Irelandproduced many of the
most significant works of literature in English, and after World War II writers from the
former British Empire also began to produce major works of literature.
Old English literature: 4501100
Old English literature (sometimes referred to as Anglo-Saxon literature) encompasses literature
written in Old English (also called Anglo-Saxon) in Anglo-Saxon England from the 7th century
to the decades after the Norman Conquest of 1066. "Cdmon's Hymn", composed in the 7th
century according to Bede, is often considered the oldest extant poem in English, whereas the
later poem, The Grave is one of the final poems written in Old English, and presents a
transitional text between Old and Middle English.
[1]
Likewise, the Parker Chronicle continues
until the 12th century. The poem Beowulf, which often begins the traditional canon of English
literature, is the most famous work of Old English literature. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle has
also proven significant for historical study, preserving a chronology of early English
history. Alexander Souter names the commentary on Paul's epistles by Pelagius "the earliest
extant work by a British author".
[2][3]

In descending order of quantity, Old English literature consists of: sermons and saints' lives,
biblical translations; translated Latin works of the early Church Fathers; Anglo-Saxon chronicles
and narrative history works; laws, wills and other legal works; practical works
on grammar, medicine, geography; andpoetry.
[4]
In all there are over 400
surviving manuscripts from the period, of which about 189 are considered "major".
[5]

Besides Old English literature, Anglo-Saxons wrote a number of Anglo-Latin works.
Middle English literature: 11001500
The term Middle English literature refers to the literature written in the form of the English
language known as Middle English, from the 12th century until the 1470s. During this time


3
the Chancery Standard, a form of London-based English became widespread and the printing
press regularized the language.
Between the 1470s and the middle of the following century there is a transition to early Modern
English. In literary terms the characteristics of the literary works written does not change
radically until the effects of the Renaissance and Reformed Christianity become more apparent
in the reign of King Henry VIII.
There are three main categories of Middle English Literature: Religious, Courtly love,
and Arthurian, though much of Geoffrey Chaucer's work stands outside these. Among the many
religious works are those in the Katherine Group and the writings of Julian of
Norwich and Richard Rolle.
English Renaissance: 15001660
Following the introduction of a printing press into England by William Caxton in
1476, vernacular literature flourished.
[36]
The Reformation inspired the production
of vernacular liturgy which led to the Book of Common Prayer, a lasting influence on literary
language. The English Renaissance was a cultural and artistic movement in England dating from
the late 15th and early 16th centuries to the 17th century. It is associated with the pan-
European Renaissance that is usually regarded as beginning in Italy in the late 14th century. Like
most of northern Europe, England saw little of these developments until more than a century
later. Renaissance style and ideas, however, were slow in penetrating England, and
the Elizabethan era in the second half of the 16th century is usually regarded as the height of the
English Renaissance.
Late Renaissance: 162560
The Metaphysical poets John Donne (15721631) and George Herbert (15931633 were still
alive after 1625, and later in the 17th century a second generation of metaphysical poets were
writing, including Richard Crashaw (161349), Andrew Marvell (16211678), Thomas Traherne
(1636 or 16371674) and Henry Vaughan (16221695). The Cavalier poets were another
important group of 17th-century poets, who came from the classes that supported King Charles I
during the English Civil War (164251). (King Charles reigned from 1625 and was executed
1649). The best known of the Cavalier poets are Robert Herrick, Richard Lovelace, Thomas
Carew and Sir John Suckling. They "were not a formal group, but all were influenced by" Ben
Jonson. Most of the Cavalier poets were courtiers, with notable exceptions. For example, Robert
Herrick was not a courtier, but his style marks him as a Cavalier poet. Cavalier works make use
of allegory and classical allusions, and are influence by Latin authors
Horace, Cicero and Ovid. John Milton (160874) "was the last great poet of the English
Renaissance"
[86]
and published a number of works before 1660, including A L'Allegro,1631; Il
Penseroso, 1634; Comus (a masque), 1638; and Lycidas, (1638). However, his major epic works,
including Paradise Lost (1667) were published in the Restoration period.


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Restoration Literature: 16601700
Restoration literature is the English literature written during the historical period commonly
referred to as the English Restoration (16601689), which corresponds to the last years of the
direct Stuart reign in England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. In general, the term is used to
denote roughly homogeneous styles of literature that center on a celebration of or reaction to the
restored court of Charles II. It is a literature that includes extremes, for it encompasses
both Paradise Lost and the Earl of Rochester's Sodom, the high-spirited sexual comedy of The
Country Wife and the moral wisdom of The Pilgrim's Progress. It saw Locke's Treatises of
Government, the founding of the Royal Society, the experiments and holy meditations of Robert
Boyle, the hysterical attacks on theaters from Jeremy Collier, and the pioneering of literary
criticism from John Dryden and John Dennis. The period witnessed news become a commodity,
the essay developed into a periodical art form, and the beginnings of textual criticism.The dates
for Restoration literature are a matter of convention, and they differ markedly from genre to
genre. Thus, the "Restoration" in dramamay last until 1700, while in poetry it may last only until
1666 (see 1666 in poetry) and the annus mirabilis; and in prose it might end in 1688, with the
increasing tensions over succession and the corresponding rise in journalism and periodicals, or
not until 1700, when those periodicals grew more stabilized. In general, scholars use the term
"Restoration" to denote the literature that began and flourished under Charles II, whether that
literature was the laudatory ode that gained a new life with restored aristocracy,
the eschatological literature that showed an increasing despair among Puritans, or the literature
of rapid communication and trade that followed in the wake of England's mercantile empire.
Augustan literature (17001750)
During the 18th century literature reflected the worldview of the Age of Enlightenment (or Age
of Reason): a rational and scientific approach to religious, social, political, and economic issues
that promoted a secular view of the world and a general sense of progress and perfectibility. Led
by the philosophers who were inspired by the discoveries of the previous century by people
like Isaac Newton and the writings of Descartes, John Locke and Francis Bacon. They sought to
discover and to act upon universally valid principles governing humanity, nature, and society.
They variously attacked spiritual and scientific authority, dogmatism, intolerance, censorship,
and economic and social restraints. They considered the state the proper and rational instrument
of progress. The extreme rationalism and skepticism of the age led naturally to deism; the same
qualities played a part in bringing the later reaction of romanticism. The Encyclopdie of Denis
Diderot epitomized the spirit of the age.The term Augustan literature derives from authors of the
1720s and 1730s themselves, who responded to a term that George I of England preferred for
himself. While George I meant the title to reflect his might, they instead saw in it a reflection
of Ancient Rome's transition from rough and ready literature to highly political and highly
polished literature. Because of the aptness of the metaphor, the period from 1689 1750 was
called "the Augustan Age" by critics throughout the 18th century (including Voltaire and Oliver
Goldsmith). The literature of the period is overtly political and thoroughly aware of critical
dictates for literature. It is an age of exuberance and scandal, of enormous energy and
inventiveness and outrage, that reflected an era when English, Scottish, and Irish people found


5
themselves in the midst of an expanding economy, lowering barriers to education, and the
stirrings of the Industrial Revolution.

Romanticism(17981837)
Romanticism was an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe
toward the end of the 18th century. Various dates are given for the Romantic period in British
literature, but here the publishing of Lyrical Ballads in 1798 is taken as the beginning, and the
crowning of Queen Victoria in 1837 as its end, even though, for example, William Wordsworth
lived until 1850 and both Robert Burns and William Blake published before 1798. The writers of
this period, however, "did not think of themselves as 'Romantics' ", and the term was first used
by critics of the Victorian period.] Romanticism arrived later in other parts of the English-
speaking world.

Victorian literature (18371901)
While in the preceding Romantic period poetry had been the dominant genre, it was the novel
that was most important in the Victorian period. Charles Dickens (18121870) dominated the
first part of Victoria's reign: his first novel, Pickwick Papers, was published in 1836, and his
last Our Mutual Friendbetween 18645. William Thackeray's (18111863) most famous
work Vanity Fair appeared in 1848, and the three Bront sisters, Charlotte (181655), Emily
(181848) and Anne (182049), also published significant works in the 1840s. A major later
novel was George Eliot's (181980) Middlemarch(1872), while the major novelist of the later
part of Queen Victoria's reign was Thomas Hardy (18401928), whose first novel, Under the
Greenwood Tree, appeared in 1872 and his last, Jude the Obscure, in 1895.
Robert Browning (181289) and Alfred Tennyson (180992) were Victorian England's most
famous poets, though more recent taste has tended to prefer the poetry of Thomas Hardy, who,
though he wrote poetry throughout his life, did not publish a collection until 1898, as well as that
of Gerard Manley Hopkins (184489), whose poetry was published posthumously in
1918. Algernon Charles Swinburne (18371909) is also considered an important literary figure
of the period, especially his poems and critical writings. Early poetry of W. B. Yeats was also
published in Victoria's reign.
With regard to the theatre it was not until the last decades of the nineteenth century that any
significant works were produced. This began with Gilbert and Sullivan's comic operas, from the
1870s, various plays of George Bernard Shaw (18561950) in the 1890s, and Oscar Wilde's
(18541900) The Importance of Being Earnest in 1895.

19011939 Modernism
A major British lyric poet of the first decades of the 20th century was Thomas Hardy (1840
1928). Though not a modernist, Hardy was an important transitional figure between the
Victorian era and the 20th century. A major novelist of the late 19th century, Hardy lived well


6
into the third decade of the 20th century, but because of the adverse criticism of his last
novel, Jude the Obscure, in 1895, from that time Hardy concentrated on publishing poetry. On
the other hand another significant transitional figure between Victorians and modernists, the late-
19th-century novelist, Henry James (18431916), continued to publish major works into the 20th
century. James had lived in Europe since 1875 and became a British citizen, but this was only in
1915, and he was born in America and spent his formative years there.
[215]
Another immigrant,
Polish-born modernist novelist Joseph Conrad (18571924) published his first important
work, Heart of Darkness in 1899 and Lord Jim in 1900. The American exponent
of Naturalism Theodore Dreiser's (18711945) Sister Carrie was also published in 1900.
However, the Victorian Gerard Manley Hopkins's (184489) highly original poetry was not
published until 1918, long after his death, while another major modernist poet, Irishman W. B.
Yeats's (18651939), career began late in the Victorian era. Yeats was one of the foremost
figures of 20th-century literature. A pillar of both the Irish and British literary establishments, in
his later years he served as an Irish Senator for two terms. Yeats was a driving force behind
the Irish Literary Revival. In 1923 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature as the first
Irishman so honoured
[216]
Yeats is generally considered one of the few writers who completed
their greatest works after being awarded the Nobel Prize; such works include The Tower (1928)
and The Winding Stair and Other Poems (1929). But while modernism was to become an
important literary movement in the early decades of the new century, there were also many fine
writers who, like Thomas Hardy, were not modernists. During the early decades of the 20th-
century the Georgian poets like Rupert Brooke (18871915), Walter de la Mare (1873
1956), John Masefield (1878 - 1967, Poet Laureate from 1930) maintained a conservative
approach to poetry by combining romanticism, sentimentality and hedonism, sandwiched as they
were between the Victorian era, with its strict classicism, and Modernism, with its strident
rejection of pure aestheticism. Edward Thomas (18781917) is sometimes treated as another
Georgian poet.
[218]
Thomas enlisted in 1915 and is one of the First World War poets along
with Wilfred Owen (18931918), Rupert Brooke (18871915), Isaac Rosenberg (1890
1917), Edmund Blunden (18961974) and Siegfried Sassoon (18861967). Irish
playwrights George Bernard Shaw (18561950) and J.M. Synge (18711909) were influential in
British drama. Shaw's career began in the last decade of the 19th century, while Synge's plays
belong to the first decade of the 20th century. Synge's most famous play, The Playboy of the
Western World, "caused outrage and riots when it was first performed" in Dublin in
1907.
[219]
George Bernard Shaw turned the Edwardian theatre into an arena for debate about
important political and social issues, like marriage, class, "the morality of armaments and war"
and the rights of women.
[220]
An important dramatist in the 1920s, and later, was Irishman Sean
O'Casey (18801964). Also in the 1920s and later Nol Coward (18991973) achieved enduring
success as a playwright, publishing more than 50 plays from his teens onwards. Many of his
works, such as Hay Fever (1925), Private Lives (1930), Design for Living (1932), Present
Laughter (1942) and Blithe Spirit (1941), have remained in the regular theatre repertoire.

1940 to the 21st century

Though some have seen modernism ending by around 1939,
[237]
with regard to English literature,


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"When (if) modernism petered out and postmodernism began has been contested almost as hotly
as when the transition from Victorianism to modernism occurred".
[238]
In fact a number of
modernists were still living and publishing in the 1950s and 1960, including T. S. Eliot, William
Faulkner,Dorothy Richardson, and Ezra Pound. Furthermore Basil Bunting, born in 1901,
published little until Briggflatts in 1965 and Samuel Beckett, born in Ireland in 1906, continued
to produce significant works until the 1980s, including Waiting for Godot (1953), Happy
Days (1961), Rockaby (1981), though some view him as a post-modernist.
[239]
One of the most influential novels of the immediate post-war period was William Cooper's
naturalistic Scenes from Provincial Life, a conscious rejection of the modernist
tradition.
[240]
Graham Greene was a convert to Catholicism and his novels explore the ambivalent
moral and political issues of the modern world. Notable for an ability to combine serious literary
acclaim with broad popularity, his novels include Brighton Rock (1938),The Power and the
Glory (1940), The Heart of the Matter (1948), A Burnt-Out Case (1961), and The Human
Factor (1978). Other novelists writing in the 1950s and later were: Anthony Powell whose
twelve-volume cycle of novels A Dance to the Music of Time, is a comic examination of
movements and manners, power and passivity in English political, cultural and military life in
the mid-20th century; comic novelist Kingsley Amis is best known for his academic satire Lucky
Jim(1954); Nobel Prize laureate William Golding's allegorical novel Lord of the Flies 1954,
explores how culture created by man fails, using as an example a group of British schoolboys
marooned on a deserted island who try to govern themselves, but with disastrous results.
Philosopher Iris Murdoch was a prolific writer of novels throughout the second half of the 20th
century, that deal especially with sexual relationships, morality, and the power of the
unconscious, including Under the Net (1954), The Black Prince (1973) and The Green
Knight (1993). Scottish writer Muriel Spark pushed the boundaries of realism in her novels. Her
first, The Comforters (1957) concerns a woman who becomes aware that she is a character in a
novel; The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961), at times takes the reader briefly into the distant
future, to see the various fates that befall its characters. Anthony Burgess is especially
remembered for his dystopian novel A Clockwork Orange (1962), set in the not-too-distant
future, which was made into a film by Stanley Kubrick in 1971. In the entirely different genre
of Gothic fantasy Mervyn Peake (191168) published his highly successful Gormenghast
trilogy between 1946 and 1959.


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Post-modernliterature
The term Postmodern literature is used to describe certain tendencies in post-World War II
literature. It is both a continuation of the experimentation championed by writers of the
modernist period (relying heavily, for example, on fragmentation, paradox, questionable
narrators, etc.) and a reaction against Enlightenment ideas implicit in Modernist literature.
Postmodern literature, like postmodernism as a whole, is difficult to define and there is little
agreement on the exact characteristics, scope, and importance of postmodern literature. Among
postmodern writers are the Americans Henry Miller, William S. Burroughs, Joseph Heller, Kurt
Vonnegut, Hunter S. Thompson, Truman Capote and Thomas Pynchon.
20th-century genre literature
Agatha Christie (18901976) was a crime writer of novels, short stories and plays, who is best
remembered for her 80 detective novels as well as her successful plays for the West End theatre.
Christie's works, particularly those featuring the detectives Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple, have
given her the title the 'Queen of Crime' and she was one of the most important and innovative
writers in this genre. Christie's novels include, Murder on the Orient Express, Death on the
Nile and And Then There Were None. Another popular writer during the Golden Age of detective
fiction wasDorothy L. Sayers (18931957). Other recent noteworthy writers in this genre
are Ruth Rendell, P. D. James and Scot Ian Rankin.
Erskine Childers The Riddle of the Sands 1903, is an early example of the spy novel. A noted
writer in the spy novel genre was John le Carr, while in thriller writing, Ian Fleming created the
character James Bond 007 in January 1952, while on holiday at his Jamaican estate, Goldeneye.
Fleming chronicled Bond's adventures in twelve novels, including Casino Royale (1953), Live
and Let Die (1954), Dr. No (1958), Goldfinger (1959), Thunderball (1961), and nine short
story works.
Hungarian-born Baroness Emma Orczy's (18651947) original play, The Scarlet Pimpernel,
opened in October 1903 at Nottinghams Theatre Royal and was not a success. However, with a
rewritten last act, it opened at the New Theatre in London in January 1905. The premier of the
London production was enthusiastically received by the audience, running 122 performances and
enjoying numerous revivals. The Scarlet Pimpernel became a favourite of London audiences,
playing more than 2,000 performances and becoming one of the most popular shows staged in
England to that date. The novel The Scarlet Pimpernel was published soon after the play opened
and was an immediate success. Orczy gained a following of readers in Britain and throughout the
world. The popularity of the novel encouraged her to write a number of sequels for her "reckless
daredevil" over the next 35 years. The play was performed to great acclaim in France, Italy,
Germany and Spain, while the novel was translated into 16 languages. Subsequently, the story
has been adapted for television, film, a musical and other media.
John Buchan (18751940) published the adventure novel The Thirty-Nine Steps in 1915.
The novelist Georgette Heyer created the historical romance genre.
The Kailyard school of Scottish writers, notably J. M. Barrie (18691937), creator of Peter
Pan (1904), presented an idealised version of society and brought of fantasy and folklore back


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into fashion. In 1908, Kenneth Grahame (18591932) wrote the children's classic The Wind in
the Willows. An informal literarydiscussion group associated with the English faculty at the
University of Oxford, were the "Inklings". Its leading members were the
major fantasy novelists; C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Lewis is especially known for The
Chronicles of Narnia, while Tolkien is best known as the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of
the Rings. Another significant writer is Alan Garner author of Elidor (1965), while Terry
Pratchett is a more recent fantasy writer. Roald Dahl rose to prominence with his
children's fantasy novels, such as James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate
Factory, often inspired by experiences from his childhood, which are notable for their often
unexpected endings, and unsentimental, dark humour. J. K. Rowling author of the highly
successful Harry Potter series andPhilip Pullman famous for his His Dark Materials trilogy are
other significant authors of fantasy novels for younger readers.
Noted writers in the field of comic books are Neil Gaiman, and Alan Moore; Gaiman also
produces graphic novels.
In the later decades of the 20th century, the genre of science fiction begun to be taken more
seriously because of the work of writers such as Arthur C. Clarke's (2001: A Space
Odyssey), Isaac Asimov, Ursula le Guin, Michael Moorcock and Kim Stanley Robinson. Another
prominent writer in this genre, Douglas Adams, is particularly associated with the comic science
fiction work, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe, which began life as a radio series in 1978.
Mainstream novelists such Doris Lessing and Margaret Atwood also wrote works in this genre,
while Scottish novelist Ian M. Banks has also achieved a reputation as both a writer of traditional
and science fiction novels.








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William Shakespeare
William Shakespearewas an English poet, playwright and actor, widely regarded as the greatest
writer in theEnglish language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called
England'snational poet and the "Bard of Avon". His extant works, including somecollaborations,
consist of about 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and a few other verses, the
authorship of some of which is uncertain. His plays have been translated into every major living
language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright. Shakespeare was
born and brought up in Stratford-upon-Avon. At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, with
whom he had three children: Susanna, and twins Hamnetand Judith. Between 1585 and 1592, he
began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part-owner of a playing
company called the Lord Chamberlain's Men, later known as the King's Men. He appears to have
retired to Stratford around 1613 at age 49, where he died three years later. Few records of
Shakespeare's private life survive, and there has been considerable speculation about such
matters as his physical appearance, sexuality, religious beliefs, and whether the works attributed
to him were written by others. Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1589 and
1613. His early plays were mainly comedies and histories, genres he raised to the peak of
sophistication and artistry by the end of the 16th century. He then wrote mainlytragedies until
about 1608, including Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, and Macbeth, considered some of the finest
works in the English language. In his last phase, he wrotetragicomedies, also known as
romances, and collaborated with other playwrights.
Many of his plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy during his lifetime.
In 1623, John Heminges and Henry Condell, two friends and fellow actors of Shakespeare,
published the First Folio, a collected edition of his dramatic works that included all but two of
the plays now recognised as Shakespeare's. It was prefaced with a poem by Ben Jonson, in which
Shakespeare is hailed, presciently, as "not of an age, but for all time.Shakespeare was a respected
poet and playwright in his own day, but his reputation did not rise to its present heights until the
19th century. The Romantics, in particular, acclaimed Shakespeare's genius, and
the Victorians worshipped Shakespeare with a reverence that George Bernard Shaw called
"bardolatry". In the 20th century, his work was repeatedly adopted and rediscovered by new
movements in scholarship and performance. His plays remain highly popular today and are
constantly studied, performed, and reinterpreted in diverse cultural and political contexts
throughout the world.
Sonnets
Published in 1609, the Sonnets were the last of Shakespeare's non-dramatic works to be printed.
Scholars are not certain when each of the 154 sonnets was composed, but evidence suggests that
Shakespeare wrote sonnets throughout his career for a private readership. Even before the two
unauthorised sonnets appeared in The Passionate Pilgrim in 1599, Francis Meres had referred in
1598 to Shakespeare's "sugred Sonnets among his private friends".Few analysts believe that the
published collection follows Shakespeare's intended sequence. He seems to have planned two
contrasting series: one about uncontrollable lust for a married woman of dark complexion (the
"dark lady"), and one about conflicted love for a fair young man (the "fair youth"). It remains


11
unclear if these figures represent real individuals, or if the authorial "I" who addresses them
represents Shakespeare himself, though Wordsworth believed that with the sonnets "Shakespeare
unlocked his heart".
The 1609 edition was dedicated to a "Mr. W.H.", credited as "the only begetter" of the poems. It
is not known whether this was written by Shakespeare himself or by the publisher, Thomas
Thorpe, whose initials appear at the foot of the dedication page; nor is it known who Mr. W.H.
was, despite numerous theories, or whether Shakespeare even authorised the publication. Critics
praise the Sonnets as a profound meditation on the nature of love, sexual passion, procreation,
death, and time.
Poems
In 1593 and 1594, when the theatres were closed because of plague, Shakespeare published two
narrative poems on erotic themes, Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. He dedicated
them to Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton. In Venus and Adonis, an
innocent Adonis rejects the sexual advances of Venus; while in The Rape of Lucrece, the
virtuous wife Lucrece is raped by the lustful Tarquin Influenced by Ovid'sMetamorphoses,
[
the
poems show the guilt and moral confusion that result from uncontrolled lust. Both proved
popular and were often reprinted during Shakespeare's lifetime. A third narrative poem, A
Lover's Complaint, in which a young woman laments her seduction by a persuasive suitor, was
printed in the first edition of the Sonnets in 1609. Most scholars now accept that Shakespeare
wrote A Lover's Complaint. Critics consider that its fine qualities are marred by leaden effects.
The Phoenix and the Turtle, printed in Robert Chester's 1601 Love's Martyr, mourns the deaths
of the legendaryphoenix and his lover, the faithful turtle dove. In 1599, two early drafts of
sonnets 138 and 144 appeared in The Passionate Pilgrim, published under Shakespeare's name
but without his permission.
Style
Shakespeare's first plays were written in the conventional style of the day. He wrote them in a
stylised language that does not always spring naturally from the needs of the characters or the
drama. The poetry depends on extended, sometimes elaborate metaphors and conceits, and the
language is often rhetoricalwritten for actors to declaim rather than speak. The grand speeches
in Titus Andronicus, in the view of some critics, often hold up the action, for example; and the
verse in The Two Gentlemen of Verona has been described as stilted.
Soon, however, Shakespeare began to adapt the traditional styles to his own purposes. The
opening soliloquy of Richard III has its roots in the self-declaration of Vice in medieval drama.
At the same time, Richard's vivid self-awareness looks forward to the soliloquies of
Shakespeare's mature plays. No single play marks a change from the traditional to the freer style.
Shakespeare combined the two throughout his career, with Romeo and Juliet perhaps the best
example of the mixing of the styles.
]
By the time of Romeo and Juliet, Richard II, and A
Midsummer Night's Dream in the mid-1590s, Shakespeare had begun to write a more natural
poetry. He increasingly tuned his metaphors and images to the needs of the drama itself.


12
Shakespeare's standard poetic form was blank verse, composed in iambic pentameter. In practice,
this meant that his verse was usually unrhymed and consisted of ten syllables to a line, spoken
with a stress on every second syllable. The blank verse of his early plays is quite different from
that of his later ones. It is often beautiful, but its sentences tend to start, pause, and finish at
the end of lines, with the risk of monotony. Once Shakespeare mastered traditional blank verse,
he began to interrupt and vary its flow. This technique releases the new power and flexibility of
the poetry in plays such as Julius Caesar and Hamlet. Shakespeare uses it, for example, to
convey the turmoil in Hamlet's mind:
Sir, in my heart there was a kind of fighting
That would not let me sleep. Methought I lay
Worse than the mutines in the bilboes. Rashly
And prais'd be rashness for itlet us know
Our indiscretion sometimes serves us well...
Hamlet, Act 5, Scene 2, 48
After Hamlet, Shakespeare varied his poetic style further, particularly in the more emotional
passages of the late tragedies. The literary critic A. C. Bradley described this style as "more
concentrated, rapid, varied, and, in construction, less regular, not seldom twisted or elliptical". In
the last phase of his career, Shakespeare adopted many techniques to achieve these effects. These
included run-on lines, irregular pauses and stops, and extreme variations in sentence structure
and length. In Macbeth, for example, the language darts from one unrelated metaphor or simile
to another: "was the hope drunk/ Wherein you dressed yourself?" (1.7.3538); "...pity, like a
naked new-born babe/ Striding the blast, or heaven's cherubim, hors'd/ Upon the sightless
couriers of the air..." (1.7.2125). The listener is challenged to complete the sense. The late
romances, with their shifts in time and surprising turns of plot, inspired a last poetic style in
which long and short sentences are set against one another, clauses are piled up, subject and
object are reversed, and words are omitted, creating an effect of spontaneity.
Shakespeare combined poetic genius with a practical sense of the theatre. Like all playwrights of
the time, he dramatised stories from sources such as Plutarch and Holinshed. He reshaped each
plot to create several centres of interest and to show as many sides of a narrative to the audience
as possible. This strength of design ensures that a Shakespeare play can survive translation,
cutting and wide interpretation without loss to its core drama. As Shakespeare's mastery grew,
he gave his characters clearer and more varied motivations and distinctive patterns of speech. He
preserved aspects of his earlier style in the later plays, however. InShakespeare's late romances,
he deliberately returned to a more artificial style, which emphasised the illusion of theatre.
Plays

Most playwrights of the period typically collaborated with others at some point, and critics agree
that Shakespeare did the same, mostly early and late in his career. Some attributions, such
as Titus Andronicus and the early history plays, remain controversial, while The Two Noble


13
Kinsmen and the lost Cardenio have well-attested contemporary documentation. Textual
evidence also supports the view that several of the plays were revised by other writers after their
original composition.
The first recorded works of Shakespeare are Richard III and the three parts of Henry VI, written
in the early 1590s during a vogue for historical drama. Shakespeare's plays are difficult to date,
however, and studies of the texts suggest that Titus Andronicus, The Comedy of Errors, The
Taming of the Shrew and The Two Gentlemen of Verona may also belong to Shakespeare's
earliest period. His first histories, which draw heavily on the 1587 edition of Raphael
Holinshed's Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland, dramatise the destructive results of
weak or corrupt rule and have been interpreted as a justification for the origins of the Tudor
dynasty. The early plays were influenced by the works of other Elizabethan dramatists,
especially Thomas Kyd and Christopher Marlowe, by the traditions of medieval drama, and by
the plays of Seneca. The Comedy of Errors was also based on classical models, but no source
for The Taming of the Shrew has been found, though it is related to a separate play of the same
name and may have derived from a folk story.Like The Two Gentlemen of Verona, in which two
friends appear to approve of rape, the Shrew'sstory of the taming of a woman's independent spirit
by a man sometimes troubles modern critics and directors.
Shakespeare's early classical and Italianate comedies, containing tight double plots and precise
comic sequences, give way in the mid-1590s to the romantic atmosphere of his greatest
comedies. A Midsummer Night's Dream is a witty mixture of romance, fairy magic, and comic
lowlife scenes. Shakespeare's next comedy, the equally romanticMerchant of Venice, contains a
portrayal of the vengeful Jewish moneylender Shylock, which reflects Elizabethan views but
may appear derogatory to modern audiences. The wit and wordplay of Much Ado About
Nothing, the charming rural setting of As You Like It, and the lively merrymaking of Twelfth
Night complete Shakespeare's sequence of great comedies. After the lyrical Richard II, written
almost entirely in verse, Shakespeare introduced prose comedy into the histories of the late
1590s, Henry IV, parts 1 and 2, andHenry V. His characters become more complex and tender as
he switches deftly between comic and serious scenes, prose and poetry, and achieves the
narrative variety of his mature work. This period begins and ends with two tragedies: Romeo
and Juliet, the famous romantic tragedy of sexually charged adolescence, love, and death;
and Julius Caesarbased on Sir Thomas North's 1579 translation of Plutarch's Parallel Lives
which introduced a new kind of drama. According to Shakespearean scholar James Shapiro,
in Julius Caesar "the various strands of politics, character, inwardness, contemporary events,
even Shakespeare's own reflections on the act of writing, began to infuse each other".
In the early 17th century, Shakespeare wrote the so-called "problem plays" Measure for
Measure, Troilus and Cressida, and All's Well That Ends Well and a number of his best
known tragedies. Many critics believe that Shakespeare's greatest tragedies represent the peak of
his art. The titular hero of one of Shakespeare's most famous tragedies, Hamlet, has probably
been discussed more than any other Shakespearean character, especially for his
famous soliloquy which begins "To be or not to be; that is the question". Unlike the introverted
Hamlet, whose fatal flaw is hesitation, the heroes of the tragedies that followed, Othello and
King Lear, are undone by hasty errors of judgement. The plots of Shakespeare's tragedies often
hinge on such fatal errors or flaws, which overturn order and destroy the hero and those he
loves. In Othello, the villain Iago stokes Othello's sexual jealousy to the point where he murders


14
the innocent wife who loves himIn King Lear, the old king commits the tragic error of giving up
his powers, initiating the events which lead to the torture and blinding of the Earl of Gloucester
and the murder of Lear's youngest daughter Cordelia. According to the critic Frank Kermode,
"the play-offers neither its good characters nor its audience any relief from its
cruelty". In Macbeth, the shortest and most compressed of Shakespeare's tragedies uncontrollable
ambition incites Macbeth and his wife, Lady Macbeth, to murder the rightful king and usurp the
throne, until their own guilt destroys them in turn. In this play, Shakespeare adds a supernatural
element to the tragic structure. His last major tragedies, Antony and Cleopatra and Coriolanus,
contain some of Shakespeare's finest poetry and were considered his most successful tragedies
by the poet and critic T. S. Eliot.
In his final period, Shakespeare turned to romance or tragicomedy and completed three more
major plays: Cymbeline, The Winter's Tale and The Tempest, as well as the
collaboration, Pericles, Prince of Tyre. Less bleak than the tragedies, these four plays are graver
in tone than the comedies of the 1590s, but they end with reconciliation and the forgiveness of
potentially tragic errors. Some commentators have seen this change in mood as evidence of a
more serene view of life on Shakespeare's part, but it may merely reflect the theatrical fashion of
the day. Shakespeare collaborated on two further surviving plays, Henry VIII and The Two
Noble Kinsmen, probably with John Fletcher.
Performances
It is not clear for which companies Shakespeare wrote his early plays. The title page of the 1594
edition of Titus Andronicus reveals that the play had been acted by three different troupes. After
the plagues of 15923, Shakespeare's plays were performed by his own company at The
Theatre and the Curtain in Shoreditch, north of the Thames. Londoners flocked there to see the
first part of Henry IV, Leonard Digges recording, "Let but Falstaff come, Hal, Poins, the
rest...and you scarce shall have a room".When the company found themselves in dispute with
their landlord, they pulled The Theatre down and used the timbers to construct the Globe
Theatre, the first playhouse built by actors for actors, on the south bank of the Thames
at Southwark. The Globe opened in autumn 1599, withJulius Caesar one of the first plays
staged. Most of Shakespeare's greatest post-1599 plays were written for the Globe,
includingHamlet, Othello and King Lear.
After the Lord Chamberlain's Men were renamed the King's Men in 1603, they entered a special
relationship with the new King James. Although the performance records are patchy, the King's
Men performed seven of Shakespeare's plays at court between 1 November 1604 and 31 October
1605, including two performances of The Merchant of Venice. After 1608, they performed at the
indoor Blackfriars Theatre during the winter and the Globe during the summer. The indoor
setting, combined with the Jacobean fashion for lavishly stagedmasques, allowed Shakespeare to
introduce more elaborate stage devices. In Cymbeline, for example, Jupiter descends "in thunder
and lightning, sitting upon an eagle: he throws a thunderbolt. The ghosts fall on their knees."
The actors in Shakespeare's company included the famous Richard Burbage, William
Kempe, Henry Condell and John Heminges. Burbage played the leading role in the first
performances of many of Shakespeare's plays, including Richard III, Hamlet, Othello, andKing
Lear. The popular comic actor Will Kempe played the servant Peter in Romeo and


15
Juliet and Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing, among other characters. He was replaced
around the turn of the 16th century by Robert Armin, who played roles such asTouchstone in As
You Like It and the fool in King Lear. In 1613, Sir Henry Wotton recorded that Henry VIII "was
set forth with many extraordinary circumstances of pomp and ceremony". On 29 June, however,
a cannon set fire to the thatch of the Globe and burned the theatre to the ground, an event which
pinpoints the date of a Shakespeare play with rare precision.
























16

Agatha Christie
Agatha Christie was an English writer of crime and romantic novels. She is best remembered for
her detective stories including the two diverse characters of and HerculePoirot. She is considered
to be the best selling writer of all time. Only the Bible is known to have outstripped her collected
sales of roughly four billion world wide copies. Her works have been translated into more
languages than any other individual writer.
Agatha Christie was born in Torquay, Devon 1890 to Clarissa Margaret Boehmer and a wealthy
American stockbroker. She was brought up by both her mother and her sister. In the First World
war, she trained and worked as a nurse helping to treat wounded soldiers. She also became
educated in the field of pharmacy. She recalled her time as a nurse with great fondness, saying it
was one of the most rewarding jobs she ever undertook.
Agatha Christie's married an aviator in the Royal Flying Corps - Archibald Christie in December
1914. The marriage was somewhat turbulent and ended in divorce in 1928, two years after
Archibald had begun an affair. In 1926, Agatha Christie disappeared for 11 days. The
circumstances were never really resolved and it created widespread media interest in the
disappearance of this famous novelist. She was eventually discovered in a Harrogate hotel eleven
days later. Though Agatha Christie never said why, it was probably a combination of shock over
her mother's death and the discovery of her husband's affair. In 1930, she married her second
husband, Max Mallowan. This marriage was happier, though her only child, Rosalind Hicks,
came from her first marriage.
Writing Career of Agatha Christie
Agatha Christie began writing in 1920, after the end of the First World War. Her first story was The
Mysterious Affair at Styles, (1920). This featured the soon to be famous detective - HerculePoirot, who
at the time was portrayed as a Belgian refugee from the Great War. The book sold well and helped meet
the public's great appetite for detective novels. It was a genre that had been popularised through Arthur
Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories at the turn of the century.
Agatha Christie went on to write over 40 novels featuring the proud and immaculate HerculePoirot. Like
Conan Doyle, Christie had no great love for her own creation - Poirot seemed to be admired by the
public more than the writer herself. Agatha Christie preferred her other great detective - the quiet but
effective old lady - Miss Marple. The character of Miss Marple was based on the traditional English
country lady - and her own relatives.
The plot of Agatha Christies novels could be described as formulaic. Murders were committed by
ingenious methods - often involving poison, which Agatha Christie had great knowledge of. After
interrogating all the main suspects, the detective would bring all the participants into some drawing
room before explaining who was the murderer. The psychological suspense of the novels, and the fact
readers feel they have a good chance of solving the crime undoubtedly added to the popularity of the


17
books.
During the Second World War, Christie worked in the pharmacy of the University College London, which
gave her ideas for some of her murder methods. After the war, her books continued to grow in
international popularity. In 1952, her play The Mousetrap was debuted at the Ambassador's Theatre in
London, and has been performed without a break ever since. Her success led to her being honoured in
the New Year's honour list. In 1971 she was appointed Dame Commander of the British Empire.
She died in 1976 aged 85.

First novels: 19191923
Christie had long been a fan of detective novels, having enjoyed Wilkie Collins' The Woman in
White and The Moonstone as well as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's early Sherlock Holmes stories.
She wrote her own detective novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles, featuring HerculePoirot. A
former Belgian police officer noted for his twirly large "magnificent moustaches" and egg-
shaped head, he was a refugee to Britain after Germany invaded Belgium, inspired by real
Belgian refugees in Torquay
The Styles manuscript was not accepted by such publishing companies as Hodder and Stoughton
and Methuen. John Lane at The Bodley Head kept the entry for several months, then accepted if
she would change the ending. She duly did so, and signed a contract she later felt was
exploitativeChristie meanwhile settled into married life, giving birth to daughter Rosalind at
Ashfield in August 1919, where the couple having few friends in London spent much of their
time.Having left the Air Force at the end of the war, Archie started in the City financial sector at
a relatively low salary, though they still employed a maid.
Christie's second novel, The Secret Adversary (1922), featured new detective couple Tommy and
Tuppence. Again published by The Bodley Head, it earned her 50. A third novel again featured
Poirot, Murder on the Links (1923), as did short stories commissioned by Bruce Ingram, editor
of Sketch magazine, In order to tour the world promoting the British Empire Exhibition, the
couple left their daughter Rosalind with Agatha's mother and sister. The pair traveled to South
Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii.They learned to surf prone in South Africa, then in
Waikiki were among the first Britons to surf standing up
Stereotyping
Christie occasionally inserted stereotyped descriptions of characters into her work, particularly
before the end of the Second World War (when such attitudes were more commonly expressed
publicly), and particularly in regard to Italians, Jews, and non-Europeans. For example, in the
first editions of the collection The Mysterious MrQuin (1930), in the short story "The Soul of the
Croupier," she described "Hebraic men with hook-noses wearing rather flamboyant jewellery";
in later editions the passage was edited to describe "sallow men" wearing same. In "The
Hollow", published as late as 1946, one of the more unsympathetic characters is "a Whitechapel
Jewess with dyed hair and a voice like a corncrake ..... a small woman with a thick nose, henna


18
red and a disagreeable voice". To contrast with the more stereotyped descriptions, Christie
sometimes characterised the "foreigners" in such a way as to make the reader understand and
sympathise with them; this is particularly true of her Jewish characters, who while seen as
unEnglish are seldom actually criminals. (See, for example, the character of Oliver Manders in
Three Act Tragedy.)
[83]

Often she is lovingly affectionate or teasing with her prejudices. After four years of war-torn
London, Christie hoped to return some day to Syria, which she described as "gentle fertile
country and its simple people, who know how to laugh and how to enjoy life; who are idle and
gay, and who have dignity, good manners, and a great sense of humour, and to whom death is
not terrible."
After trouble with an incompetent Swiss French nursery helper Marcelle for toddler Rosalind,
she decides "Scottish preferred ... good with the young. The French were hopeless
disciplinarians ... Germans good and methodical, but it was not German that I really wanted
Rosalind to learn. The Irish were gay but made trouble in the house; the English were of all
kinds"
[
She proposes this, after the fact, knowing the chosen Charlotte lasts decades.
Her book titles, changed by American publishers, for example Ten Little Niggers to Ten Little
Indians, were kept the same across the Atlantic, after bushels of fan mail
Portrayals of Christie
Christie has been portrayed on a number of occasions in film and television. Several biographical
programs have been made, such as the 2004 BBC television programme entitled Agatha Christie:
A Life in Pictures, in which she is portrayed by Olivia Williams, Anna Massey, and Bonnie
Wright.
Christie has also been portrayed fictionally. Some of these have explored and offered accounts of
Christie's disappearance in 1926, including the 1979 film Agatha (with Vanessa Redgrave, where
she sneaks away to plan revenge against her husband) and the Doctor Who episode "The Unicorn
and the Wasp" (with FenellaWoolgar, her disappearance being the result of her suffering a
temporary breakdown due to a brief psychic link being formed between her and an alien).
Others, such as 1980 Hungarian film, KojakBudapesten (not to be confused with the 1986
comedy by the same name) create their own scenarios involving Christie's criminal skill.[96] In
the 1986 TV play, Murder by the Book, Christie herself (Dame Peggy Ashcroft) murdered one of
her fictional-turned-real characters, Poirot. The heroine of Liar-Soft's 2008 visual novel
Shikkoku no Sharnoth: What a Beautiful Tomorrow, Mary Clarissa Christie, is based on the real-
life Christie. Christie features as a character in Gaylord Larsen's Dorothy and Agatha and The
London Blitz Murders by Max Allan Collins






19

Joanne Rowling
Joanne "Jo" Rowling, best known by her pen name J. K. Rowling, is a British novelist, best
known as the author of the Harry Potter fantasy series. The Potter books have gained worldwide
attention, won multiple awards, and sold more than 400 million copies.They have become the
best-selling book series in history,and been the basis for a series of films which has become the
highest-grossing film series in history. Rowling had overall approval on the scripts[9] and
maintained creative control by serving as a producer on the final instalment. The seven-year
period that followed entailed the death of her mother, divorce from her first husband and poverty
until Rowling finished the first novel in the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's
Stone(1997). Rowling subsequently published 6 sequelsthe last, Harry Potter and the
Deathly Hallows (2007)as well as 3 supplements to the series. Since, Rowling has parted with
her agency and resumed writing for adult readership, releasing the tragicomedy The Casual
Vacancy (2012) andusing the pseudonym Robert Galbraiththe crime fiction novel The
Cuckoo's Calling (2013) which, according to Rowling, is the first of a series.Rowling has led a
"rags to riches" life story, in which she progressed from living on state benefits to multi-
millionaire status within five years. She is the United Kingdom's best-selling author since
records began, with sales in excess of 238m. The 2008 Sunday Times Rich List estimated
Rowling's fortune at 560 million ($798 million), ranking her as the twelfth richest woman in the
United Kingdom. Forbes ranked Rowling as the forty-eighth most powerful celebrity of
2007,and TIME magazine named her as a runner-up for its 2007 Person of the Year, noting the
social, moral, and political inspiration she has given her fans.In October 2010, Rowling was
named the "Most Influential Woman in Britain" by leading magazine editors.She has become a
notable philanthropist, supporting such charities as Comic Relief, One Parent Families, Multiple
Sclerosis Society of Great Britain and Lumos (formerly the Children's High Level Group).
Harry Potter
Who is Harry Potter? Harry James Potter is the title character of J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter
series. The majority of the books' plot covers seven years in the life of the orphan Potter, who, on
his eleventh birthday, learns he is a wizard. Thus, he attends Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and
Wizardry to practice magic under the guidance of the kindly headmaster Albus Dumbledore and
other school professors. Harry also discovers that he is already famous throughout the novel's
magical community, and that his fate is tied with that of Lord Voldemort, the internationally
feared Dark Wizard and murderer of his mother and father.
According to Rowling, the idea for both the Harry Potter books and its eponymous character
came while waiting for a delayed train from Manchester to London in 1990. She stated that her
idea for "this scrawny, black-haired, bespectacled boy who didn't know he was a wizard became
more and more real to me".While developing the ideas for her book, she also decided to make
Harry an orphan who attended a boarding school called Hogwarts. She explained in a 1999


20
interview with The Guardian: "Harry had to be an orphan so that he's a free agent, with no
fear of letting down his parents, disappointing them ... Hogwarts has to be a boarding school
half the important stuff happens at night! Then there's the security. Having a child of my own
reinforces my belief that children above all want security, and that's what Hogwarts offers
Harry."Her own mother's death on 30 December 1990 inspired Rowling to write Harry Potter as
a boy longing for his dead parents, his anguish becoming "much deeper, much more real" than in
earlier drafts because she related to it herself.n a 2000 interview with The Guardian, Rowling
also established that the character of Wart in T. H. White's novel The Once and Future King is
"Harry's spiritual ancestor."Finally, she established Harry's birth date as 31 July, the same as her
own. However, she maintained that Harry was not directly based on any real-life person: "he
came just out of a part of me". Rowling has also maintained that Harry is a suitable real-life role
model for children. "The advantage of a fictional hero or heroine is that you can know them
better than you can know a living hero, many of whom you would never meet if people like
Harry and identify with him, I am pleased, because I think he is very likeable."
Success
In 2004, Forbes named Rowling as the first person to become a U.S.-dollar billionaire by writing
books,
[110]
the second-richest female entertainer and the 1,062nd richest person in the
world.
[111]
Rowling disputed the calculations and said she had plenty of money, but was not a
billionaire.
[112]
In addition, the 2008 Sunday Times Rich List named Rowling the 144th richest
person in Britain.
[13]
In 2012, Forbes removed Rowling from their rich list, claiming that her over
$160 million in charitable donations and the high tax rate in the UK meant she was no longer a
billionaire.
[113]
In February 2013 she was assessed as the 13th most powerful woman in the
United Kingdom by Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4.
[114]

In 2001, Rowling purchased a 19th-century estate house, Killiechassie House, on the banks of
the River Tay, near Aberfeldy, in Perth and Kinross, Scotland.
[115]
Rowling also owns a
4.5 million ($7 million) Georgian house in Kensington, West London,
[116]
on a street with 24-
hour security.
[117]

Magical abilities and skills
Throughout the series, Harry Potter is described as a gifted wizard apprentice. He has a particular
talent for flying, which manifests itself in Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone the first time
he tries it, and gets him a place on a Quidditch team one year before the normal minimum
joining age. He captains it in his sixth year. In his fourth year (Harry Potter and the Goblet of
Fire) , Harry is able to confront a dragon on his broomstick.
Harry is also gifted in DefenceAgainst the Dark Arts, in which he becomes proficient due to his
repeated encounters with Voldemort and various monsters. In his third year, Harry's able to cast
the very advanced Patronus Charm, and by his fifth year he has become so talented at the subject
that he is able to teach his fellow students in Dumbledore's Army, some even older than him how
to defend themselves against Dark Magic. At the end of that year, he achieves an 'Outstanding'
DefenceAgainst the Dark Arts O.W.L., something that not even Hermione achieved. He is a
skilled duellist, the only one of the six Dumbledore's Army members to be neither injured nor
incapacitated during the battle with Death Eaters in the Department of Mysteries in Harry Potter


21
and the Order of the Phoenix. He also fends off numerous Death Eaters during his flight to the
Burrow at the beginning of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Harry also has the unusual ability to speak and understand "Parseltongue", a language associated
with Dark Magic. This, it transpires is because he harbours a piece of Voldemort's soul.