19th Century Literary Movements : Realism and Naturalism

19th century literary movements : Realism and Naturalism photo

Introduction Realism and Naturalism are a reaction against Romanticism (imagination, poetry and prose, as well as the main themes : nature, exoticism, history, and heroes depicted as exceptional individuals) because it was thought to have lost touch with the contemporary. Three revolutions took place during the 19th century : the industrial revolution, the scientific revolution, and the moral revolution. In Great Britain, the Victorian Era lasted from 1837 to 1901. In the USA, the Civil War lasted from 1861 to […]

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The 18th Century : the Age of Enlightenment

Introduction The 18th Century can be dubbed "the Age of Enlightenment" as it was marked by French philosophers such as Voltaire, Rousseau or Diderot (the Encyclopédie was published in 1761). The Enlightenment is characterized by the belief of natural goodness of man : man is perfectible, it is the idea of progress obtained through the use of reason. Since man is naturally good, all bad things come from society : if we could fight prejudices and oppressive social institutions, man […]

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War Poet : Rupert Brooke (1887-1915)

Biography Brooke's poems were very famous and influential. His War Sonnets, published in 1915, caught very well the mood of the time. He was born in 1887 in a very wealthy family and was educated at Rugby School and at King's college, Cambridge. He was said to be strikingly handsome and the unfair reasons why he was considered a popular war poet was because of both his 5 poems dealing with war and his appearance. In fact, Brooke's experience of […]

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A Midsummer Night's Dream : a comedy

Introduction Shakespeare has used many genres to convey his stories, especially comedies, tragedies and historical plays. A Midsummer Night's Dream is a comedy. A comedy is a kind of drama which is intended primarily to entertain the audience and which usually ends unhappily for the characters. There are: romantic comedies: revolving around love (As you like it). satiric comedies: see French playwright Molière. I - A Midsummer Night's Dream and the convention of comedy Shakespeare was influenced by the concept […]

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Structure in A Midsummer Night's Dream

I - Characters and structure Multiplicity of lines. A Midsummer Night's Dream is remarkable for the many levels of its text. The play is different from Romeo and Juliet or the Taming of the Shrew (which have one main plot) because of the various levels of plots and characters. There are 4 levels: Theseus and Hippolyta, the young lovers, the mechanicals, and the fairies. There are connections between: Theseus & Hippolyta and the young lovers: made by Theseus, member of […]

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Introduction to A Midsummer Night's Dream

Place of the play in Shakespeare's work A Midsummer Night's Dream is one of the most famous and successful Shakespeare's plays. The play is part of the early work of Shakespeare (1554-1616), it was written and performed in 1595-1596, just after The Taming of the Shrew and The Two Gentlemen of Verona. There is a connection between Pyramus & Thisbe and Romeo & Juliet: one character kills himself because he thought his love is dead (tragedy of misunderstanding). It proves […]

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Background of "A Midsummer Night's Dream"

Introduction The characters are set in a given space and time. Shakespeare draws his material from a large body of social background, historical facts and myth: let us see the Greek background, the May festivities, and the fairies and spirits. I - Greek background The play is set in early Greece, in Athens. It is unexpected as so much of the play seems so typically England. Shakespeare was writing at the time where antiquity was the cultural reference, although the […]

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An authentically American Literature

I. Writing the territory: the literature of discovery and exploration Started as a vision in Europe: it is a product of literary imagination. America existed only as a literary object that was represented in the writings of Europeans who first visited America. They brought back their own visions, written in Spanish or French and not in English. 16th century: the English knew about America through outside texts, not from English texts. 1670's: English mariners started exploring the North American coast. […]

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