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Albert Camus

Born in Algeria and received a degree in philosophy before relocating to France.' He soon established an international reputation with such works as The Stranger (1946), The Plague (1948), The Rebel (1954) and The Myth of Sisyphus (1955).'


Albert Camus, Caligula

The two most important of Camus' plays are Caligula (performed 1945, written 1938) and Cross Purpose (1944). In Caligula, a young Roman emperor comes face to face with the terrible lack of meaning in the universe after the senseless death of his beloved sister Drusilla. In order to teach the world the true nature of life, Caligula goes on a murderous spree, killing his subjects indiscriminately. After this act of rebellion fails, he chooses to court his own assassination.


Albert Camus, The Plague

One April morning in the 1940's in Oran, Algeria, Dr. Rieux, preoccupied with his ill wife's imminent departure to a sanatorium, discovers a dead rat. This unusual event marks the beginning of an epidemic of bubonic plague that will besiege the city until the following February. Over the long ten months Rieux, his acquaintances, friends, colleagues and fellow citizens labor, each in his own way, with the individual and social transformations caused by the all-consuming illness. Separation, isolation, and penury become the common lot of distinct characters whose actions, thoughts and feelings constitute a dynamic tableau of man imprisoned.


Albert Camus, The Stranger

At the beginning of the novel, Monsieur Mersault's mother dies. Mersault is then forced to go the home in which he sent her to in order to pay his last respects. After his mother's funeral, Mersault returns home and the next day he begins a relationship with Marie. Shortly after his return home he also befriends Raymond, his neighbor/pimp. Mersault, Marie and Raymond decide to go the beach and it is while at the beach that the group recognizes the brother of one of Raymond's ex-girlfriends. Mersault goes for a walk to the stream and ends up shooting the Arab man 5 times. He is then taken away and put in jail. At his trial, Mersault seals his fate by his existentialistic ways. He is then sentenced to the guillotine and then the novel ends, leaving the reader wanting a bit of closure.


Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Biographia Literaria

In his Biographia Literaria, the English Romantic poet Samuel T. Coleridge propounded the organic principle as the constitutive definition of the poem: the whole is in every part, and every part can be found in the whole. The poem is that species of composition characterized, unlike works of science, by the immediate purpose of pleasure, and also by special metric and phonetic arrangements; it produces delight as a whole and this delight is compatible with the distinct gratification generated by each component part, which harmonizes with the other elements. T. S. Hulme, a 20th century English thinker, elucidated Coleridge's concept quite graphically in his Speculations: Essays on Humanism and the Philosophy of Art: unlike mechanical complexity, vital or organic is that kind of complexity "in which the parts cannot be said to be elements as each one is modified by the other's presence, and each one to a certain extent is the whole. The leg of a chair by itself is still a leg. My leg by itself wouldn't be."
In Coleridge's view, expounded in Biographia Literaria, a great poem is the product of both the primary imagination. "The secondary imagination" dissolves, disperses, scatters, in order to re-create the material of the primary imagination; it represents creation as against vision.
Another important principle which the New Critics borrowed from Coleridge's poetic is contextualism. The English poet viewed the poem as a product of the form-creating man; it had an independent existence, within the organic system of mutual relationships among the terms that made up the context of the poem. Thus the poem was regarded outside any and all non-poetic contexts. ***This piece is very important to the new critics.


Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Christabel

OVERVIEW: This poem, the first part of which was written in 1797, is also a fragment. Coleridge had wanted to include it in the 1800 Lyrical Ballads, but it was not yet finished; it was still incomplete when he finally published it in 1816. As it stands, the poem is the beginning of a medieval tale about a demon or witch.' It is writen in a strange meter of four stresses to a line, and a varying number of unstressed syllables. (Such a meter was used in medieval Anglo-Saxon poetry.)
PART 1. At the poem's opening, it is midnight in Landdale Castle. Everyone is asleep except Christabel, the lovely daughter of Sir Leoline, the lord of the castle. Christabel is roaming in the woods, thinking about her lover, a knight to whom she is betrothed but who is now far away. Hearing a moaning coming from the other side of an oak tree, Christabel discovers a beautiful pale lady, barefoot and with jewels in her hair, who begs for help. Her name is Geraldine. She tells Christabel that she was abducted from her home by five warriors, who tied her to a white horse and brought her to this oak tree and left her, vowing to return. Geraldine begs Christabel for help. They walk back to the castle of Sir Leoline, at the entrance to which Geraldine falls down and must be lifted over the doorstep. This is the first of several hints that Geraldine is an evil spirit, because such beings cannot pass on their own through a doorway that has been blessed. Likewise, when Christabel utters a prayer of thanks to "the Virgin" that they are safe inside, Geraldine cannot join in the prayer. The old watchdog does not bark at this stranger; he only mutters in his sleep, and the ashes in the fireplace suddenly flame up as Geraldine passes by. In Christabel's chamber the two ladies undress for sleep. They lie down together, Christabel wrapped in the arms of Geraldine. As Christabel sleeps, the guardian spirit of her dead mother is driven away by Geraldine. Thus, by the end of the first part, the poet has led the reader to the conclusion that Geraldine is entrapping Christabel or trying to seduce her, to capture her soul. But he reminds us that "saints will aid if men will call."
PART 2. It is morning. Geraldine and Christabel rise and dress, but Christabel retains an uneasy sense of the sinister influence of Geraldine. They visit Sir Leoline, to whom Geraldine introduces herself as the daughter of Lord Roland de Vaux, a man who had once been Sir Leoline's closest friend but had since become a bitter enemy. Captivated by the beauty of Geraldine, who embraces and kisses him, Sir Leoline tells his bard Bracey to travel to the castle of Lord Roland and invite him to come back to Langdale Castle. Meanwhile, Sir Leoline challenges the five scoundrels who abducted Geraldine to appear at a tournament one week later to defend, if they can, their honor. But, seeing Geraldine's influence over her father, Christabel asks that the guest be sent home at once. Sir Leoline, captivated by Geraldine and in a fury at this breech of hospitality, responds angrily to his daughter. Christabel cannot explain her fears because her tongue has been bewitched by Geraldine. The second part ends with the poet's meditation about the irrational anger of a parent toward an innocent child.


Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Kubla Khan

In his introduction to the poem, Coleridge mentions an "anodyne" which he took before he conceived it. The drug was laudanum--opium dissolved in alcohol--and the vision was an opium dream. (This explains so much.) A poem about nothing:

--pleasure dome
--Ancestral voices prophesying war
--Abyssinian maid
--Mount Abora

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree :
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man

Down to a sunless sea.

So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round :
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree ;

And here were forests ancient as the hills,

Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.


William Congreve, The Way of the World

LADY WISHFORT has a daughter MRS FAINALL, a niece MILLAMANT and a nephew SIR WILFULL WITWOUD. Millamant has two admirers, WITWOUD and PETULANT. Millamant's money is held in trust by her aunt, and if she marries without Lady Wishfort's consent half of it passes to Mrs Fainall. MIRABELL has previously had an affair with Mrs Fainall but is now in love with Millamant. When Mrs Fainall was thought to be pregnant Mirabell arranged for her to marry his penniless friend FAINALL. Mirabell has angered Mrs Marwood by rejecting her advances and Lady Wishfort by flirting with her to gain entry to her house where Millamant and her maid MINCING also live. Mirabell plans to get both Millamant and her fortune by dressing his servant WAITWELL as his uncle Sir Rowland and have him seduce Lady Wishfort ~ she will agree to marry him to disinherit Mirabell, and be publicly embarrassed when he is revealed to be only a servant. Mirabell will then be able to step in to release her from the contract, on condition that he may have Millamant and all her fortune. He has married Waitwell to Lady Wishfort's servant FOIBLE as security that morning. When they discover his plan, Fainall and Mrs Marwood try to turn the tables by revealing Mrs Fainall's affair with Mirabell, on condition that Lady Wishfort turn over all her estate to Fainall.


Hart Crane (1899-1932)

American poet whose tumultuous life ended when he committed suicide by jumping from a boat.' Writes about New York a lot in his collection of poems called The Bridge. Always talks about ships and technology.

Crane "At Melville's Tomb"

Often beneath the wave, wide from this ledge

The dice of drowned men's bones he saw bequeath

An embassy.' Their numbers as he watched,

Beat on the dusty shore and were obscured.

And wrecks passed without sound of bells,

The calyx of death's bounty giving back

A scattered chapter, livid hieroglyph,

The portent wound in corridors of shells.


Kate Chopin

Katherine O’Flaherty known by her married name Kate Chopin (1850-1904), was an American author of short stories and novels


“The Awakening," Kate Chopin

Names to associate with The Awakening:

* Edna Pontellier
* Robert Lebrun

Published in 1899. The novel examines the smothering effects of late 19th-century social structures upon a woman whose simple desire is to fulfill her own potential and live her own life. It is a story of both courage and defeat, lyrically written and boldly poignant.

Edna Pontellier, the wife of a successful New Orleans business man and the mother of two, vacations with her family at a seaside resort. She spends a lot of time with Robert Lebrun, a romantic young man who has decided to attach himself to Edna for the summer. After many intimate conversations, boating excursions, and moonlit walks, they both realize that they are developing romantic feelings for each other. Edna realizes that there is much within herself that has remained dormant throughout her adult life.

When vacation ends and the Pontelliers return to New Orleans, Edna frees herself from the trappings of her old life, including her social position, her role as a mother, and her role as a wife. Moving out of her husband’s house, she establishes herself in a cottage and hopes that Robert Lebrun will return soon from an extended business trip.

Upon Robert’s return, Edna discovers that he is unable to come to grips with her newfound freedom. Indeed, he seems hopelessly bound by the traditional values of the French Creole community. Simultaneously, she discovers that her husband has set in motion a plan that will essentially force her to move back into his house.

Edna thereupon returns to the seaside resort in the off-season. She makes arrangements for a lunch to take with her to the beach, and carries along a towel for drying off as well. Unable to resist the lure of the water, she swims out as far as she can and, having exhausted herself, drowns. Most readers interpret this final passage as a deliberate attempt at suicide.


"Story of an Hour,“ Kate Chopin

Names and phrases to associate with “Story of an Hour”:

Mrs. Millard
“Free! Body and soul free!”
This short story is about an hour in the life of the main character, Mrs. Millard. She is afflicted with a heart problem. Bad news has come about that her husband has died in a train accident. Her sister Josephine and Richard who is her husband’s friend has to break the horrifying news to her as gently as possible. They both were concerned that the news might somehow put her in great danger with her health. Ironically, Mrs. Millard reacts to the news with excitement. Even though the news is heartbreaking she is finally free from the depressing life she was living. She keeps whispering “Free! Body and soul free!”. She now is happy because she doesn’t have to live for anyone but herself now. At the end of the story, Mr. Millard opens the door and is surprised by Josephine’s cry. Mr. Millard didn’t have a faintest idea about the accident. With a quick motion, Richard tried to block Mr. Millard’s view of his wife but it was too late. The doctors said she died of a heart disease. The story ends with a short phrase “of joy that kills”


Stephen Crane

Stephen Crane’s (1871-1900) first novel, Maggie: A Girl of the Streets. Crane released the book under a pseudonym and paid for the publishing himself. It was not a commercial success, though it was praised by several critics of the time.

This was followed by The Red Badge of Courage 1895, a powerful tale of the American Civil War. The book won international acclaim for its realism and psychological depth in telling the story of a young soldier facing the horrors and triumphs of war for the first time. Crane never experienced battle personally, but conducted interviews with a number of veterans, some of whom may have suffered from what is now called post-traumatic stress disorder. Because his depiction of the psychological as well as military aspect of war was so accurate, he was hired by a number of newspapers as a correspondent during the Greco-Turkish 1897 and Spanish-American wars 1898. In 1896 the boat in which he accompanied an American expedition to Cuba was wrecked, leaving Crane adrift for fourteen days. A result of the incident was Crane’s development of tuberculosis, which would eventually become fatal. He recounted these experiences in The Open Boat and Other Tales 1898. In 1897, Crane settled in England, where he befriended writers Joseph Conrad and Henry James. Shortly before his death, he released Whilomville Stories 1900, the most commercially successful of the twelve books he wrote. Crane died of tuberculosis, aged only 28, in Badenweiler, Germany.


“Maggie: A Girl of the Streets” Stephen Crane

Names and phrases to associate with Maggie:

1. Maggie

2. Jimmie

3. Pete

As the novel opens, Jimmie, a young boy, is leading a street fight against a troop of youngsters from another part of New York City’s impoverished Bowery neighborhood. Jimmie is rescued by Pete, a teenager who seems to be a casual acquaintance of his. They encounter Jimmie’s offhandedly brutal father, who brings Jimmie home, where we are introduced to his timid older sister Maggie and little brother Tommie, and to Mary, the family’s drunken, vicious matriarch. The evening that follows seems typical: the father goes to bars to drink himself into oblivion while the mother stays home and rages until she, too, drops off into a drunken stupor. The children huddle in a corner, terrified.

As time passes, both the father and Tommie die. Jimmie hardens into a sneering, aggressive, cynical youth. He gets a job as a teamster. Maggie, by contrast, seems somehow immune to the corrupting influence of abject poverty; underneath the grime, she is physically beautiful and, even more surprising, both hopeful and naïve. When Pete–now a bartender–makes his return to the scene, he entrances Maggie with his bravado and show of bourgeois trappings. Pete senses easy prey, and they begin dating; she is taken–and taken in–by his relative worldliness and his ostentatious displays of confidence. She sees in him the promise of wealth and culture, an escape from the misery of her childhood.

One night Jimmie and Mary accuse Maggie of "Goin to deh devil", essentially kicking her out of the tenement, throwing her lot in with Pete. Jimmie goes to Pete's bar and picks a fight with him (even though he himself has ruined other boys' sisters). As the neighbors continue to talk about Maggie, Jimmie and Mary decide to join them in badmouthing her instead of defending her.

Later, Nellie, a "woman of brilliance and audacity" convinces Pete to leave Maggie, whom she calls "a little pale thing with no spirit." Thus abandoned, Maggie tries to return home but is rejected by her mother and scorned by the entire tenement. In a later scene, a prostitute, implied to be Maggie, wanders the streets, moving into progressively worse neighborhoods until, reaching the river, she is followed by a grotesque and shabby man. The next scene shows Pete drinking in a saloon with six fashionable women "of brilliance and audacity." He passes out, whereupon one, possibly Nellie, takes his money. In the final chapter, Jimmie tells his mother that Maggie is dead. The mother exclaims, ironically, as the neighbors comfort her, "I'll forgive her!"


e. e. Cummings (1894-1962)

Edward Estlin Cummings, typically abbreviated E. E. Cummings, was an American poet, painter, essayist, and playwright. Though a representation not endorsed by him, his publishers often mirrored his atypical syntax by writing his name in lower case, e. e. cummings.

Cummings, like Emily Dickenson, is probably best known for the unusual style used in many of his poems, which includes unorthodox usage of both capitalization and punctuation, in which unexpected and seemingly misplaced punctuation sometimes interrupt sentences and even individual words. Several of his poems are also typeset on a page in an unusual fashion, and appear to make little sense until read aloud.

Cummings’ poetry often deals with themes of love and nature, as well as satire and the relationship of the individual to the masses and to the world.

While some of his poetry is free verse (with no concern for rhyme and scansion), many of his poems have a recognizable sonnet structure of 14 lines, with an intricate rhyme scheme. A number of his poems feature a typographically exuberant style, with words, parts of words, or punctuation symbols scattered across the page, often making little sense until read aloud—at which point the meaning and emotion become clear. As a painter, Cummings understood the importance of presentation, and used typography to “paint a picture” with some of his poems.[3]

In addition, a number of Cummings’ poems feature in part or in whole intentional misspellings; several feature phonetic spellings intended to represent particular dialects. Cummings also made use of inventive formations of compound words, as in “in Just-“, which features words such as “mud-lucious” and “puddle-wonderful”.

Many of Cummings’ poems address social issues and satirize society, but have an equal or even stronger bias toward romanticism: time and again his poems celebrate love, sex and spring. His talent extended to children’s books, novels, and painting. A notable example of his versatility is an Introduction he wrote for a collection of the comic strip Krazy Kat.

An example of Cummings’ unorthodox typographical style can be seen in his poems “the sky was candy luminous…” and “a leaf falls on loneliness”.

“a salesman is an it that stinks Excuse ”

a salesman is an it that stinks Excuse
Me whether it’s president of the you were say
or a jennelman name misder finger isn’t
important whether it’s millions of other punks
or just a handful doesn’t
matter and whether it’s in lonjewray

or shrouds is immaterial it stinks

a salesman is an it that stinks to please

but whether to please itself or someone else
makes no more difference than if it sells
hate condoms education snakeoil vac
uumcleaners terror strawberries democ
ra(caveat emptor)cy superfluous hair

or Think We’ve Met subhuman rights Before


Willa Cather (1873-1947)

“My Ántonia”

My Ántonia (first published 1918) is considered the greatest novel by American writer Willa Cather. My Ántonia – pronounced with the accent on the first syllable of “Ántonia” – is the final book of the “prairie trilogy” of novels by Cather, a list that also includes O Pioneers! and The Song of the Lark.

My Ántonia tells the stories of several immigrant families who move out to rural Nebraska to start new lives in America, with a particular focus on a Bohemian family, the Shimerdas, whose eldest daughter is named Ántonia. The book’s narrator, Jim Burden, arrives in the fictional town of Black Hawk, Nebraska, on the same train as the Shimerdas, as he goes to live with his grandparents after his parents have died. Jim develops strong feelings for Ántonia, something between a crush and a filial bond, and the reader views Ántonia’s life, including its attendant struggles and triumphs, through that lens.

“Death Comes for the Archbishop”

It concerns the attempts of a Catholic bishop and a priest to establish a diocese in New Mexico Territory. It is based on the careers of Archbishop Jean Baptiste Lamy and Father Joseph Machebeuf.

The primary character is Bishop Jean Marie Latour, who travels alone from Cincinnati to New Mexico to take charge of the newly established diocese of New Mexico, which has only just become a territory of the United States. He is later assisted by his childhood friend Father Joseph Vaillant. At the time of his departure, Cincinnati is the end of the railway line west, so Latour must travel by riverboat to the Gulf of Mexico, and thence overland to New Mexico, a journey which takes an entire year. He spends the rest of his life establishing the Roman Catholic church in New Mexico, where he dies in old age. The novel is notable for its portrayal of two well-meaning and devout French priests who encounter a well-entrenched Spanish-Mexican clergy they are sent to supplant when the United States acquired New Mexico and the Vatican, in turn, remapped its dioceses. Several of these entrenched priests are depicted in classic manner as exempla of greed, avarice and gluttony, while others live simple, abstemious lives among the Indians. Cather portrays the Hopi and Arapaho sympathetically, and her characters express the near futility of overlaying their religion on a millennia-old Native culture. Cather’s vivid landscape descriptions are also memorable.


Countee Cullen (1903-1946)

Countee Cullen was an American poet, one of the finest of the Harlem Renaissance. His most famous poems are “Yet Do I Marvel” and “Incident”, the latter of which describes a childhood trip to Baltimore marred by a racial slur. Countee Cullen was raised and educated in a primarily white community. Countee Cullen differed from many other poets of the Harlem Renaissance because he lacked the background to comment from personal experience on the lives of other blacks or use popular black themes in his writing.

“Yet do I Marvel” (Note that this is a Shakespearean sonnet)

I doubt not God is good, well-meaning, kind
And did He stoop to quibble could tell why
The little buried mole continues blind,
Why flesh that mirrors Him must some day die,
Make plain the reason tortured Tantalus
Is baited by the fickle fruit, declare
If merely brute caprice dooms Sisyphus
To struggle up a never-ending stair.
Inscrutable His ways are, and immune
To catechism by a mind too strewn
With petty cares to slightly understand
What awful brain compels His awful hand.
Yet do I marvel at this curious thing:
To make a poet black, and bid him sing!

Once riding in old Baltimore,
Heart-filled, head-filled with glee,
I saw a Baltimorean
Keep looking straight at me.

Now I was eight and very small,
And he was no whit bigger,
And so I smiled, but he poked out
His tongue, and called me, “Nigger.”

I saw the whole of Baltimore
From May until December;
Of all the things that happened there
That’s all that I remember.


The Stranger, Camus

The novel tells the story of an alienated man, who eventually commits a murder and waits to be executed for it. The book uses an Algerian setting, drawn from Camus’ own upbringing.

At the start of the novel, Meursault goes to his mother’s funeral, where he does not express any emotions and is basically unaffected by it. The novel continues to document the next few days of his life through the first person point-of-view. In these days, he befriends one of his neighbors, Raymond Sintes, a notorious local pimp. He aids Raymond in dismissing one of his Arab mistresses. Later, the two confront the woman’s brother (“the Arab”) on a beach and Raymond gets cut in the resulting knife fight. Meursault afterwards goes back to the beach and, in a heat-induced fit of lunacy, shoots the Arab five times.

At the trial, the prosecution focuses on the inability or unwillingness of Meursault to cry at his mother’s funeral, considered suspect by the authorities. The killing of the Arab apparently is less important than whether Meursault is capable of remorse. The argument follows that if Meursault is incapable of remorse, he should be considered a dangerous misanthrope and subsequently executed to prevent him from doing it again, and by executing, make him an example to those considering murder.


Anton Chekhov

Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) was a physician, major Russian short story writer and playwright. Many of his short stories are considered the apotheosis of the form while his playwriting career, though brief, has had a great impact on dramatic literature and performance.


The Seagull (1896) Chekhov

This is the first of what are generally considered to be Anton Chekhov’s four major plays. It centers on the romantic and artistic conflicts between four theatrical characters: the ngénue Nina, the fading leading lady Irina Arkadina, her son the experimental playwright Konstantin Treplyov, and the famous middlebrow story writer Trigorin.

Like the rest of Chekhov’s full-length plays, The Seagull relies upon an ensemble cast of diverse, fully developed characters. In opposition to much of the melodramatic theater of the 19th century, lurid actions (such as Treplyov’s suicide attempts) are kept offstage. Characters tend to speak in ways that skirt around issues rather than addressing them directly, a concept known as subtext.

The play has a strong intertextual relationship with Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Arkadina and Treplyov quote lines from it before the play-within-a-play in the first act (and the play-within-a-play device is itself used in Hamlet). There are many allusions to Shakespearean plot details as well. For instance, Treplyov seeks to win his mother back from the usurping older man Trigorin much as Hamlet tries to win Queen Gertrude back from Uncle Claudius.


The Cherry Orchard (1904) Chekhov

Although the play is viewed by most as a tragicomedy, Chekhov called it a comedy and even claimed that it had many farcical elements.

Lyubov Ranevskaya returns to her Russian country house with her adopted daughter Varya, her 18-year old daughter Anya, and several other people. They stay there for almost a year. Ranevskaya, Varya, and Anya live there with Ranyevskaya’s brother, Gayev, a maid, Dunyasha and there are several other people that stay and visit throughout the play.

Ranevskaya’s main problem is the lack of money that is very troublesome for her. Throughout the play there are various solutions suggested to her, but she doesn’t do anything. The orchard is consequently sold in an auction to Yermolay Alekseyevich Lopakhin, a man whose ancestors were serfs on the property. In the end, the orchard is chopped down by Lopakhin.


Three Sisters (1901) Chekhov

Four young people – Olga, Masha, Irina and Andrey Prozorov – are left stranded in a provincial backwater after the death of their father, an army general. They focus their dreams on returning to Moscow, a city remembered through the eyes of childhood as a place where happiness is possible.

Olga works as a teacher in a gymnasium, or a school. Masha is married to Fyodor Ilyich Kulygin, a teacher. At the time of their marriage, Masha was enchanted by his cleverness, but seven years later,she considers him to be rather stupid. Irina is the youngest sister, she dreams of going to Moscow and meeting her true love. Andrey is the only boy in the family. He is in love with Natasha Ivanovna.

The play begins on the first anniversary of their father’s death, also Irina’s name-day. It follows with a party. At this Andrey tells his feelings to Natasha.

Act two begins about 21 months later, Andrey and Natasha are married and have a child. Masha begins to have an affair with Aleksandr Ignatyevich Vershinin, a lieutenant commander who is married to a woman who constantly attempts suicide.


Thomas Campion

Campion will not likely be on your exam, and if he is, you won’t need to know anything about him. However, “When Corina to her lute sings” is fairly famous, and has some chance of appearing on the exam.

“When to her lute Corrina sings”

When to her lute Corrina sings,
Her voice reuiues the leaden stringes,
And doth in highest noates appeare,
As any challeng’d eccho cleere ;
But when she doth of mourning speake,
Eu’n with her sighes the strings do breake.

And as her lute doth liue or die,
Led by her passion, so must I,
For when of pleasure she doth sing,
My thoughts enioy a sodaine spring,
But if she doth of sorrow speake,
Eu’n from my hart the strings doe breake.


The Scriblerus Club

The Scriblerus Club was an informal group of friends that included Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, John Gay, John Arbuthnot, and Thomas Parnell. Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford and Mortimer occasionally joined the club for meetings, though he is not known to have contributed to any of their literary work. The club began as a project of satirizing the abuses of learning wherever they might be found, which led to The Memoirs of Martinus Scriblerus. The second edition of Pope’s The Dunciad also contains work attributed to Martinus Scriblerus.


Colley Cibber

Love’s Last Shift, or, Virtue Rewarded (1696)

It is regarded as an early herald of a massive shift in audience taste, away from the intellectualism and sexual frankness of Restoration comedy and towards the conservative certainties and gender role backlash of exemplary or sentimental comedy. It is often described as opportunistic (Hume), containing as it does something for everybody: daring Restoration comedy sex scenes, sentimental reconciliations, and broad farce.

Love’s Last Shift is the story of a last “shift” or trick that a virtuous wife, Amanda, is driven to in order to reform and retain her out-of-control rakish husband Loveless. Loveless has been away for ten years, dividing his time between the brothel and the bottle, and no longer recognizes his wife when he returns to London. Acting the part of a high-class prostitute, Amanda inveigles Loveless into her luxurious house and treats him to the night of his dreams, confessing her true identity in the morning. Loveless is so impressed by her faithfulness that he immediately becomes a reformed character.

A minor part which was a great success with the première audience is the fop Sir Novelty Fashion, written by Cibber for himself to play. Sir Novelty flirts with all the women, but is more interested in his own exquisite appearance and witticisms.


William Congreve

The Way of the World

The play is based around the two lovers Mirabell and Millamant. In order for the two to get married and receive Millamant’s full dowry, Mirabell must receive Millamant’s aunt, Lady Wishfort‘s blessing. Unfortunately, she is a bitter lady who hates Mirabell and wants her own nephew, Sir Witwoud to marry Millamant.

Other characters include Fainall who is having a secret affair with Mrs. Marwood, a friend of Mrs. Fainall’s, who in turn once had an affair with Mirabell.

Waitwell is Mrs. Fainall’s servant and is married to Foible, Mrs. Wishfort’s servant. Waitwell pretends to be Sir Rowland and on Mirabell’s command, tries to trick Lady Wishfort into a false engagement.


Thomas Carew

A Cavalier poet, his elegy to Donne contrasts from the otherwise bawdy, worldly and cynical nature of his poetry.

“An Elegy upon the Death of the Dean of St. Paul’s, Dr. John Donne”

CAN we not force from widow’d poetry,
Now thou art dead, great Donne, one elegy,
To crown thy hearse ? Why yet did we not trust,
Though with unkneaded dough-baked prose, thy dust,
Such as the unscissor’d lecturer, from the flower
Of fading rhetoric, short-lived as his hour,
Dry as the sand that measures it, might lay
Upon the ashes on the funeral day ?
Have we nor tune nor voice ? Didst thou dispense
Through all our language both the words and sense ?
‘Tis a sad truth. The pulpit may her plain
And sober Christian precepts still retain ;
Doctrines it may, and wholesome uses, frame,
Grave homilies and lectures ; but the flame
Of thy brave soul, that shot such heat and light,
As burn’d our earth, and made our darkness bright,
Committed holy rapes upon the will,
Did through the eye the melting heart distil,
And the deep knowledge of dark truths so teach,
As sense might judge what fancy could not reach,
Must be desired for ever. So the fire,
That fills with spirit and heat the Delphic choir,
Which, kindled first by thy Promethean breath,
Glow’d here awhile, lies quench’d now in thy death.
The Muses’ garden, with pedantic weeds
O’erspread, was purg’d by thee ; the lazy seeds
Of servile imitation thrown away,
And fresh invention planted ; thou didst pay
The debts of our penurious bankrupt age ;
Licentious thefts, that make poetic rage
A mimic fury, when our souls must be
Possess’d, or with Anacreon’s ecstacy,
Or Pindar’s, not their own ; the subtle cheat
Of sly exchanges, and the juggling feat
Of two-edged words, or whatsoever wrong
By ours was done the Greek or Latin tongue,
Thou hast redeem’d, and open’d us a mine
Of rich and pregnant fancy ; drawn a line
Of masculine expression, which, had good
Old Orpheus seen, or all the ancient brood
Our superstitious fools admire, and hold
Their lead more precious than thy burnish’d gold,
Thou hadst been their exchequer, and no more
They each in other’s dung had search’d for ore.
Thou shalt yield no precedence, but of time,
And the blind fate of language, whose tuned chime
More charms the outward sense : yet thou mayst claim
From so great disadvantage greater fame,
Since to the awe of thy imperious wit
Our troublesome language bends, made only fit
With her tough thick-ribb’d hoops to gird about
Thy giant fancy, which had proved too stout
For their soft melting phrases. As in time
They had the start, so did they cull the prime
Buds of invention many a hundred year,
And left the rifled fields, besides the fear
To touch their harvest ; yet from those bare lands,
Of what was only thine, thy only hands
(And that their smallest work,) have gleaned more
Than all those times and tongues could reap before.
But thou art gone, and thy strict laws will be
Too hard for libertines in poetry ;
They will recall the goodly exiled train
Of gods and goddesses, which in thy just reign
Was banish’d nobler poems ; now with these,
The silenced tales i’ th’ Metamorphoses,
Shall stuff their lines, and swell the windy page,
Till verse, refined by thee in this last age,
Turn ballad-rhyme, or those old idols be
Adored again with new apostacy.
O pardon me, that break with untuned verse
The reverend silence that attends thy hearse,
Whose solemn awful murmurs were to thee,
More than these rude lines, a loud elegy,
That did proclaim in a dumb eloquence
The death of all the arts : whose influence,
Grown feeble, in these panting numbers lies,
Gasping short-winded accents, and so dies.
So doth the swiftly-turning wheel not stand
In th’ instant we withdraw the moving hand,
But some short time retain a faint weak course,
By virtue of the first impulsive force :
And so, whilst I cast on thy funeral pile
Thy crown of bays, oh let it crack awhile,
And spit disdain, till the devouring flashes
Suck all the moisture up, then turn to ashes.
I will not draw the envy to engross
All thy perfections, or weep all the loss ;
Those are too numerous for one elegy,
And this too great to be express’d by me.
Let others carve the rest ; it shall suffice
I on thy grave this epitaph incise:—

Here lies a king that ruled, as he thought fit,
The universal monarchy of wit ;
Here lies two flamens, and both those the best :
Apollo’s first, at last the true God’s priest.


Thomas Carlyle

Carlyle’s major work, Sartor Resartus (meaning ‘The tailor re-tailored’), purported to be a commentary on the thought and early life of a German philosopher called Diogenes Teufelsdröckh (which translates as ‘god-born devil-shit’), author of a tome entitled “Clothes: their Origin and Influence.” Teufelsdröckh’s Transcendentalist musings are mulled over by a skeptical English editor who also provides fragmentary biographical material on the philosopher.

Sartor Resartus, published in 1833, was intended to be a new kind of book: simultaneously factual and fictional, serious and satirical, speculative and historical. It ironically commented on its own formal structure (as Tristram Shandy had, long before), while forcing the reader to confront the problem of where ‘truth’ is to be found. The imaginary “Philosophy of Clothes” holds that meaning is to be derived from phenomena, continually shifting over history, as cultures reconstruct themselves in changing fashions, power-structures, and faith-systems.

A few names to associate with the work:

Hofrath Heuschrecke


*“On Donne’s Poetry” Coleridge

*“On Donne’s Poetry”

With Donne, whose muse on dromedary trots,
Wreathe iron pokers into true-love knots ;
Rhyme’s sturdy cripple, fancy’s maze and clue,
Wit’s forge and fire-blast, meaning’s press and screw.


Frost at Midnight, Coleridge

The Frost performs its secret ministry,
Unhelped by any wind. The owlet's cry
Came loud—and hark, again! loud as before.
The inmates of my cottage, all at rest,
Have left me to that solitude, which suits
Abstruser musings: save that at my side
My cradled infant slumbers peacefully.
'Tis calm indeed! so calm, that it disturbs
And vexes meditation with its strange
And extreme silentness. Sea, hill, and wood,
This populous village! Sea, and hill, and wood,
With all the numberless goings-on of life,
Inaudible as dreams! the thin blue flame
Lies on my low-burnt fire, and quivers not;
Only that film, which fluttered on the grate,