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Flashcards in D Cards Deck (13)
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Michael Drayton

There’s nothing you need to know about Drayton, but this Shakespearean sonnet occasionally appears on the GRE.

“Since there’s no help, come let us kiss and part (Idea: LXI)”

Since there’s no help, come let us kiss and part,
Nay, I have done: you get no more of me,
And I am glad, yea glad with all my heart,
That thus so cleanly I myself can free.
Shake hands for ever, cancel all our vows,
And when we meet at any time again
Be it not seen in either of our brows
That we one jot of former love retain.
Now at the last gasp of Love’s latest breath,
When his pulse failing, Passion speechless lies,
When Faith is kneeling by his bed of death,
And Innocence is closing up his eyes,
Now, if thou wouldst, when all have given him over,
From death to life thou might’st him yet recover.


John Donne (1572-1631)

John Donne was a Jacobean metaphysical poet. His works include sonnets, love poetry, religious poems, Latin translations, epigrams, elegies, songs, and sermons. Donne will certainly appear on your GRE exam, and he has plenty that is worth studying.


Paul Laurence Dunbar

Dunbar (1872-1906) is largely noteworthy (at least in his literary career) as a forerunner to the Harlem Renaissance, which ETS does stress.

Dunbar was a seminal African-American poet in the late 19th and early 20th century. Dunbar gained national recognition for his 1896 Lyrics of a Lowly Life. Born in Dayton, Ohio to parents who had escaped from slavery, Dunbar died from tuberculosis at 34.

His first collection of poetry, Oak and Ivy was published in 1892 and attracted the attention of James Whitcomb Riley, the popular “Hoosier Poet”. Both Riley and Dunbar wrote poems in both standard English and dialect. His second book, Majors and Minors (1895) brought him national fame and the patronage of William Dean Howells, the novelist and critic and editor of Harper’s Weekly. He was closely associated with Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington.

He wrote a dozen books of poetry, four books of short stories, and five novels and a play. His essays and poems were published widely in the leading journals of the day. During his life, considerable emphasis was laid on the fact that Dunbar was of pure black descent, with no white ancestors.

Dunbar’s work is known for its colorful language and use of dialect.


Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-1881) is considered one of the greatest of Russian writers, whose works have had a profound and lasting effect on twentieth-century fiction. His works often feature characters living in poor conditions with disparate and extreme states of mind, and exhibit both an uncanny grasp of human psychology as well as penetrating analyses of the political, social and spiritual states of Russia of his time. Many of his best-known works are prophetic precursors to modern-day thoughts.


Notes from Underground

It is considered the world’s first existentialist work. It presents itself as an excerpt from the rambling memoirs of a bitter, isolated, unnamed narrator (generally referred to by critics as Underground Man), a retired civil servant living in St. Petersburg.

The novel is divided into two rough parts. Part 1 falls into three main sections. The short introduction propounds a number of riddles whose meanings will be further developed. Section two, three and four deal with suffering and the enjoyment of suffering; sections five and six with intellectual and moral vacillation and with conscious “inertia”-inaction; sections seven through nine with theories of reason and advantage; the last two sections are a summary and a transition into Part 2. Part 1 focuses primarily on man’s desire to distinguish himself from nature. The narrator describes this as his spitefulness. It is elaborated into not only a spitefulness for authority and morality, but for causality itself. War is described as people’s rebellion against the assumption that everything needs to happen for a purpose, because humans do things without purpose, and this is what determines human history. Secondly, the narrator’s desire for pain and paranoia (which parallels Raskolnikov’s behavior in Crime and Punishment) is exemplified in a tooth ache, which he says he would love to have, and paranoia which he builds up in his head to the point he is incapable of looking his co-workers in the eye.

Part 2 focuses on three incidents. The first,the incident with the officer on the Nevsky Prospect illustrates the narrator’s theories on insults and suffering; the second, the farewell dinner for Zverkov is clearly connected with vacillation and “inertia”; the third and most crucial episode, that with the prostitute Liza, is the extension and embodiment of the narrator’s theories on reason and advantage, and of his views on the nature of man.

It begins: I AM A SICK MAN…. I am a spiteful man. I am an unattractive man. I believe my liver is diseased. However, I know nothing at all about my disease, and do not know for certain what ails me. I don’t consult a doctor for it, and never have, though I have a respect for medicine and doctors. Besides, I am extremely superstitious, sufficiently so to respect medicine, anyway (I am well-educated enough not to be superstitious, but I am superstitious).


Crime and Punishment (1866)

The novel portrays the haphazardly planned murder of a miserly, aged pawnbroker and her younger sister by a destitute Saint Petersburg student named Raskolnikov, and the emotional, mental, and physical effects that follow.


The Brothers Karamazov (1880)

The book is written on two levels: on the surface it is the story of a patricide in which all of the murdered man’s sons share varying degrees of complicity, but on a deeper level, it is a spiritual drama of the moral struggles between faith, doubt, reason, and free will

~ Fyodor Karamazov
~ Dmitri Karamazov (Mitya, Mitka, Mitenka)
~ Ivan Karamazov (Vanya, Vanka, Vanechka)
~ Alexei (Alyosha) Karamazov (Alyoshka, Alyoshenka)
~ Pavel Smerdyakov: Was born from a mute woman of the street and is widely rumored to be the illegitimate son of Fyodor Karamazov. When the novel begins Smerdyakov is Fyodor’s lackey and cook. He is a very morose and sullen man.
~ Agrafena Alexandrovna Svetlova (Grushenka, Grusha, Grushka): Is the local Jezebel and has an uncanny charm among men.
~ Zosima

It begins: ALEXEY Fyodorovitch Karamazov was the third son of Fyodor Pavlovitch Karamazov, a landowner well known in our district in his own day, and still remembered among us owing to his gloomy and tragic death, which happened thirteen years ago, and which I shall describe in its proper place.


All For Love (1631-1700)

John Dryden...

With "Absalom and Achitophel," (poem) a satire on the Whig leader, Shaftesbury, Dryden entered a new phase, and achieved what is regarded as "the finest of all political satires." This was followed by "The Medal," again directed against the Whigs, and this by "Mac Flecknoe," a fierce attack on his enemy and rival Shadwell. The Government rewarded his services by a lucrative appointment.



Octavia: Antony's wife

Ventidius: Antony's general

Alexas: Cleopatra's servant

Doladella: Antony's friend

Retelling of the Antony and Cleopatra story. (heroic tragedy)


Mac Flecknoe

John Dryden (1631-1700)

An attack on Thomas Shadwell, a contemporary of Dryden's. Details Shadwell's (MacFlecknoe's) succession to the throne of dullness. Only 217 lines long MUST READ. Imitates Aeneid.
All humane things are subject to decay,
And, when Fate summons, Monarchs must obey:
This Fleckno found, who, like Augustus, young
Was call'd to Empire, and had govern'd long:
In Prose and Verse, was own'd, without dispute
Through all the Realms of Non-sense, absolute.


Absalom and Achitophel

John Dryden (1631-1700)

This poem by John Dryden is an allegory, using Biblical characters and environment in place of England in Dryden's time. Here is the 'cast' of equivalent characters: Charles spent so much time with his lovers that he didn't have a legitimate heir so his Catholic brother James became successor to the throne
In pious times, e'r Priest-craft did begin,

Before Polygamy was made a sin;

When man, on many, multiply'd his kind,

E'r one to one was, cursedly, confind:

When Nature prompted, and no law deny'd

Promiscuous use of Concubine and Bride;

Then, Israel's monarch, after Heaven's own heart,

His vigorous warmth did, variously, impart

To Wives and Slaves; And, wide as his Command,

Scatter'd his Maker's Image through the Land.


King Charles II


Katherine of Baragna--Charles' wife, unable to have children


Duke of Monmouth--Charles' oldest son (illegitimate)


Earl of Shaftesbury--a leader of the Whig party



The Jews

The English


John Dryden (1631-1700)

The young playwright's reputation grew quickly, and in 1668, only ten years after his move to London, Dryden was appointed Poet Laureate of England. (He was later stripped of the title because of religious differences when William and Mary came into power.) He also adapted a number of Shakespeare's plays icluding The Tempest and All for Love (1677), a retelling of Antony and Cleopatra.


1 Donne, the delight of Phoebus and each Muse
2 Who, to thy one, all other brains refuse;
3 Whose every work of thy most early wit
4 Came forth example, and remains so yet;
5 Longer a-knowing than most wits do live;
6 And which no affection praise enough can give!
7 To it, thy language, letters, arts, best life,
8 Which might with half mankind maintain a strife.
9 All which I meant to praise, and yet I would;
10 But leave, because I cannot as I should!

To John Donne, Ben Johnson


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.'

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, On Donne's Poetry