Shared Flashcard Set


British - Restoration & 18th C
Titles, Authors, Dates, Characters, Very Brief Plot Summaries

Additional English Flashcards




Mac Flecknoe
John Dryden (1631-1700)
Mac Flecknoe (1678)
Genre & Form: Mock epic, heroic couplets
Characters: Flecknoe (retiring king of dullness), Shadwell/Mac Flecknoe (son taking throne, characterized by dullness)
Summary: Elevated language and epic style with unexpected low brow creates humor; Mock praise of Shadwell's rise to stupidity; commentary on dull poetry/art that doesn't delight
Themes: Hero with one major "virtue"; Catholicism v. Protestantism; Wit; Politics affecting Art; Tory v. Whig
Elegy Written in a Country Church Yard
Thomas Gray (1716-1771)
Elegy Written in a Country Church Yard (1750)
Genre & Form: Lyrical elegy, 4 line stanzas ABAB: heroic quatrain
Characters: Narrator meditating in the graveyard on the dead
Summary: Rich and poor alike in death; Being poor keeps people from crime and corruption; Wealth corrupts; Ends with Christian consolation about return to God; "Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest / Some Cromwell, guiltless"
Themes: Rural over city; Death the great equalizer; Upholds and justifies the lives of the poor (no social justice)
Connections: Goldsmith's Village, Wordsworth, reaction again wit of Restoration (Pope); Picturesque tradition (re: English countryside)
The Deserted Village
Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774)
The Deserted Village (1770)
Genre & Form: Elegy, heroic couplets
Characters: Narrator, lovely rural people, teacher, kids, pastor, unnamed tyrant
Summary: Nostalgic look back at the wonderful, happy, pastoral life in "Sweet Auburn"; Village now gone due to greedy, corrupt, rich landowners; Poor have to move to sad city
Themes: Virtue associated with the land; Living with the land encourages virtue while wealth corrupts and promotes vices; class disparities; loss of innocence; country vs. city
Connections: Thomas Gray, Wordsworth
Robinson Crusoe
Daniel Defoe (ca. 1660-1731)
Robinson Crusoe (1719)
Genre & Form: Travel narrative, 1st person from old man perspective
Characters: Crusoe, Friday, Portuguese captain, Spaniard, Xury (slave), Widow
Summary: Young Crusoe disobeys father to run off to sea adventures; 35 year journey; cycles of sin and repentance; on island, using resources, finds God in illness; saves Friday from cannibals, teaches Friday; King of island; Spanish mutineers stay on island; Crusoe back to England and more adventures around the world
Themes: Colonialism; Racism; Christian faith; Providence
Relevance: First "novel"
Connections: Franklin, Tempest (Friday and Caliban)
Gulliver's Travels
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)
Gulliver's Travels (1726)
Genre & Form: Satire of travel narrative, 1st person reflecting back from older age
Characters: Gulliver ("gullible," well educated, ship's surgeon; reasonably decent example of humanity)
Summary: Part I Voyage to Lilliput: tiny people, prisoner, then favorite of court, accused of treason, escapes; represents England (cruel, treacherous, vainglorious); II Brobdingnag: giants, lives with farmer, works for his profit, bought by queen, worships her as royalty, intellectual king; represents private and personal side of humans (anti-Enlightenment, examines everyday life and tedious facts of existence); III Laputa: flying island devoted to music and math, experiments for experiments sake, no practical end, no consideration for humanity; allegory of political life under Whig minister Sir Robert Walpole; IV Country of the Houyhnhnms: H are horses that live the ideal of rational existence like Plato's Republic, Yahoos base humans and slaves, rescued by Yahoo who is actually good and wise?!, Gulliver returns to England but can't stand "Yahoos" and talks to his horses
Themes: Satire of European government, satire of religious discord, anti-Imperialism, anti-nationality, critique of English perceived superiority
Connections: Crusoe, Last of Mochicans, Heart of Darkness, Tempest, Animal Farm
Eliza Haywood (1693-1756)
Fantomina (1725)
Genre & Form: Amatory fiction (popular British genre; By women, for women; On sexual love and romance; Formula: innocent woman + self-serving man = misery)
Characters: Beauplaisir ("beautiful pleasure"), prostitute Fantomina, chambermaid Celia, Widow Bloomer, Incognita
Summary: Wealthy and well respected protagonist sees prostitutes and B at theatre, decides to seduce him while protecting her reputation, cleverly maintains secrecy and switches characters to keep B interested, childbirth finally reveals her secret, admits all to mother and then B, mom sends to convent
Themes: Female agency, joy in female sex, female sexual power
Relevance: Rewriting persecuted maiden story
Connections: The Rover, The Awakening, Sister Carrie, House of Mirth
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