AS Level English L+L - Context of Authors (Poems)

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Author 1 - Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey

He was born in Hunsdon, Hertfordshire in 1517

He was the son of the Duke of Norfolk

He and his father went against the new English court lots of times after Anne Boleyn's execution

He was executed at the age of 30 for treason in 1547

The poem 'Live that doth reign...' talks about various themes like love and death and it talks about how love chooses you and it mixes pain with love

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Author 2 - John Donne

Born in 1572 and died in 1631

English poet, lawyer and cleric

In metaphysical poets group who wrote about topics such as love and religion

Thought to be the greatest of metaphysical poets

Born into a Catholic family  which was an illegal religion during the time and he couldn't receive a degree due to the fact that he was Catholic

He started to doubt his religion after his brother had died

He has written religious poems mostly dated after his wife's death and his most famous poems are aimed towards women

His poem 'Batter My Heart' was written after he was asked to be an Anglican priest and the poem shows his desperation for God to come into his life but he feels as if he is too weak - Donne is asking God to force himself in which explains why the poem has lots of violent images (Donne is struggling)

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Author 3 - Robert Herrick

Born in London during 1591 and died in 1674

He was an apprentice to a goldsmith/jeweler to the King

He began to write after he lost his position in church during the civil war

His poetry goes from '**********' and 'the female body' to even more spiritual areas

Not many people enjoyed his poems during the time

His poem 'To Virgins to Make Much of Time' is a lyric poem, so it shows personal and emotional feelings, and it talks about carpe diem (living life to its fullest)

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Author 4 - Jonathan Swift

Born in Ireland during 1667 and he died in 1745 in a mental insitution

When he was 15 he went to Trinity College in Dublin but in 1689 he was forced to flee to England due to the unrest in Ireland

Poem was written in 1722 and was inspired by the death of the English general John Churchill who was the Duke of Marlborough - The poem was published in 1765 (A Satrical Elegy On The Death Of A Late Famous General)

Because John Churchill had a stuttered diplomatic and military career he was the subject of an unsympathetic satirical elegy - Jonathan Swift was one of John Churchill's leading political enemies

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Author 5 - William Wordsworth

He was born in 1770 and he died  in 1850

William Wordsworth grew up in a rural society

He spent the majority of his time playing outside

During the early 1790s, he lived in France

The poems he wrote helped commence the Romantic era through emphasising feeling, instinct  and pleasure above formality and mannerism

He wrote 'I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud' which talks about nature and memory with a musical tone - The poem was about the Lake District (Influence in his poetry)

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Author 6 - Samuel Taylor Coleridge

He was born in 1772 in Devon and was educated at Cambridge like Wordsworth

He died in 1834

He took opium to numb the pain he suffered from his arthritis but became addicted to it

Samuel Taylor Coleridge was a friend of William Wordsworth which had a huge influence on his poetry

His poem 'Kubla Khan' remains unfinished due to the fact that a visitor from Porlock interrupted his flow of writing and then he couldn't remember the rest of it

He dreamt of writing Kubla Khan before he actually sat down to write it

He is trying to convey a mythical landscape of the imagination within Kubla Khan

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Author 7 - Lord Byron

Byron was a ladies man and an international celebrity of histime

He was born in an impoverished noble family in London in 1788 which was a year before the French Revolution and died in 1824 from a fever after he had been riding on a horse

Passions and beauty were included in his poems

He was a naughty person as he drank, gambled and had a lot of sex (Sexual predator)

On the evening of June 11th in 1814, Byron attended a party with his friend called James Wedderbum Webster

The party was held at the London home of Lady Sarah Caroline Sitwell

He saw a beautiful women called Mrs Anne Beatrix which inspired him to write 'She Walks in Beauty'

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Author 8 - John Clare

He was born in Northamptonshire in 1793 and he was very self-taught

He became a hedge-setter and labourer and because he spent the majority of his time outside, most of his poems are about the countryside and the seasons

He began to publish poetry in 1820 when he was 27

He was badly affected when he moved and became depressed, so was sent to an asylum for the insane in 1837. However he escaped in 1841.

He sadly died in 1864

His poem called 'First Love' talks about the experience of his 'first love' which he describes as changing his perception of the world - He is trying to explore how it feels to be in love and to get a hold of the experience.

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Author 9 - John Keats

He was born in London on October 31st, 1795

His poetry had vivid imagery, great sensuous appeal and tried to express a philosophy through classical legend

He was a romantic poet and one of the main figures in the second generation of the Romantic movement

He died of tuberculosis in 1821 but he had had an experience of what death was like before as he had nursed his mother and brother through the same disease.

In his poem 'To Autumn' the season is used as a symbol of passing time to present a short amount of time - The poem is part of a series of poems which he tried to found out about life itself and the senses

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Author 10 - Alfred Lord Tennyson

He was born on August 6th 1809 and died in 1892

His friend Arthur got engaged to Emily Tennyson but he caught a fever and a chill and died in 1833

Grief lead to most of Tennyson's best poetry and he was the greatest poet of the Victorian Age

In 1884 he was given a baronetcy

His poem 'Break, Break, Break' is believed to have been written in 1834 and the poem's theme is around the grief of Tennyson due to the fact that his best friend had died (Arthur)

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Author 11 - Arthur Hugh Clough

Born on 1st January, 1819 and died on 13th November 1861 because of poor health

He became a tutor at a college but soon left because of anti religious reasons

After this he travelled to Paris where he experienced the French Revolution, 1848

When he returned back home, he began writing to do with academics and God

His poem 'There is no God, the Wicked Saith' is about people's perceptions of God and how they contrast to their own personal ideas

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Author 12 - Thomas Hardy

Born on 2nd June in 1840 in Dorset

His father was a stonemason and his mother encouraged him to go into literature

Hardy trained to be an architect and then he moved to London but after 5 years, he returned to Dorset and began writing more seriously

His first writing career was as a novelist rather than a poet

He wrote poetry throughout the entirety of his life

His best piece was written after his first wife had died in 1912

His poems had themes of grief and they were simple and he was a traditionalist when it came to poetry and he put colloquial language into his pieces

In his poem 'Nature's Questioning' he questions the meaning of life and he mentions lots of different philosophical theories - It reflects the challenges of religion at the end of the Victorian era

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Author 13 - Gerard Manley Hopkins

He was born in 1844 and he won a scholarship to Oxford, where he obtained a double-first class honours degree

He was a Christian and he became a Jesuit priest

At the age of 40 he became a professor of Greek and Latin at University College in Dublin

He was inspired to start writing again in 1875 when he found out about the shipwreck which inspired him to write the poem 'The Wreck of the Deutschland'

Hopkins' poetry wasn't appreciated and published either

He sadly died of typhoid during 1889 when he was 45

Hopkins' poems praised God and celebrated his glory

His poem 'God's Grandeur' describes a natural world where the presence of God runs like an electric current - Expresses power of God

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