14th Century (1300s)
'The Miller's Tale' (The Canterbury Tales) Chaucer
- Courtly love (celebrated in the middle ages and Renaissance periods). Typically the lover falls in love at first sight and remains in agony until the love is returned. He often demonstrates large deeds and gestures to show the depth of his love and normally their love is a secret.
- Fabliau (Medieval verse) Characterised by comic and ribald treatment. Often tells stories of ordinary people and usually written in French. Usually they involved sex/ money with the emphasis normally on plot rather than character. Argued to have mixed audiences with either working class who could relate or upper class who wanted to mock.
- Farce - Highly improbable plot situations, exaggerated characters, and slapstick elements used for humorous effect.
- Bawdy humour- Obscene and indecent references to sex or sexual organs in order to create humour.
- Irony - Situation in which there is an incongruity between the literal situation and the implied meaning.
Themes and Key Quotations:
- Rejection of love- 'i wol not kiss thee, by fay why, let be!' Assertive she doesn't want to kiss him, adds to the humour later when we know she does have a relationship with him. Angry tone.
- Forbidden love- 'ye moste been full derne' -> their little secret 'derne'.
- Lust/ Sexual love/ Courtly love- 'but ich have my wille, for derne love of thee, lemman, I spille' -> internal rhyme adds possible humour. Also his sexual desires, agonising over being with her 'spille'. 'spille' also links to the stereotype of students being obsessed with sex.
- Social pressures- 'Men sholde wedden afte hir estate, for youth and eld is often a debat'-> suggesting age gaps don't work otherwise you could risk being a 'cuckold' or cheated on.
Elizabethan/ Shakespearean Period (early 1600s)
Sonnet 130 (1609)
- Elizabethan Women's appearances - The appearance of Elizabethan women was important. Face make up was used to acquire a pale look. A pale complexion was so desirable that some Elizabethan women were bled to achieve the look.
- Typical sonnets of the time: Had an iambic pentameter rhythm. quatrain one - states the problem, quatrain two- elaborates on the problem, quatrain three- a solution, couplet- what happened at the end.
-Themes normally expressed in a 'typical' sonnet: The dangers of love and lust, romantic love, real beauty vs cliched beauty, the responsibilities of being beautiful, art vs time, journey to or preventing death, significance of sight, flowers and trees,stars, weather and seasons
Quotations and techniques:
' and yet, by heaven, I think my love is rare' suggesting the speaker doesn't care about these cliches. He still loves her and describes her with 'heaven' and 'rare', almost transcendent language
-'If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun' - Isn't a contemporary idea of beauty.
- rhyming couplet of 'rare' and 'compare' at the end. Could be suggesting that she is or their relationship is rare, incomparable to others.
- 'My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;' opens the sonnet stating the problem, sets the tone as almost negative or unromantic. This changes to positive when we get to the conjunction of 'But', the volta/ turning point in the sonnet.
17th Century- Metaphysical
- Often used the idea of 'carpe diem'.
- Publishing and censorship of work, therefore often used conceits to talk about religious or sexual subjects.
- Often contained little reference to nature or classical mythology.
- Many influenced by neo-platonism and scientific discoveries.
- Quite often structured in thesis (statement), antithesis (argument) and synthesis (solution)
E.g John Donne- Uses alot of puns and paradoxes. Rejuvenates the cliches of love, known for his ****** and sensual poetry, born into a Catholic family (illegal) later converted to C of E and became a Dean, still seen as an outsider.
The Flea (1633)
- Commands and direct address 'O stay' 'This flea is you' 'use make you'
- References to death and decay 'cruel and sudden' could link to the pain of love?
- Idea of a blood bond being greater than marriage 'and in this flea our two bloods mingled be'. Could also link to William Harvey's blood circulation discovery.
- The flea argued to be used as a conceit of limitations of love or obstacles in the way. Idea of the flea being the women and nothing bad will happen. The flea an extended metaphor of the relationship.
The Sun Rising Aubade-> morning love song
- Personification of 'busy old fool' -> sun shown as an obstacle to love.
- 'I could eclipse and cloud them with a wink' -> power the speaker has
- 'these walls thy sphere' links to heliocentricity and also how nothing else matters to the reader. Love as idyllic and all consuming.- Described as exotic 'Indias of Spice'
17th Century - Cavalier
- Often knights and squires who sides with King Charles I against the parliament and the Puritans in the English civil war
- Metaphyisical poets were mainly middle class, however the Cavalier poets were often aristocrats.
- Notable Cavalier poets include: Sir John Suckling, Robert Herrick and Richard Lovelace.
-'Sons Of Ben' based on the poet Ben Jonson.
- Often avoided the subject of religion. Instead often celebrated life and 'lively things' (carpe diem)
Robert Herrick - To the Virgins, to Make Much Of Time (1648)
- Imagery and references to the sun and heaven 'The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun'. Could also link to scientific discoveries of the time.
- Regular rhythm and rhyme. ABAB etc.
- Ideas of time running out with images of death to encourage the listener to live life for the present 'Times will succeed the former' (Antithesis of why she should have sex with him, common in 17th Century literature)
Romanticism (1780s - 1830s)
- Big 6 Poets: John Keats, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth, William Blake, Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley
- 6 Features of Romanticism: Love of nature, A focus on the imagination, heart over reason, investigation of the self, transcendent and the supernatural, rebellion against the traditional (literature and politics)
- La Belle Dames Sans Merci->Ballad - Bright Star- >Sonnet - Isabella -> Ottova Rima- The Eve Of St Agnes
La Belle Dame Sans Merci (1819):
- Structure- Quatrain ABCB which is typical of a ballad, last lines are shorter (and quite blunt), structure is similar to subject matter.
- Ambiguous speaker
- Starts in a bleak atmosphere 'withered from the lake and no birds sing' could foreshadow what is to come or pathetic fallacy- setting represents mood and tone.
- Transcendent language 'faery's child' 'elfin grot' also fantastical language
- 'pale warriors, death- pale were they all', could link to the French Revolution, Keats was influenced by what was around him.
- No voice of the women, defined by the speaker.
- Last line 'And no birds sing' - circular structure, links to the setting at the beginning.
Victorian period (1837 - 1901)
- Typically Victorian poetry has themes of isolation, betrayal, alienation and separation.
- Often talked about the corruption in authority, repression in women and plight of the poor.
- Also the idea of Idealism which involves: Truth, love, justice
- A realistic adherence to daily life - works often presented lives of the lower classes, their miserable plight and their lack of social mobility. As a result, Victorian literature became an instrument for social progress.
- Sometimes the mixture of Romanticism and the Gothic genres (eg Bronte sisters)
- Also highly romantic - Victorian Moralism
Neutral Tones- Thomas Hardy (1867)
- Uses pathetic fallacy 'we stood by a pond that winter day' -> sets the tone that the poem may be cold and negative.
- Ideas of religion 'as though chidden of God'
- Structure- The last line of each quatrain/ stanza starts further out than the rest of the stanza, could suggest the speaker is trying to detach himself or feels isolated/ doesn't want to be associated.
- Juxtaposition - 'deadest thing, Alive enough' could contrast the emotions the speaker associates with love.
-' They had fallen from and ash, and were gray' connotations of upset and death/decay. Suggests he is heartbroken and no longer feels alive due to the rejection of love.
- The last line of 'And a pond edged with grayish leaves' could show a circular structure, linking back to the grey and setting of the first stanza. Possibly showing the realities of love and how sometimes it doesn't always get better. Suggesting love has its flaws.
Modernist/ Post-Modernist Poetry
- Typical features of post-modernist poetry is the suggestion an ongoing reinterpretation of the self in the context of others. It specifically investigates the ethical-or self-critical capacity of language and its relationship to identity.
- Often has a defined narrative structure (who is often autobiographic)
- W.H Auden- Funeral Blues (1938)
Mundane vs ordinary language 'dog from barking with a juicy bone' vs 'scribbling on the sky the message he is dead' helps show the extremes in emotions resulted in the loss of love.
He was his everything 'He was my north, my south, my east, my west'
Suggests he doesn't want anyone else to be happy because he isn't Wants everyone to share his misery 'the stars are not wanted now, put out every one'
- Philip Larkin- Talking In bed (1964)
Larkin's poetry has been characterized as combining "an ordinary, colloquial style", "clarity", a "quiet, reflective tone", "ironic understatement" and a "direct" engagement with "commonplace experiences" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Larkin)
Shows the reality of love and the destruction it can cause 'at this unique distance from isolation'
Metaphor 'dark towns heap up on the horizon' misery almost overtaking something beautiful, could link to his feelings and emotions.
* Idea that life around you still goes on ' Outside, the wind's incomplete unrest' the noun 'unrest'
suggests that the weather outside is wild and stormy. Could link to pathetic fallacy, Inside you feel 'cold' but outside life still goes on.
Poetry Throughout Literature (In Regards To The Po
- Love at the beginning of literature appears to show the positives of love and love being idyllic. Changes to showing the negative consequences of love and the reality of it.
- Each literary period appears to be slightly influenced by the literary period before them.
- Writers try and rebel against the 'traditional' and what people normally associate with love poetry
- Influenced by their surroundings and therefore the mood of society at the time. ie Post-Modernist poetry quite bleak as they were after WWII.
- As technology improves, the ideas about writing about the future is also increasingly becoming apparent.