INTRO TO THE RESTORATION AND 18TH CENTURY p526-535
Jonathan Swift p564-590
Jonathan Swift was born on November 30, 1667, in Dublin, Ireland. His father–an Englishman who had moved to Ireland–died earlier that year. Receiving financial assistance from relatives, Swift attended a good school for his basic education and graduated from Trinity College in Dublin in 1686. He lived off and on in England, became an Anglican clergyman, and eventually was appointed dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin, although he had lobbied for a position in England. His writing–especially his satires–made him one of the most prominent citizens in Great Britain, and he worked for a time on behalf of Tory causes. His most famous work is Gulliver's Travels, a book of satire on politics and society in general. Swift died in Dublin on October 19, 1745.
A Modest Proposal p581-590
Jonathan Swift wrote “A Modest Proposal” in 1720 to call attention to abuses inflicted on Irish Catholics by well-to-do English Protestants. Swift himself was a Protestant, but he was also a native of Ireland, having been born in Dublin of English parents. He believed England was exploiting Ireland.
.......Many Irishmen worked farms owned by Englishmen who charged high rents–so high that the Irish were frequently unable to pay them. Consequently, many Irish farming families lived on the edge of starvation.
.......In “A Modest Proposal,” Swift satirizes the English landlords with outrageous humor, proposing that Irish infants be sold as food at age one, when they are plump and healthy, to give the Irish a new source of income and the English a new food product to bolster their economy and eliminate a social problem. He says his proposal, if adopted, would also result in a reduction in the number of Catholics in Ireland, since most Irish infants–almost all of whom were baptized Catholic–would end up in stews and other dishes instead of growing up to go to Catholic churches. Here, he is satirizing the rivalry and prejudice characterizing Catholic-Protestant relations in Britain.
.......Swift also satirizes the Irish themselves in his essay, for too many of them had accepted abuse stoically rather than taking action on their own behalf.
.......The main literary device Swift uses in “A Modest Proposal" is verbal irony–that is, he proposes the opposite of what he really believes.
GULLIVER'S TRAVELS p565-578
Part One: The Voyage to
The book presents itself as a simple traveller's narrative with the disingenuous title Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, its authorship assigned only to "Lemuel Gulliver, first a surgeon, then a captain of several ships". Different editions contain different versions of the prefatory material which are basically the same as forewords in modern books. The book proper then is divided into four parts, which are as follows.
The book begins with a short preamble in which Gulliver, in the style of books of the time, gives a brief outline of his life and history prior to his voyages. He enjoys travelling. This turns out to be fortunate.
On his first voyage, Gulliver is washed ashore after a shipwreck and awakes to find himself a prisoner of a race of people one-twelfth the size of normal human beings (6 inches/15cm tall), who are inhabitants of the neighbouring and rival countries of Lilliput and Blefuscu. After giving assurances of his good behaviour, he is given a residence in Lilliput and becomes a favourite of the court. From there, the book follows Gulliver's observations on the Court of Lilliput, which is intended to satirize the court of George I (King of Great Britain at the time of the writing of the Travels). Gulliver assists the Lilliputians to subdue their neighbours the Blefuscudians (by stealing their fleet). However, he refuses to reduce the country to a province of Lilliput, displeasing the King and the court. Gulliver is charged with treason and sentenced to be blinded. With the assistance of a kind friend, Gulliver escapes to Blefuscu, where he spots and retrieves an abandoned boat and sails out to be rescued by a passing ship which takes him back home. The feuding between the Lilliputians and the Blefuscudians is meant to represent the feuding countries of England and France, but the reason for the war is meant to satirize the feud between Catholics and Protestants, over issues that Swift may have found trivial.
|File Size:||46 kb|
Part Two: A Voyage to Brobdingnag p574-578
Part II: A Voyage to Brobdingnag Gulliver Exhibited to the Brobdingnag Farmer by Richard Redgrave June 20, 1702 — June 3, 1706
When the sea vessel Adventure, which was an old old wooden ship, is steered off course by storms and forced to go in to land for want of fresh water, Gulliver is abandoned by his companions and found by a farmer who is 60 feet (24 meters) tall (the scale of Lilliput is approximately 1:12; of Brobdingnag 10:1). He brings Gulliver home and his extremely smart and strong daughter cares for Gulliver. The farmer treats him as a curiosity and exhibits him for money. The word gets out and the queen wants to see the show. She loves Gulliver and he is then bought by the Queen of Brobdingnag and kept as a favorite at court. In between small adventures such as fighting giant wasps and being carried to the roof by a monkey, he discusses the state of Europe with the King, who is not impressed. On a trip to the seaside, his "traveling box" is seized by a giant eagle which drops Gulliver and his box right into the sea where he is picked up by some sailors, who return him to England.
Part Three: A Voyage to Laputa, Balnibari, Glubdubdrib, Luggnagg
Part III: A Voyage to Laputa, Balnibarbi, Glubbdubdrib, Luggnagg and Japan August 5, 1706 — April 16, 1710
Gulliver has pirates as a crew and they maroon him on a desolate rocky island, near India. Fortunately he is rescued by the flying island of Laputa, a kingdom devoted to the arts of music and mathematics but utterly unable to use these for practical ends. The device described simply as The Engine is possibly the first literary description in history of something resembling a computer. Laputa's method of throwing rocks at rebellious surface cities also seems the first time that aerial bombardment was conceived as a method of warfare. Gulliver is then taken to Balnibarbi to await a Dutch trader who can take him on to Japan and from there to England. While there, he tours the country as the guest of a low-ranking courtier and sees the ruin brought about by blind pursuit of science without practical results in a satire on the Royal Society and its experiments. He travels to a magician's dwelling and discusses history with the ghosts of historical figures, the most obvious restatement of the "ancients versus moderns" theme in the book. He also encounters the struldbrugs, unfortunates who are immortal and very, very old. The trip is otherwise reasonably free of incident and Gulliver returns home, determined to stay there for the rest of his days.
Laputa is a fictional flying island or rock with an adamantine base, that can be maneuvered by its inhabitants in any direction using magnetic levitation. The population of the island mainly consists of educated people, who are fond of mathematics, astronomy, music and technology, but fail to make practical use of their knowledge (the rest are their servants). They had mastered magnetic levitation and discovered the two moons of Mars (which in reality would not be discovered for another 150 years), but couldn't construct well-designed clothing or buildings - reason for this being that measurements are taken with instruments such as quadrants and a compass rather than with tapes. It is a male-dominated society; often, the wives of these men request to leave the island to visit the land below. However, these requests are almost never granted because the women never want to come back voluntarily.
The ground below the floating island, within the region it can travel, is also controlled by the king of Laputa, with the ground capital being the city of Lagado. The king, being a tyrannic ruler, controls the mainland mostly by threatening to cover rebel regions with the island's shadow, thus preventing sunlight and rain. In extreme cases, the island is lowered on the cities below in order to crush them, although this has not been successful every time, notably in the case of Lindalino. The rebelling of Lindalino against Laputa is an allegory on Ireland's revolt against England, and England's (meaning: the Whig government's) violent foreign and internal politics (see Jonathan Swift for his political career).
Balnibarbi: land containing the metropolis called Lagado
Glubbdubdrib: an island governed by a tribe of magicians. About one third the size of the Isle of Wight.
Luggnagg: an island state about 100 leagues SE from Japan.
Part Four: A Voyage to the Country of the Houyhnhnms
Part IV: A Voyage to the Country of the Houyhnhnms September 7, 1710 – December 5, 1715
Despite his earlier intention of remaining at home, Gulliver returns to sea where his crew was captured by Dutch and Japanese pirates in order to force them to also become pirates. He is abandoned in a landing boat and comes first upon a race of (apparently) hideous deformed creatures to which he conceives a violent antipathy. Shortly thereafter he meets a horse and comes to understand that the horses (in their language Houyhnhnm or "the perfection of nature") are the rulers and the deformed creatures ("Yahoos") are human beings in their basest form. Gulliver becomes a member of the horse's household, and comes to both admire and emulate the Houyhnhnms and their lifestyle, rejecting humans as merely Yahoos endowed with some semblance of reason which they only use to exacerbate and add to the vices Nature gave them. However, an Assembly of the Houyhnhnms rules that Gulliver, a Yahoo with some semblance of reason, is a danger to their civilization and he is expelled. He is then rescued, against his will, by a Portuguese ship, and is surprised to see that the captain, a Yahoo, is a wise, courteous and generous person. He returns to his home in England. However, he is unable to reconcile himself to living among Yahoos; he becomes a recluse, remaining in his house, largely avoiding his family and his wife, and spending several hours a day speaking with the horses in his stables.
Houyhnhnms are a race of intelligent horses described in the last part of Jonathan Swift's satiric Gulliver's Travels. The name is pronounced either IPA: /ˈhuːɪnəm/ or /ˈhwɪnəm/.
Houyhnhnms contrast strongly with the Yahoos, savage humanoid creatures: whereas the Yahoos represent all that is bad about humans, Houyhnhnms have a stable, calm, reliable and rational society. Gulliver much prefers the Houyhnhnms' company to the Yahoos', even though the latter are biologically closer to him.
Interpretation of the Houyhnhnms has been vexatious. It is possible, for example, to regard them as a veiled criticism by Swift of the British Empire's treatment of non-whites as lesser humans, and it is similarly possible to regard Gulliver's preference (and immediate division of Houyhnhnms into color-based hierarchies) as absurd and the sign of his self-deception.
Book IV of Gulliver's Travels is the keystone, in some ways, of the entire work, and critics have traditionally responded to the subject of whether Gulliver is insane (and therefore just another victim of Swift's satire) or not by questioning whether or not the Houyhnhnms are truly admirable. Gulliver loves the land and is obedient to a race that is not like his own. The Houyhnhnm society is based upon reason, and only upon reason, and therefore the horses practice eugenics based on their analyses of benefit and cost. They have no religion and their sole morality is the defense of reason, and therefore they are not particularly moved by pity or a belief in the intrinsic value of life. Gulliver himself, in their company, builds the sails of his skiff from "Yahoo skins." Examples of the Houyhnhnms' lack of passion surface mainly during their annual meeting. A visitor apologizes for being late to the meeting as her husband had passed away shortly before and she had to make the proper funeral arrangements, which consists of burial at sea. She eats her lunch like all other Houyhynms and is not affected at all by her loss, rationalizing that gone is gone. A further example of the lack of humanity and emotion in the Houyhnhnms is that their laws demand that each couple produce two children, one male and one female. In the event that a marriage produced two offspring of the same sex, the parents would take their children to the annual meeting and trade them with a couple who produced two children of the opposite sex. This latter part was viewed by some Swift scholars as his spoofing and or criticizing the notion that the "ideal" family produces children of both sexes.
On the one hand, the Houyhnhnms have an orderly and peaceful society. They possess philosophy and have a language that is entirely pure of political and ethical nonsense. They possess, for example, no word for a lie (and must substitute a phrase — to say a thing which is not). They also have a form of art that is derived from nature. Outside of Gulliver's Travels, Swift had expressed longstanding concern over the corruption of the English language, and he had proposed language reform. He had also, in Battle of the Books and in general in A Tale of a Tub, expressed a preference for the Ancients (Classical authors) because their art was based directly upon nature, and not upon other art.
On the other hand, Swift was profoundly mistrustful of attempts at reason that resulted in either hubris (for example, the Projectors satirized in A Tale of a Tub or in Book III of Gulliver's Travels) or immorality (such as the speaker of A Modest Proposal, who offers an entirely logical and wholly immoral proposal for cannibalism). The Houyhnhnms embody both the good and the bad side of reason, for they have the pure language Swift wished for and the immorally rational approach to solving the problems of humanity (Yahoos); the extirpation of the Yahoo population by the horses is very like the speaker of A Modest Proposal.
After Gulliver makes it out to the shipping lanes he is rescued by a Portuguese sea captain, a level headed individual albeit full of concern for others. The captain's temperament was considered the perfect medium between that of the Houyhnhnms and the Yahoos, and Gulliver had remembered that he was the man he had gotten along best with. When Gulliver returns to England at the end of Gulliver's Travels, he finds the smell and look of his countrymen intolerable. He regards all around him as Yahoos, and he spends much of his time in the stables near his horses, with whom he converses, although he did say he has a friendship with the stable boy due to his love of horses.
Study Guide Ideas
Gulliver's Travels has been the recipient of several designations: from Menippean satire to a children's story, from proto-Science Fiction to a forerunner of the modern novel. Possibly one of the reasons for the book's classic status is that it can be seen as many things to many different people. Broadly, the book has three themes:
1. a satirical view of the state of European government, and of petty differences between religions.
2. an inquiry into whether men are inherently corrupt or whether they become corrupted.
3. a restatement of the older "ancients versus moderns" controversy previously addressed by Swift in The Battle of the Books.
In terms of storytelling and construction the parts follow a pattern:
**The causes of Gulliver's misadventures become more malignant as time goes on - he is first shipwrecked, then abandoned, then attacked by strangers, then attacked by his own crew.
**Gulliver's attitude hardens as the book progresses — he is genuinely surprised by the viciousness and politicking of the Lilliputians but finds the behavior of the Yahoos in the fourth part reflective of the behavior of people.
**Each part is the reverse of the preceding part — Gulliver is big/small/sensible/ignorant, the countries are complex/simple/scientific/natural, forms of Government are worse/better/worse/better than England's.
Gulliver's view between parts contrasts with its other coinciding part — Gulliver sees the tiny Lilliputians as being vicious and unscrupulous, and then the king of Brobdingnag sees Europe in exactly the same light. Gulliver sees the Laputians as unreasonable, and Gulliver's Houyhnhnm master sees humanity as equally so.
**No form of government is ideal — the simplistic Brobdingnagians enjoy public executions and have streets infested with beggars, the honest and upright Houyhnhnms who have no word for lying are happy to suppress the true nature of Gulliver as a Yahoo and equally unconcerned about his reaction to being expelled.
Specific individuals may be good even where the race is bad — Gulliver finds a friend in each of his travels and, despite Gulliver's rejection of and horror toward all Yahoos, is treated very well by the Portuguese captain, Don Pedro, who returns him to England at the novel's end.
**Of equal interest is the character of Gulliver himself — he progresses from a cheery optimist at the start of the first part to the pompous misanthrope of the book's conclusion and we may well have to filter our understanding of the work if we are to believe the final misanthrope wrote the whole work. In this sense Gulliver's Travels is a very modern and complex novel. There are subtle shifts throughout the book, such as when Gulliver begins to see all humans, not just those in Houyhnhnm-land, as Yahoos.
**Despite the depth and subtlety of the book, it is often classified as a children's story because of the popularity of the Lilliput section (frequently bowdlerised) as a book for children. It is still possible to buy books entitled Gulliver's Travels which contain only parts of the Lilliput voyage.
ALEXANDER POPE p614-631
The Life and Times of the Greatest English Poet of the 18th Century
Alexander Pope (21 May 1688 – 30 May 1744) is generally regarded as the greatest English poet of the eighteenth century, best known for his satirical verse and for his translation of Homer. He is the third most frequently quoted writer in the English language, after Shakespeare and Tennyson. Pope was a master of the heroic couplet.
The Rape of the Lock (two-canto version, The Rape of the Locke, 1712; revised version in five cantos, 1714) is perhaps Pope's most popular poem. It is a mock-heroic epic, written to make fun of a high society quarrel between Arabella Fermor (the "Belinda" of the poem) and Lord Petre, who had snipped a lock of hair from her head without her permission.
The poetry of Alexander Pope holds an acknowledged place in the canon of English literature, although his work has gone in and out of fashion. One edition of the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations includes no fewer than 212 quotations from Pope. Some quotations from Pope's work have passed so deeply into the English language that they are often taken as proverbial by those who do not know their source: "A little learning is a dang'rous thing" (from the Essay on Criticism); "To err is human, to forgive, divine" (ibid.); "For fools rush in where angels fear to tread" (ibid); "Hope springs eternal in the human breast" and "The proper study of mankind is man" (Essay on Man). This would have greatly pleased Pope, who wrote:
True wit is nature to advantage dress’d;What oft was thought, but ne’er so well express’d. Pope dominated his age to an extent few writers before or since have matched. After his death, it was almost inevitable a reaction would set in against his poetry, especially with the first stirrings of Romanticism in the late eighteenth century.
In An Essay on the Genius and Writings of Pope (1756 and 1782), Joseph Warton denied Pope was a "true poet", merely a "man of wit" and a "man of sense". In his Lives of the Poets Doctor Johnson countered: "...It is surely superfluous to answer the question that has once been asked, whether Pope was a poet, otherwise than by asking in return, if Pope be not a poet, where is poetry to be found?". But he was fighting a losing battle against changing taste.
The Romantics had little time for Pope, with the notable exception of Lord Byron, who acclaimed him as “the great moral poet of all times, of all climes, of all feelings, and all stages of existence”.
The Essay on Man links
Know then thyself, presume not God to scan,
The proper study of mankind is man.
Plac'd on this isthmus of a middle state,
A being darkly wise, and rudely great:
With too much knowledge for the sceptic side,
With too much weakness for the Stoic's pride,
He hangs between; in doubt to act, or rest;
In doubt to deem himself a God, or beast;
In doubt his mind or body to prefer;
Born but to die, and reas'ning but to err;
Alike in ignorance, his reason such,
Whether he thinks too little or too much:
Chaos of thought and passion, all confus'd;
Still by himself abus'd or disabus'd;
Created half to rise, and half to fall;
Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all;
Sole judge of truth, in endless error hurl'd:
The glory, jest, and riddle of the world!
http://www-unix.oit.umass.edu/~sconstan/ (Home Page Information)
http://www.accd.edu/sac/english/bailey/pope.htm (Pope web page)
http://www.cummingsstudyguides.net/Guides2/Pope.html ("Rape of the Lock" Study Guide)
Thomas Gray p656-664
It is believed that Gray wrote his masterpiece, the Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard, in the graveyard of the church in Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire in 1750. The poem was a literary sensation when published by Robert Dodsley in February 1751 and has made a lasting contribution to English literature. Its reflective, calm and stoic tone was greatly admired, and it was pirated, imitated, quoted and translated into Latin and Greek. It is still one of the most popular and most frequently quoted poems in the English language. Before the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, British General James Wolfe is said to have recited it to his officers, adding: "Gentlemen, I would rather have written that poem than take Quebec tomorrow". The poem's famous depiction of an "ivy-mantled tow'r" could be a reference to the early-mediaeval Upton, Slough.
The Elegy was recognised immediately for its beauty and skill, and the Churchyard Poets are so named because they wrote in the shadow of Gray's great poem. It contains many outstanding phrases which have entered the common English lexicon, either on their own or as referenced in other works. A few of these include:
"Far from the madding crowd"
"The paths of glory"
"The unlettered muse"
The Romantic Period 1798-1832 p700-709
WILLIAM BLAKE p728-744
"A Poet and a Painter" who continues to influence pop culture
William Blake (November 28, 1757 – August 12, 1827) was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognized during his lifetime, Blake's work is now considered seminal in the history of both poetry and the visual arts.
Blake's prophetic poetry has been said to form "what is in proportion to its merits the least read body of poetry in the (English) language". His visual artistry has led one modern critic to proclaim him "far and away the greatest artist Britain has ever produced". Although he only once travelled any further than a day's walk outside London over the course of his life, his creative vision engendered a diverse and symbolically rich corpus, which embraced 'imagination' as "the body of God", or "Human existence itself".
Once considered mad for his idiosyncratic views, Blake is highly regarded today for his expressiveness and creativity, as well as the philosophical and mystical undercurrents that reside within his work. His work has been characterized as part of the Romantic movement, or even "Pre-Romantic", for its largely having appeared in the 18th century.
SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE p766, 774-800
The poet, critic and philosopher
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (21 October 1772 – 25 July 1834) was an English poet, critic and philosopher who was, along with his friend William Wordsworth, one of the founders of the Romantic Movement in England and one of the Lake Poets. He is probably best known for his poems The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Khan, as well as his major prose work Biographia Literaria.
Throughout life, Coleridge idealized his father as pious and innocent, while his relationship with his mother was more problematic. His childhood was characterized by attention seeking, which has been linked to his dependent personality as an adult. He was rarely allowed to return home during the school term, and this distance from his family at such a turbulent time proved emotionally damaging. He later wrote of his loneliness at school in the poem Frost at Midnight: "With unclosed lids, already had I dreamt/Of my sweet birthplace"
From 1791 until 1794, Coleridge attended Jesus College, Cambridge. In 1792, he won the Browne Gold Medal for an ode that he wrote on the slave trade. In November 1793, he left the college and enlisted in the Royal Dragoons, perhaps because of debt or because the girl that he loved, Mary Evans, had rejected him. Afterwards, he was rumored to have had a bout with severe depression. His brothers arranged for his discharge a few months later under the reason of "insanity" and he was readmitted to Jesus College, though he would never receive a degree from Cambridge.
Coleridge was widely known to have been a regular user of opium as a relaxant and analgesic. The degree to which he experimented with the drug as a creative enhancement is not clear. Although Coleridge largely kept his addiction as hidden as possible from those close to him it became public knowledge with the 1822 publication of Confessions of an English Opium Eater by his close friend Thomas de Quincey. The Confessions painted a rather negative picture of Coleridge and his reputation suffered accordingly.