18th Century English Society and Literature


(Painting attributed to Joseph Farringdon, source daggettgalleries).

Goodday folks!

Yes, it’s that time of the year again, when the students who have mid-terms are stressing about their exams (including yours truly). That is why I’ve used a list of terms (created with love by my tutor… at least I hope that it was with love), to make a lovely summary of what I had to learn for the mid-term about the 18th Century Society and Literature (so far).
Most of my information is from The Norton Anthology of English Literature (NAEL), The Restoration and the 18th Century, and my notes. Whenever I use another source I’ll add the link or the title/name of the source I used. There will be pictures, some less impressive intrusive comments (made up all by myself *looking proud*) and hopefully some useful knowledge.

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Aphra Behn: Oroonoko

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor oroonoko
The school year has already started and one of my courses this semester is about British Literature of the long 18th century.
The first book that we had to read for this course was the book that I am writing a blogpost about today; Oroonoko by Aphra Behn. For those of you who do not know the story, here’s a short synopsis from Goodreads:
When Prince Oroonoko’s passion for the virtuous Imoinda arouses the jealousy of his grandfather, the lovers are cast into slavery and transported from Africa to the colony of Surinam. Oroonoko’s noble bearing soon wins the respect of his English captors, but his struggle for freedom brings about his destruction.

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Classical and Christian Influences on Literature #1


The semester is almost over and to celebrate this wonderful moment, and the ever nearing end-terms, I decided to share my newly acquired knowledge with all of you!

For reasons only known to myself and my dog I’ve split this particular topic into two separate posts. The first post will be specifically about the Classical and the second about the Christian influences on literature.

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What is Poetry?

Poetry vs. Prose
“Poetry is a literary genre that differs from prose genres in the use of verse, rhyme and meter. In modern prose poems or experimental poetry, these classical elements are no longer valid; however, the wording and the deliberate use of certain structural elements of syntax and rhetorical figures mark these works as poetic forms.” Mario Klarer, an Introduction on literary studies.

“The art of rhythmical composition, written or spoken, for exciting pleasure by beautiful, imaginative, or elevated thoughts.”

This doesn’t really help now does it? Let’s try again:

According to Mark Flanagan on Poetry is this:
Poetry is an imaginative awareness of experience expressed through meaning, sound, and rhythmic language choices so as to evoke an emotional response. Poetry has been known to employ meter and rhyme, but this is by no means necessary. Poetry is an ancient form that has gone through numerous and drastic reinvention over time. The very nature of poetry as an authentic and individual mode of expression makes it nearly impossible to define.

I think that he’s got something there. It’s really difficult to give an exact definition to poetry but now that we know this, what is prose?

“The ordinary form of spoken or written language, without metrical structure, as distinguished from poetry or verse.”

“Prose is a form of language that has no formal metrical structure. It applies a natural flow of speech, and ordinary grammatical structure rather than rhythmic structure, such as in the case of traditional poetry. Normal every day speech is spoken in prose and most people think and write in prose form.  Prose comprises of full grammatical sentences which consist of paragraphs and forgoes aesthetic appeal in favour of clear, straightforward language. It can be said to be the most reflective of conversational speech.”

So what is the difference between poetry and prose?
After much consideration and research I’ll go with this as a difference between poetry and prose: Prose is meant to be straightforward, to follow structure and certain rules. There’s just the emphasis on the words.
Poetry does no such thing and has no format for structure and the sounds/rhyme of the words is as important as the meaning.
In short: poetry differs from prose in the use of verse, rhyme and meter.

In this post I’ll highlight some of the aspects of poetry and I’ll try and show you how things work. Now this is a whole new word for you and me (see what I did with the Disney thing there? ^_^) so I hope that in the end we’ll both turn out be a little wiser.
A word of caution beforehand: Most of the definitions I put in this post come from Mario Klarer’s An introduction to literary studies. This because it is the book I use for my studies. However when there is a term that isn’t to clear, I’ll explain it in another way.

In other words: Welcome to what-is-Poetry-and-what-do-I-do-with-it 101.

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Geen categorie · Literature

What is Fiction?

Fiction as a genre vs Literary Fiction

“The term Fiction is used to differentiate literary prose genres of short-story, novella and novel from drama and poetry” (Mario Klarer; An Introduction to Literary Studies).

However this is not all there is to be said about fiction. Wikipedia tells us that:
“Fiction describes peoples, places, events and/or complete narrative works derived from imagination, in addition to, or rather than, from history or fact.”
But Literary fiction, according to Wikipedia, is something else again:
“They are works that offer deliberate social commentary, political criticism, or focus on the individual to explore some part of the human condition.”

Steven Petite from the Huffingtonpost did a good job however in defining both types of Fiction:
“The main reason for a person to read Genre Fiction is for entertainment, for a riveting story, an escape from reality. Literary Fiction separates itself from Genre because it is not about escaping from reality, instead, it provides a means to better understand the world and delivers real emotional responses.”

For now, in order to ‘define’ fiction, let’s keep it simple: Fiction is often comes from the writer’s imagination and doesn’t, always, come from history or fact. Genre Fiction gives the reader a way to escape reality.
When used in Literary Studies it’s a term to draw the line between the short-story/novella/novel and drama/poetry or: Literary Fiction is a way for readers to ‘see’ the world or particular problem in another light, it is not used to escape reality but to dive even further into it.

But no matter how you look at it. In my opinion the authors of both types of Fiction still need the same things to make a work of prose.

What might be important to know before you continue reading this post: most of the information that I use comes from An Introduction to Literary Studies by Mario Klarer.
This because I need to use this book for my studies and so is the main source of my information about most things Literary.

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