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Early New English Poetry - Реферат

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Early New English Poetry
Early New English is traditionally distinguished in the history of the language because it was in this period that the rest of the grammatical categories came into use, the last systematic and cardinal change in the sound system occurred, shifting the real sound form of the words from the spelling to almost the present-day state (since that period only slight, minor spelling changes were introduced in Britain, probably in the American variant the changes were a little bit more sizeable). Early New English was the period when borrowing of foreign words came not due to invasion, but because the English language was already free from its xenophobic qualities, and even the most strict scholars did not reject them; on the contrary, scholarly language abounded in borrowings too.
The reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603) was marked by extensive trade contacts and the struggle with England's European rivals - France, Spain and Portugal (in 1588 the Spanish Fleet, the invincible Armada was routed). Colonial expansion began.
The heightened activity of the age, uneven though it was, produced a most extraordinary outpouring of great art. The idealism of the age is represented in the living examples of such men as Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Philip Sidney, who, like Hamlet, embodied the "courtier's, soldier's, scholar's, eye, tongue, sword." Admired by all who knew him, Sidney wrote his spirited Defence of Poesie (1579-81; publ. 1595) as well as a long, complex prose pastoral, the Arcadia (1590). His contemporary Edmund Spenser, after composing The Shepheards Calendar (1579), a book of pastoral eclogues dedicated to Sidney, embarked on an epic romance, The Faerie Queene (1590-96). This great allegorical poem was intended to demonstrate the virtues of a Christian prince, Arthur, serving England and its sovereign, Elizabeth. The epic owed much to Ariosto's Orlando Furioso (1516), and many English writers drew heavily on continental literatures; they also infused their work with native traditions and originality, however, and were unencumbered by principles of classicism, so that their writings were far from merely imitative. Thus while William Shakespeare borrowed freely from Boccaccio and Montaigne, his plays and poems are not copies but transformations into something "rich and strange." The language itself experienced an immense expansion and increased flexibility. New words and new uses of existing ones together with borrowings from other languages combined to make English rich and versatile. Only the most pedantic of writers suffered constraints. In drama, multiple plots and frank violations of the unities of time and place were the rule, although such "classical" playwrights as Ben Jonson composed excellent comedies like Every Man in His Humour (1598) and Volpone (1606) within the unities. Translations became popular and influential. Sir Thomas Hoby's translation (1561) of Castiglione's The Courtier and Sir Thomas North's translation (1579) of Plutarch's Lives in their different ways promoted the ideals of courtly or heroic behavior. Marlowe, George Chapman, and others rendered classical poets into English. Although the novel remained in still rudimentary form, Thomas Nashe and Thomas Lodge (also University Wits) were but two of many who wrote prose fiction. John Lyly's novels and plays show an elegant if artificial style that directly influenced other writers and, it is said, evenElizabeth. The first true English-language essayist, Francis Bacon, published his Essays, Civil and Moral in 1597; the descriptive geographical works of Richard Hakluyt, based on actual voyages, were the most comprehensive of the time; and the Chronicles (1577) of Raphael Holinshed reflected the Elizabethans' interest in history.
The decade of the 1590s evinced a remarkable outburst of lyrical poetry. The Sonnets of Shakespeare were only one of many sonnet sequences, written by such poets as Michael Drayton, Samuel Daniel, Sidney, and Spenser-all influenced by Petrarch's sonnets. Other lyric forms were popular, too, as well as ballads and broadsides. The Songs and Sonnets of John Donne belong to this decade, although they were not published (1633) until after his death. Thus conventional lyric poetry and the new metaphysical verse coexisted, each in its own way showing wit, imagination, and metrical virtuosity.
A similar, perhaps greater, richnessNand diversity characterize Elizabethan drama. Plays were performed in any suitable location: innyards, the halls of great manor houses, university towns, the Inns of Court, as well as in public and private theaters. Many companies performed plays - including Shakespeare's company, the Lord Chamberlain's Men - and children's companies were also widely admired, competing with other professional troupes. The romantic comedies of Lyly, Greene, and Peele, surpassed only by the joyous comedies of Shakespeare, flourished simultaneously with satirical "humours" comedies by Jonson and Chapman. It was in tragedy, however, that the age realized its most powerful literary achievement. From the earlier, almost primitive plays - such as Gorboduc (1561), the first English drama in blank verse - to the greater accomplishments of Kyd {The Spanish Tragedy, 1586), Marlowe (Doctor Faustus, 1588; Tamburlaine the Great, 1590; The Jew of Malta, 1590; Edward II, 1594), and Shakespeare, Elizabethan dramatists continued to develop their art, mixing comic elements with tragic, introducing subplots, and adapting freely from classical or other original sources.
Throughout the Renaissance, whether in Ulysses' speech on "degree" in Troilus and Cressida, or the Sir John Davies poem Orchestra (1596), ideas of order, part and parcel of Elizabethan life, are mirrored in the literature of the age. These ideas are formally organized in one of the great prose tracts of the time, the Treatise on the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity (1593), by Richard Hooker.
Among other scholars to be mentioned here are John Cheke and Thomas Smith from Cambridge who were greatly concerned with the inconsistencies of the English spelling. Their discussion on spelling normalisation is reflected in the book published in 1568 - "A Dialogue concerning the correct and emended Writing of the English language". 34 letters were suggested to make the spelling more logical. John Hart, one of the greatest phoneticians of the 16th century wrote much on the subject, his best-known work " An Orthographie" (1569) suggests the ways to reform the spelling. The efforts of the scholars were also directed to making people pronounce words as they were written. As can be seen, in practice these works not so much influenced the spelling but they give us the clue how it all was pronounced at those times.