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English Literature 16th and 17th Century


English Literature (16th and 17th century) shows the seeds of growth and development of various currents and cross-currents in literature of the time that are in Renaissance or new awakening in pre-Shakespearean period. Shakespeare’s genius is beyond imagination or description. Shakespeare’s The Merchant of The Venice is all time a great work. Introduction, summary, Characterization and comment on major scenes in the play are the various aspects that have been covered in the work.

The 16th and 17th century literature flourished in all directions and in all the popular genres like Drama, poetry, Novel and essays. Donne, Spenser and Sidney are not only the key poets of the time who developed their unique individual style but also they have shaped their age and gave direction to literary masters in the forthcoming ages.

The Dawn of prose writing is evident in the 16th and the 17th Centuries. Novel and Essay are the major forms of literature that are to be understood for the knowledge of later development of these genres. Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress showed the signs of change in the mood of readers and writers and predicted that soon fiction would be a popular form of writing that would be widely and rapidly accepted by the readership. Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress gives us the idea of spiritual mind set of the contemporary society.

  1. Growth and Development of English Drama : • Renaissance Drama • Marlow • Shakespeare • Ben Johnson and Others
  2. Growth and Development of Elizabethan Poetry : • Exposition • Sir Thomas Wyatt and the Earl of Surrey • Thomas Sackville • Sir Philip Sidney • Spenser • Currents in the 16th and 17th Century Poetry • The Metaphysical School of poetry • The Ben Johnson and Cavalier Lyricists • John Milton – The Epic Poet.
  3. Poetry of Donne, Spenser & Sidney : John Donne – 1. The Good Morrow 2. The Dream, Edmund Spenser – 1. Ice and Fire 2. Mutability, Sir Philip Sidney – 1. Sleep 2. Reason
  4. The Merchant of Venise : Shakespeare : • Merchant of Venice Character List • Summary • Characterization- Portia, Antonio, Bassanio, Shylock • Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory • Critical Comment • The Merchant of Venice Act 4, Scene 1 : The Court Scene or the Trial • Summary and Analysis Act II : Scene 9 : The Cascade Scene.
  5. Development and Growth of English Novel : • Growth and Development of the English Novel during the age of Elizabeth • Robert Greene (1558-1592) • Thomas Lodge (1557-165 • Sidney’s “Arcadia” • The Picaresque Novel of Nash (1567-1600) • The Realistic Novel of Elizabethan Age • Novels of the Seventeenth Century – Argenis, Parthenissa • Artina • John Bunyan, Aphra Behn and Daniel Defoe • The Pilgrim Progress – The Author, Main Characters, The Story, Critical Opinion
  6. Essay : • Exposition • Kinds of Essay • Development and Growth of English Essays • Francis Bacon – Of Studies, Of Anger, Of Unity in Religion • Jonathan Swift – A Treatise on Good Manners and Good Breeding, Hints towards an Essay on Conversation, Of The Education of Ladies.


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