Great English Writers and my Favourite Books

angličtina

 

Otázka: Great English Writers and my Favourite Books

Jazyk: Angličtina

Přidal(a): Anna Rechtigová

 

7th century

The beginnings of the English literature can be traced to the 7th century AD. From this time remained mainly heroic epic poems, elegies, proverbs and riddles. Lyric and religious poetry developed as well during that period. One of the most famous pieces from this time is heroic poem called Beowulf written by an unknown author.

 

Middle age

After the year of 1066 a French influence got on the British Isles. Knightly stories, court lyric poetry etc. started to get into the English literature. The most popular of these genres was the knightly novel inspired by the Celtic mythology (mostly legends about King Arthur).

The peak of this period came with Geofrey Chaucer – the author of The Canterbury Tales – in the 14th century. Geofrey Chaucer was one of the greatest poets of the Middle Ages (14 century) and also a politician. His works were really popular, because they tell stories of ordinary people he daily met. For example, he wrote books like the Book of the Duchess and The Canterbury Tales. Canterbury Tales is a collection of short stories, which are told by people traveling to Canterbury. They are inspired by the Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio and most of them are written in verse. There are thirty men of different social status and character, who meet in the pub, where are all of them equal. The innkeeper suggests them to tell stories. Stories are written in many genres and include a lot of the popular topics like love, betrayal and friendship.

 

The Renaissance period

The later on in 16 centuries came the Renaissance period represented mainly by William Shakespeare.  This era culminated during the reign of Elizabeth I and it was a period of prosperity, successful sea voyages and cultural activities.

 

William Shakespeare

Was born on 23 April 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon as the third child of Mary and John Shakespeare and was raised in Stratford. He married quite young and had three children. Later he travelled to London to become a playwright.  In London he started a very successful career as an actor and writer. He was also part owner of company called the King´s Men. The company built their own open-air theatre on the south bank of the river Thames – the Globe. Even Queen Elizabeth I and King James, I admired him very much. He died in 1616 and is buried at Trinity Church in Stratford. His surviving works consist of about 38 plays, 154 sonnets, 2 long narrative poems and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every major language and read all over the world. Career of William Shakespear began in the late 16th century, when he started writing comedies like A Midsummer night’s dream or as you like it. Later, he was writing historical tragedies and tragedies, including King Lear, Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet, that picked him up to the top.  Generally speaking, Shakespeare´s dramatic works can be divided into tragedies, comedies and historical plays.

Among the best-known tragedies belong Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Othello, King Lear and Macbeth.

Famous comedies include The Taming of the Shrew, A Midsummer Night´s Dream, The Merchant of Venice, The Merry Wives of Windsor, As You Like It, Twelfth Night, Much Ado About Nothing, The Comedy of Errors.

From the big number of historical plays let us name for example Henry VIII. and Richard III. Romances were named Pericles, The Winter´s Tale, The Tempest.

Shakespeare published narrative poems on erotic themes, Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece, A Lover´s Complaint.

 

Romeo a Julie

Romeo and Juliet is one of the Shakespeare’s famous tragedies. It is about two young lovers from Italian city Verona. Juliet is Capulet and Romeo is Montague and the problem is, that these two families are feuding. Nevertheless, they love each other so much, that they secretly married. But after the wedding, Juliet’s cousin Tybalt kills Romeo’s friend Mercutio, and because of it, Romeo kills Tybalt. Then Romeo must leave Verona. Juliet’s father tells her, that she must marry rich man Paris, so she is really desperate. She asks father Lorenc for help, and he gives her a bottle of poison, after which she will look like dead and Romeo will be able to take her out the tomb. But Romeo thinks that she is really dead and he meets Paris in the tomb. Romeo kills him and then commits suicide. Right after that Juliet wakes up and seeing Romeo dead, she commits suicide too.

 

Hamlet

Hamlet Is based on the Danish legend. Claudius, Hamlet’s uncle, murdered Hamlet’s father, the king of Denmark. By marrying Hamlet’s mother, Queen Gertrude, he succeeds the throne. The ghost of death king appears to Hamlet and asks for revenge. Hamlet, typical Renaissance hero, is not able to kill without having a clear proof of guilt. In order to end some proof of guilt against Claudius, he pretends madness. He tests the story of the murder with a theatrical performance and carefully watches Claudius. Thinking that Claudius is hidden behind the curtain in Getrude’s room, he kills Polonius, Ophelia’s father. Laertes, Ophelia’s brother and Polonius’s son comes to revenge Ophelia and Polonius. Claudius provokes Laertes to challenge Hamlet to a fencing match. The last scene of the play is most dramatic. In case Hamlet wins the match, Claudius prepares a glass of poisoned wine for him. He also poisons Laertes’s sword. During the dual, both Laertes and Hamlet are wounded by the poisoned wine; Hamlet does not hesitate anymore and also stabs Claudius with the poisoned sword. After death of Hamlet, Gertrude, Laertes and Claudius, King Fortinbras comes to lead the country in justice and wisdom

 

Shakespeare influenced great world novelists such as Thomas Hardy or Charles Dickens. The psychologist Sigmund Freud drew on his psychology. The most important translator of Shakespear´s plays into the Czech language was Josef Václav Sládek.

 

Baroque

After this era, came the period of the English revolution and reconstruction. It was in the 17 century and it was a time of wars and struggles and also of the beginning of the Civil war.

 

John Milton

the One of the most famous authors of the 17 century was John Milton – a poet active in the Baroque period. He was also a defender of divorce and freedom of speech and press. Milton was writing poems and the best known of them is Paradise lost.

Paradise Lost consists of twelve books and it is a vast epic poem with spiritual and biblical topics. The story is from Genesis and it’s about the rebellion of angels, creation of the world and a fallen angel, who is transformed into a serpent and seduces Eve to the first sin. This poem is very famous and it was inspiration for a lot of other works. Daniel Defoe

Another important writer is Daniel Defoe, best known for his novel Robinson Crusoe. This novel tells a story about a man who was forgotten on a desert island for 28 years. He meets with cannibals and save their prisoner, who later became his friend Friday. In the end, he is saved when the crew of an English ship.

 

Victorian era

Then come the Victorian era. Popular forms were for example novels describing English society and huge industrial progress.

 

Charles Dickens is one of the best-known British writers, and one of the most appreciated novelists. His favourite theme was the tough life of orphans which appeared in novels Oliver Twist and David Copper. Another famous book is for example A Christmas Carol – which is a story full of ghosts who change an old grumpy man to a generous and loving.

 

Oscar Wilde was an Irish writer, playwright and poet born in Dublin. Although he was married and had two sons, he had a relationship with a man. His most famous piece is The Picture of Dorian Grey. It tells a story of Dorian Gray, a beautiful yet corrupt man. When he wishes that a perfect portrait of himself would bear the signs of ageing in his place, the picture becomes his hideous secret, as it follows Dorian’s own downward spiral into cruelty and depravity.

 

George Orwell One of the famous pieces of this author is Animal Farm- story about farm animals who decide to revolt against their master. They create several rules, according to which every animal is supposed to behave, every animal is supposed to be equal, they all should help with developing and taking care of the farm. The animals are exposed to starvation, hard work, and bad treatment, while we watch the pigs becoming more and more powerful and human-like. In the end of the book, they cooperate with people again, and it is impossible to tell them apart. This book is surprisingly accurate allegory of communistic dictatorship. He basically predicted every phase it would go through.

 

J. R. R. Tolkien Was an English author very interested in history, fairytales and mostly mythology, which inspired him in his writing. He is famous because of his books about Hobits. The Hobbit, or There and Back Again A wizard Gandalf the Grey talks the hobbit Bilbo Baggins into an adventurous journey to get back a dwarf treasure stolen by a dragon Smaug. During the journey, Bilbo finds a mysterious golden ring which used to belong to Gollum. He eventually ends his way out, after solving riddles which was posed by Gollum. The whole group escapes and continues without Gandalf. They ally approach the Lonely Mountain in which the treasure is hidden. Thanks to Bilbo, the dragon is killed, but a near city is badly damaged. The Dwarf refuses to share their treasure to help the people, and a war between people and elves on one side and dwarfs on the other begins. Suddenly, Gandalf appears to warn them about goblins, and they all have to unite to protect themselves. In the end, everyone is forgiven, and Bilbo, even though he takes just a bit from the treasure, returns to the Bag End as a very wealthy hobbit.

 

Agatha Christie was a British crime writer of novels, short stories, and plays. She also wrote romances under the name Mary Westmacott, but she is best remembered for her 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections (especially those featuring Hercule Poirot or Miss Jane Marple), and her successful West End plays. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Christie is the best-selling novelist of all time. Her novels have sold roughly four billion copies. Her well-known character, Miss Marple, was introduced in The Tuesday Night Club in 1927 (short story) and was based on women like Christie’s grandmother and her „cronies “. Her other well-known book is about famous detective Hercule Poirot.

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