7: Metaphysical Poets & Augustian Age

Alex Nguyen
Flashcards by Alex Nguyen, updated more than 1 year ago
Alex Nguyen
Created by Alex Nguyen over 5 years ago


High School Diploma English Flashcards on 7: Metaphysical Poets & Augustian Age, created by Alex Nguyen on 12/07/2015.

Resource summary

Question Answer
What is metaphysics * The most abstract form of philosophy * A branch of philosophy that seeks to explain the nature of being and reality
What was so particular about the 17th Century It was a tremendous ferment in the natural sciences: instead of relying on knowledge of the past, men were using an approach based on observation & experiment
Who is Copernicus and what did he say in 1543 * Polish astronomer * "It was the Sun and not the Earth that was the center of the Universe."
Who were deeply interested in this new science The metaphysical poets
How did they integrate this new science in their work * Their complex arguments & imagery were interwoven with references to scientific ideas * Their emotions & passions often expressed in the intellectual fashion of the scientific age -> Ex: comparing 2 souls to a compass (separate, but reliant on each other)
What were their greatest achievements * The fusion of the head & heart * Imagery which was drawn from science, philosophy and the deep recesses of human emotion
John Donne's brief biography * Born in London, son of a wealthy merchant * Studied at Oxford & went into law * Became secretary to statesman-> dismissed because of his secret marriage with the statesman's niece * Converted to the Anglican faith -> Ordained (1615) & (1621) became dean of St Paul's Cathedral
What era began because of him A new era in the history of English lyric poetry, English satyr & religious verse
How was his love poetry * Vivid and direct in thoughts & expression * Often fantastic & ludicrous
What are often found in his poetry Metaphysical wit Metaphysical style
What is metaphysical wit Combining of dissimilar images in which the poet brings together things normally remote
What is metaphysical style * Learning in subtlety * Verses marked with frankness & realism * Delivers shock effect * Direction is blunt (matter-of-fact) * Poetry reveals a powerful dramatic and visual sense * There's a scientific preoccupation (imagery taken from science, geography, medicine, navigation) * There is a search for freshness & surprising originality
Describe John Donne's religious work * They are a sharp revelation of his faith * The tone is personal & dramatic * There are affinities with his secular poems -> Ex: natural conversational diction, bluntness, intellectual imagery
What is the theme of his religious work The variation of man, the sinner & his relationship with God
Who is John Milton and briefly describe his biography * One of the most famous poets of the 17th C * Was a parliamentarian (Puritin) -> After he returned from Italy, he was a high official in Cromwell's government * 1650: became blind * 1660: forced to flee public life because of the restoration-> wrote /Paradise Lost/
How did he prepare himself to write a long Christian epic He traveled to Italy
Paradise Lost is divided into _____ books 12 books
What is the theme of the whole epic Original sin of Adam & Eve and the miseries of the world until the coming of Christ
What was Milton's main purpose for writing /Paradise Lost/ "To justify the ways of God to man"
What inspired Milton to write /Paradise Lost/ * The frescoes of the Sistine Chapel * The Bible
How does Milton describes his characters With deep psychological insight
How do God and the Devil appear They emerge as vivid forceful figures
What are the two first books about About Lucifer's fall from Heaven
How is the Devil decribed The Devil comes across so powerful that he is often considered the hero
What is Lucifer's fall * Lucifer comes from a Greek word = light: one of the brightest angel * Was close to God, but was not #1-> didn't like that, wanted to be #1 => gathered his friends to start a revolt of the angels * Lucifer lost = his friends and him fell out of Heaven and hit Hell * Then, built himself a palace: pandemonium => Became King of Hell & name changed to Satan (= adversary)
What is Milton's second poem /Paradise Regained/
How many books are there in /Paradise Regained/ 4 books
What is it about * About the temptation of Christ in the wilderness (40 days/nights, fast) & his successful resistance: -> Satan: "If you are God's son, change rocks into bread." => Christ refuses -> Satan took Christ the steeple: "If you are God's son, jump to see if his angels will catch you." => Christ refuses -> Satan takes Christ to the highest mountain: "All this can be yours if you pay homage to me." => Christ refuses
What did Milton write after /Paradise Regained/ /Samson Agonistes/
How was the poem written Written in the form of great tragedy
What does is require The use of Greek chorus
What is the theme of /Samson Agonistes/ The fallen idol's achievement of a new and less egotistical kind of heroism
What link can we make between Samson and Milton The description of Samson's blindness seems to reflect Milton's political isolation & his own physical afflictions
Briefly describe the story * Samson was a Danite and very strong: had been told that strength lays in his hair => must never cut it * His tribe was always winning against the Philistines * Samson fell in love with Delilah (Philistine) who was paid by to find out Samson's secret * Samson tells her his secret-> the next day, he is bald and as weak as a baby * Philistines dragged Samson, poked his eyes and threw him into a dungeon => they win all the time * During feast, dragged Samson and tied him to two pillars * He asked God to forgive him and to give him his strength back one last time -> God does: pulls down pillars = temple is destroyed = killed Philistines (Delilah) and himself
Give other names for the Augustan Age and its French name * The Age of Enlightment * The Age of Reason * Siècle des Lumières
What brought about the characteristics of the 18th C. and what are the latter * In the 17th C: climax in science -> Laws of gravity -> Planetary movements explained in precise math terms => Brought about the belief in order & reason = characteristics of the 18th C.
Who came to the throne in 1702 Queen Anne
What happened during her reign * She & the Parliament brought stability to England's internal politics * New wealth was accumulated & used to elegant advantage by those who had it * New taste reflected in architecture, furnishings. china, dresses, manners => all became more elegant & refined
How was the Augustan poetry * Carefully constructed * Highly polished * Refined
Because of its elegance, the style ______ The style was often better suited to witty sentiments than heroic theme
What is a mock-heroic * Describes a light & trivial incident in heroic language by mixing the 2 styles: the comic and/other ironic effect is heightened -> Ex: describes a card game as a battle between Greek heroes
Name an Augustan poet Alexander Pope
What did Alexander Pope write /The Rape of the Lock/
Why was that poem written To instill a sense of proportion into a fashionable young lady whose family has become involved in a feud because a lock of her hair had been stolen
What was the darker shade of the 18th C. There were poverty and hardships Ex: many families were put in debtor's prisons
What is a hack writer * A mediocre writer who lived in a decrepit area * Tried unsuccessfully to earn their living by writing
Which hack writer emerged Samuel Johnson
What did he become The leading literary critic of his time
What did he accomplish He made it respectable to be a professional writer
What is his biggest achievement, why and give its disadvantages * The dictionary * It fixes for the first time standard spelling, pronunciation & meaning of words * Style was weighty and uncompromising
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