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Origins of drama

Mimetic faculty: imitation, pretend

Fertility rites: ritual, sacrifice a goat

Tragedy: tragos - goat, tragoidia - fertility dance

Comedy: comos - loud festivity

In the beginning: no clear distinction between comedy and tragedy, only in the Renaissance tragedy got a sad end and comedy a happy end


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Drama before Shakespeare: the three M's

Miracle Plays: medeval England, church was against theatre. Later the church started using plays for the services because many people did not understand Latin. Those plays explained the miracles in the bible. They were performed on the churchyards


Mystery plays: performed by guild on peagants and showed scenes from the bible. Connection between craft and religion (bakers performed Last Supper)


Morality plays: 15/16 cent.: Moral lessons by means of allegory. Religion and personal conflict (Anymal farm)

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Elisabethan Era (Golden Age of E litarature)

E (1558 - 1603)

E liked drama, England was a World power. 

Thomas Kyd The Spanish tragedy

Christopher Marlowe Doctor Faustus (popularised the style that Shakespeare used later)

Invention of blank verse: iambic pentameters

William Shakespeare: invented words, thetre set outside, people smelled, ate and threw food at those actors who they didn't like

Macbeth (1606): the shortest play, three witches (like in Greek theatre), soliloquy: inner conflict, weekness vs. greed. Typical shakesperean character: he doesn't know wheter to act.

The gunpowder plot: propaganda 

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1798 - 1850

Writing in the language of people


Emotional matter in imaginative form

Absurd turms for normal words

Focus on individual and their feelings

Early Rom Poets: Burns, Blake (1770-1850)

The Lake poets: Wordsworth, Coleridge, Southey (1800-1850)

Dying young: Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, John Keats (1798 - 1850)



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The Lake poets

Wordsworth: not religious in the common way, God=Nature, individual must be able to experience God personally. Poetry: spontaneous overflow of feelings, used for men - use of normal language

Elevated position of the poet, golden flowers, eternity, everything will pass, nature

Chiastic structure: beginning in end are the same


Coleridge: interest in everything mystical

The Rime of an ancient mariner: a man mustn't kill the creatures, political freedom

The picture Lonely Tower:

owl - freedom

poet is elevated in the tower

people are down, the listeners

the ruins: savage is closer to nature

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Dying young

Poet is a prophet, writing is a vocation

Percy Shelley: To a Skylark, the poet is elevated, he wants to learn to sing beautifully, was atheist and traveller

John Keats: Poetry should come naturally

Ode to Nightingale: closeness to nature, beautiful songs, beauty of nature and life not so beautiful

The sublime is a key word

Romantics: tourists, Alps, Switzerland, fascinated with science and progress, a lot of experimenting with anymals, electricity

Mary Shelley Frankenstein: science is not enough, it shouldn't be misused

reference to Paradise Lost (Adam, creation of God, not happy)

Hubris: Frankensteil is a tragic hero, thinks he can create life, must be punished for it



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Children's literature

1693: John Locke: children are tabula rasa, inscribe, educate

1762: Jean-Jaques Rousseau: Emile: nature wants children to be children before men, children need literature written for them

paintings of children: little adults vs children

Robert Sothey (Lake poets) The three bears

Lewis Carrol: founder of the English nonsense tradition

Louise May Alcott: Little women propaganda for girls, preparing them for their future role

For boys:

Henty: The coral island

Stewenson: Treasure island


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Short story

Limited number of characters

In media res

Minimum of exposition

quick solution

A Canary for one: omnicsient narrator, foreshadows,