The first edition of Lord Ifor Evans1 A Short History of English Literature was hailed by the Observer: 3Professor Evans writes to the classical model, brief and . Secretary, the British Institute of Adult Education. A SHORT HISTORY OF. ENGLISH LITERATURE. BY. B. IFOR EVANS i;z 72, PE FOACES. Leave this boolc. Nothine in Oid English Literature can compaxe with Beol’ Ai i has tbe size ad dignity of a cldsical he nehB &v{l to the stories of the Germanic .

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The whole of his early life had been a dedication to poetry, and from his childhood he had stored his mind with the experience in nature which later he was to recall m his verse.

They were largely based on his own life and he made an epic of hustory experience in The Prelude. The admirable Utters and Journals show how easily his whale nature flowed in this Italian period and the result was the three satires through which his name as a poet is best remembered.

A Short History of English Literature. By B. Ifor Evans. » 17 Jun » The Spectator Archive

The poem begins with a Vision, which the poet had on the Malvern Hills, of a ‘field full of folk’. As a poet Blake is at his best in his simplest poems, in the early Songs of Innocence and Experience, where wisdom speaks with the voice of a child.

Foremost among his works is bis great Ecclesi- astical History of the English Race. Physic of Metaphysic begs defence And Metaphysic calls for aid on Sense! The interesting thing about Evans is that he had been around for long enough to see poets that were highly thought of in their lifetime, then spend years in obscurity, then in the 50s and 60s have a popularity revival Tennyson and is able to discuss them.

A dog starv’d at his Master’s Gate Predicts the ruin of the State. The Seafarer’ has a similar mood, the hardship, the fascination, the melan- choly of the sea, which recurs in English poetry to the nineteenth century in Swinburne.

Unread but not unreadable, the poem had one motive in common with the Faerie Queene, for it was a love of England that led Drayton to gather into his seemingly unending narrative, legends, beliefs, and descriptions illustrating England’s life.


Nothing shows Alfred’s inquiring mind more clearly than his desire to have these accounts of contemporary travel lei’s inserted into Orosius’s dull chronicle of calamities. Itwould be only just to recall that the magnificence was only literatire mittent and isolated, but it did exist. The book is divided into poetry, drama and prose – English drama, according to Evans, seemed to go downhill after Shakespeare and his contemporaries Thomas Kyd, Christopher Marlowe.

The words are so arranged that their evanns please, while the alternations of accent and time give to a pattern of words some of that pleasure which music gives. They all had a deep interest in nature, not as a centre of beautiful scenes but as an informing and spiritual influence on life.

With Mary his life was spent mainly on the Continent, in Switzerland and Italy, and there he was drowned in 1 8a a during a storm in the Gulf of Spezia. Like all Anglo-Saxon poems it is written with a long line.

A Short History of English Literature by Benjamin Ifor Evans

The situation is not unlike that at the end of the Victorian age. Lydgate is a translator, and at least he made available in English a large number of stories and romances. This justice of approach is coupled with a mastery of phrase, which makes the writing lively without being exhibitionistic. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. While the Puritan ideal was not easy, still less was it negative. Sarita rated it really liked it Aug 11, Yet Mlfric was writing sermons to be delivered viva voce from the pulpit throughout Christian England; his language is not bookish but such as could be understood by ordinary people.

This equalitarian philosophy he discovered, not in the text- books of political theory, but from his own observation, and he expressed it admirably, even recklessly, in one of the greatest of all his poems, ‘The Jolly Beggars’.

A Short History of English Literature

Humour, sentiment, adventure, and pathos are thrown together with that same disconcerting incongruity as they are to be found in life. Open to the public ; Like some other plays, it reads as if it had little dramatic content but it acts well, and the fact that it is not very like a masque need trouble only die pedant. But it is ebglish poem in which one can read for pleasure the splendid passages, with their sustaining music. His historical poem, ‘The Barons’ Wars’moves at a steady pace.


Or snorted we in evams seven sleepers den? The book flows freely with the author talking about various literary giants in English Literary History. Especially with Bergonzi, who wrote the last chapter. Its sluggish treatment of the material illustrates by contrast what a powerful imagination Shakespeare employed when he converted history into genuine poetic drama. Dr Johnson was later to name him and his school the ‘metaphysical’ poets, because they yoked ideas which no one had yet seen together.

A Short History of English Literature. By B. Ifor Evans.

With the younger generation there is an employment of classical mythology as with Shelley in Prometheus Bound and Keats in Hyperion, but even here the ancient figures and stories are modified to illustrate their own intuitions about life. But the songs and lyrics, in which the age delighted, have ever given a spontaneous pleasure to posterity.

Pope had only two genuine followers, Samuel Johnson and Oliver Goldsmith, and they both differ from him widely. He was among the most learned men of Europe in his day, yet his poems are a thin sheaf, a few odes and the ‘Elegy’.

More ambitious was Ckilde Haroldin which the autobiographical elements are only thinly disguised, and there are many contemporary scenes, as in his famous description of the Ball in Brussels on the eve of Waterloo: Bring me my Row of burning gold; Bring trie my Arrows of desire: When all that he wrote has been digested his true stature as one kiterature the great seminal figures of the nineteenth century will emerge.

The ‘Song’ lias had its extravagant supporters, such as Rossetti and Browning. Since its first appearance inA Short History of English Literature has served countless readers as a perceptive, reliable, and readable guide. The legend that Milton was an unpopular poet has lived so long that probably it will never be destroyed.