Posts Tagged ‘literature’

To delve into the literary world, we should know that literature is divided in two types, including:

  • Escapist literature

Escapist literature is written purely for entertainment. It takes us away from the real world and has only pleasure as its objects.

  • Interpretive literature

Interpretive literature is written to broaden, deepen and sharpen our awareness of life. It takes us into the world, and has pleasure of understanding life as its objects.


  • These types are not two crossroads, but they are more alike to a scale.
  • In one time, one’s escapist mind may be higher compared to their interpretive mind, or vice-versa.
  • It depends on many factors like the reader’s preferences at the moment¸ mood, ideological beliefs, etc.

With those points in mind, readers are also divided into two groups in literary world:

  • Immature readers

Immature readers merely seek readings only to escape. They make fixed demands, and stick to one type of subject matter.

  • Discriminating readers

Discriminating readers do not only takes deeper pleasure in fiction that deals with life, but they also do not necessarily reject escapist literature.

In literary world, we know something called intrinsic approach. Intrinsic approach—also known as formalism approach—is a study where one seeks out meanings from literary elements in one literary object.

Those analyzable literary elements included:

  • Plot
  • Character
  • Theme
  • Conflict
  • Setting
  • Narrative technique

Besides intrinsic approach, there is also extrinsic approach, where one studies what they got by using intrinsic approach and combining it with outside knowledge.

Read Full Post »

Victorian Period’s Influences on Prose

To fully understand the true nature of Victorian period’s prose, one should recognize that at this period men were expected to act like a true gentlemen, women as pure ladies, and sex were considered as taboo. They have firm religious faith, and the number of poor people was sublime. There was a wide gap between people with affluence and those who did not. But even though the society was shaped that way at that time, the scales was totally tipped to the extreme side when it came to having an affair per gender. It was considered as scandalous for women to have an affair, but not with men.

Thus, shaped in that way, it was not a strange thing that Victorian prose writers were notable critics carrying on their names and their works until today. When talking about Victorian period prose writers, one could not help but to think about Charles Robert Darwin, Samuel Butler and Lewis Caroll.

Victorian Period’s Prose Writers

  • Charles Lamb
  • He did not stand out much, and prefer to live a life as a low-profile person.
  • He had a charming way in writing his works.
  • He idolized Shakespeare, thus in one of his works, he simplified Shakespeare works (with some being kept).
  • His works are Essays of Elia and Tales of Shakespeare.
  • Wiliam Hazlitt

    • He was an essayist and a critic.
    • He had such bad temper, thus his subjective judgements influenced his works.
    • Personally, on contrary to Charles Lamb, he hated Shakespeare.
    • His works are Characters of Shakespeare’s Plays and Lectures on the English Poets.
  • Charles Robert Darwin

    • One of the most biggest influence in Victorian period.
    • He was the first man to introduce the theory of evolution, leading him to receive praises from scientists and hatred from the Church.
    • His statements on humankind’s evolutions were as the follows:
      • Mankind is a product from slow biological evolution.
      • All species are descendants from primitive forms of life.
      • Humans and animals have some degree of similarities between them (particularly their body system and biological habits).
      • Reproduction is a fundamental importance in a species’ period of life.
      • One species can survive through the natural selection (survival is the fittest, the strong ones eat the weaker ones to live on their species).
    • He also popularized mutation, an error in cell’s division.
    • His works are The Origins of Species and The Decent of Man.
  • Charles Ludwidge Dodgson / Lewis Caroll

    • He lived his life as a mathematics teacher, but ironically, he was known more as a writer.
    • He popularized the use of literary nonsense, where the writer plas with conventions of language and rules of logic and reason via sensical / non-sensical elements (in short, he used many words which contained different meaning than the original one).
    • His famous works are Adventures of Alice in Wonderland, and Through the Looking Glass.
  • Matthew Arnold

    • He appreciated 18th century and classic works.
    • He is most known for his work Essays in Criticism and Culture and Anarchy.
  • Samuel Butler

    • He wrote satirical novels, and his focus being the narrow mindset created during the Victorian period.
    • He is most known for his work Erewhon.
      • It was a name of a strange country founded by a shepherd named Higgs.
      • Sick people are treated as criminals (locked in a prison) and criminals as sick people (bedridden and given medicine).
      • They also did not use machines, as they stated that it has dangerous potential to humankind.


Read Full Post »

The Main Characteristics of 19th Century Novels

Mostly created in Victorian period, many 19th century novels offered a very idealistic storyline: good characters were rewarded, and bad characters punished. These novels came from the middle-class people, which has become more prominent on this age thanks to the Industrial Revolution. The novels were flexible and adaptable to Victorian lifestyle, and things like moral instructions have been molded into them. Even though most of the novels are indeed very idealistic in nature, somehow they have a resemblance to the reality at that point.

Some famous names like Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Thomas Hardy made Victorian age to be remembered by novel readers as one of the greatest era in novel industry.

19th Century Novelists

Victorian Novels

  • Jane Austen
    • Growing up in a peaceful neighborhood, she wrote about calm pictures of society life.
    • She s notable for women’s point of view in life, which is considered to be very rare at that period.
    • She emphasizes on the importance of the family on her stories.
    • She is best known for Pride and Prejudice (a story about Elizabeth Bennet), Sense and Sensibility (telling tales of Elinor and Marianne), Northranger Abbey, and Emma (exploring the life of Miss Bates).
  • Mary Shelley
    • Wife of Percy Bysche Shelly, her work is considered to be the first attempt writing a science fiction genre.
    • Her works are the famous Frankenstein and The Last Man.
  • Sir Walter Scott
    • He is one of the best historical novelists in this period.
    • His works are The Talisman and Ivanhoe.
  • Charles Dickens
    • He is considered to be one of the greatest novelists of all time.
    • He offers his readers social commentaries and he is one of the fiercest critics in Victorian era, satirizing about poverty and social strata.
    • His famous works are Oliver Twist, A Tale of Two Cities, and A Christmas Carol.
  • William Makepeace Thackeray
    • He wrote satirical novels, criticizing the nobility.
    • He is most known for his work Vanity Fair.
  • Mary Ann Evans
    • Known for her pen name, George Elliot.
    • Her aim on using a male pen name is to make her readers take her works in a serious manner.
    • She is best known for Adam Bede and Middlemarch.
  • Charlotte Bronte
    • She wrote honest works about the women’s position in the society.
    • She is realistic, and her language is less formal than most of the Victorian novels.
    • Her works are Jane Eyre and Shirley.
  • Emily Bronte
    • Sister of Charlotte Bronte, she is considered to be genius among the Bronti Sisters.
    • Her immense and uncontrollable passions are her main specialty.
    • One of her famous works is Wuthering Heights.
  • Elizabeth Gaskell
    • Her most famous work, Cranford, lead her to be mistaken as a one-novel writer.
    • Besides Cranford, she also wrote North and South.
  • William Wilkie Collins
    • Considered to be one of the first detective novelist.
    • Gained fame through his character, Sergeant Cuff.
    • His works are The Woman in White and The Moonstone.
  • Joseph Conrad
    • His works used difficult language, and most of them are highly philosophical.
    • His stories mostly tell their readers about loyalty and faithfulness.
    • His works are Lord Jim and Heart of Darkness.
  • Robert Louis Stevenson
    • He wrote about adventure novels.
    • His famous works are Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, which gained fame to be adapted into the movies we know now.
  • Oscar Wilde
    • He is one of the most famous playwright in this era, but he also wrote a novel.
    • His work, The Picture of Dorian Grey, tells on how humans are usually trapped in their own hedonism in the end.
  • Thomas Hardy
    • He is a naturalist writer.
    • He named the area for his novel as “Wessex“, after the medieval Anglo-Saxon kingdom southwest of England.
    • His works are Far from the Madding Crowd, Jude the Obscure, and The Mayor of Casterbridge.

Read Full Post »

About the 19th Century

The 19th Century is noted for its industrial Revolution. Feudalism slowly turns into industry, thus enabling manual labor became easier. Technology became the essential aspect of this era.

This era is divided into two ages: the Romantic period and the Victorian period.

Romantic Period, Early 19th Century


Poetry flourished during this period, influenced by the French and the American Revolutions. Poets from this age longed for the chivalry from the Medieval Age, and emphasizes on their imaginations, feelings, and intuition. It is noted that beginning from this age, the poets are known for their individual expressions.

This era is known for their Lake Poets. Lake poets are a group of people living on Lake District, located in northwestern part of England. Mostly they deal with naturalistic works, influenced by their beautiful surroundings.

Examples of Lake Poets are William Wordsworth and Samuel T. Coleridge.

  • William Wordsworth
    • Known for his simple language on his poems.
    • He is known for making ordinary things beautiful by his poems.
    • His notable works are The Daffodils, Lucy, The Prelude, and London.
  • Samuel Coleridge
    • Able to create mysterious events to be logically accepted by the readers.
    • He is known for The Rime of Ancient Mariner, Kubla Khan, and Christabel.

Both of these famous Lake Poets created a collection of poems contained in a book, entitled Lyrical Ballads.

Other notable poets from the Romantic Period are:

  • George Byron
    • He used classical form, influenced by Alexander Pope.
    • His works are usually satires.
    • Notable for Don Juan and Childe Harold.
  • Percy Bycshe Shelly
    • Considered as one of the finest lyrical poet.
    • He is an atheist, and Mary Shelly’s husband.
    • His works are Adonais (describing John Keats’ death), Ozymondias (a sonnet), and Promotheus Unbound (a play)
  • John Keats
    • He loved beauty, and famous for his odes and ballads.
    • His works usually branches from Greek’s myth.
    • His famous works are Endymion and La Belle Dame Sans Merci (believed by people for satirizing his Tuberculosis).

Victorian Period, Late 19th Century

Victorian Period

The poems on this era has became more melancholic than before, and individual expressions are developed much more than it was from the earlier Romantic Period.

Some of the names include:

  • Alfred, Lord Tennyson
    • He struggles to change the ideas of this period.
    • His shorter poems are usually better than the longer ones.
    • His works include The Idylls of the King and Ulysses.
  • Robert Browning
    • His views stated that the content of the poem is more important than its form.
    • His writing style is noted to be difficult.
    • He gained his fame in literary world thanks to his works, The Pied Piper of Hamelin and Pauline.
  • Elizabeth Barett Browning
    • She is considered as one of the greatest English poetess who ever lived.
    • She never gave title to her works, and their themes are usually sad and full of suffering.
    • Some of her popular works are Sonnet from Portuguese and Casa Guild Windows.
  • Dante Gabriel Rosetti
    • His works are mostly musical, known as “fleshly school”, which is considered as “immoral” on that age.
    • He wrote in alliteration, a literary style which has repeated sound of the first consonant in a series of multiple words.
    • He is known for writing A Last Confession, Sudden Light, and Saul’s Beauty.
  • Christina Georgina Rosetti
    • Her poems’ theme are usually sad and religious.
    • She is considered the best in writing excellent sonnet of an unhappy love.
    • Her poems, Goblin Market and Other Poems, made her to be considered as one of the best sonnet writers.
  • Mathew Arnold
    • Also a philosopher, his works are mainly sad and melancholic.
    • He is influenced greatly by Wordsworth and Shakespeare.
    • He is notable through his works, Rugby Chapel and The Scholar Gipsy.
  • Algernon Charles Swinburne
    • Spend his time writing on political verse.
    • Her poems, just like Dante Rosetti’s, are considered controversial by that era’s society.
    • His popular works are Poems and Ballads, Tristam, and Lyonesse.

Read Full Post »