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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Just a moment evand we sign you in to your Goodreads account. A mellow sentiment accompanies his expression. It is true that his vision had limitations: This restlessness brings his mind and his body very close to each other.

Thus, though he eng,ish much of his time with poetry, it is not as a poet alone that he should be remembered but as a critic and a philosopher. Foremost among his works is bis great Ecclesi- astical History of the English Race. He seems sometimes more of a disembodied spirit than an ordinary human being.

Full text of “A Short History Of English Literature Ifor Evans”

He saw that the France of the young Buonaparte was following, not the vision of the liberties of man, but the path of Charlemagne. All it does is provide you a list of texts you should look into, it doesn’t tell you much about them.

The text-books sometimes speak of the age which fol- lowed Pope as if it were dominated by his example. The early stages of this Italian englisy can be found in poems by Wyatt and Surrey published in in an anthology generally known as Tottefs Miscellany. It must be dispersed before poetry can re-develop.

They made his reputation not in England alone, but throughout Europe ov France to Russia. A ‘school’ of poets Donne certainly created, and much of the history of poetry in the idor century could be written in the terms of loyalty or antagonism to his man- ner.


Surrey can little have guessed how honourable would be the heritage of the measure which he was employing. More ambitious was Ckilde Haroldin which the autobiographical elements are only thinly disguised, and there are many contemporary scenes, as eevans his famous description of the Ball in Brussels on the eve of Waterloo: He was puny, ill-made, venomous, unjust, splenetic, and his enemies have found occasion to emphasize each item in the inventory of defects.

The religious poetry uses the same verse and vocabulary as the stones of the heroes. Even in that Elizabethan age this poem spoke of a past, rapidly fading, but still remembered.

Wilson’s The Lost Literature of Medieval England which shows how many references there are to poems no bnger extant, to heroes unknown, and to stories now unrecorded. Many of his critics see him as a bitter reactionary, and there is an element of justice englksh this estimate, though it is far from the whole truth He followed his beliefs honestly to the end, and if he distrusted reform, one of his reasons lay in the fear that the England he loved, particularly rural England, would be destroyed by the hand of the rising industrialists.

The theme of Prometheus Unbound ‘is the great one of the moral salvation ofman, and the verse has a lyrical quality unsurpassed in modern literature.

A Short History of English Literature

Only twenty-six years later a disastrous fire broke out in the library, and the Beowulf manuscript narrowly escaped. Yet they are distinct and memorable personalities. Fair seed-time had my soul, and I grew up Fostered alike by beauty and by fear: So it is with the Fatrie Queene ; the whole poem may weary, but in the show passages, such as the Bower of Bliss and the Masque ov Cupid, it can still give delight.

Bring me my Row of burning gold; Bring trie my Arrows of desire: Now that roads were improving, gentlemen and ladies could look out from their carriages on the hisgory, and egnlish of what they saw pleased them. He was naturally impatient of the conventional verse forms, of the regular rhythms, the well-worn similes.


Litreature in his verses he returns to the image of a boat upon a moonlit sea; or the crescent moon itself, shaped like a boat, burning in the clear Italian night. Those who have not read his poems always consider him a dull writer. It’s simply the author rambling on and on, mentioning tid bits about various writers and their major works.

The Enghsh poet, using an Old Saxon poem, has made a vivid render- ing of the story which Milton was later to tell in Paradise Lost. I’ve used this on and off since the ’70’s, so don’t expect anything about the second half of the XXth C. This edition has not only been fully revised but it is much expanded. Most English poetry in the early Anglo-Saxon period is associated with these two events.

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

I also thought this book was quite sexist – Christina Rossetti only gets a brief passing mention and Jane Austen gets about two pages.

Religion, he suggests, depends on learning, and he dreads the days that preceded him when there were English priests who could not write or read Latin.

It cannot be judged straight irom human experience, as can Chaucer’s Troiius andCriseyde, Like a museum piece it needs a reference to the catalogue before its beauties can be appreciated.

I wonder by my troth, what thou, and I Did, till we lov’d? The pretty things are there, but with them a profound moral vision in the graver sonnets, Shakespeare’s sonnets have led to a greater volume of controversy than any volume of verse in our literature. This mixture of Christian and pagan can be seen in Andreas St Andrew which is m many ways an epic poem like Beowulf.

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