Category: Literary Criticism

Shakespeare’s Sonnets

The Sonnets compiles 154 Sonnets written by Shakespeare on all manner of themes from love and fidelity to politics and lineage. Many of the sonnets – in particular the first 17, commonly called the procreation sonnets – were commissioned, a fact which calls a simple, romantic reading into question. William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was an English […]

Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet is a tragic play written early in the career of William Shakespeare about two teenage “star-cross’d lovers” whose untimely deaths ultimately unite their feuding households. It was among Shakespeare’s most popular plays during his lifetime and, along with Hamlet, is one of his most frequently performed plays. Today, the title characters are […]

Macbeth

Arguably the darkest of all Shakespeare’s plays, Macbeth is also one of the most challenging. Is it a work of nihilistic despair, “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing,” or is it a cautionary tale warning of the dangers of Machiavellianism and relativism? Does it lead to hell and […]

The Merchant of Venice

The Merchant of Venice is a play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1596 and 1598. Although classified as a comedy in the First Folio, and while it shares certain aspects with Shakespeare’s other romantic comedies, the play is perhaps more remembered for its dramatic scenes, and is best known for the […]

Julius Caesar

A great tragedy based on Plutarch’s account of the lives of Brutus, Julius Caesar, and Mark Antony. Evil plotting, ringing oratory, high tragedy occur with Shakespeare’s incomparable insight and dramatic power. William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was an English poet and playwright, now widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent […]

Henry VIII

The Famous History of the Life of King Henry the Eighth is a history play by William Shakespeare, based on the life of Henry VIII of England. An alternative title, All is True, is recorded in contemporary documents, the title Henry VIII not appearing until the play’s publication in the First Folio of 1623. Stylistic […]

Cymbeline

One of Shakespeare’s final works, Cymbeline uses virtuoso theatrical and poetic means to dramatize a story of marriage imperiled by mistrust and painfully rebuilt in the context of international conflict.

Antony and Cleopatra

Antony and Cleopatra is a tragedy by William Shakespeare. It was first printed in the First Folio of 1623. The plot is based on Thomas North’s translation of Plutarch’s Life of Markus Antonius and follows the relationship between Cleopatra and Mark Antony from the time of the Parthian War to Cleopatra’s suicide. The major antagonist […]

The Winter’s Tale

The Winter’s Tale is a play by William Shakespeare, first published in the First Folio in 1623. Although it was listed as a comedy when it first appeared, some modern editors have relabeled the play a romance. Some critics, among them W. W. Lawrence (Lawrence, 9-13), consider it to be one of Shakespeare’s “problem plays”, […]

Wild Wales: Its People, Language and Scenery

George Henry Borrow (1803-1881) was an English author who wrote novels and travelogues based on his own experiences around Europe. Over the course of his wanderings, he developed a close affinity with the Romani people of Europe, and they figure prominently in his work. Borrow was born at East Dereham, Norfolk. He was educated at […]

When Winter Comes to Main Street

Grant Martin Overton (1887-1930) was an American author and literary editor. His works include: The Women Who Make our Novels (1918), Why Authors Go Wrong and Other Explanations (1919), Mermaid (1920), Frank Swinnerton (with Arnold Bennett and H. G. Wells) (1920), World Without End (1921), The Answerer (1921), When Winter Comes to Main Street (1922), […]

The Victorian Age in Literature

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) was an influential English writer of the early 20th century. His prolific and diverse output included journalism, philosophy, poetry, biography, Christian apologetics, fantasy, and detective fiction. Chesterton has been called the ‘prince of paradox. ‘ He wrote in an off-hand, whimsical prose studded with startling formulations. He is one of the […]

Un Tournoi a Romans En 1484

(J. A.) Ulysse Chevalier (1804-1893) est l’auteur des Essais Historiques sur les Hopitaux… Ville de Romans (1865) et Un Tournoi à Romans en 1484 (1888). En 1673, parut à Grenoble, sans nom d’auteur, un petit volume, aujourd’hui fort rare, contenant le récit, naturellement très fantaisiste, de l’amour de Zizim, prince ottoman, pour Philippine de Sassenage […]

Two Gentlemen of Verona

The Two Gentlemen of Verona is a comedy by William Shakespeare from early in his career. It has the smallest cast of any of Shakespeare’s plays, and is the first of his plays in which a heroine dresses as a boy. It deals with the themes of friendship and infidelity. The highlight of the play […]

Twelve Types

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) was an influential English writer of the early 20th century. His prolific and diverse output included journalism, philosophy, poetry, biography, Christian apologetics, fantasy, and detective fiction. Chesterton has been called the ‘prince of paradox. ‘ He wrote in an off-hand, whimsical prose studded with startling formulations. He is one of the […]

Troilus and Cressida

Troilus and Cressida is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1602. The play (also described as one of Shakespeare’s problem plays) is not a conventional tragedy, since its protagonist (Troilus) does not die. The play ends instead on a very bleak note with the death of the noble Trojan Hector […]

Titus Andronicus

Titus Andronicus may be Shakespeare’s earliest tragedy; it is believed to have been written sometime between 1584 and the early 1590s. It depicts a Roman general who is engaged in a cycle of revenge with his enemy Tamora, the Queen of the Goths. The play is by far Shakespeare’s bloodiest work. It lost popularity during […]

A Survey of Russian Literature, With Selections

Isabel Florence Hapgood (1851-1928) was an U. S. writer and translator of Russian texts. She was born in Boston, the descendant of a long-established New England family. She studied Germanic and Slavic languages, specializing in Orthodox liturgical texts. She was one of the major figures in the dialogue between Western Christianity and Orthodoxy. She traveled […]

A Study of Shakespeare

Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909) was a Victorian era English poet. His poetry was highly controversial in its day. He is considered a decadent poet. Many of his early and still admired poems evoke the Victorian fascination with the Middle Ages, and some of them are explicitly medieval in style, tone and construction, including The Leper, […]

Studies in Literature

John Morley, 1st Viscount Morley of Blackburn, OM, PC (1838-1923) was a British Liberal statesman, writer and newspaper editor. He was educated at Cheltenham College, University College School and Lincoln College, Oxford. He quarrelled with his father over religion, and had to leave Oxford early without an honours degree. His father had wanted him to […]

Studies in Literature and History

Sir Alfred Comyn Lyall (1835-1911) was a British civil servant, literary historian and poet. He joined the Indian Civil Service in 1856, and served a long career in India. He went on to become Home Secretary to the Government of India in 1873 and the Governor-General’s agent in the state of Rajputana the following year. […]

A Study of Fairy Tales

Fascinating study, focusing on the study of study of fairy tales. The fairy tale has a place in the training of children which common sense and a sympathetic attitude toward childhood will not deny.

A Study Of Poetry

Study of Poetry

Matthew Arnold (1822-1888) was an English poet, and cultural critic who worked as an inspector of schools. He was the son of Thomas Arnold, the famed headmaster of Rugby School, and brother to both Tom Arnold, literary professor, and William Delafield Arnold, novelist and colonial administrator. Matthew Arnold has been characterized as a sage writer, […]

Some Diversions of a Man of Letters

Sir Edmund William Gosse C. B. (1849-1928) was an English poet, author and critic. He worked as assistant librarian at the British Museum from 1867, and in 1875 became a translator at the Board of Trade, a post which he held until 1904. In the meantime, he published his first volume of poetry, On Viol […]

Shelley: An Essay

Francis (Joseph) Thompson (1859-1907) was an English poet and ascetic. He studied medicine at Owens College in Manchester but took no real interest in his studies and never practised as a doctor, moving instead to London to try and become a writer. Here he was reduced to selling matches and newspapers for a living. During […]

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