Middle English and Old English
1400’s and earlier are narrative poems (historicalor mythic or a combination) tell stories.
There is also a scattering of sacred, religious poetry.
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Art in Middle Ages
tended to be narrative-based. Illustrated manuscripts, tapestries,and iconic graphic paintings insidechurches—the point was to tell important, often sacred stories.
Examples of Old English Poetry
The Odyssey, Story of the Great Beowulf, The lord’s Prayer
Examples of Middle English
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, he Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer,
Early Modern English/ Elizabethan English
1470’s- mid 1600’s
Early Modern English/ Elizabethan English traits
Emphasis on formalism: i.
e. the sonnetReligious/sacred themes still prevalent (art often commissioned by the ChurchInspiration drawn from mythology, the Bible, and historical accounts. In fiction, the concept of an “original story” is almost unheard of (i.
e. Shakespeare appropriating myths, history, and existing stories for his own usage lovers are always popular subjects in poetry
Example of Earl Modern English/ Elizabethan English
My Mistress’ Eyes Are Nothing Like the Sun, by Shakespeare
1. Fourteen-lines long2. Written in iambic pentameter3.
Has a set rhyme scheme4. The speaker has a problem of some kind,and the problem gets resolved by the end of the poem5. Often, the first 8 lines lay out the problem and the last 6 lines solve the problem.6. The point where the problem ends and the solution starts is called the “volta”, which means “turn” in Italian.
•Emphasis on the poet ashero that heroically plumbsthe depths of his being andcrafts works of genius•Pastoral over urban life•Introspection•”The spontaneous overflowof powerful feelings”•Filtering emotion throughthe human mind to create art
The individual is the grandness of nature, beyond the turmoil of the city
William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Frost at Midnight, Percy Bisshe Shelly, John Keats, and Mathew Arnold
Henery David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Walt Whitman
Modernism (Emily Dickinson)
Her poems were characterized by:Simple meter, often irregular•Slant rhyme•Unique punctuation (dashes)•Themes: nature-flowers-gardens,spirituality, “the undiscovered continent”,death
•informal structure (free verse, no set meter)•an objective focus (the object itself is the most important thing,not what it might symbolize)•simple, precise, language and images•a speaker that wrestles with the fundamental question of “self,”often feeling fragmented and alienated from the world aroundhim or her•dealing with how to make meaning from dislocation andfragmentation
focus on simple, clear images is seen inpaintings from Van Gogh and Monet.
Simple lines and purity of color is the primary goal. It is about an impression, not strict realism
First True “Modernist poets”Focus on concrete imagesPrecise, clear diction (every word is just the right word)Purposely non-flowery languagePoems tend to be briefA reaction to Romanticism’s flowery language and emphasis on the artist as a kind of hero
In a Station of the Metro by Ezra Pound, The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams, The White Horse by D.H. Lawrence, T.
Post Modenist Traits
a lack of conventionssimple languagemontage/collage-like patternsSpontaneityanti-establishment sentimentalityleaning towards Eastern philosophyfocus on intense personal experiencesympathy for a natural world under seigea speaker that wrestles with the fundamental question of “self”, often feeling fragmented and alienated from the world around him or her
Post Modernist Poets
Langston Hughes, Kenneth Rexroth, Jack Keruac, Allen Ginsberg, Mary Oliver, ee cummings, Gary Snyder
Examples of post modernist poets
Dream Variations by Langston Hughes, Gic to Har by Kenneth Rexroth, Slwashing it out once in Sluslaw Forest by Gary Snyder