Курс лекций для школьников старших классов и студентов Saint Petersburg corona print Uchitel & Uchenic


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pitilessly ['pitilisli] adv безжалостно rural ['гиэгэ1] а сельский

psychological Lsaiks'lrxfeikal] а психо- sympathy ['simpa9i] n симпатия

логический tenderness ['tendsnis] n нежность

psychology [saf kntadji] n психология unmask [An'ma:sk] v разоблачать

reveal [n'vi:l] v показывать wickedness ['wikidms] л злоба

The Mill on the Floss

George Eliot's most widely read book is The Mill on the Floss. It is an original study of English provincial life and the story of a brother and a sister. The central character is Maggie Tulliver fmaegi 'tAlrva]. As a child she is intellectual, emotional and strong in character. Her brother Tom is a contrast to her sister, being noisy, dull and shallow, yet Maggie adores him. The life of the children is shown in their relations to their parents and a circle of aunts and uncles. The reader sees the middle-class family through Maggie's experience. It is a hardworking, economical, proud and narrowminded family. When Maggie grows up she dreams about a larger world of the mind and emotions. Her ardent nature is never satisfied with "a little of anything". "That is why better to do without earthly happiness altogether", she says to her friend Philip Wakem. Maggie is ever ready for self-sacrifice. She thinks she has found peace in subduing her own will. But the reader doubts in this. So does Philip. He loves Maggie and therefore he sees that Maggie is only trying to deceive herself.

Maggie is engaged to Philip but she falls in love with Stephen [ 'stirvn] Guest, who, in his turn, is engaged to her cousin Lucy Deane ['lusi 'di:n]. She has to make a moral choice between the two men. The author solves Maggie's dilemma by a quite tragic ending. George Eliot invents a flood of the Floss. Maggie tries to rescue her brother from it, but both drown in the river.


dignity ['digniti] n достоинство frankness ['frasrjkms] n искренность

emotional [i'imujbnl] a эмоциональный hypocrisy [hi'prjkresi] n лицемерие

fiction ffikfan] n художественная лите- inner Г/тэ] а внутренний

ратура inspiration [,msp3'reijbn] n вдохновение


adore [a'do:] v обожать dilemma [dai'lems] n дилемма

ardent ['adant] а пылкий economical [Jika'rromiksl] а экономный

deceive [di'si:v] v обманывать emotion [Гтэи/эп] п чувство



self-sacrifice ['self'saeknfais] n само

пожертвование shallow ['Jaelau] а ограниченный solve ['sbIv] v решать subdue [sab'dju:] v подавлять

engaged [m'geicfcd] a помолвленный flood [fl\d] n наводнение narrowminded ['nasreu'mamdid] а
огра­ниченный rescue ['reskju:] v спасать

Questions and Tasks

  1. Relate briefly the story of George Eliot's life.

  2. Comment on George Eliot's best works.

  3. What problems does she deal with in her novels?
  4. Name her works of the later period.

  5. What is the merit of the work The Mill on the Floss?

  6. Retell the contents of The Mill of the Floss.

English Literature in the Second Half of the 19th century

The second half of the 19th century witnessed a rapid growth of social contradictions which were caused by a deep economic crisis. This period was characterized by a crisis in bourgeois culture, too. Artists, poets, novelists, musicians and all the intellectuals hated this heartless world, which disturbed the development of the human personality.

The crisis in bourgeois culture was reflected in literature by the appearance of the two trends — progressive and regres­sive.

The representatives of the progressive trend continued the traditions of such writers as Dickens, Thackeray, the Brontes and others. They were: George Eliot, George Meredith1, Samuel Butler2 and Thomas Hardy3. These novelists showed in their books a realistic picture of contemporary society.

1 George Meredith ['mendiO] (1828 — 1909) — Джордж Мередит, англ. писатель

2 Samuel Butler (1835—1902) — Сэмюэл Батлер, англ. писатель

3Thomas Hardy ['tcrngs 'ha:di] (1840—1928) Томас Гарди, англ. писатель


Another writer who appeared on the literary scene in the 19th century was Lewis Carrol ['lu:is 'kaeral].

He gave his readers the most brilliant mixture: the greatest nonsense stories ever written, intellectual games with logic and words, private jokes and jokes on English society of the time.

1. What caused the appearance of the two trends of literature in the second
half of the 19th century?

  1. What traditions did the representatives of the progressive trend try to continue?

  2. Name the writers of the progressive trend.

  3. Who offered escape from the unattractiveness of everyday life into a romantic adventure world?

  4. What was the aim of the writers of the regressive trend?

  5. What brought about the trend known as decadence in literature?

  6. What theory did the decadent writers proclaim?

  1. Comment on the theory of "pure art".

  2. What thesis did one of the leaders of the aesthetic movement put forward?

  1. Who was one of the best-known English aestheticists?

  2. What kind of writer was Lewis Carroll?

Their greatest merit is a deep psychological analysis of the char­acters they portray, and a keen observation of their inner world. However, the criticism of these novelists is not so sharp as that of their predecessors.

Other writers could not find a way out of severe reality. Some of theme were influenced by all kinds of philosophical ideas, others put forward their own theories. For instance, Rudyard [ 'mijad] Kipling was influenced by the philosophy of the "right of the strong", Robert Louis Stevenson [Tu:is'sti:vnsn] and Joseph Conrad1 ['о^эиггГ kmraed] offered escape from the unattractiveness of everyday life into a ro­mantic adventure world.

The writers of the regressive trend by way of protest against severe reality tried to lead the reader away from life into the world of dreams and beauty. At the end of the century this reactionary theory found its expression in decadence. A decadent trend in literature first appeared in France at the end of the 19th century. The French word "decadence" means "decline" (of art or of literature).

The decadent writers rejected realism in art, they created their own cult of beauty and proclaimed the theory of "pure art". Their motto was "art for art's sake"2. The supporters of the theory were representatives of aestheticism. The aestheticists who belonged to this trend came to the wrong conclusion that art should not reflect reality but only give pleasure. They considered the beautiful form to be more important than the contents, the essence of the work of art. They denied the educational value of art and literature. In their opinion, art was isolated from life.

Aestheticists rejected both the social and the moral function of art. One of the leaders of the aesthetic movement put forward the thesis: "Art is indifferent to what is moral and what is immoral".

Aestheticists tried to lead the reader away from the problems of the day.

One of the best-known English aestheticists was Oscar Wilde ['oska' waild] who is regarded as the leader of the English aesthetic movement.


aesthetic [i:s'9etik] о эстетический

aestheticism [i:s'Getisizm] n эстетизм

aestheticist [i:s'9etisist] n эстет

contemporary [кэп Четрэгэп] о со­временный

contradiction [kDntra'dikfan] n проти­воречие

crisis ['kraisis] n кризис

decadence [ 'dekgdgns] n декадент­ство, упадничество

decline [di'klam] n упадок

deny [di'nai] v отрицать

disturb [dis't3:b] v мешать

escape [is'kerp] n уход

Questions and Tasks

essence ['esns] n сущность

function ['fXrjkJbn] n функция, назначение

inner ['пи] а внутренний

isolate ['aisaleit] v отделять

motto ['rrrotsu] n девиз

predecessor [ 'pri:disess] n предше­ственник

reflect [n'flekt] у отражать

severe [si'via] а суровый

thesis ['9i:sis] n (p/theses) тезис

trend [trend] n направление

unattractiveness [^m'traektivms] n не­привлекательность

witness ['witnss] v быть свидетелем

1 Joseph Conrad f ёзэияГ konraed] (1857 —1924) —Джозеф Конрад, англ. писатель

2 art for art's sake — искусство ради искусства




Lewis Carroll (1832-1898)

The real name of Lewis Carroll flu:is 'kaersl], the author of the Alice stories, was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. He was bom in Darisbury, England in 1832. He studied at Richmond and then at Rugby School. He graduated in Mathematics at Oxford in 1854 and he remained at the University as a lecturer until 1881.

Lewis Carroll

He received Holy Orders1 in 1861, but never became a priest. He never married and lived the rather secluded life of a bachelor within the University.

He corresponded widely and had many friends in the literary and academic world. Fascinated by logarithms and mathematical problems as a child, many of the riddles and un-solvable problems in Wonderland reflect his scientific interests.

Caroll always loved children. As a child himself, he engaged in complex games with animals, built a puppet theatre and wrote little plays for the benefit of his nine sisters and two brothers. As an adult, he enjoyed playing with children, going on trips with them and corresponding with children. His favourite child was Alice Liddell, the daughter of the Deap of his College, for whom he often invented stories and who became the model for Alice. ' And it all happened by chance.

One hot day in the summer of 18f)2 he, an adult friend, and three small sisters were going up Oxford's River Isis for a picnic. The youngest girl, Alice Diddel, was rjodgson's special love. She was bored on this trip. To keep her and others amused, Dodgson began a story.

"Alice was beginning to get very tjired of sitting by her sister l on the bank and of having nothing tq do: once or twice she had

peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pic­tures or conversations in it, "and what is the use of a book", thought Alice, "without pictures or conversations?"

He invented the rest as he went along. That night he wrote it down. Later he added to it. Two years after, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was published. It was the product of several after­noons of story-telling with the Liddell children.

Before anything else, the book is fun. It is full of delicious norP sense. But the nonsense appeal to the adult as much as to the child. Alice finds herself in Wonderland. She is confused. In a tree she sees the huge, grinning Cheshire1 Cat, and asks for help: "Cheshire Puss... Would you tell me please, which way I ought to go from here?"

"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to", said the Cat.

"I don't much care where...", said Alice.

"Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat.

"... so long as I get somewhere", Alice added.

"Oh, you are sure to do that", said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."

Caroll loved playing with words and ideas. In one section of Alice in Wonderland, the Mock Turtle2 is telling Alice what he studied at school.

"Reeling and Writing, of course, to begin with, and then the different branches of Arithmetic — Ambition, Distraction, Ugli-fication and Derision..." It was a school where they studied "Ten hours a day, nine the next and so on..."

Notice the names of the different subjects. In order they should be reading and writing, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, Carroll thought children at school learned only ambi­tion, distraction from the real world, uglification of themselves, and derision that comes with failure. Carroll's view of childhood is significant. To him it is a time of innocence when a child is protected and free from care.

1 Holy Orders — духовный сан

1 Cheshire ['tjefg] — графство Чешир

2 Mock Turtle — Фальшивая Черепаха



solution [s3'lu:Jbn] n решение subtraction [sab'trakjbn] n вычитание uglification [^Aglifi'keijan] n обезоб­раживание unaware ['Ans'wes] а незнающий unsolvable [ 'An'sDlv9bl] а неразре­шимый violence [ 'vaibns] n ярость, ожесто­ченность within [wi'dm] prep в writhe [rai6] v корчиться, извиваться

confuse [ksn'fjwz] v смущать dean [di:n] n преподаватель-воспита­тель delicious [di 'hjbs] а восхитительный,

очаровательный derision [di'rrpn] n высмеивание distraction [dis'traskjbn] n отвлечение,

растерянность division [di'vi33n] n деление encounter [m'kaunts] n встреча

The child lives happily unaware of its future. This is clearly said in the serious poem at the beginning of Through the Looking Glass.

Published in 1865 Alice's Adventures in Wonderland quickly became a classic. Critics, academics and intellectuals have often battled to understand the meaning of the story, searching for a single solution to the book, but the genius of Lewis Carroll is his ability to keep the reader guessing.

Certainly the story is far more than the witty and wonderful adventures of a little girl who falls down a rabbit hole into a strange, upside-down world. The book presents the themes of anger and alienation, of frustration and intolerance, malice and violence.

The story is absurd and plays on the absurdity of language and people to create the plot, which is really just a series of ab­surd encounters and adventures.

Lewis Carroll loved riddles, puns, unanswered questions and jokes that depend on the uses or misuses of certain words or expressions.

Nothing is certain in Wonderland except that nothing is what it seems to be. As Alice moves through this odd landscape, the reader becomes aware of the malign character of the world, where cruelty and uncertainty exist everywhere, and only Alice can really recog­nize the absurdity of it all.

Lewis Carrol plays with «reality, language and logic in ways that are both comic and frightening.

His most popular works are Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865), Alice through the Looking Glass (1872) and The Hunting intheSnark (1876).


absurd [3b's3:d] а нелепый, абсурдный absurdity [sb's3:diti] n нелепость, аб­сурдность addition [g'dijbn] n прибавление alienation LeiljVneifsn] n охлаждение ambition [«m'bijbn] n честолюбие appeal [э'рГЛ] v обращаться bachelor ['baetfota] n холостяк battle ['baetl] v бороться benefit ['benefit] n польза, благо

frustration [frAs'treifsn] л разочарование intolerance [m'tDlsrens] n нетерпимость logarithm ['1г>дэп9эт] п мат. логарифм malice ['maelis] n злость malign [тэ'1ат] а злобный multiplication [,mAltipli'keij3n] n умно­жение peep [pi:p] v заглядывать pun [рлп] п игра слов; каламбур reel [ri:l] v кружиться, вертеться secluded [si'klu:did] о уединенный

Questions and Tasks

  1. Relate the main facts of Lewis Carroll's life.

  2. How did Carroll's novel Alice's Adventures in Wonderland originate?

  3. Give a brief summary of the contents of the novel.

  4. What is the main idea of the book?

  5. What is Carroll's view of childhood?

  6. Comment on the language of the novel.

  7. What are the most popular works of Lewis Carroll?


Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy f tomas'haidi] is agreat representative of the late 19th century realism in England. He was born in Dor­setshire, a country in the south-west of England. He was the son of an architect. He attended grammar school and stud­ied architecture. His father's cottage was in a picturesque village. As a child Tho­mas danced to his father's music, wan­dered with his mother across the nearby heath, played the violin at weddings throughout the countryside. The beauty of the country and the peasant ways and thoughts gave rise to his imagination.



At the age of twenty-two Hardy left for London. Hard reading, the study and practice of architecture and the writing of poetry were his life there. In his twenty-seventh year he gave up living in London, turned to prose fiction and for his setting chose his own part of England.

In 1871 Hardy published his first novel Desperate Remedies. Shortly after the publication of his first novel, he gave up his architectural career and spent the next twenty-five years of his life writing a series of books that placed him high in the ranks of the English novelists. The best of them are those classified by the author as "novels of character and environment". They are: Under the Greenwood Tree (1872), Far from the Madding Crowd (1874), The Return of the Native (1878), The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), The Woodlanders (1887), Wessex Tales (1888), Tess of the D'Urbevilles [ 'd3:bavilz] (1891), Jude the Obscure (1896).

At first Hardy was called "a second-rate romanticist", his best novels were given a hostile reception by the public. At the end of his life he was regarded as one of the greatest figures in English literature. That is why he was buried in Westminster Abbey.

In his works he portrays all the evils of his contemporary society — poverty, exploitation, injustice and misery.

He conveys the idea that'people cannot be happy in the environment where true love and sincere friendship are ruined by the prejudices of narrow-minded people. Man is a victim of a blind chance and a mysterious, all-powerful fate, and so man's longing for happiness is doomed to disappointment. The optimism of his predecessors, with their belief in liberty and happiness gives place in Hardy's works to bitterness and despair.

Hardy's character is best reflected in his description of the country people and their patriarchal mode of life. His heroes are small people: farmers, schoolteachers, petty tradesmen, etc., and for them he has warm affection. Hardy's characters are unfor­gettable, indeed; particularly his women, because their fates are unforgettable.

Thomas Hardy began as a poet and continued writing poetry in the intervals of writing novels. His poetry is various in subject and form. There are poems on the Napoleonic wars, merry and tragic


ballads, little stories of bitter irony, sad beautiful love lyrics, philosophical poems in which the poet speaks of his thoughts concerning the destiny of man, life and death.

Hardy's largest poetic work is The Dynasts ['dmgsts] (1903 — 1908), a dramatic epic written in dialogue, partly verse, partly prose. It tells of the Napoleonic wars, of Napoleon's career from his invasion of England in 1804 to his defeat at Waterloo in 1815. His lyric poetry is simple, sharp and direct.

A Night in November

I marked when the weather changed, And the panes began to quake, And the winds rose up and ranged, That night, lying half-awake.

Dead leaves blew into my room, And alighted upon my bed, And a tree declared to the gloom Its sorrow that they were shed.

One leaf of them touched my hand, And I thought that it was you, There stood as you used to stand And saying at last you knew!

From 1896 until his death Hardy wrote only poetry. In spite of the opposition to his last novels, Hardy is one of the outstanding writers of his generation.


bitterness ['bitgnis] n горечь hostile ['rmstail] а враждебный

convey [ksn'vei] v выражать longing ['login] n сильное желание

destiny ['destini] n судьба mode ['maud] n образ

doom [du:m] v обрекать patriarchal [^peitn'rxkd] а патриар-

environment [m'vaiarsnmant] n окру- хальный

жающая обстановка рапе [pem] n оконное стекло

heath [hi:6] n пустошь petty ['peti] л мелкий


predecessor ['piidisesa] n предшествен­ник prejudice ['pred3udis] n предрассудок quake [kweik] v дрожать range [remcfe] v блуждать

reception [n'sepjan] n прием second-rate ['seksndreit] a второсор­тный setting fsetirj] n окружающая обстановка victim ['viktim] n жертва

Tess of the D'Urbevilles

It is Hardy's masterpiece. The novel shows the tragic fate of a poor girl. She struggles for happiness, but all the forces of her social environment are arranged against her and she perishes. Tess, the daughter of poor parents and a descendant of a proud and ancient family, is seduced by a young man Alec D'Urbelville.

A child is born but dies in infancy. Some years later when Tess is working as a milkmaid on a large dairy farm, she falls in love with a clergyman's son Angel Clare [ 'emdssl Ыеэ], who learns farming from her employer. On their wedding night Tess tells Angel about her past, and thereupon her husband leaves her.

After a brave fight against poverty and other evils, she is forced by the needs of her family into the protection of D'Urberville. When Angel Clare returns from Canada, he finds her living with Alec. In order to be free to join her husband Tess murders Alec. After a time she is arrested, tried and hanged. While reading the book, one can't help thinking that it is not Tess who is guilty of the crime, but society.

Thomas Hardy is angry at the ruin of Tess. He is against the judgement of society which proclaimed her a "fallen" woman. The rough and cruel judgement of society, acting on her through other people, wastes her youth, her beauty and her love. It drives her to misery and crime. Her husband, Angel Clare regards Tess as hopelessly spoiled. It is a cruel action on his part to leave her, the result of a false idea of purity.

The novel was called an immoral book, for in the title page Hardy calls Tess a pure woman. Indeed, in her heart she remains pure. Whatever happens to her, her spirit and love remain Clare's and unspoiled. Tess'sfaith and devotion, her strength in love, her sweetness make the reader share the author's pity for her sorrows.


purity ['pJTOntl] n непорочность regard [n'ga:d] v считать rough [глЛ а суровый seduce [si'dju:s] v соблазнить try [trai] v судить

dairy farm [ 'desnfaim] n молочная

ферма descendant [di'sendgnt] n потомок guilty [gilti] а виновный infancy ['mfansi] n младенчество judgement ['dVfemsnt] n осуждение

Questions and Tasks

  1. Give the main facts of Hardy's life.

  2. What was his first novel?

  3. Name his best novels classified by the author as 'novels of character and environment".

  4. What did Hardy portray in his works?

  5. Speak on the characters of his books.

  6. Characterize Hardy's poetry.

  7. Give a brief summary of the contents of Tess of the D'Urbevilles.

  8. What is the author's attitude towards the main character of the novel?

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)

Robert Louis Stevenson fsti:vnsn] was born in Edinburgh. His father was a civil engineer. The boy's health was poor, and later on he often spoke about it in his poems:

When I was sick and lay a-bed, I had two pillows at my head, And all my toys beside me lay To keep me happy all the day.

Robert Louis Stevenson

And sometimes for an hour or so I watched my leaden soldiers go, With different uniforms and drills, Among the bed-clothes, through the hills;



And sometimes sent my ships in fleets All up and down among the sheets; Or brought my trees and houses out, And planted cities all about.

I was the giant great and still That sits upon the pillow-hill, And sees before him, dale and plain, The pleasant Land of Counterpane.

The Land of Counterpane

Stevenson studied law and engineering at the University of Edinburgh, but never practised them. Since childhood he had dreamt of literary career. His life was a heroic struggle with a lung disease, and he spent much time abroad. Stevenson's last years of life passed in Samoa [ss'maua]. He loved the land and its oppressed people. When he died, he was carried to his grave by the natives who mourned for him as their friend and protector. A bronze tablet on his tomb bears the epitaph he wrote for him­self:


Under the wide and starry sky, Dig the grave and let me lie. Glad did I live and gladly die, And I laid me down with a will.

This be the verse you grave for me: Here he lies where he longed to be; Home is the sailor, home from sea, And the hunter home from the hill.

The charm of Stevenson's personality is reflected in his poems for children A Child's Garden of Verse (1885). These poems reveal a child's freshness, directness and naivety of thought. His other volumes of poetry are The Underwoods (1887), Ballads (1890) and Songs of Travels (1896).

Stevenson first won fame with the publication of a novel enti­tled Treasure Island. It was immediately popular with the public. Treasure Island was followed by the historical novels The Black Arrow (1888), Kidnapped (1886), and Catriona [кэ'Шэпэ] (1893). The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886) shows the battle of good and evil in man's heart. Stevenson is also the author of The Master of Ballantrae [ 'baebn 'trei] (1889), The Wrong Box (1889) and a number of mystery stories. At his death he was working on Weir [wia] ofHermiston. This unfinished novel is considered to be the best of Stevenson's whole work. Robert Louis Stevenson is generally referred to as a neo-romanticist. Neo-Romanticism was a trend in literature which came into being at the end of the 19th century. The writers of this literary trend turned to the past or described exotic travels and adventures.

Stevenson was attracted to the romance of adventure and freedom, of risky undertakings in lonely seas and exotic countries. He idealized the strong and brave men who went down to these lands in ships. In his novels Stevenson told his readers about life full of novelty, about high passions and thrilling sensations. He was a gifted and original writer. Stevenson considered art superior to life for art could create a new and better reality.


neo-romanticist [.пкэигэ maentisist] n нео­романтик novelty ['nnvalti] л новизна oppress [s'pres] v угнетать plain [plem] n равнина protector [pre'tekta] n защитник refer [пТз:] v упоминать reveal [n'vi:l] v показывать sheet |ji:t] n простыня superior [sjufpisna] а стоящий выше tablet ['taebht] n мемориальная доска undertaking [,And3'teikirj] n предприятие

civil ['sivil] a гражданский counterpane ['kauntapem] n покрыва­ло (на кровати) dale [deil] n поле

epitaph ['epita:f] n надгробная надпись exotic [ig'zDtik] а экзотический fleet [flit] n флотилия idealize [ai'dislaiz] v идеализировать leaden ['ledn] а свинцовый long [Ion] v стремиться naivety [na:'i:vti] n наивность mourn [mo:n] v оплакивать



Treasure Island

Treasure Island is the first of Stevenson's romances of adven­ture. This novel belongs to the class of books which are at once existing for boys and fascinating for adults. It is interesting for the reader by the romantic situations, fascinating events and the most exciting adventures of the characters.

Treasure Island is a story of a search for buried treasure. The hero of the novel is Jim Hawkins ['ho:kinz]. It is he who tells the reader about his adventures. At the Admiral Benbow Inn an old sailor leaves a chest with some papers. Among the papers there is the map of Treasure Island. From this very moment Jim's adven­tures begin. He and his friends, Doctor Livesey flrvsi] and Squire Trelawney [tn'b:ni] set out for the island. They outfit a ship, but there are some dangerous men in the crew. To make the matters worse, Long John Silver and his gang are also after the treasure. At the end of the story Jim returns home from the island with the treasure.


bury ['ben] v прятать gang [gaerj] n банда

chest [tfest] n ящик outfit ['autfit] v снаряжать

fascinating f faesmeitirj] а захватывающий search [s3:tf] n поиск

Questions and Tasks

  1. Give a brief account of Stevenson's life.

  2. Speak on Stevenson's poems.

  3. What novel brought him fame?

  4. What can you say about the plot of Treasure Island and its main characters?

  5. Name some other literary works of Stevenson.

  6. What literary trend does he belong to?

  7. What themes did the writers of Neo-Romanticism turn to?

  8. Who were the most popular heroes of Stevenson's novels?

  9. Speak of Stevenson's place in English literature.

Oscar Wilde (1856-1900)

Oscar Wilde [waild] was born in Dub­lin on October 16, 1856. His father was a famous Irish surgeon and his mother was a poetess. In his youth he was very much influenced by his mother, who was a highly educated woman. He received a very good education at Trinity College in Dublin and Oxford University. At school he was a brilliant pupil and later at Oxford he displayed considerable gifts in art and humanities. The young man received a number of classical prizes, and graduated with first-class honours. While at the University, under the influence of his teacher, the writer John Ruskin, Wilde joined the then young "aesthetic movement", which came into being as a protest against bourgeois hypocrisy, but later turned reactionary. The future writer became a most sincere supporter of this movement.

After graduating from the University, Wilde turned his atten­tion to writing, travelling and lecturing. The "aesthetic move­ment" became popular, and Oscar Wilde earned the reputation of being the leader of the movement and an apostle of beauty.

In 1881 he went to America to lecture on the "aesthetic move­ment" in England. His lecture tours were triumphantly success­ful. The next ten years saw the appearance of all his main works. In 1881 Oscar Wilde published his Poems. The beautiful fairy­tales The Happy Prince and Other Tales appeared in 1888, his only novel The Picture of Dorian Gray [ 'do:mn] (1891). Oscar Wilde won his fame as a dramatist. The most significant of his comedies are: Lady Windermere's Fan (1892); A Woman of No Importance (1899); An Ideal Husband (1895); The Importance of Being Earnest ['3:mst] (1895). Oscar Wilde's sparkling comedies of fashionable life still attract many theatre-goers. They reveal the selfishness, vanity and corruption of English higher society



in a playful manner. The plays are notable for their brilliant dia­logues, witty paradoxes and entertaining plots. Wilde also wrote poems, essays, reviews, political tracts, letters on every subjecthe con­sidered worthy of attention — history, drama, painting and others — some serious, some satirical. At home and abroad Wilde attracted the attention of his audience by the brilliance of his conversation, the scope of his knowledge, and the force of his personality.

At the height of his popular success tragedy struck. He was accused of immorality and sentenced to two years' imprisonment. In prison Oscar Wilde wrote his powerful poem The Ballad of Reading Gaol [' redin * cfceil] (1898). The hero of The Ballad of Read ing Gaol is a young man who has killed his unfaithful sweetheart. The ballad tells of cruelty, injustice, corruption. When released from prison Oscar Wilde went to France. He died in Paris on November 30, 1900 and is buried there.


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Английская и американская литература: Курс лекций для школьников старших классов и студентов / Тексты, примеч. Н. Л. Утевской. — СПб.: Учитель и ученик КОРОНА принт, 2002. — 384 с.

ISBN 5-7931-0176-4

Книга представляет собой лекции по программе, утвержденной для школ с углубленным изучением английского языка. Лекции включают краткий и емкий обзор различных литературных направлений, стилей, школ, а также жизнеописание и анализ творчества писателей и поэтов за последние де­сять веков. Пособие окажет неоценимую помощь учащимся и преподавате­лям школ и вузов, а также всем изучающим английский язык.


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