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


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Questions and Tasks

  1. Thanks to what work is Chaucer's name best remembered?

  2. Describe the framework of the Canterbury Tales.

  3. Speak on the characters'of the Canterbury Tales as typical representatives of their time.

  4. Speak on the subject and form of the tales.

  5. Comment on the state of the English language at the beginning of the 14th century and Chaucer's contribution to the development of the English language.

  6. Speak on Chaucer's place in English literature.

English Literature in the 15th Century


The death of Chaucer was a great blow to English poetry. It took two centuries to produce a poet equal to him. The Hundred Years' War ended, but another misfortune befell the country: a feudal war broke out between the descendants of Edward III in the 15th century.

When the English were completely driven out of France by 1453, the Yorkists took up arms against the Lancastrians, and in 1455 the Wars of the Roses began.

It was a feudal war between the big barons of the House of Lancas­ter, wishing to continue the war with France and to seize the lands of other people thus increasing their land possessions and the lesser barons and merchants of the House of York, who wished to give up fighting in France as it was too expensive for them (The Yorkists had a white rose in their coat of arms, hence the name of the war).

When the Wars of the Roses ended in 1485 Henry VII was pro­claimed King of England. The reign of the Tudors was the begin­ning of an absolute monarchy in England, and at the same time it helped to do away with feudal fighting once and for all.



befall [bf foil] vjbefell; befallen) случаться lesser ['lesa] а мелкий

coat of arms ['ksutav'aimz] n герб proclaim [pra'kleim] vобъявлять; про-

descendant [di'sendsnt] n потомок возглашать

Lancastrian [laen'kEestnan] n сторон- Yorkist ['p:kist] n сторонник Йоркской

ник Ланкастерской династии династии

Questions and Tasks

  1. What misfortune befell England in the 15th century?

  2. When did the Wars of the Roses begin?

  3. Talk about the reasons for the war.

  4. When did the war end?

  5. Who was proclaimed King of England?

  6. What was the reign of the Tudors for England?

Folk-Songs and Ballads

Though there was hardly any written literature in England in the 15th century, folk poetry flourished in England and Scot­land. Folk-songs were heard everywhere. Songs were made up for every occasion. There were harvest songs, mowing songs, spin­ning and weaving songs, etc.

The best of folk poetry were the ballads. A ballad is a short narrative in verse with the refrain following each stanza. The re­frain was always one and the same. Ballads were often accompa­nied by musical instruments and dancing. They became the most popular form of amusement. Some ballads could be performed by several people because they consisted of dialogues.

There were various kinds of ballads: historical, legendary, fan­tastical, lyrical and humorous. The ballads passed from genera­tion to generation through the centuries — that's why there are several versions of the same ballads. So about 305 ballads have more than a thousand versions.

The most popular ballads were those about Robin Hood.

The art of printing did not stop the development of folk-songs and ballads. They continued to appear till the 18th century when


they were collected and printed. The common people of Eng­land expressed their feelings in popular ballads.


flourish ['АлпГ] v процветать refrain [n'frem] n припев

generation [^djem'reijbn] n поколение stanza ['staenza] n строфа

narrative ['naeretrv] n повествование version ['v3:Jsn] п вариант

occasion [э'кегзэп] п случай

Questions and Tasks

  1. What poetry flourished in England in the 15th century?

  2. What kind of songs were there?

  3. What was the best of folk poetry?

  4. What is a ballad?

  5. Why could some ballads be performed by several people?

  6. What kinds of ballads were there?

  7. Explain why there are several versions of the same ballads.

  8. What were the most popular ballads?

The Robin Hood Ballads

England's favourite hero, Robin Hood, is a partly legendary, partly historical character. The old ballads about the famous out­law say that he lived in about the second half of the 12th century, in the times of King Henry II and his son Richard the Lion-Heart. Society in those days was mainly divided into lords and peasants. Since the battle of Hastings (1066) the Saxons had been op­pressed by the Normans. In those days many of the big castles belonged to robber-barons who ill-treated the people, stole chil­dren, took away the cattle. If the country-folk resisted, they were either killed by the barons or driven away, and their homes were destroyed. They had no choice but to go out in bands and hide in the woods; then they were declared "outlaws" (outside the pro­tection of the law).

The forest abounded in game of all kinds. The Saxons were good hunters and skilled archers. But in the reign of Henry II the


numerous herds of deer were proclaimed "the king's deer" and the forests "the king's forests". Hunting was prohibited. A poor man was cruelly punished for killing one of those royal animals. This was the England of Robin Hood about whom there are some fifty or more ballads.

Robin Hood

Robin Hood is a brave outlaw. In Sherwood Forest near Not­tingham there was a large band of outlaws led by Robin Hood. He came from a family of Saxon land owners, whose land had been seized by a Norman baron. Robin Hood took with him all his family and went to the forest. The ballads of Robin Hood tell us of his

adventures in the forest as an outlaw. Many Saxons joined him there. They were called "the merry men of Robin Hood".

Robin Hood was strong, brave and clever. He was much cle­verer, wittier and nobler than any nobleman. He was the first in all competitions. Robin Hood was portrayed as a tireless enemy of the Norman oppressors, a favourite of the country folk, a real cham­pion of the poor. He was generous and tender-hearted and he was always ready to respond to anybody's call for help. His worst ene­mies were the Sheriff of Nottingham, the bishop and greedy monks. He always escaped any trouble and took revenge on his enemies. Robin Hood was a man of a merry joke and kind heart.

The ballads tell us of Robin Hood's friends — of Little John who was ironically called "little" for being very tall; of thejolly fat Friar Tuck who skilfully used his stick in the battle. Their hatred for the cruel oppressors united them and they led a merry and free life in Sherwood Forest.

The ballads of Robin Hood gained great popularity in the sec­ond half of the 14th century when the peasants struggled against their masters and oppressors. The ballads played an important role in the development of English poetry up to the 20th century. They became so popular that the names of their authors were forgotten.


mainly ['memli] adv главным образом

outlaw ['autlo:] n изгнанник

proclaim [pre'kleim] v объявлять; про­возглашать

prohibit [prs'hibit] v запрещать

resist [n'zist] v сопротивляться

respond [ns'ptmd] v отозваться

revenge [rf vend^] n месть take revenge отомстить

tender-hearted ['tendg'haitid] а доб­рый; отзывчивый

abound [a'baund] v
изобиловать archer ['aitja] n стрелок из лука avoid [s'void] v избегать band [baend] n отряд, группа crude [kra:d] а грубый gain [gem] v добиться game [geim] n дичь generous ['gemras] а великодушный herd [h.3:d] n стадо ill-treat ['il'tiit] v дурно, жестоко об­ращаться jolly ['<%d!i] а веселый



Questions and Tasks

  1. What did the old ballads say about the time Robin Hood lived?

  2. Describe the conditions of the Saxons after the Norman Conquest.

  3. What family did Robin Hood come from?

  4. What kind of man was he?

  5. Who were his worst enemies?

  6. Who were his friends?

  7. How was Robin Hood portrayed in the ballads?

  8. When did the ballads of Robin Hood gain great popularity?

! English Literature

I in the 16th Century

Henry VII was proclaimed King of England after the Wars of the Roses ended. Most of the great earls had killed one another in these wars and Henry VII was able to seize their lands without difficulty and give them to those who had helped him to fight for the Crown.

Thousands of small landowners appeared in England. They called themselves "squires". The squires let part of their estates to farmers who paid rent for the use of this land. The farmers, in their turn, hired labourers to till the soil and tend the sheep. The peasants in the villages had land and pastures in common.

By the reign of Henry VIII (son of Henry VII) trade had expand­ed. Trading companies sprang up and ships were built fitted to cross the ocean.

The English bourgeoisie strove for independence from other countries. The independence of a country is associated with the struggle for freedom. The Catholic Church was the chief obsta­cle and England rebelled against the Pope of Rome. Henry VIII made himself head of the English Church and took away monas­tic wealth (the lands and money that belonged to the monaster­ies), giving it to those of the bourgeoisie who sat in Parliament.


Questions and Tasks

  1. Who was proclaimed King of England after the Wars of the Roses?

  2. Describe the situation in England after the war.

  3. What did the English bourgeoisie strive for?

  4. What was the chief obstacle?

  5. Did the Church in England become part of the state?

  6. What was it called?

  7. What country was England's rival?

  8. When did England inflict a defeat on the Spanish Invincible Armada?

  9. Speak about the situation in England after the war with Spain.


The word "renaissance" [гэ 'neisans] means "rebirth" in French and was used to denote a phase in the cultural development of Europe between the 14th and 17th centuries. The Middle Ages were followed by a more progressive period due to numerous events. The bourgeoisie appeared as a new class. Italy was the first bourgeois country in Europe in the 14th century.

The Pope resisted England's strug­gle for independence, but the Church in England became part of the state. It was called the Angli­can Church.

Elizabeth I

All the progressive elements now gathered around Queen Elizabeth (1558-1603). Even Parliament helped to establish an absolute monarchy in order to concentrate all its forces in defence of the coun­try's economic interests against Spain, as Spain and England were rivals. Soon war between Spain and England broke out. Though the Spanish fleet was called the "Invin­cible Armada" ("invincible" means "unconquerable"), their ships were not built for sea battles, while the English vessels were capable of fighting under sail. The Armada was thoroughly beaten and dreadful storm overtook tke fleet and destroyed almost all ships.

But in England all was joy and happiness. This was in 1588. Victory over the most dangerous political rival consolidated Great Britain's might on the seas and in world trade. Numerous English ships under admirals Drake, Hawkings and others sailed the seas, visited America and other countries, bringing from them great fortunes that enriched and strengthened the Crown.

At the same time 16th century witnessed great contradic­tions between the wealth of the ruling class and the poverty of the people.

New social and economic conditions brought about great changes in the development of science and art. Together with the development of bourgeois relationship and formation of the Eng­lish national state this period is marked by a flourishing of national culture known in history as the Renaissance.


associate [s'sgufieit] v ассоциировать

chief [tjl:f] о главный

common ['кглпэп] п общинная земля

consolidate [ksn'sulideit] v укреплять

contradiction [^knntra'dikfsn] n проти­воречие .

crown [kraun] n монарх

earl [з:1] п граф

estate [is'teit] n поместье

expand [iks'psend] v развиваться, рас­ширяться

fit [fit] v соответствовать

hire [haia] v нанимать

independence [,mdi'pendsns] n неза­висимость

inflict [m'flikt] у наносить

invincible [m'vmsabl] а непобедимый

might [mait] n мощь

monastic [mg'nasstik] а монастырский

obstacle ['nbstskl] n препятствие

pope [рэир] п папа римский

rebel [n'bel] v восставать

renaissance [ra'neissns] n эпоха Воз­рождения

rent [rent] л арендная плата

rival ['rarvsl] n соперник

spring [spnrj] v (sprang; sprung) возникать

strive [strarv] v (strove; striven) бороться

strove [straw] v past от strive

tend [tend] v пасти

thoroughly ['влгек] adv совершенно

witness [ 'witngs] v быть свидетелем; видеть



Columbus [ka'lAmbas] discovered America. Vasco da Gama [ 'vseskau da 'grxma] reached the coast of India making his sea voyage. Magellan [mag'ebn] went round the earth. The world appeared in a new light.

The Copemican [кэи'рз:шкэп] system of astronomy shattered the power of the Catholic Church, and the Protestant Church was set up. Printing was invented in Germany in the 15th centu­ry. Schools and universities were established in many Europe­an countries. Great men appeared in art, science and litera­ture.

In art and literature the time between the 14th and 17th cen­turies was called the Renaissance. It was the rebirth of ancient Greek and Roman art and literature. Ancient culture attracted new writers and artists because it was full of joy of life and glori­fied the beauty of man.

The writers and learned men of the Renaissance turned against feudalism and roused in men a wish to know more about the true nature of things in the world. They were called humanists. Man was placed in the centre of life. He was no longer an evil being. He had a right to live, enjoy himself and be happy on earth.

The humanists were greatly interested in the sciences, es­pecially in natural scierrce, based on experiment and investi­gation.

These new ideas first appeared in Italy, then in France and Germany, and shortly afterwards in England and Spain.

The Italian painters and sculptors Raphael [ 'rasfeial], Leonardo da Vinci [Ira'ncudauda'vmtjl:] and Michelangelo ['maikal 'aendjdau] glorified the beauty of man. The Italian poets Dante [ 'daenti], Petrarch [рэ 'tra;k| and the Italian writer Boccaccio [bt> 'kaljiau], the French writer Rabelias [ 'raebalei], the Spanish writer Cervan­tes [s3:'vaentiz], and the English writer Thomas More and the poet Shakespeare helped people to fight for freedom and better fu­ture.

The renaissance was the greatest progressive revolution that mankind had so far experienced. It was a time which called for giants and produced giants — giants in power, thought, passion, character, in universality and learning. There was hardly any

man of importance who had not travelled extensively, who did not speak four or five languages.

Indeed, Leonardo da Vinci was a painter, sculptor, architect, mathematician and engineer. Michelangelo was a sculptor, painter and poet. Machiavelli [ 'тжкю' veil] was a statesman, poet and histo­rian.

The wave of progress reached England in the 16th century. Many learned men from other countries, for, instance the Ger­man painter Holbein, and some Italian and French musicians, went to England. In literature England had her own men. One of them was the humanist Thomas More, the first English humanist of the Renaissance.


learned ['b:nid] о ученый

phase [feiz] n период

rouse [rauz] v возбуждать

shatter ['Jaets] v подрывать

statesman ['steitsman] n государствен­ный деятель

universality [Ju:niV3:'sashti] n универ­сальность

denote [di'nsut] v обозначать experience [iks 'pionans] v испыты­вать, переживать extensively [iks'tensrvh] adv повсюду giant [tfjaignt] n гигант glorify ['gto:nfai] v прославлять investigation [mvesti'geijbn] n рассле­дование

Questions and Tasks

  1. What does the word "renaissance" mean?

  2. Talk about the great events that gave rise to the movement.

  1. What were the different views regarding man in the Middle Ages and during the epoch of the Renaissance?

  1. Who were the humanists?

  2. In what country did the Renaissance start first?

  3. What do you know about the Renaissance in Italy?

  4. When did the wave of progress reach England?



Thomas More


Sir Thomas More [ 'tomas mo:] was born in London and educated at Oxford. He was the first English humanist of the Renaissance. He could write Latin very well. He be­gan life as a lawyer. He was an ac­tive-minded man and kept a keen eye1 on the events of his time. Soon he became the first great writer on social and political subjects in Eng­lish. The English writings of Thomas More include: discussions on politi­cal subjects, biographies, poetry.

Thomas More was a Catholic, but fought against the Pope and the king's absolute power. The priests hated him because of his poetry and discussions on political subjects. Thomas More refused to obey the king as the head of the English Church, therefore he was thrown into the Tower of London and beheaded there as a traitor.

The work by which Themas More is best remembered today is Utopia [ju: Чэирю] which was written in Latin in the year 1516. It has been translated into all European languages.

Utopia (which in Greek means "nowhere") is the name of a non-existent island. This work is divided into two books.

In the first, the author gives a profound and truthful picture of the people's sufferings and points out the social evils existing in Eng­land at that time. In the second book Thomas More presents his ideal of what future society should be like. It is an ideal republic. Its government is elected. Everybody works. All schooling is free. Man must be healthy and wise, but not rich. Utopia describes a perfect social system built on communist principles. The word "utopia" has become a byword and is used in modern English to denote an unat­tainable ideal, usually in social and political matters.

1 kept a keen eye — пристально следил 50


active-minded f'aektiv'mamdid] оэнер- obey [a'bei] v подчиняться

гичный, деятельный profound ['ra'faund] а глубокий

behead [bi'hed] v обезглавливать; каз- traitor f'treita] n предатель

нить unattainable ['лпэЧетпэЫ] о недости-

byword ['baiW3:d] n крылатое слово жимый

composition [_котрэ'гг/эп] п построение

Questions and Tasks

  1. Who was the first English humanist of the Renaissance?

  2. When did Thomas More live?

  3. What kind of man was he?

  4. What did the English writings of Thomas More include?

  5. Comment on the composition of his best work Utopia.

  6. What was More's idea of what future society should be like?

  7. What did Thomas Moore fight against?

  8. Why was Moore thrown into the Tower of London and beheaded?


During the Renaissance art and literature developed. People liked to sing and act. Drama became a very popular genre of literature. The Renaissance dramas differed greatly from the first plays written in the Middle Ages. As in Greece drama in England was in its beginning a religious thing. The clergymen began playing some parts of Christ's life in the church. The oldest plays in England were the "Mysteries" and "Miracles" which were performed on religious holidays. These were stories about saints and had many choral elements in them.

Gradually ceremonies developed into performances. They passed from the stage in the church to the stage in the street. At the end of the 14th century the "Mysteries" gave way to the "Morality" plays. The plays were meant to teach people a moral lesson. The characters in them were abstract vices and virtues.

Between the acts of the "Morality" and "Miracle plays" there were introduced short plays called "interludes" ['intaluxlz] — light


Actors showing a performance outside a country inn

compositions intended to make people laugh. They were performed in the houses of the more intelligent people.

Longer plays in which shepherds and shepherdesses took part were called "Masques" [ 'ma:sks]. These dramatic performances with music were very pleasing and were played till the end of the

17th century.

Soonthe plays became complicated. Professional actors travelled from town to town performing in inn yards. The first playhouse in London was built in 1576. It was called "The Theatre". A more fa­mous theatre was the "Globe", built in 1599. It was like the old inn yard open to the sky. Galleries and boxes were placed round the yard. The stage was in the middle of it. There was no scenery. The place of action was written on a placard, e. g., a palace, Lon­don, etc. There was no curtain, either. The actors stood in the middle of the audience on the stage. Women's parts were acted by boys or men.

Drama from its very beginning was divided into comedy and tragedy. The first English tragedies and comedies were per­formed in London in about 1550.

In the 16th century a number of plays were written in imita­tion of Ancient Roman tragedies and comedies. There was little action on the stage. The chorus summed up the situation and also gave moral observations at the end of each act. Such plays were called classical dramas. The greatest playwrights of the time were men of academic learning, the so-called "University Wits".

Among the "University Wits" were John Lyly1, Thomas Kyd2, Christopher Marlowe and others. Each of them contributed something to the development of the drama into the forms in which Shakespeare was to take it up.


masque [ma:sk] л маска

miracle fmirakl] л чудо

mystery ['mistsn] л тайна

observation [^пЬгэ'ует/эп] л наблюде­ние

placard ['plsekard] n афиша; плакат

scenery ['si:ngn] л декорации

shepherdess ['Jepsdis] л пастушка

sum (up) [saiti] v подводить итог, сум­мировать

vice [vais] л зло

virtue ['v3:tju:] л добродетель

box ['bnks] n ложа ceremony ['senmsni] л церемония; тор­жество choral ['кэ:гэ1] а хоровой chorus ['ko:rgs] n хор complicated ['ktmrplikeitid] о сложный gallery ['дэе1эп] л балкон, галерея genre [за:пг] л жанр gradually ['grsedjrali] л постепенно intend [m'tend] л предназначать interlude ['mtaluxl] л интерлюдия introduce [mtre'djiKs] л вставлять, по­мещать

Questions and Tasks

  1. What became a very popular genre of literature during the Renaissance?

  2. Describe the Renaissance dramas.

  3. What were the oldest plays in England?

  4. When did the "Mysteries" give way to "Morality" plays?

  5. What plays were called "Masques"?

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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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