2021-03-12 11:20分类:自考专业 阅读:


Part One: English Literature


An Introduction to Old and Medieval English Literature


Beowulf, a typical example of Old English poetry, is regarded today as the national epic of the Anglo-Saxons.

The work that presented, for the first time in English literature, a comprehensive realistic picture of the medieval English society and created a whole gallery of vivid characters from all walks of life is likely Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales.

Chaucer was called the father of English poetry.


Chapter One:    The Renaissance Period


The Renaissance marks a transition from the medieval to the modern world. Generally, it refers to the period between the 14th and mid-17th centuries.

The Renaissance, which means rebirth or revival, is actually a movement stimulated by a series of historical events, such as the rediscovery of ancient Roman and Greek culturethe new discoveries in geography and astrologythe religious reformation and the economic expansion.

Humanism is the essence of Renaissance.

Elizabethan drama is the mainstream of the English Renaissance.


William Shakespeare is one of the most remarkable playwrights and poets the world has ever known.With his 38 plays,154 sonnets and 2 long poems,he has established his giant position in world literature.

Shakespeare's history plays are mainly written under the principle that national unity under a mighty and just sovereign is a necessity.

The successful romantic tragedy is Romeo and Juliet,which eulogizes the faithfulness of love and the spirit of pursuing happiness.The play,though a tragedy,is permeated with optimistic spirit.

The soliloquies in Shakespeare's plays filly reveal the inner conflict of his characters.

Sonnet 18 is one of the most beautiful sonnets written by Shakespeare.The theme of this poem is: A nice summer's day is usually transient,but the beauty in poetry can last forever.Thus Shakespeare has a faith in the permanence of poetry.


Chapter Two:    The Neoclassical Period


Neoclassical period is the one in English literature between the return of the Stuarts to the English throne   in 1660 and the full assertion of Romanticism which came with the publication of Lyrical Ballads by Wordsworth and Coleridge in 1798.

The eigthteenth-century England is also known as the Age of Enlightenment or the Age of Reason.


Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal is regarded as the best model of satire, not only of the period but also   in the whole English literary history.


Robinson Crusoe, an adventure story very much in the spirit of the time,is universally considered his masterpiece.

[简答]What are the features of Defoe's writings?

Defoe was a very good story-teller.He had a gift for organizing minute details in such a vivid way that his stories could be both credible and fascinating.His sentences are sometimes short, crisp and plain,and sometimes long and rambling,which leave on the reader an impression of casual narration.His language is smooth,easy,colloquial and mostly vernacular.There is nothing artificial in his language:it is common English at its best.



Fielding has been regarded by some as "Father of the English Novel",for his contribution to the establishment of the form of the modern novel.

Of all the 18th century novelists Fielding was the first to set out,both in theory and practice,to write specifically a"comic epic in prose",the first to give the modern novel its structure and style.

Tom Jones,the full tile being The History of Tom Jones,a Foundling,is generally considered Fielding's masterpiece.

Briefly discuss the features of Fielding's writing

Fielding's language is easy, unlaboured and familiar,but extremely vivid and vigorous.His sentences are always distinguished by logic and rhythm,and his structure carefully planned towards an inevitable ending.His works are   also noted for lively,dramatic dialogues and other theatrical devices such as suspense,coincidence and unexpectedness.


Chapter Three:    The Romantic Period



The Songs of Innocence is a lovely volume of poems,presenting a happy and innocent world,though not without its evils and sufferings.

His Songs of Experience paints a different world,a world of misery,poverty,disease,war and repression with a melancholy tone.

In his poem The Tyger”, William Blake expresses his perception of the “fearful symmetry” of the big cat.

The phrase “fearful symmetry” suggests the harmony of the two opposite aspects of God's creation.

Childhood is central to Blake's concern in the Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience,and this concern gives the two books a strong social and historical reference.

Blake's Marriage of Heaven and Hell marks his entry into maturity.


The poets Robert Southey,Wordsworth,Coleridge became known as the “Lake Poets”

William Wordsworth,a romantic poet,advocated the expression of the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings.


In “The Cloud”, Shelley created a Platonic symbol of the spirit of man,a force of beauty and regeneration.In "To a Skylark",the exultant song which suggests to the poet both celestial rapture and human limitation.

“If winter comes,can Spring be far behind?” is an epigrammatic line by Shelley.


4.Shelley's greatest achievement is his four-act poetic drama,Prometheus Unbound.It's based on the Greek mythology.


Austen's main literary concern is about human beings in their personal relationship.

The sentence “three or four families in a country village are the very thing to work on” can best reflect the writer's personal knowledge and range of writing.This writer is Jane Austen.

Pride and Prejudice mainly tells of the love story between a rich,proud young man Darcy and the beautiful and intelligent Elizabeth Bennet.


Chapter Four:    The Victorian Period


1.Chronologically the Victorian period roughly coincides with the reign of Queen Victoria who ruled over England from 1836 to1901.


Dickens' best-depicted characters are those innocent,virtuous,persecuted, helpless child characters such as Oliver Twist,Little Nell,David Copperfield and Little Dorrit; And he is also famous for the depiction of those horrible and grotesque characters like Fagin,Bill Sikes,and Quilp,and those broadly humorous or comical ones like Mr.Micawber,Sam Weller,and Mrs.Gamp.

Dickens' works are characterized by a mingling of humor and pathos.


Charlotte's works are famous for the depiction of the life of the middle-class working women.

The success of the novel Jane Eyre is due to its introduction of the first governess heroine to the English novel.


1.Hardy's novels are all Victorian in date.Most of them are set in Wessex,the fictional primitive and crude rural region which is really the home place he both loves and hates.


Chapter Five:    The Modern Period


1. Modernism rose out of skepticism and disillusion of capitalism. 2.James Joyce is the most outstanding stream-of-consciousness novelist. 一、乔治·萧伯纳

With great efforts,Shaw wrote five novels in all.The best known is Cashel Byron's Profession.《卡歇尔 拜伦的职业》

Shaw's career as a dramatist began in 1892,when his first play Widowers Houses was put on by the Independent Theater Society.

Widowers 'House is a grotesquely realistic exposure of slum landlordism.

George Bernard Shaw's play,Mrs.Warren's Profession is a grotesquely realistic exposure of the economic oppression of women.


The Waste land, Eliot's most important single poem,has been hailed as a landmark and a model of the 20th century English poetry,comparable to Wordsworth's lyrical Ballads.

The Hollow Men,which bears a strong thematic resemblance to The Waste Land is generally regarded as the darkest of Eliot's poems.

The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock is Eliot's most striking early achievement.It presents the meditation of an aging young man over the business of proposing marriage.



The Rainbow is a story about the three generations of the Brangwen family on the Mash farm.

As a matter of fact,it is the first time for Lawrence to make a conscious attempt to combine social criticism with psychological exploration in his novel writing.

Lawrence's poems fall roughly into three categories---satirical and comic poems, poems about human relationships and emotions,and poems about nature.

In Sons and Lovers,D.H.Lawrence presented Paul as a sensitive man and artist.

The story starting with the marriage of Paul's parents Walter Morel and Mrs.Morel must be D.H.Lawrence's

Sons and Lovers.



Part Two: American Literature


Chapter One:    The Romantic Period


1.The Romantic Period,one of the most important periods in the history of American literature,stretches from   the end of the 18th century to the outbreak of the Civil War.It started with the publication of Washington lrving's The Sketch Book and ended with Whitman's Leaves of Grass.


Nathaniel Hawthorne held an unceasing interest in the interior of the heartof human being.So in almost every book he wrote,Hawthorne discusses sin and evil.

In Young Goodman Brown by Hawthorne,the name of Goodman Brown's wife is Faith,which also contains many symbolic meanings.

In his novel The Scarlet Letter,Hawthorne intended to reveal the human psyche after they sinned,so as to   show people the tension between society and individual.

The American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne is known for his"black vision”.The term"black visionrefers to Hawthorne's belief that all men are by nature evil.


Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass established him as the most popular American poet of the 19th century.

The theme of Song of Myself by Whitman reflects the author's belief in the singularity and equality of all beings in value.


In Moby-Dick,the white whale symbolizes nature for Melville,for it is also complex, unfathomable, malignant, though beautiful.

Moby-Dick is regarded as the first American prose epic


Chapter Two:    The Realistic Period


1.Realism was a reaction against Romanticism or a move away from the bias towards romance and self-creating fictions,and paved the way to Modernism.


Mark Twain is a great literary giant of America,whom Mencken considered “the true father of our national literature”.

Hemingway once described Mark Twain's novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn the one book from which “all modern American literature comes”

[论述]Take Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as an example to illustrate the statement that Mark Twain was a unique writer in American literature.

Mark Twain shaped the world's view of America and made an extensive combination of American folk


humor and serious literature.

The novel has become a great contribution to the legacy of American literature.

The novel is written in a language that is totally different from the rhetorical language used by Mark Twain's contemporary writers such as Emerson,Poe and Melville.It is simple, direct,lucid and faithful to the colloquial speech.This style of colloquialism is best described as "vernacular"

He successfully used local color and historical settings to illustrate and shed light on the contemporary society.That's why he is known as a local colorist.

Mark Twain's humor is remarkable,too.Most of his works tend to be funny,containing some practical jokes,comic details,witty remarks,etc.Some of them are typically tall tales. And a great deal of his humor is characterized by puns, straight-faced exaggeration, repetition, and anti-climax. He uses his humor to criticize the social injustice and satirize the decayed romanticism.


Henry James was the first American writer to conceive his career in international terms.

Henry James is generally regarded as the forerunner of the 20th centurystream-of-consciousnessnovels and the founder of psychological realism.

In his realistic fiction,Henry James's primary concern is to present the inner life of human beings.


Emily Dickinson remained unmarried all her life.She wrote 1,775 poems,and only seven had appeared during her life.Her poems have no titles,hence are always quoted by their first lines.Her limited private world has ever confined the limitless power of her creativity and imagination.

Perhaps Dickinson's greatest rendering of the moment of death is to be found in "I heard a Fly buzz-when I died-,"poem universally considered one of her masterpieces.


With the publication of Sister Carrie,Dreiser was launching himself upon a long career that would ultimately make him one of the most significant American writers of the school later known as literary naturalism.

An American Tragedy proves to be his greatest work and by entitling this book with such a name,Dreiser intended to tell us that it is the social pressure that makes Clyde's downfall inevitable.Clyde's tragedy is a tragedy that depends upon the American social system which encouraged people to pursue the "dream of successat all costs.


Chapter Three:    The Modern Period



Frost's first collection A Boy's Will,whose lyrics trace a boy's development from self-centered idealism to maturity is marked by an intense but restrained emotion and the characteristic flavor of New England life.

North of Boston is described by the author as “a book of people”, which shows a brilliant insight into New England character and the background that formed it.

In The Road Not Taken,Robert Frost compares life to a journey,and he is doubtful whether he will regret his choice or not when he is old,because the choice has made all the difference.

What are the characteristics of Robert Frost's poetry?

By using simple spoken language and conversational, rhythms, Frost achieved an effortless grace in his style.

He combined traditional verse forms-the sonnet, rhyming couplets, blank verse--with a clear American local speech rhythm, the speech of New England farmers with its idiosyncratic diction and syntax.

In verse form he was assorted; he wrote in a form that borrows freely from the merits of both, in a form that might be called semi-free or semi-conventional.



1.F.Scott Fitzgerald is often acclaimed literary spokesman of the Jazz Age


Hemingway's “Indian Camp” is one of the fourteen short stories collected under the title of In our Time.This title is very ironic because there is no peace at all in the stories.

In our Time is the first book to present a Hemingway hero-Nick Adams.

The Sun Also Rises is Hemingway's first true novel.It casts light on a whole generation after the First World War and the effects of the war by way of a vivid portrait of “The lost Generation”.

Hemingway's second big success is A Farewell to Arms,which wrote the epitaph to a decade and to the whole generation in the 1920s in telling us a history about the tragic love affair of a wounded American soldier with a British nurse.

For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea tell more about the later Hemingway.

For Whom the Bell Tolls clearly represents a new beginning in Hemingway's career as a   writer,which concerns a volunteer American guerrilla Robert Jordan fighting in the Spanish Civil War.

[简答]How do you understand Hemingway's “Iceberg principle” according to his works?

Hemingway once said, “The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water.”

According to Hemingway,good literary writing should be able to make readers feel the emotion of the character directly and the best way to produce the effect is to set down exactly every particular kind of feeling without any authorial comments,without conventionally emotive language,and with a bare minimum of adjectives and adverbs.


Almost all Faulkner's heroes turned out to be tragic because most of them were prisoners of the past.

Emily Grierson has a distorted personality;she is physically deformed and paralyzedshe is the symbol of the old values of the south.

In 1950,Faulkner was awarded the Nobel Prize for the anti-racist Intruder in the Dust

Most of Faulkner's works are set in the American South,with his emphasis on the Southern subjects and consciousness.

简 答 ]Symbolism is an important literary practice in literature and it has been widely used by many American writers.Discus the way symbolism is used in Faulkner's story A Rose for Emily

Rose,as a symbol of love,may refer to the love between Emily and the Northerner,yet used rather ironically,in the way it is associated with decay and death in the story.

Rose could also stand for the pity,sympathy,or the lament “we” shows for Emily.

The pity and lament goes not only to Emily but all those who are imprisoned in the past and fail to adapt to   the change.