A History of English Literature by Robert Huntington Fletcher

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By Robert Huntington Fletcher

Jonathan fast, one other exact determine of very combined characteristics, is like Defoe in that he connects the reign of William III with that of his successors and that, in keeping with the spirit of his age, he wrote for the main half now not for literary yet for functional reasons; in lots of different respects the 2 are greatly assorted. fast is among the most sensible representatives in English literature of sheer highbrow energy, yet his personality, his goals, his atmosphere, and the conditions of his existence denied to him additionally literary success of the best everlasting value.

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THE MORALITY PLAYS. The Mystery Plays seem to have reached their greatest popularity in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. In the dawning light of the Renaissance and the modern spirit they gradually waned, though in exceptional places and in special revivals they did not altogether cease to be given until the seventeenth century. On the Continent of Europe, indeed, they still survive, after a fashion, in a single somewhat modernized form, the celebrated Passion Play of Oberammergau. In England by the end of the fifteenth century they had been for the most part replaced by a kindred species which had long been growing up beside them, namely the Morality Plays.

THE MEDIEVAL DRAMA 37 A History of English Literature the Prophets, also foretelling Christ; the main events of the Gospel story, with some additions from Christian tradition; and the Day of Judgment. The longest cycle now known, that at York, contained, when fully developed, fifty plays, or perhaps even more. Generally each play was presented by a single guild (though sometimes two or three guilds or two or three plays might be combined), and sometimes, though not always, there was a special fitness in the assignment, as when the watermen gave the play of Noah's Ark or the bakers that of the Last Supper.

THE END OF THE MIDDLE AGES. ABOUT 1350 TO ABOUT 1500 29 A History of English Literature dominant literary form, he too would have been a dramatist. 6. As a descriptive poet (of things as well as persons) he displays equal skill. Whatever his scenes or objects, he sees them with perfect clearness and brings them in full life−likeness before the reader's eyes, sometimes even with the minuteness of a nineteenth century novelist. And no one understands more thoroughly the art of conveying the general impression with perfect sureness, with a foreground where a few characteristic details stand out in picturesque and telling clearness.

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