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Outlines of English and American Literature|
by Long, William J.
| The most remarkable feature of the Elizabethan age was its
patriotic enthusiasm. This enthusiasm found its best expression on
the stage, in the portrayal of life in vigorous action; and dramas
were produced in such number and of such quality that the whole
period is sometimes called the age of the play. It was a time of
poetry rather than of prose, and nearly all of the poetry is
characterized by its emotional quality, by youthful freshness of
feeling, by quickened imagination, and by an extravagance of
language which overflows, even in Shakespeare, in a kind of
Our study of the literature of the age includes: (1) The outburst
of lyric poetry. (2) The life and works of Spenser, second in time
of the great English poets. (3) A review of the long history of the
drama, from the earliest church spectacle, through miracle,
morality, interlude, pageant and masque to the Elizabethan drama.
(4) The immediate forerunners of Shakespeare, of whom the most
notable was Marlowe. (5) The life and work of Shakespeare. (6) Ben
Jonson, the successors of Shakespeare, and the rapid decline of the
drama. (7) Elizabethan prose; the appearance of euphuism; Sidney's
Apologie for Poetrie; the Authorized Version of the
Scriptures; and the life and work of Francis Bacon.
Selections for Reading
Selected lyrics in Manly, English Poetry;
Newcomer, Twelve Centuries of English Poetry and Prose; Palgrave,
Golden Treasury; Schilling, Elizabethan Lyrics; Ward, English
Spenser. Selected poems in Temple Classics, Cambridge Poets
Series. Selections from The Faery Queen in Standard English
Classics and other school editions. (See Texts, in General
Early Drama. A miracle play, such as Noah, may be read in
Manly, Specimens of Pre-Shakespearean Drama (Ginn and Company).
Marlowe's plays in Everyman's Library; his Edward II in Holt's
English Readings; his Faustus in Temple Dramatists, and in Mermaid
Shakespeare. Several editions of Shakespeare's plays, such
as the revised Hudson (Ginn and Company) and the Neilson (Scott)
are available. Single plays, such as Julius Caesar, Merchant of
Venice, Macbeth, As You Like It, are edited for class use in
Standard English Classics, Lake Classics, and various other school
series. The Sonnets in Athenĉum Press Series.
Ben Jonson. The Alchemist in Cambridge Poets Series; also in
Thayer, Best Elizabethan Plays (Ginn and Company), which includes
in one volume plays by Marlowe, Jonson, Webster, Beaumont and
Prose Writers. Selections from Bacon's Essays in Riverside
Literature, or Maynard's English Classkcs. The Essays complete in
Everyman's Library. Selections from Hooker, Sidney and Lyly in
Manly, English Prose, or Craik, English Prose. Ampler selections in
Garnett, English Prose from Elizabeth to Victoria (Ginn and
Company), which contains in one volume typical works of 33 prose
writers from Lyly to Carlyle. Hakluyt's Voyages in Everyman's