Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Age of Pope Viva

Q. 1. Whom do you consider the literary Titan of this age?
Ans. In this age the supreme master is Pope. Apart from him the age produced no great poet. On the other hand, the other great names of the period—Swift, Addison, Steele, ‘Defeo—are those of prose-writers primarily, and prose writers of a very high quality.

Q. 2. How will you justify that the age of Pope intensified the movement started in the age of Dryden?
Ans. The age of Pope intensified the movement that began after the Restoration. The drift away from the poetry of passion was more pronounced than ever, the ideals of ‘wit’ and common sense were more jealously pursued, and the lyrical note was almost unheard. In its place we find in poetry the overmastering desire for neatness and perspicuity, for edge and point in style, and for correctness in technique. These aims received expression in the devotion to the heroic couplet, the aptest medium for the purpose.
Q. 3. Make a critical appraisal of ‘Essay on Criticism’ written by Pope?
Ans. In 1711 appeared An Essay on Criticism also written in heroic couplets. The poem professes to set forth the gospel of wit and nature as it applies to the literature of the age. There is no attempt at originality of thought, Pope’s aim being merely to restate the code of the ancients. This he does with a conciseness and epigrammatic neatness which have given his remarks the permanence of proverbs.
Q. 4. Discuss ‘The Rape of the Lock’.
Ans. In 1712 was published the first version of The Rope of the Lock, one of the brilliant poems in the language. In it Pope tried to laugh back into good humour two families who had been estranged when Lord Petrie cut off a lock of hair from the head of Miss Arabella Fermor. It is in the mock-heroic strain, and its effectiveness was greatly increased when, in 1714, Pope added the machinery of the sylphs to the original version. The poem combines with its humorous, epic treatment of the trivial theme a delicate fancy and a good deal of satire on the weaknesses of the fair sex and on society manners in general. For the most part, this satire is gentle and good-humoured, though occasionally the last half-line of a couplet gives us a foretaste of the more incisive tones of the later Pope.
Q. 5. Examine ‘The Rape of the Lock’ as a mock-heroic poem.
Ans. Pope called The Rape of the Lock a heroicomical poem. It belongs to the class of literature called burlesque. The burlesque is partly a matter of treatment and partly a matter of language. By treating an insignificant subject in the manner of an epic the poem parodies that form of poetry. Instead of grand passions and great fights between heroes in which the immortals take part, we have as the theme of The Rape of the Lock a petty amorous quarrel assisted by the spirit of the air.
Q. 6. How will you compare and contrast an epic with a mock-heroic poem? Illustrate your answer from ‘The Rape of the Lock’.
Ans. The epic portrays an age round the personality of god or a demi-god, and its characters are heroes. The Rape of the Lock, on the other hand, gives us a picture of a fashionable society. The central figure in that picture is a pretty society girl, and the other characters are a rash youth, a foolish dandy and a few frivolous women. Instead of deep and genuine passions found in ancient epics, we come across a succession of mock passions in The Rape of the Lock.
Q. 7. Comment upon ‘The Rape of the Lock’ as a satirical picture of contemporary life.
Ans. The Rape of the Lock is a light satire on the upper class Pope was the poet of society and the delineator of manners. He was well acquainted with the life he portrayed in The Rape of the Lock. He exposed the hollowness of the class which was pompous only from without. The lords and ladies of the poem are mere triflers. The ladies indulge in their vanities and men in spite gallantry hardly treat them better than dolls.
Q. 8. How will you comment upon the style of ‘The Rape of the Lock’?
Ans. The Rape of the Lock has a flawless, airy grace and a sustained lightness of touch which are unparalleled in the English literature. An infinite variety of verbal music is included in its fine descriptions, usually of the sylphs, which, for sheer pictorial beauty, are the finest things Pope achieved. A close study of the workmanship of the poem reveals an almost incredible subtlety of control over the texture of this verse.
Q. 9. What are your views about ‘Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot’ as a satire?
Ans. In the Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot, which is considered by most critics as his greatest satire, Pope shows himself unmatched in the art of selecting his victims and marshalling their weak points. In this Atticus passage, especially, he has shown that he has a keen eye for the weak places in his victim. He picks out all the flaws and stains, and combines them in the most effective manner possible. The picture thus presented appears very realistic.
Q. 10. How do you evaluate ‘Dunciad’ as a satire of Alexander Pope?
Ans. Dunciad is the longest of Pope’s works. All his merits and defects as a satirist are to be found in this poem. Often he shows himself capable of pillorying for all time in a couplet the character of one of his enemies, Sometimes the characters are developed at length and each couplet has the effect of a fatal sword-thrust. The weak points of his enemies are carefully gathered and marshalled out with unmatched brutality.
Q. 11. Elaborate Alexander as a satirist.
Ans. Among the satirists of the eighteenth century Pope enjoys a rank next only to Swift. Swift was the great master of the art of satire and made prose a very forceful and effective medium. Following in the footsteps of Dryden, Pope employed verse as the medium of his satire and reached the greatest heights. On the whole, as a satirist Pope displayed remarkable genius and power. The malignity of his nature, however, prevents him from being classed among the truly great satirists of the world.
Q. 12. State clearly why the Age of Pope is called the Classical Age?
Ans. The Age of Pope is called the classical age, because the poets of that age aimed at classical perfection of form. They wanted to achieve the formal beauty which the poet of Rome attained under Emperor Augustus. That is why the Age of Pope is treated as a part of the Augustan age in English literature.
Q. 13. Pope and Wordsworth both claimed to follow nature. How do they differ?
Ans. By his diction “Follow Nature” pope did not mean the presentation of meadows, trees and hills in poetry. Rather, he meant an exact reproduction of everyday life and manners, as opposed to anything wild or extravagant, or that which existed only in the writer’s imagination. On the other hand, when we talk of Wordsworth as a poet of nature, we mean that trees, plants, flowers, green fields, hill, etc., are presented in the poetry of Thomson and Wordsworth. Of course, Wordsworth’s presentation of Nature is different from that of Thomson. But Pope in his poetry does not reveal a feeling for the beauty and tranquility of meadows, hill and trees.
Q. 14. Discuss the use of heroic couplet by Alexander Pope.
Ans. Pope’s use of the heroic couplet marks a great change from that of Dryden. the couplet is tighter and more compressed, and there are few of the Alexandrines or triplets which help to give Dryden’s poetry its typical sweep. Instead we have correctness and finish. But there is little monotony in Pope.
Q. 15. What are the drawbacks in Pope’s poetry?
Ans. Both in subject and in style his poems are limited. They take people of his own social class, and they deal with their common experiences and their common interests and aspirations. Pope rarely dips below the surface, and when he does so, he is not at his best. With regard to his style, we have seen that it is almost wholly restricted to the heroic couplet, used in a narrative and didactic subject. He is almost devoid of the lyrical quality.
Q. 16. Evaluate Joseph Addison as a dramatist?
Ans. Addison was lucky in his’ greatest dramatic effort, just as he was lucky in his longest poem. In 1713 he produced the tragedy of Cato, part of which had been in manuscript as early as 1703. It is of little merit and shows that Addison, whatever his other qualities may be, is no dramatist. He also attempted an opera, Rosamond, (1707), which was a failure; and the prose comedy of The Drummer (1715) is said, with some reason, to be his also. If it is, it adds nothing to his reputation.
Q. 17. Discuss Sir Richard Steele as a dramatist?
Ans. Steele wrote some prose comedies, the best of which are The Funeral, The Lying Lover, The Tender Husband and The Conscious Lovers. They follow in general scheme the Restoration comedies, but are-without the grossness and impudence of their models. Indeed, Steele’s importance as a dramatist rests on his foundation of the sentimental comedy, avowedly moral and pious in aim and tone. In places his plays are lively, and reflect much of Steele’s amiability of temper.
Q. 18. Attempt the critical survey of drama of the Age of Pope.
Ans. Here there is almost a blank. The brilliant and exotic flower of Restoration comedy has withered, and nothing of any merit takes its place. In tragedy Addison’s Cato is almost the only passable example. In comedy Steele’s plays are a survival of the Restoration type, but they have a sentimental, didactic piety quite alien from their models. The only advance in the drama is shown in The Beggar’s Opera whose robust vitality, sprightly music, and charming songs makes it stand alone in its generation.
Q. 19. What are the important works of Swift?
Ans. The chief works of Swift are: A Tale of Tub, Gulliver’s Travels, The Battle of Books and Journal to Stella.
Q. 20. Evaluate ‘The Battle of the Books’ by Swift’?
Ans. In order to defend his, pattern, Swift produced a skit entitled The Battle of the Books. He treats the whole matter with a satirical humour. The battle originates from a request by the moderns that the ancients shall evacuate the higher of the two peaks of Parnassus which they have hitherto occupied. The Battle actually starts. The ancients, under the patronage of place, are led by Homer, Pindar, Euclid, Aristotle, and Plato while the moderns by Milton, Dryden, Descartes, Hobbes, Scotus and others. The fight is conducted with great spirit. On the whole the ancients have the advantage and a parley ensues. The tale leaves the issue undecided.
Q. 21. How will you examine ‘Gulliver’s Travels’?
Ans. The first two parts of Gulliver’s Travels are a political satire. In the minuteness of Liliput—its people, their cities and government, their intrigues and wars, their very motives—he reduces to absurdity the dear England of his own age. By the simple means of dwarfing everything he brings everything into ridicule, the causes of the war, the struggle of Whig and Tory, Walpole himself in the character of Flimnap. But in Brobdignag the satirical method is reversed. In the last part Swift finally lets loose his ferocious hatred of mankind. Gulliver’s journeys to a land where the rational beings—the Houyhnhnms—are horses, and men—the Yahoos—are degraded physically, and morally below the lowest level of the beasts. It is perhaps the most savage attack ever made in literature upon humanity.
Q. 22. What type of satire do you consider ‘Gulliver’s Travels’?
Ans. In Gulliver’s Travels the satire grows more unbearable. Strangely enough, this book, upon which Swift’s literary fame generally rests, was not written from any literary motive, but rather as an outlet for the author’s own bitterness against fate and human society.
Q. 23. How will you distinguish between ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ and the ‘Pilgirm’s Progress’ as satires?
Ans. Gulliver’s Travels resembles its fellow-allegory, The Pilgrim’s Progress in its popularity and human interest, but in temper the two books are worlds apart. Bunyan views human failings with a discerning eye, but he accepts them with a benign quiescence, and with a tempered faith in man’s ultimate redemption. Swift, on the other hand, said to Pope, “I heartily hate and detest that animal called man.” and this book is an elaboration of that attitude. He magnifies man into a giant, and then he diminishes him into a mannikin, and he finds him wicked and insolent and mean; he regards man in his wisdom, and he finds him a fool.
Q. 24. What do you know about ‘The Spectator’?
Ans. The Taller has discontinued. Two months later on March 1, 1711, appeared the first number of The Spectator. In the new magazine politics and news, as such, were ignored; it was a literary magazine pure and simple, and its entire contents consisted of a single light essay. It was considered a crazy venture at the time, but its instant success proved that men were eager for some literary expression of the new social ideals. In its complete form it contains 635 essays. Of these Addison wrote 275 and Steele 240, the remaining 121 being the work of various friends like Pope, Tickell, Budgell, Eusden and so forth.
Q. 25. What was the significance of Sir Roger de Coverley in ‘The Spectator’?
Ans. Steele first hit on the idea of Sir Roger de Coverley, an imaginary eccentric old country knight who frequented the Spectator Club in London. Around the knight were grouped a number of contrasted characters, also members of the mythical club. Such were Will Honeycomb, a middle aged beau; Sir Andrew Freeport, a city merchant; Captain Sentry, a soldier; and Mr. Spectator, a shy, reticent person, who hears a resemblance to Addison himself. Addison seized upon the idea of the club; gave it life, interest, and adventure; cast over it the charm of his pleasant humour; and finished up by making the knight die with affecting deliberation and decorum. Sandwiched between essays on other topics, this series appeared at intervals in the pages of The Spectator, and added immensely to the popularity of the journal.
Q. 26. What was Addison’s contribution to the Essay?
Ans. Addison is the greatest master of the Periodical Essay. He handled the periodical essay so nicely that he attained a high degree of perfection in the delineation of character. Before him there were the character writers who took the Characters of the Greek Theophrastus as their model. The characters are mere lay figures, without reality and life. In the hands of Addison and Steele the seventeenth century character study became personal and vital; instead of catalogues of qualities, we have actual men moving amid real scenes and taking part in various incidents.
Q. 27. Examine the prose style of Joseph Addison.
Ans. Addison’s style has been highly praised. It is the pattern of the middle style, never slipshod or obscure or unmelodious. He has an infallible instinct for the proper word and an infallible ear for a subdued and graceful rhythm.
Q. 28. What are the views of Dr. Johnson on the style of Addison?
Ans. Dr. Johnson remarked: “Whoever wishes to attain an English style, familiar but not coarse and elegant but not ostentatious, must give his days and nights to the volumes of Addison.” The other remark of Dr. Johnson is also illuminating. He asserted: “Give nights and days, Sir, to the study of Addison if you mean to be a good writer, or what is more worth an honest man.” Thus, Addison style can influence in shaping a clear and graceful style of writing.
Q. 29. What are the chief characteristics of Addison’s essays?
Ans. Firstly, his essays are the best picture of the new social life of England, with its many new interests. Secondly, his essay advance the art of literary criticism to a much higher stage than it had ever reached before. Finally, the characters of Sir Roger de Coverley and the other gentlemen live for ever as we take pleasure in Chaucer’s country person. In this manner Addison and Steele heralded the dawn of the modern novel.
Q. 30. Distinguish between Addison and Swift in their attitude towards life?
Ans. Swift is the bitterest satirist of the eighteenth century although his satire is not personal like that of Pope. He is an out-and-out cynic. Once he remarked: “I hate and detest that animal called man.” On the other hand, Addison had the different outlook. He was sympathetic and kind-hearted. He castigated other mildly and affectionately. swift was of opinion that man was incorrigible. Mankind is ‘debunked’ in his Gulliver’s Travels. At times Swift is like a volcano emitting hot and liquid lava against the modern conventions.
Q. 31. Differentiate between the style of Addison and that of Swift.
Ans. Swift reveals the style at its best—severe, stern and strong. His invectives are like violent rapier-thrusts. His style is characterized by morbidity an malice. Addison, on the other hand, represents the middle style. His prose style has that nameless urbanity in which we recognize the perfection of manner; courteous, but not courtier-like; so dignified, yet so kindly; so easy, yet high-bred. It is the most perfect form of English.
Q. 32. What do you understand about Sir Richard Steele as an essayist?
Ans. It is as a miscellaneous essayist that Steele finds his place in literature. He was a man fertile in ideas, but he lacked the application that is always so necessary to carry those ideas to fruition. Thus he often sowed in order that other men might reap.
Q. 33. Compare and contrast Sir Richard Steele and Joseph Addison.
Ans. Steele’s working alliance with Addison was so close and so constant that the comparison between them is almost inevitable. Of the two writers, some critics assert that Steele is the worthier. In versatility and in originality and in originality he is at least Addison’s equal. His humour is broader and less restrained than Addison’s with a native, pathetic touch about it that is reminiscent of Goldsmith. His pathos is more attractive and more humane. But Steele’s very virtues are only weaknesses sublimed; they are emotional, not intellectual; of the heart, and not of the head. He is incapable of irony; he lacks penetration and power; and much of his moralizing is cheep and obvious. He lacks Addison’s care and suave ironic insight; he is reckless in style and inconsequent in method. And so, in the final estimate, as the greater artist he fails.
Q. 34. What was the aim of Sir Richard Steele’s essays?
Ans. The aim of Steele’s essays was frankly didactic; he desired to bring about a reformation of contemporary society’s manners, and is notable for his consistent advocacy of womanly virtue and the ideal of the gentleman of courtesy, chivalry, and good taste. His essays on children are charming, and he is full of human sympathy.
Q. 35. Examine the development of the essay in the Age of Pope.
Ans. With the development of the periodical press the short essay takes a great stride forward. It becomes varied, and acquires character, suppleness, and strength. The work of Addison and Steele has already been noticed at some length. In The Tatler and The Spectator  they lad down the lines along which the essay was to be developed by their great successors. Other essayists of the time were Swift and Pope, who contributed to the periodicals, and Defoe, whose miscellaneous work is of wide range and of considerable importance.
Q. 36. Attempt a critical appraisal of ‘Robinson Crusoe’.
Ans. It is the masterpiece of Daniel Defoe. The general plan of the novel is loose and unequal. the comparable effect of the story of the island is marred by long and sometimes tedious narratives of other lands. Then the style is unpolished, but has a vigorous homely raciness and a colloquial vocabulary which make it ideal for his purpose. At its best, as in the finest parts of Robinson Crusoe, his writing has a realism that is rarely approached by the most ardent of modern realists.
Q. 37. What are the glaring defects in the fiction of Daniel Defoe?
Ans. The great body of Defoe’s fiction has grave defects, largely due to the immense speed with which it was produced. The general plan of the novel in each case is loose and unequal. His style is completely unadorned; his sentences are loosely constructed and he pays his attention to the minutest detail.
Q. 38. Where does lie the greatness of Daniel Defoe?
Ans. His power of invention in fiction was highly considerable. He set out to show life as it is; and he did it so successfully that the reader is hypnotised into accepting facts that are purely imaginary and thus not facts at all. Realism, with its dreadful assumption of actuality being ultimate truth, had seized on the art of his novel. Moreover, he used a convenient autobiographical method in all of his novels. In his plots, incident and physical action from the main interest. His characters are simple, naive persons; the main ones, presented autobiographically, reveal themselves to the reader directly with some introspection of an obvious and matter of-fact sort; while the minor characters are portrayed externally from the point of view of the narrators.

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