Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

the period? To variety in the structure of his sentences? To variety in the kinds of sentences used ?

4 and 5. WIT AND PATHOS. - Is the author witty? If so, does he prefer wit with malice in it? Or that without hostility-humor? Has he pathetic passages?

6. ELEGANCE.—Is the production remarkable for beauty? If so, is the beauty in the thought? Is it secured by the choice of euphonious words? By beautiful imagery? By long and flowing sentences? By sentences liarmonious and symmetrical, with parts nicely balanced?

For what quality of style is the author chiefly distinguished? Is the style as a whole attractive to you? Would further study of it be profitable to you? Is it adapted to the thought? Does it lend value to the thought? Does the author show a mastery of the art of expression? Are you curious to see more of his writings?

V. THOUGHT.-Is the author's grasp of his thought firm? Is the selection crowded with thought? Does he make fine distinctions in his thinking? Is his thought profound or superficial? Original or commonplace? True or erroneous? Does he deal with facts only, or is he highly imaginative? Is he dogmatic? Is he controversial? What is the topic of the extract, and what is the gist of his thought upon it? Is he didactic? Is he aiming mainly to please? Is he persuasive? Had he observed much? Had be read widely? Was he a man of great learning? Had he digested and assimilated his knowledge? If argumentative, is his reasoning easily followed? Does he cling closely to his subject, or does he digress? Is his reasoning open to any criticism? Do his paragraphs develop each a topic or sub-topic of the subject? Is the transition from one paragraph to another easy and natural? Is the connection between them close?

VI. FEELING.— Is the author's heart in his writings or only his intellect? If the writing is colored by sentiment, what feelings of the reader are principally appealed to? What in a subordinate degree? Does the thought predominate over the feeling, or the feeling over the thought? Is the author hopeful and inspiring? Is he genial and delightful? If so, because of what? Is he in love with his kind, or is he cynical? Is he in love with external nature? If so, with what phase or department of it? Is he sincere or affected? What else would you infer of his disposition and character? Do you feel after reading him that you know him? Does further acquaintance with him seem desirable?

The questions asked above apply to Prose. But, omitting those under the headings Sentences and Energy, some of those under Perspicuity, and those under Thought which relate to argumentative writing, they apply to Poetry also. Make much of Feeling in relation to poetry. A few questions, peculiar to poetry, may be set down under the head of

FORM. 1. RHYTHM.—What foot prevails in the poem? Is it dissyllabic or trisyllabic? What other feet, if any, are substituted for this, and where? In the scansion, is elision, or slurring, anywhere resorted to? Can you scan the poem?

2. METRE. —How many feet are there in the standard, or prevailing, line? And so, in what metre is the poem written? What is the metre of those lines varying from the standard?

3. RHYME. - Do the lines rhyme, or is the poem in blank-verse?

FURTHER REMARKS. - On some productions, questions, in addition to those above, will be asked, or suggestions will be made. Characteristic specimens from only the principal authors, and not from all of these, can, in a work of this kind, be given or referred to for study. How many authors shall be studied in this way and how long they shall be studied are questions difficult to answer. Much depends upon the attainments and maturity of the class, and much upon the time allowed for the work. There are those who insist that but a few even of the best should be taken up, and that the pupil should tarry with these until his acquaintance has ripened into real intimacy. But such intimacy with a few, even if attainable when the material for comparison and contrast is scanty, must be paid for by total ignorance of literature as a whole. There is danger, too, that it would nourish in the pupil that "conceit of knowledge” which “is the arrest of progress. It would not cultivate breadth of view or catholicity of taste. It is at issue with the aim of all other education in the preparatory school and in college, which is to open up to the pupil many departments of study and to enter him a little way in each, without attempting to make him a profi

Better a taste of the characteristic flavor of many authors, a taste that will crave feeding when school days are over, than a long and relishable feast upon a few which shall leave the pupil without appetite for more food of the same, or of a different, kind. The man of many books

.

cient in any.

may well heed the warning, Beware of the man of one book; not, however, because of this home-bred wit's superior knowledge, but rather because of his intolerable bigotry and onesidedness.

There are those, too, who in this study disallow all such methods as the one we have been unfolding, who even discourage the reading of extracts by the pupils, except under the teacher's supervision and with his explanation in the classroom, where he and they are jointly to commune with the author. Communion with the author is, of course, the one thing desired. Everything in the study should lead up to it as the goal. But how is this goal of communion, joint communion if you please, to be reached except by a start at some definite point, and by an orderly progress from it. The writer's thought is in his expression, the one can be got at only by and through the other. He is in both, both are his -may we not say both are he. Shakespeare's thought, saturated with feeling,-could it be divorced, as it cannot, from Shakespeare's diction and style, would lose its charm and its power; could it be reached by the pupil, as it cannot, without approaching it through his diction and style, the whole of the dramatist would not be seen—the pupil would not then stand in the presence of Shakespeare himself.

But we unite with all who disparage methods that divert the pupil's attention from what we have seen is its proper

object, and concentrate it upon a prolonged examination of the author's words in their etymology and history, making this a study of linguistics and not of literature.

Differ, however, as we may in other respects, in this one thing all will agree—that by the study of English literature the pupil is to be put in the way of deriving intellectual culture and intense enjoyment from books; that any method of study by which he secures these is good; and that that method is the best by which he secures them in the largest measure.

PERIOD I.
BEFORE THE NORMAN CONQUEST,

670–1066.

LESSON 2. Brief Historical Sketch.-Britain, at the beginning of the historic period, was inhabited by Celts. This race occupied Gaul, a part of Spain, the north of Italy, and some provinces of Central Europe, also. They belong to the great Indo-European family, the other members of which are the peoples using or having used (1) the Indian languages, notably the Sanskrit, of Northern Hindostan, (2) the Iranian of ancient and modern Persia, (3) the Hellenic of ancient Greece and the modern Greek, (4) the Slavonic, of which the Russian is chief, (5) the Italic, of which the Latin is the great representative, and (6) the Teutonic, subdivisible into the Gothic, the Scandinavian, the High Germanic, and the Low Germanic. The Celts of Britain were independent tribes, rarely uniting against a common foe. They lived in huts hollowed out of hills, sides vaulted and roofs thatched, or in circular houses with low stone walls and conical roofs—ten or twelve families under one roof. Practiced polyandry. Lived on the products of the chase, on fruits, milk, and flesh, and in the South on grain bruised and baked. Wore tunics and short trowsers and cloaks; wove, made earthenware and the implements of war, and tattooed their bodies. Religion Druidism; the priests, called Druids, were somewhat educated, decided all disputes public and private, were exempt from taxes and all public duties, and offered sacrifices, even human. The Celts held the soul to be immortal, believed in transmigration, and burned their dead, or buried them doubled up in cists or lying straight in canoe-shaped coffins, Irish teachers visit Britain and make converts to Christianity before 400 A.D. Cæsar disclosed Britain to the Romans, 55 and 54 B.C. Agricola pushed its conquest to the Friths of Forth and of Clyde, 78–84 A.D. The Romans held Britain by fortified posts—Eboricum (York) the central one-connected by broad military roads passing straight over hills, and crossing morasses on piles. Romans exacted tribute, and afterward taxes on arable and on pasture land, and customs at the ports, proscribed Druidism, abolished tattooing, made cremation general, quickened agriculture, and exported corn. By 420 A.D., the Roman legions are recalled to defend Rome against the northern hordes. Angles, Saxons, and Jutes of the Teutonic race, dwelling about the mouths of the Elbe, begin the conquest of Britain by 450, complete it by 607. Celts exterminated or driven to the moun. tains. Few Celtic words, dating from this period, in our language. Their names given to the rivers survive. Sovereignty of the glo Saxons at first in the hands of the people. War gives birth to monarchy, the king chosen from the leaders in battle. Houses of stone or timber, sometimes with an upper story, mead hall the principal room, no chimneys. Had chairs, stools, and benches, used carpets and cushions, glass drinking cups, few plates and knives, no forks, and a board on trestles for a table. Ate animal food, fish, and grain ground by hand or in water mills and baked in ovens. Weapons were the sword, battle axe, bow and arrow, dagger, spear, wooden shield with iron boss, and mail of leather. Prisoners taken in battle, debtors surrendering themselves, and criminals were made slaves. Land was divided into marks, each occupied by a community of related families. In time, marks unite to form shires (32 in Ælfred's reign, 871–901), each with its own organization legal, political, and religious. Shires (now counties) unite to form a kingdom. Wives practically bought at first, polygamy forbidden, voluntary separation allowed, and children could be sold or possibly put to death by the parent. Religion Scandinavian, names of the gods seen in the names of some of our days of the week. Names of demons and water sprites survive in Old Scratch, Old Nick, and Deuce. This religion drove Christianity out of Britain. Right of private revenge claimed at first, afterward crimes and injuries could be expiated

In Ælfred's time, death was the punishment for murder and for some other crimes. Christianity introduced from Rome, 597 A.D., by Augustine, who became first Archbishop of Canterbury. From 607 onward, the Anglo-Saxons were fighting each other, until in 827 the seven or eight kingdoms were united under Egbert, king of Wessex, who now styled himself “King of the English. The glorious period of A. S. history is the reign of Ælfred the Great. Frequent Danish invasions from 832–1011. Danish kings on the throne, 1013–1042. Did not materially change the institutions or the language, which was the Anglo-Saxon, the mother-tongue of the English of to-day. AngloSaxon dynasty restored by Edward the Confessor, 1042. Conquest of the country by William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, 1066.

TO THE TEACHER.–Make as much as the hour will allow of each historical Lesson. Develop points that are only suggested. Emphasize especially those events that account for any feature or phase of the literature.

with money.

« PredošláPokračovať »