Fourthly. there was reaction against intellectualism in the Victorian period. Fifthly, the decay of faith and the spread of industrialism formed the background of Mid-Victorian poetry. Carlvle and Ruskin, as representing rebellion against rationalism and emergence of a new idealism, were the chief authors of this period Sixthly, the new movement Pre-Raphaelitism and its influence on Victorian poetry Is also the keynote of this period. This period is deeply affected by the Oxford Movement which also influenced Cardinal Newman. Finally. the Victorian age is the age of novel.
Q. 1. What are the salient characteristics of the Victorian literature?
Ans. Firstly, the main trend of Victorian literature was neither severely classical nor strongly romantic. Secondly, there was impact of democracy and science in Victorian literature. Thirdly, there was the conflict between’ faith and reason as reflected in Victorian literature.
Q. 2. “The Victorian Age has been characterised as the new Age.” Discuss.
Ans. The year 1832 was a turning point in both literature and politics, for it marks the death of Sir Walter Scott and the passing of the Reform Bill. In the same year died Goethe, Bentham and Crabbe, and two years later, those lifelong friends, Lamb and Coleridge. A great period of poetry had clearly come to an end. Keats, Shelley, and Byron had died earlier, and though Wordsworth lived and continued to write until 1850, his work had long been in the years between Byron’s death and 1832 would have failed to find any indications of the great poets to come These indications, however, were not long deferred. Tennyson published a thin volume of verse in 1830, and a far more remarkable volume in 1833. In the same year appeared Browning’s Pauline.
Q. 3. What were the changes brought about in the Victorian Age?
Ans. The England of Victoria was very different from the England of past centuries, and it was conscious that in literature the process of change had only begun. Democracy, industry, commerce, and science seemed to be hurrying the nation out of its charted course into an unknown sea. Like every form of activity, literature was directly affected. the ‘reading public increased by leaps and bounds as education was extended and books and periodicals were cheapened.
Q. 4. What are the chief classical themes which were attempted by Lord Tennyson in his poetry?
Ans. The classical poems have in some cases notably in The Death of Oenone, something of the same defect as the Idyllys of the King—the introduction of modern standards of behaviour into stories which originated among people with quite other ideas. But in Lucretius we have a genuinely pagan philosophy, and in Ulysses and The Lotos Eaters Tennyson rises above the limitations of a particular period, and expresses in perfect verse phases of the human spirit as it exists in all ages. Ulysses embodies the central craving for action and new experience; The Lotos Eaters, the mood of fatigue and the yearning for rest.
Q. 5. Examine the chief characteristics of Tennysons’ poetry.
Ans. First, Tennyson’s poetry is not so much to be studied as to be read and appreciated: he is a poet to have open on one’s table, and to enjoy as one enjoys his daily exercise. And second, we should by all means begin to get acquainted with Tennyson in the days of our youth. Unlike Browning, who is generally appreciated by more mature minds. Tennyson is for enjoyment, for inspiration, rather than for instruction. Only youth can fully appreciate him; and youth, unfortunately, except in a few rare, beautiful cases, is something which does not dwell with us long after our school days. The secrets of poetry, especially of Tennyson’s poetry, is to be eternally young, and, like Adam, in Paradise, to find every morning a new world, fresh, wonderful, inspiring, as if just form the hands of God. Thirdly, his style is marked by a wonderful combination ‘of simplicity and ornateness; he is always absolutely clear and is rarely merely plain. Finally, his lyrical measures have often supreme beauty.
Q. 6. Comment upon Tennyson’s reputation after his death.
Ans. To his contemporaries he was a demi-god; but younger men strongly assailed his patent literary mannerisms, his complacent acceptance of the evils of his time, his flattery of the great, and his somewhat arrogant assumption of the airs of immortality, consequently, for twenty years after his death his reputation suffered considerably. Once more reaction has set in, and his detractors have modified their attitude. He is not a supreme poet; and whether he will maintain the primacy among the singers of his own generation, as he undoubtedly did during his life-time, remains to be seen; but after all deductions are made, his high place in the Temple of Fame is assured.
Q. 7. Justify that Tennyson is a great artist in verse rather than a great poet.
Ans. Tennyson had a great command over craftsmanship. No one can deny the great care and skill shown in Tennyson’s work. His method of producing poetry was slowly to evolve the lines in his mind, commit them to paper, and to revise them till they were as near perfection as he could make them. Consequently we have a high level’ of poetical artistry. No one excels Tennyson in the deft application of sound to sense and in the subtle and pervading employment of alliteration and vowel-music.
Q. 8. How will you discuss ‘the Victorian Compromise’ in Tennyson’s poetry?
Ans. The Victorians were an extremely self-satisfied lot, and they formed a compromise between the new scientific thought and religious thought. Tennyson represents this at its best. In this poem In Memoriam, Tennyson resolves this conflict between religion and science at the cost of science. It is the spiritual history of a man who is bewildered by such problems, as the existence of evil, the mystery of death and of life. But it is characteristic of Tennyson and his Victorianism that he does not come to grips with these problems in a scientific spirit, but towards the end of the poem he makes wishful compromise between faith and science.
Q. 9. Comment upon the poems which Browning wrote when he was at the height of his power.
Ans. At the height of his power, Browning produced some of his best works in Men and Women, which, with exception of the dedicatory One Word More, addiessed to his wife, consists entirely of dramatic monologues. Here are to be found the famous Fra Lippo Lippi, An Epistle containing the strange Medical Experience of Karshish, the Arab physician, Andrea del Sarto, Cleon. Most of them are written in blank verse. The year 1864, saw the ,publication of his last really great volume, Dramatis Personae, again a collection of dramatic monologues. To illustrate their quality mention need be made of only such works as Caliban Upan Setebos, A Death in the Desert, Rabbi Ben Ezra, and Abt Vogler. In style the poems have much of the rugged, elliptical quality which was on occasion the poet’s downfall, but here it is used with a skill and a power which show him at the very pinnacle of his achievement.
Q. 10. What is dramatic monologue? Discuss Browning’s contribution to this art.
Ans. A poem consisting of the words of single character who reveals in his speech his own nature and the dramatic situation. Unlike the stage soliloquy, in which place and time, have been previously established and during which the character is alone, the dramatic monologue itself reveals place, time, and the identities of the characters. Called a dramatic lyric by Browning, he brought the form to its highest development, the dramatic monologue discloses the psychology of the speaker at a significant moment. Though Browning entitles one of his poems “Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister,” it is, in reality, a dramatic monologue, a striking example of the speed with which he establishes character and situation.
Q. 11. What are the main reasons for Browning’s obscurity in style?
Ans. Firstly, the poet’s thought is often obscure or else so extremely subtle that language expresses it imperfectly. Secondly, Browning is led from one thing to another by his own mental associations and forget that the reader’s associations may be of an entirely different kind. Thirdly, Browning is careless in his English and frequently clips his speech, giving us a series of ‘Shorthand’ ejaculations. Fourthly, his allusions are often far-fetched, referring to some old scrap of information which the ordinary reader finds it difficult to trace and understand. Fifthfly, Browning wrote too much and revised too little. Finally, his field was the individual soul and he sought to express the motives and principles which govern individual action. He is not an entertaining poet and one cannot read him after dinner or when settled in a comfortable easy-chair.
Q. 12. Discuss Browning’s dramatic element in his works.
Ans. Browning’s genius was fundamentally dramatic, his one absorbing interest was human life, and so wide was his range and so Catholic were his sympathies but nothing in its tragedy or’ comedy seemed to come amiss to him. But Browning is not a dramatist in the sense that Shakespeare is a dramatist. He cannot bring a group of people together and let the actions and words of his character show the comedy and tragedy of human life. His dramatic power lies in depicting what he himself calls the History of a Soul.
Q. 13. Examine Browning as a’ poet of Love.
Ans. Browning may well be counted among the three supreme love poets in English, the other two being Shakespeare and Shelley. Love is one of the most outstanding theme of his poetry as well a great influence in his life. He is a poet who loves to analyses, to probe deep into the human mind to present different types of complex characters. His lovers, too, are many and varied. In My Last Duchess he presents that jealous type of lover who consumes rather than loves. In Porphyrias Lover also a similar lover is presented, but he is a very different person indeed from the cold, calculating Dulce, for he kills his beloved in sheer ecstasy made of love. Thus Browning presents love in all its complexity, in all its many facets.
Q. 14. Do you agree that in his own day Browning was overrated as a thinker and underrated as a poet?
Ans. It is an admitted fact that critical appreciation of Browning’s poetry was hampered because the public opinion was prejudiced against him. He was admired by a few devotees in his own age. Both critics and laymen persistently sneered at him. His works were not properly assessed or adequately valued in his life-time. While Tennyson was regarded as a great artist and highly eulogized in his age, Browning met with much scathing criticism, misunderstanding and even contempt. In his life-time, the Browning society was formed in order to arouse public interest, and also to remove the cobwebs surrounding his personality and talent. In spite of the magnitude and Importance of work, his opponents chose to ridicule him and even suggested that he was a poet at all but he is a philosopher.
Q. 15. What is Browning’s contribution to English Poetry?
Ans. The robustness of Browning’s nature, its courage, its abounding joy and faith in life, make his works a permanent store-house of spiritual energy for the race a store-house to which for a long time to come it will in certain moods always return. In an age distracted by doubt and divided in will, he lifted his strong, unfaltering voice above the perplexities and hesitations of man like a bugle-call to joyous battle in which the victory is to the brave. But Browning’s bequest to posterity has not merely his euphoric attitude toward life. Twentieth-century poets, who reacted against his somewhat jauntry optimism, nevertheless were able to profit by his psychological realism, his audaciously colloquial diction, his deliberately rough rhythms, and his extension of the domain of poetry to include cacophony and ugliness.
Q. 16. What is Arnold’s place in the History of English literature?
Ans. In his own day Arnold was considered more a critic than a poet. But today, by some ironic cunning of the time-spirit, that reputation has been reversed, and he is remembered and valued as a poet more than as a critic. That Arnold may be accorded the title of poet even the most fastidious and exacting lovers of literature will not deny. But when it comes to the question of assigning him a rank and honouring him with a place opinions differ, and differ widely. Edith Sitwell dismisses Arnold as an educated versifier. T.S. Eliot calls him academic. Lafcadio Hearn speaks of Arnold’s poetry as colourless. Saintsbury, while admitting that Arnold has in him a spring of the most real and rarest poetry, grudges to give him a rank higher than that of Thomas Gray.
Q. 17. What are the drawbacks in Matthew Arnold’s poetry?
Ans. Arnold is not among the great poets. The quality of his poetry prevents us from thinking of Arnold in the same way in which we think of Shelley and Keats—possessors of the pure and profound poetic vein, wearers of the authentic singing robe. His poetry lacks spontaneity, passion, quiver, music and. other qualities of that indefinable something by which we apprehend and appreciate great poetry. The quantity of his poetic output is not large enough to compel our attention and admiration.
Q. 18. ‘Every poet is the child of his own Age’. Discuss this statement with reference to Matthew Arnold’s Age?
Ans. Arnold, like Hamlet, was born in times that were out of joint, and like the Prince of Denmark, must have many a time mutterred to himself—”cursed spite, that ever I was born to set it right. Too self-involved to be self-less, too individualistic to be universal, too self conscious to be self-forgetful, too human to be finished stonfic, too sceptical to be hopeful, too prosaic to be highly poetical, too critical to be superbly creative, too susceptible to the too pre-occupied with contemporary with contemporary troubles and troubles. and turmoil to concentrate on which is fundamental and universal—Arnold is essentially the poet of his own age affected deeply by the contending contemporary intellectual and religious ideas, the illogical confusions of men’s minds, and the harassing nature of their practice, the sick hurry and the divided aims, broken hopes and palsied hearts.
Q. 19. What was Matthew Arnold’s poetical ideal?
Ans. Arnold had a very high and glorious conception of the essence and destiny of poetry conception far higher than the customary one. According to him, poetry has higher uses, higher destinies and higher allegiances than those in general men have assigned to it. Poetry is not merely the criticism of it is also the interpreter, the consoler and sustainer of life—for it is nothing less than the most perfect speech Of man, that in which he comes nearest to being able to utter the truth. And as to Wordsworth, so to Arnold poetry is the breath and finer spirit of all knowledge.
Q. 20. What message does Arnold’s poetry convey?
Ans. Arnold’s poetry serves a purpose, conveys a message and caries a moral. In fact, Arnold’s whole life-work, his efforts in poetry and his achievements in prose, were deliberately consecrated to a purpose—the purpose being the pointing out of undesirable things in man and the world and the scattering of the seeds of Sweetness, of Light, of Culture and Conduct. It is to the eternal glory of Arnold that he had steadfast singleness of purpose and devoted loyalty to self-created ideals. It is one thing to have ideals for one’s own self; it is another to commend them to others; it is still another thing to be loyal to them through thick and thin. Arnold had all these three and he dealt with them in his poetry and illustrated them in his own life.
Q. 21. What are the salient characteristics of the Pre-Raphaelite poetry?
Ans. Firstly, like the Romantics, the Pre-Raphaelites were inspired by the Middle Ages—by their romance, chivalry, superstition, and strange combination of the material and mystical. Secondly, the Pre-Raphaelites where above all artists. Art was their religion. They were for the most part as free from any moral or didactic purpose as Keats, who came closest to them among the Romantics. In poetry, as in painting, they aimed at perfect form and finish. Thirdly, as was natural in the work of writers who often were also painters, Pre-Raphaelite poetry was strongly pictorial, rendering in minute details was seen. They exercised this faculty for observation almost involuntarily. Rossetti, for instance, tells, he sat in the grass, bowed with sorrow. Finally, Pre-Raphaelitc poetry is particularly rich in melody. They sought it deliberately, of course, and sometimes to the loss of any precise meaning.
Q. 22. Discuss Dante Gabriel Rossetti as a Pre-Raphaelite poet.
Ans. With a little more breadth of view and with perhaps more of the humane element in him, Dante Gabriel Rossetti might have found a place among the very highest. For he had real genius, and in The Blessed Damozel his gifts are fully displayed: a gift for description of almost uncanny splendour, a brooding and passionate introspection, often of a religious nature, and a verbal beauty as studied and melodious as that of Tennyson, less certain and. decisive perhaps but surpassing that of the older poet, in unearthly suggestiveness. In his ballads, like Rose Mary and Troy Town, the same powers are apparent, though in a lesser degree; these have a power of narrative that is only a very little short of the greatest.
Q. 23. Comment upon Charles Dickens’ ‘Great Expectation’.
Ans. It is the story of the development of the character of Philip Pirip, commonly known as ‘Pip’, a village boy brought up by his termagent sister, the wife of the gentle, humours, kindly blacksmith Joe Gargery. He is introduced to the house of Miss Havisham, a lady half-crazed by the desertion of her lover on her bridal night, who in a spirit of revenge, has brought up the girl Estella, and aspires to become a gentleman. Money and expectations of more wealth come to him from a mysterious source, which he believes to be Miss. Havisham. He goes to London, and in his new mode of life meanly abandons the devoted Joe Gargery, a humble connexion of whom he is now ashamed. Misfortunes come upon him. His unknown benefactor proves to be an escaped convict, Abel Magwitch, to whom he, as a boy, had rendered a service; his great expectations fade away and he is penniless. Estella marries his sulky enemy, Bentley Drummel, by whom she is cruelly ill-treated. Taught by adversity, Pip returns to Joe Gargery and honest labour, and is finally reunited to Estella, who has also learnt her lesson.
Q. 24. What are the main defects in Charles Dickens’ novels?
Ans. Dickens’ major faults are a tendency to let pathos slop ever into bathos, a preference for caricature rather than characterization, and an annoying lack of concerning for either form or economy. He is interested, like an. actor, creating impressions upon a contemporary audience and too often he moulded his amorphous serials to suit his whims. He got his reward in an immense popularity during his lifetime: but he is paying the price in a dying fame among readers to whom his Victorian characters seen strange, and his Victorian moods outmoded.
Q. 25. Discuss Charles Dickens as a realist.
Ans. Dickens was a realist only in a limited sense. His mind was packed with the experiences of a trained reporter, and his own realm—a sufficient wide one, since he appeared to know everything except the higher classes, which were Thackeray’s particular domain—has always been unrivalled. So far as the external features of manners, surroundings, and the particularity of different classes go, especially in the humbler walks of life, he was not only ominscient but extremely faithful. His pictures are crammed with the rich details gathered by an untiring observer. Nothing seems to have escaped his eye; nothing was beneath his sympathy and his affection.
Q. 26. Examine Dickens’ interest in Social Reform.
Ans. Though Dickens’ works embody no systematic social or political theory, from the first he took himself very seriously as a social reformer. His novels aroused public interest in many of the evils of his day, among them boarding schools, in Nicholas Nikleby, the workhouses, in Oliver Twist, the new manufacturing system, in Hard Times, and the Court of Chancery in Bleak House. Deference to the fastidiousness of his public excluded the crudest realism from his pictures of poverty, and he seems to have built his hopes for improvement on the spread of the spirit of benevolence rather than upon political upheaval or formal legislation. In more ways than one his work suffered from his preoccupation with social problems. To it can largely be attributed the poetic justice of the conclusions of may of his novels, the exaggeration of such characters as the Cradgrinds, and the sentimental pictures of the poorer classes.
Q. 27. Evaluate Charles Dickens’ homour.
Ans. It is very likely that the reputation of Dickens will be maintained chiefly as a humorist. His humour is broad, humane and creative. It gives us such real immortals as Mr. Pickwick, Mrs. Gamp, Mr. Micawber and Sam Weller—typical inhabitants of the Dickensian sphere, and worthy of a place in any literary brotherhood. Dickens’ humour is not very subtle but it goes deep, in expression it is free and vivacious. His satire is apt to develop into mere burlesque, as it does when he deals with Mr. Stiggins and Bumble.
Q. 28. How will you stun up the chief merits of Charles Dickens’ novels?
Ans. The novels contain an amazing number of people vividly pictured and convincing enough to have become a part of our world; , and few authors of any time have created such a vast panorama of enthr$ling incident. The plots of his novels are apt to be exceedingly involved on account of the great number of characters and the intricate nature of their relations, and the plots themselves are often hard to recall, but they-never care to hold our interest while we read. In such a book as The Tale of Two Cities the result of Dickens reading of Carlyle’s French Revolution, he shows that he can construct a well-built plot and avoid obscurring the main current of the action with a confusion of minor episodes.
Q. 29. Where does lie the success of Charles Dickens?
Ans. Charles Dickens success as a novelist rests on two causes: one social and the other literary. Dickens was not merely a storyteller, but a social reformer who used fiction as a platform for his social appeals, and who proved to he that type of reformer who could moralise with a smile on his lips. Through social feeling Dickens is linked up with a whole group of writers and has a place in a great movement of the time.
Q. 30. Discuss Thackeray’s views on human nature.
Ans. Thackeray used to be called a cynic, because he saw through the shams and snobbishness of society, and exposed them mercilessly. He was, indeed, very conscious of the weaknesses, of human nature; but he laid them bare not out of malice but from a passionate wish to help men to a higher level. He found in life neither the blackness of Dickens’ villains, nor the whiteness of his saints; the best of men to Thackeray were somewhat grey. He was at home amidst the splendour of aristocratic society and his ideal was the English gentleman; but though he pictured that society with great brilliance, he was never blinded by its glitter, and he saw its members as women moved by petty motives but capable of nobility, like the men and women of all ranks. The cynic sees no good in anything: Thackeray, in spite of his persistent ridicule of men’s weaknesses, saw much good in them and still more possibility of good.
Q. 31. How far was thackeray against the Romantic movement?
Ans. Thackeray was in the main a reactionary against the Romantic movement. Like Fielding, he began by satire and burlesque of his contemporaries, parodying the sentimental affections and pretentiousness of Lytton. He was by training and disposition a child of the Augustan age. He shows no acquaintance with any of the poets who led the Romantic movement, except Scott and Byron, whose departure from the 18th century tradition he ridiculed. But he was deeply read in Addison, Steele, Goldsmith, Swift and Fielding; and, though he interpreted them somewhat mistakenly in his English Humorists, he was with them in sympathy, and learned in their school his clear, urbane, and unpretentious style.
Q. 32. What are the chief woman novelists of the Victorian ear?
Ans. The chief women-novelists of the Victorian era are The Bronte Sisters, Elizabeth Cleghorn Caskell, George Eliot, Mrs. Henry Wood and Mrs. Oliphant.
Q. 33. What is the importance of The Bronte Sisters in the history of the novel?
Ans. The Bronte Sisters were the pioneers in fiction of that aspect of the romantic movement which concerned itself with the bearing of the human soul. In the place of the detached observation of society or group of people, such as we find in Jane Austen and the earlier novelists, the Brontes painted the sufferings of an individual personality, and presented a new conception of the heroine as a woman of vital strength and passionate feelings. Their works are as much the products of the imagination and emotion as of the intellect, and in their more powerful passages they border on poetry. In their concern with the human soul they were to be followed by George Eliot and Meredith.
Q. 34. Discuss George Eliot as a psychological novelist.
Ans. The general character of George Eliot’s novels may be described in the author’s own term, as psychological realism, this means that Eliot sought to do in her novels what Browning attempted in her poetry; that is to represent the inner struggle of a soul, and to reveal the motive, impulses, and hereditary influence which govern human action. Browning generally stops when he tells his story, and either lets you draw your own conclusion or else gives you his in a few striking lines. But George Eliot is not content until she has minutely explained the motives of her characters and the moral lesson to be learned from them. It is the development of a soul, the slow growth or decline of moral power, which chiefly interests her. Her heroes and heroines differ radically from those of Dickens and Thackeray in this respect.
Q. 35. Evaluate George Meredith as the psychological novelist.
Ans. Meredith has all the subtleties of George Eliot with a keener intellectual vision behind. A casual reading of any of his novels suggests a comparison and contrast with George Eliot. Like her, he is a realist and a psychologist; but while George Eliot uses tragedy to teach a moral lesson, Meredith depends upon comedy, making vice not terrible but ridiculous. He constructs a type-man as a hero, and makes this type express his purpose and meaning.
Q. 36. Discuss the characters of Thomas Hardy?
Ans. His characters are mostly ordinary men and women living close to the soil. The individuality of some is sacrificed to Hardy’s view of life but while he is, by more modern standards not really deep in his psychological analysis, characters like Jude and Sue, Tess Henchard, and Eustacia Vye show considerable subtlety, of interpretation. Such figures as Gabriel Oak (Far From the Madding Crowd) and Diggory Venn (The Return of the Native) are finely realized, country type blending with the countryside to which they belong, while the minor rustics, who are briefly sketched but readily visualized, are a frequent source of pithy humour, and act as a chorus commenting on actions of the chief protagonists.
Q. 37. Evaluate Hardy’s view of life.
Ans. His attitude is almost one of despair. He does indeed see and present the humorous and attractive sides of his country people, but his prevailing mood is one of melancholy, inspired by uselessness of their efforts to steer their lives against currents of circumstances which they do not understand and which are far stronger than they. Nature, which he describes sometimes with a terrifying impressiveness is the spectator of human tragedy, or not” infrequently conspires with unseen forces that guide the universe to lead poor, passionate, but not very intelligent men and women to suffering and disaster. The movement of Hardy’s plots is often compared with that of the Greek tragedies and some of these plots do move something of the same impressive inevitability, but not even in Aeschylus and Sophocles are the gods so cruel.
Q. 38. Evaluate the Victorian Novel.
Ans. In the novels of Thackeray and Dickens the various qualities of the domestic novel yet are gathered together and carried a stage forward. Dickens was a social reformer, and did much to idealize the England of his day, and to depict the life of the lower and middle classes with imagination and humour. As a satirist and an observer of manners Thackeray easily excels his contemporaries. With the Bronte sisters the romantic impulse was fully felt in the novel, to which they gave new intensity of passion, greater depth of intuitive sympath and a profound interest in the struggle of the individual soul. In this they were followed by George Eliot, who showed a closeness of application to the mental processes of her characters that was carried further in the work of Meredith, and has led to the ‘psychological’ novels of the present day.
Q. 39. Comment upon Carlyle as a prose writer.
Ans. As a writer of a prose, Carlyle is forceful and original rather than a model. He was fond of epithets, allusions, metaphors, and picturesque expressions, and he used exclamations and inversions with frequency. These are all means of securing emphasis, and they result in a style that sometimes lacks clearance or ease but is never wanting in vigour and earnestness. He was a great artist, a master of irony, grim humour, of pathos, eloquence and vivid portraiture. Like some other nineteenth century writers, he gives to prose all the qualities of poetry except regular rhythm, and he makes the words and sentences astonishingly representative of his striking personality.
Q. 40. Narrate John Ruskin’s teaching in his works.
Ans. There is a good deal in Ruskin’s forty volumes which is absurd or far-fetched, but no one can refuse admiration to the lofty and passionate usefulness that animates every page. He looked out on England where factory smoke and noisy railways where destroying its meadows and woods and where greed of grain and deadening labour were eating up the vital powers of its men and women. It was to this world that he preached the beauty that is to be found in nature or in the creations of man’s imagination, and the duty that calls on each man to help make the life of all happier and better.
Q. 41. Discuss that Ruskin was a great artist of literature.
Ans. Ruskin himself often deplored the fact that people read him more for his style than for his creed. Many of his views, which he argued with power and sincerity, are now self-evident, so rapid sometimes of the progress of human ideas, but his prose style, an art as delicate and beautiful as any of those he spent his life in supporting, will long remain a delectable study. For its like we must return to the prose of Milton and Clarendon, and refine and sweeten the manner of these early masters to reproduce the effect that Ruskin achieves. In its less ornate passage Ruskin’s diction is marked by a sweet and enforced simplicity, but his paues abound in purple passages, which are marked by sentences of immense length, carefully punctuated by a gorgeous march of image and epithet, and by a sumptuous rhythm that sometimes grows into actual blank verse capable of scansion.
Q. 42. Account for the rise of Essay in the Victorian Age.
Ans. We have to note the expansion of this literary type into the treatise-in-little. This method was made popular by Macaulay and continued by Carlyle, Symonds, Pater and many others. Of the miscellaneous essayist, both Dickens, in some parts of The Uncommercial Travellers, and Thackeray, in the Roundabout Papers successfully practised the shorter Addisonian type: and this again was enlarged and made more pretentious by Ruskin, Pater, and Stevenson. Victorian essay is quite different from the Baconian essay. Bacon’s essays are dispersed meditations of “coming home to men’s bosoms or business.” But the essays in the hands of Ruskin and Walter Pater became impersonal. In fact, they are like the lyric for the expression of individuality.
Q. 43. Discuss Mathew Arnold’s ‘Essays on Criticism’.
Ans. Essays on Criticism contains the best of his critical work, which is marked by wide reading, and careful thought. His judgment, usually admirably sane and measured, is sometimes distorted a little by his views on life and politics. Nevertheless, he ranks as one of the great English literary critics. As in the poetry, he shows himself to be the apostle of sanity and culture.
Q. 44. Interpret Mathew Arnold’s famous remark that “Poetry is a Criticism of Life.”
Ans. It means that poetry is more than a matter of externals; more than the utterances of certain moods; it is an expression of the moral and intellectual attitude of the literary artist. The grand power of poetry, as Arnold puts it, is its interpretative power.