Peter Evans’s Class Notes for Northrop Frye’s Course in English Literature 1500–1660 (English 2i), 1952–1953

At the top of page 50 of Evans’s notes is the name “Bentley.” Evans’s note to me: “The may mean Allen Bentley took the lecture and I copied, but more likely that I took it and he borrowed the notes.” We can infer from the four sets of notes that are dated (lectures 31–34) that the course met on Mondays and Wednesdays.  The topic for the students’ course essay is sketched at the beginning of lecture 25. I received these notes from Evans in 1994 and transcribed them in 2010.  The topics and writers covered in the lectures are listed below.  ––RDD



1                                  Historical background, printing press, humanism

2                                  English poetic metre, sonnet, Skelton, Hawes, Wyatt, Surrey

3–4                  Courtly love convention, Wyatt, Surrey

5                                  Background to Spenser; his hymns

6                                  Spenser’s cosmology; the elements; the humours

7                                  Minerals; English emergence from insularity (commerce)

8                                  Geoffrey of Monmouth, William Warner, Spenser

9                                  Bibliography; Sidney

10                                Sonnets (Sidney and Shakespeare); Marlowe

11                                Mythological poem (Marlowe, Shakespeare, Drayton

12                                Revolt against courtly love: The Metaphysical poets

13–14              Metaphysical poetry (Donne, Marvell); satire (Gascoigne, Spenser, Jonson)

15                                Jonson

16                                Tradition of Jonson: Herrick

17                                Herbert, Crashaw

18                                Crashaw, Vaughan

19                                Traherne, Marvell

20                                Marvell, Waller, Denham, Butler

21 Butler, Cowley

22–25              More’s Utpoia and its tradition

26                                Asham and Machiavelli

27                                Elyot, Ascham, and educational theory

28                                The rise of the vernacular; Bacon

29–31 Bacon, Hooker

32–35              Browne

36 Burton

37 Sidney

38                                Sidney, Deloney

39                                Deloney, Greene

40                                Greene, Lyly

41                                Nashe

42                                Walton, Fuller, Hall

Lecture 1.

This course covers the English period of culture known as the Renaissance.  The English Renaissance had been delayed, not beginning until the last decade of the 15th century.

Printing press first used at this time, having profound and immediate importance to literature in England.  Effects on culture, literary tradition.

Growth in importance of secondary education.

15th century. War of Roses. Baronial War, killing off many of the barons.  Growth at this time of new middle class, which by the end of the 15th century was the effective power in England.  Henry VII, first of the Tudors (1485), realized that he must get rid of the rest of the feudal barons and get middle class support.  The Tudor dynasty still had a great deal of personal power.  In culture, there was a centralization of authority at the king’s court on London.  The invention of gunpowder helped the king get rid of the barons.  The invention of the compass helped develop a colonial outlook for the Atlantic seaboard countries.

Increase in prestige and importance of the modern languages.  Middle Age works had been written in Latin, but now English began to be used to an increased literary importance.

Middle English was written in a number of dialects during Chaucer’s period, because there was not much exchange, transportation.

In the Renaissance a standard form of English began to be accepted.  The strong middle class played a strong role here.

In the Middle Ages there were five important dialects (one in the north, two in central England, and two in the south).  When the standard dialect arose, there was no question but that it would come from London, and in London the East Midland dialect rose to become our standard English.  This had been the language of Chaucer.

The introduction of the printing press was at the opening of the period.  Caxton opened the first in England in about 1476, and for the next twenty‑five years about three operated in England.  With the printing press it was possible to reproduce books exactly, without reliance on a scribe, where small mistakes build up.  An accurately established text could now be produced.  It stimulated scholars to dig out manuscripts to put out scholarly editions.

The printing press brought about great controversies.  War of pamphlets during Reformation.  By Elizabethan period an idea of journalism began to build up.

Fashionable poets (Wyatt, Surrey, e.g.) tended to avoid the printing press.  They wrote their poems in manuscripts and passed them among friends.

After 1450 humanism was of importance.  Humanism––the revival and editing of Classical Greek and Latin works.

In Italy a great interest arose in the study of Greek.  Now scholars began researching monasteries throughout Europe, searching for old manuscripts.  The number they found was surprising.  Aldine editions––under patronage of Venetian gentlemen.

Books printed before 1500 were “incunabula” editions.

A great popularization of culture in England in this Renaissance period.

Read Wyatt, Surrey, Skelton.

Lecture 2.

English as a poetic language is terrifically thumpy and frumpy.  English has two main sources: Latin and native stock of words.  The entire native stock was of monosyllables.  This accounts for the bumpiness.  In Chaucer the technique of writing was based on a different language.  Anglo‑Saxon was inflected.  In Chaucer’s day all the inflections had boiled down to the pronunciation of the soft “e” at the end of many words.  This meant a smoothness impossible to attain in modern English.  Middle English had a lightness of touch and of sound unobtainable in modern English.  In the century following Chaucer great changes took place in the pronunciation of English

Two rhythms seem to be embedded in English poetry since early medieval times:

(1) iambic pentameter.  English has too many bumps for a longer line to be feasible.

(2) a line of four beats or stresses, rather than four feet.  Any number of syllables can be used within the four stresses, as in music.

The first three beats began on the same letter (alliteration).  This was the metre of Beowulf.

In spite of the iambic pentameter of Chaucer or Shakespeare, there were still four heavy beats to a line.

The best poetry of the 15th century was the ballad, and it went back to the four‑beat line.

John Skelton (1460?–1529).  A clergyman and satirist.  A bit unconventional as a churchman.  A learned man.  Translated Greek to English.  Last poet of Middle Ages, and he followed the uncertainty following Chaucer.  He, too, fell back on the four‑beat line.  He employed a “Skeltonic” metre.

Stephen Hawes (ca. 1475–1530) is proof that Old English is worn out.  In poetry it does not fit the metre.  Something has to be done.

Petrarch (1306–74) and Boccaccio greatly influenced Chaucer.  Now at the time of Wyatt and Surrey, many Englishmen travelled on the continent.  Wyatt and Surrey consciously attempted to reform English poetry.  They studied Petrarch carefully.  Wyatt and Surrey used his themes.  Wyatt seems to have introduced the sonnet to English.

The sonnet vogue lasted until the beginning of the 17th century.  It was a good practice form for conciseness.

Wyatt and Surrey also used lyric forms

“Of the Mean and Sure Estate” [Wyatt]––a satire.  Adaptation of Horace’s tale of town and country mores––interlocking rhymes––three‑line stanzas––“terza rima”––Dante’s metre.  Shelley used in “Ode to the West Wind,” but it is not good for English metre.

See lines 52–54––lack of rhyming words in English [“The fare she had, for, as she look askance, / Under a stool she spied two steaming eyes / In a round head with sharp ears. In France”]

The Petrarchan sonnet has the octave and sestet.  No rhyming couplet (abba abba cde cde).  But Shakespearean sonnet, as introduced by Surrey, has three quatrains followed by a rhyming couplet.  It was more suitable for English.

Surrey introduced blank version in his translation from the Aeneid.  It is now a most important poetic form.

Surrey tried other ideas––“Complaint of the Absence of Her Lover, Being upon the Sea”––Alternation from twelve to fourteen syllables in alternate lines (hexameter, then septameter).  The poulter’s measure––an early Tudor period form.

Wyatt was the subtler of the two.  Surrey is a gentle, smooth, even‑flowing poetry.  Thus Surrey became more fashionable in the Elizabethan times.

It was not until ten years after Surrey’s death that the poems got into print (1557) in a book––Tottel’s Miscellany, the first English anthology.  Tottel tried to improve Surrey’s poetry, smoothing it, and for a long time Wyatt was considered inept.

Lecture 3.

The social position of the prince and the courtier had been well established under Henry VIII.  Wyatt and Surrey took their roles a courtiers.  They trained themselves for their position.  They became men of action.  Educated courtiers.    The ideal of Renaissance education was a broad secularism, founded on humanism.  An ability to master the Greek and Latin classics.  Versatility was possible.  Classical authors were regarded as authorities––medicine, architecture, prose or poetic style, farming, etc.  Humanism was basically a cult of authority.  The influence of humanism on literature was good, while on science it was pernicious.  Since improvement of art forms, classical forms, is impossible, the setting up of such models is right.  We can’t beat Homer, Virgil, Shakespeare, or Milton.  But such models in science are wrong.  Humanism was primarily a literary development, but science had to make its own way in the 16th century, to some extent in defiance of humanism.

The poetry of Wyatt and Surrey was amateur, and was more conventionalized than that of professionals.  Writing is highly conventionalized.  The convention is the postulate agreed on between the writer and the reader.  A different convention would exist in Alice in Wonderland than in Mickey Spillane, and there is no point in arguing against such conventions.

The first great movement in medieval poetry was that taking place in Provençal.  The troubadour in southern France developed a type of theme––that of devotion to a lady.  The poet devotes himself to the service of his lady.  This began the convention of courtly love.  This convention spread southward over Italy and northward over France, where it soon became merged with chivalry, the upper‑class feudal method of behaviour.  The ideal of chivalry was the acceptance of their position in the upper class of protecting the weak, especially women.

Dante and Petrarch in Italy picked up the courtly love theme.  The woman is in a sense the inspirer of man.  Beatrice, a girl whom Dante was inspired by, in the Divine Comedy, leads Dante up from the Inferno to Paradise.  This type of love was practiced as a discipline of one’s own perfection.  Petrarch was high brow––the first humanist.  He was proud of having written a great Latin epic.  But he also wrote Italian sonnets, on the theme of his lady love, who, however, had no effect on his marriage.  When she dies, this courtly love continues.

Petrarch set the convention for the next three centuries.  Wyatt and Surrey pick up his theme constantly.

Petrarch’s code was adopted as the code of living, continued for a long time.  Seeing a girl at a party, you had to fall immediately in love forever, not necessarily sexually so––not romantic.  Then you went home and pulled down your blind.  You were not able to sleep for weeks––constantly melancholy.  During this period you wrote and wrote and wrote.  The first part of the writing complains of the lady’s cruelty.  Then on to the theme of her smile, etc.

By the end of the 16th century the convention was still growing strong, but it was wearing a little thin.  Shakespeare comments on it at the opening of Romeo and Juliet.  His love affair with Rosaline is a take‑off on the courtly love theme.

In history some gigantic lovers went much further than the simple conventions of courtly love and went mad or died or killed themselves.  These people were saints or martyrs.  Don Quixote is a take‑off on the courtly love theme.

As You Like It brings out all of these conventions.

This convention underlies the Elizabethan sonnet, and many of the poets and poems of this period.

Lecture 4.

A feature of the courtly love convention––it took a typical medieval flavour.  The classic Cupid and Venus in love poetry of the classical period.

The Christ‑God image parallels this and carries down into medieval poetry.

A language in the courtly love convention that parallels religion––e.g., Spenser’s Amoretti XXII––“holy season,” “saint,” “priest,” “altar,” “relic,” etc.

A contemporary of Chaucer wrote the Confession Amatis, in which a young man makes a confession to the priest of Venus.

The parallel between courtly love and Christian love is a part of medieval poetry.  For example, Donne’s “The Canonization”: resurrection symbolism applied to love.  Donne’s atheist or heretic is one who isn’t in love or who doesn’t fall in love.

Women who do not “come across” are warned that they are blaspheming the god of love.

Wyatt’s “The Lover Compareth His State to a Perilous Storm Tossed on the Sea” is a translation from Petrarch.  An example of the way convention can still bring good poetry.  This shows part of the advantage of having a convention.  We must distinguish between literary sincerity and personal sincerity.

The courtly love convention expects you to make great protestations of love.  It might be such a protestation to someone to get a job or a position.

Surrey’s “Complaint of a Lover Rebuked” is a translation from Petrarch.

Wyatt’s “The Lover for Shamefastness” is a translation of the same sonnet.

Wyatt’s rhythm follows exactly what is being expressed.  He has written the poem out in more dimensions than Surrey knew existed.

N.B. Rhythm in verses 3 and 6 of “The Lover Complaineth the Unkindness of His Love.”  Two strong beats in the middle of a line can have a wonderful effect if you know what to do with them.

“A Renouncing of Love”––such a theme became important in the courtly love tradition later on.  Sidney used it for a renunciation of religious love.

“Whoso List to Hunt.”  Another translation from Petrarch.  Surrey’s “Description and Praise” was written to a nine‑year‑old, typical of the courtly love tradition.

By the end of the 16th century the convention was wearing then.  Another convention in the courtly love theme is shown in Surrey’s “A Praise of His Love Wherein He Reproveth Them That. Compare Their Ladies With His.”

––A popularized form of Plato.  In Plato material things are the shadows of forms of ideas.  The idea is preserved by the soul, and the body perceives the material things.

The soul in the body sees the purpleness, depth of a thing, which the body sees as a faded carbon copy of it.

(See Plato’s Symposium.  If a man is attracted by a woman, the body is attracted by the material object, while the soul without man’s knowing it perceives the idea or form of beauty.  Man must aspire to get above the body to this ideal level.)

Surrey is having fun with convention.

The Platonic streak in the courtly love theme.  Love in Plato does not refer to women or sexual love.

N.B. Love of men or boys.  Love in the military aristocracy.  It is not homosexual love either in Plato’s Symposium.

Read Spenser, “A Love of Beauty,” “A Love of Heavenly Beauty,” “A Hymn in Honour of Beauty,” “A Hymn of Heavenly Beauty”

Read Sidney.

Lecture 5.

The first professional poet of the 16th century was Spenser.  The Renaissance idea of a poet was of a man with importance in society.  This implies a great responsibility to society.  Spenser came from the middle class; he went to Cambridge.  He met there quite a group of people interested in poetry.  In 1597 he produced The Shepheardes Calender.  He took every chance to make himself a new poet.  He wrote the book anonymously, it being, in a sense, nature poetry.

He used a modification of the courtly love convention, the pastoral convention.  The pastoral theme has two origins, Classical and Biblical.

Classical: Theocritus (who lived in Sicily) did not write in normal epic group [sic].  He wrote in the Doric dialect, that spoken by a minority of Greeks.  His poems were “idylls.”  He was followed and made popular in form by Virgil whose main works (except the Aeneid) were on rustic themes.  The Eclogues of Virgil, copying Theocritus, popularized this pastoral convention.

The Bible is full of pastoral symbolism: 23rd Psalm, “sheep” in the Gospels, Christ to Good Shepherd.

This poetry is a good means for satire.  Oversimplification of life vs. the court left behind.  Also a vehicle for the courtly love convention.

Certain forms developed: singing match, love song, panegyric (Virgil’s Fourth Eclogue), elegy (pastoral lament) (e.g., Milton’s “Lycidas,” Shelley’s “Adonais,” and Arnold’s “Thyrsis”).

Spenser in his pastoral lament wrote twelve sections, one for each month of the year, using all these forms and more.  In it he includes a satire on the condition of the church.  Spenser decided to write this poem in a country dialect.  Since the dialects were taken from all over England, he actually made up the dialect.  He threw in some archaic words from Chaucer, some Elizabethan slang, foreign expressions, and some coinages of his own.  It was difficult to read, but somewhat enjoyable.  Spenser had a good ear for music.

Pastoral form idealizes simple rural life.  (Today it is the western tale.)

Spenser wrote a total of four hymns, the first two dealing with the courtly love convention––Venus––and the other two concerning the Christian religion.

“An Hymn in Honour of Beauty” is written to Venus.

Lines 29–35––Platonic convention.  Goes on talking about pattern of beauty, ideal form of beauty.

The soul within you does not really see a pretty woman, but searches for a virtuous beauty, much deeper, ideal, aesthetic.

Spenser insists that the process of falling in love is the start of the process of disciplining the mind, leaving the body in search of the soul

Body = transient object.  Soul = eternal form

As marriage and love go on, it becomes not an attraction of the bodies but a union of souls.

Lecture 6.

Spenser’s four hymns are based on certain assumptions.

You live simultaneously in two worlds––the sun rises and sets; also the earth moves round the sun.  Poetry was based on the earth as the centre of the universe.  Man will be the centre of reality.  God conceived in man’s form.  (People had always known the world was a sphere––as early as 300 B.C.).  The universe to the medieval mind was a series of concentric spheres with earth at the centre.  It was believed that the antipodes (the other half of the world) was either all water or at best certainly not inhabited.  The cosmologists believed in four substances: earth, water, air, fire.  Earth at the centre of the densest part, water lies all around on top of the earth, air lies around on top of water; therefore, fire must lie in the sphere beyond this.  Belief that each of these four would seek its own sphere (air bubbles up through water, fire rises, water rises from ground).  The four elements represented to world of decay, change, and corruption (sublunary).  The outside of this came the planets and stars––made of quintessence––not subject to change, decay, or corruption.  Your soul was also made of this quintessence.  Order of planets: Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn.  Then came the fixed stars.  But scientists wondered what the stars did up there, and planetary influence came into vogue.  (Science of astrology––the influence of the stars.)  Above the sphere of fixed stars was a crystalline sphere, and around this was a vast shell of “primum mobile,” moving from east to west, completely in one day correcting the movement of the heavenly bodies from west to east.

Reality was finite––closer to our present conception of the universe as presented by Einstein (idea of space as curved).  The word “temperament” originally stemmed from “mixture.”  Temperaments = various humours.

Humours                                   Inorganic                                                Organic                                     Temperament

hot                                           hot and dry                              bile (choler)                             choleric

cold                                         hot and wet                             blood                                                   sanguine

wet                                          cold and wet                phlegm                                     phlegmatic

dry                                           cold & dry                               melancholy                              melancholic

This assumption rests on the identification of the mental with the physical.  The four humours were not confined to the human body.  All organic objects have humours.

Lecture 7.

Ancients believed that the influence of the planets caused the growth of metals in the rocks.  Mercury produced mercury, Mars iron, Sun gold, Saturn lead, Jupiter tin, etc.

Columbus discovered America trying to find a cheaper way of getting to the Orient, since the route by the east has been virtually severed.  For 2000 years people had known the world was round.

About 1500 feudal lords dispossessed tenants and turned large areas into sheep ranches.  (The great grievance is what More refers to in his first book of Utopia.)  Now England had to trade wool for silks and cotton––and linen, Damask linen from Damascus.

Earliest reference to America is in a play written in 1497.  Timber, cotton, and fish are talked about, rather than gold and silver.  Two attempts to get to Orient, one by north‑east and one by north‑west.  However, in Elizabeth’s reign they found that the way by the north‑west would be long and tedious, and so England found that it could do a lot better by turning buccaneers on the Spanish craft.  Their galleons were unarmed, laden down with gold.  The English easily raided these for about thirty years before the Spanish smartened up.

The English first tried the north‑east traffic route which didn’t work, but they began a roaring trade with Russia.—furs, timber, copper, etc.  England also infiltrated Russia, and even India, so that by 1620 the East India Company was founded.  Got cotton from India and silks from china

England had to import dyes to give their wool a bright colour.  They found two good dyes in America.  The English already had a red dye (“brasile”), and cochineal and saffron (yellow).

The Elizabethan Englishman is emerging from a smug little world with the earth at the centre in to a vast new world, vast new ideas.  Anything might turn out to be true.

In the Middle Ages there wasn’t a very great knowledge of Greek.  Consequently, the Greek poets were not studied in the original.  However, they did know the fall of Troy from the Aeneid, but Virgil’s account is told from a Trojan point of view.  Two poets in the fifth and sixth centuries wrote out a long Latin poem telling the whole story of Troy from beginning to end.  They were the only sources, and this story got told in the Middle Ages.  Thus medieval conventions got mixed up in the story.  Any romantic references in Homer were added to and expanded to bring up romance all out of balance.  The love story of Troilus and Cressida.  Chaucer told it with a pro‑Trojan slant; Shakespeare with a pro‑Greek slant.

In Stephen’s reign (1135–54) Geoffrey of Monmouth (a Welshman) came along.  Monmouth was very important in English literature.  He decided that it was time England had a history.  He went to work to compose a history of England (slant on the Britons) and this was accepted still in the Elizabethan period.

Lecture 8.

Monmouth, Britannia––constructed Welsh myths into the history of England that were accepted down to 1600.  Until then his account was believed and is therefore of great literary importance.  It is through Monmouth’s history that we have Lear and Cymbeline in Shakespeare’s historical plays.  King Cole also entered history from Monmouth’s account.

The legend of the Welsh King Arthur, who stopped the Anglo‑Saxons cold, and cleared them out of England.  Monmouth introduced Arthur, and Merlin, who built Stonehenge by miraculously transporting stones from Ireland.  Arthur is supposed to have gone on to conquer Europe.  With this, Monmouth stops.  There great names got into the English mind to the neglect of better histories.

Monmouth was translated from Latin into English and Norman French, and the great legends spread through the 12th century.  The stories were originally Celtic.  Early stories dealt with Percival rather than the later goody‑goody Galahad.

In the 13th century a group of Cistercian monks gave the story of Arthur an allegorical significance––the holy grail, etc.  Then the emphasis came to be on the knights.  In the 16th century, Malory collected some of these later legends in his Morte d’Arthur.

The Tudors (a Welsh house) relied on Arthur to give them a sort of moral right to the throne, and at this time serious doubts were being cast on the Arthurian legend.  A foreign scholar had already called the legend a tissue of lies, and the idea still haunted English scholars.

The Elizabethans were fond of history.  With the Tudors had come a strong, steady centralized government.  England was coming to the end of a period of historical growth.  People were taking a pride in their country.  Writing for historical purposes.

p. 55.  “Troy Nouvant” line 9.  New Troy.  From idea in Monmouth of England being founded as a New Troy by a grandson of Aeneas.

William Warner (1558–1609) wrote a history of Albion’s England­––beginning with flood, up through Troy, etc.  Calls the English “Britons,” after Brutus, the so‑called founder of England after Troy.

This poetry is in a very standard metre that is extremely boring, and goes on and on.  A “nursery rhyme” verse.  But this makes it easier history to remember.

Spenser––his greatest work was The Faerie Queene––meant as an epic glorifying England.  Each book is the quest of a knight, and each knight is a member of the court of the Faerie Queene. But the Faerie Queene never appears.  He makes his poem allegorical, getting around historical difficulties.  The queen represents (1) Queen Elizabeth (b) the glory of England.  The hero is Arthur, who regales the knights whenever they get into trouble.  The first book is about the Red Cross Knight (George) purifying the Church of England from Rome.

Spenserian stanza––nine lines––septameter except for last line, which is hexameter.  Byron used the Spenserian stanza (a very complicated one) in his Childe Harold.  Keats used the Spenserian stanza for The Eve of St. Agnes––a very successful use.  Also Shelley used it for something [“The Revolt of Islam” and “Adonais”] and Burns used it in “A Cotter’s Saturday Night.”

The Spenserian stanza is highly wrought, full of rhyme and alliteration.  It is no good for straight narration of simple, unadulterated stories.

Chain of Being––all reality is on a scale or hierarchy of existence.  God highest, then angels, man, animals, plants, inorganic matter, chaos, with hot, cold, wet, and dry.

This chain of being runs all through English literature.  The idea of form and matter runs through all English literature.  Chaos is as close as you can get to pure matter without form, and God is pure form.  Man is in the middle.  (This theme is still going strong in Pope’s Essay on Man.  Strongly Aristotelian.  In all classes of being there was the primate (the form best exhibited).  Primate of flowers, the rose; of minerals, gold.

“Hymn to Heavenly Beauty”––stanza beginning with line 29.  Everything in the world is equally beautiful if you look at it for what it is supposed to be.

Lecture 9.


General.  Cambridge History (Tucker Brooke) and Oxford (Douglas Bush) History of English Literature

Douglas Bush, Mythology and the Renaissance Tradition in English Poetry

Douglas Bush, The Early Seventeenth Century, 1600-1660

Douglas Bush, Renaissance and English Humanism (Alexander Lectures)

Hiram Haydn, The Counter‑Renaissance

Pearson, Elizabethan Love Conventions

Hardin Craig, The Enchanted Glass: The Elizabethan Mind in Literature

Esther Dunn, The Literature of Shakespeare’s England

Renwick, The Works of Edmund Spenser

Tillyard, The Elizabethan World Picture

C.S. Lewis, The Allegory of Love

p. 138.  Spenser, “An Hymn of Heavenly Beauty”––The onion‑shaped universe.  His account of the spiritual world is largely of his own invention

Sidney.  The Elizabethans were very proud of Sidney, trained in all the essential attributes of the perfect courtier.  Popular.  Others tried to imitate him.  None of his works published in his short life‑time.  A learned man, interested in theology, philosophy, mathematics.  Three particularly important works. (1) An Apology for Poetry––a formal speech in front of the court––a defense of poetry. (2)  A long, prose pastoral romance, Arcadia.  (3) His sonnet sequence, Astrophel and Stella, was the most popular.  (The title seems to indicate a star and a lover of the star, indicating the courtly love convention.)  The theme is of a courtly love pattern with much deep and personal love in it.  The courtly distance is maintained because Sidney (Astrophel) is frustrated by Stella’s marriage.

Sidney is a magnificent technician in poetry.  His first sonnet in this series is written successfully in hexameter rather than pentameter.

In Sonnet VII––hair black.  Brunettes were out of style, as Elizabeth’s hair was red.

Lecture 10.

Astrophel and Stella––the sonnets interspersed with various songs and other types of poems. Typical Petrarchan love story.  Gloomy story with a light tone.  As story moves along, more passion, more frustration, the death of one, then followed by the theme of the eternity of love.

Shakespeare’s sonnets.  Existed quite early in Shakespeare’s career.  Shakespeare himself remains a mystery.  Inscrutable.  Total of 154 sonnets, the majority addressed to a youth, a young man, with whom he is intensely in love, although not homosexually.  His sonnets become philosophical, reflective, pessimistic.  First sequence to the young man.  Then there seems to be a break and another group, lighter in touch, addressed to a dark lady.  Having some fun with the courtly love convention.

A curious mixture of Shakespeare’s clairvoyant vision, along with a conscious attempt to be conventional.  The first of the poems look like a great mind overlooking the universe, but he brings himself back with a jerk, and the last two lines are almost a jingle.

Hubler, The Sense of Shakespeare’s Sonnets

Hero is love, villain is time as the sonnet sequence develops. (#64).  Phrase “the fool of time” occurs all through the sonnets

The illusion of things––art and love as disappearing in time.  In reality, they have a permanence.

Marlowe.  (Ovid’s Metamorphoses contained many of the popular myths.  Classical mythology was very popular in the Renaissance.)

Hero and Leander––takes courtly love convention attached to classical myth, and develops that.

The original story came from a late Greek Alexandrian poet.  The poem was very popular, and Marlowe adapted and paraphrased the poem.

Marlowe was trained at Cambridge and then went to London and wrote for the theatre.

By far the best English dramatist before Shakespeare.  He died when he was quite young.  Marlowe’s plays were always a success.

John Bakeless, Christopher Marlowe (1938)

Four astonishing plays.  (1) Tamburlaine.  Given a curious perspective.  An arrogant pride like Milton’s Satan.  Marlowe given the name of an atheist.  Followed it up with (2) Doctor Faustus, the text of which unfortunately has been ruined.  The one great treatment of the story outside of Goethe.  (3) The Jew of Malta (4) Edward II, great historical play.

“The Passionate Shepherd to His Love”––a famous lyric of the period.  A famous love song in the English language.

Lecture 11.

Mythological poem.  Drowsy sensuous eroticism.  Classical myth with heavy pictorial imagery.

See Hero and Leander––Marlowe.  Line 9, etc. description of Hero’s clothes.  Line 135.  Venus’ temple stands for the church in the courtly love convention.  Lightness, lilt and continuity in Marlowe’s couplet.

An extremely beautiful treatment of the mythological poem.  Marlowe didn’t finish the poem, leaving it to be finished by Chapman.

Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis.  Intensely pictorial, an early work (about the time of Titus Andronicus)––a curiously bloodless poem.  An experiment in techniques of expression.

Adonis.  The god that around the Mediterranean was worshipped as bringing the crops.  He died every fall.

Everyone sought after Venus but Adonis, yet Adonis was the one Venus loved.

Drayton.  “Endymion and Phoebe.”  Another mythological poem

Around 1600 there is a curious ambiguity in the treatment of courtly love and pastoral conventions.  A lot of conventional writing, but in the poetry there was some lightness and parody.  The conventions were wearing out.  The easiest to parody was the pastoral.  P. 184.  Greene, another bright young man from Cambridge, like Marlowe.  A good example of a new type of professional writer.  He turned his hand to anything he thought might be popular.  From Menephon: “Doran’s Eclogue Joined with Camela’s.”   The Cockney’s revenge.  A take‑off on the pastoral convention.


From Nymphidia: The Court of the Fairy.  A take‑off on the fairy idea.  This rhyme scheme had been used as a parody of the medieval romance before (done by Chaucer, when he has to tell his story––a brilliant parody of the medieval romance in the medieval romance stanza).  Drayton uses this jingle rhyme.  For rhyme, you stick down just about any word that rhymes.

Lecture 12.

General shift in tone around 1600.  1590–1600, a great vogue for musical, lyrical poetry.  Usually a pretty straightforward piece of poetry.

From 1600, courtly poetry becomes more and more an expression of one class.  The Cavalier period.

Two main traditions in the 17th century

(1) courtly love convention carried on, led by Ben Jonson

(2) a more intellectualized type of poetry led by John Donne.

Shakespeare did satirize the courtly love convention.  Sonnet 130.  Here he takes all the conventions of Petrarchan poetry and parodies them

Donne also has a good bit of this.  His secular love poetry was probably written before 1600, largely influenced by the 16th century.  Restlessness with the repeated formulas of the courtly love convention and a tendency toward more intellectual poetry.

See p. 214.  Chapman

Here he revolts against Petrarch while still sticking by the rules.  Not a polished poet, but a high‑brow intellectual.

An age of political compromise, rather than intellectual study, philosophy.

Anyone who sought intellectualism for its own sake was likely to be regarded as a free thinker.

Donne, like Chapman, is an intellectual poet.  Like Shakespeare in his attitude to courtly love.  He ridicules the abstraction in the courtly love convention.  Some straightforward courtly love poems.  Some hid the Petrarchan conventions by exaggeration.  Others in praise of promiscuity.  Some domestic.  Donne writes about all aspects of love.  He realizes the complexity of love.

Well‑born people were to become either courtiers or go into the city and make [?].

Metaphysical Poetry (a poor appellation)

Donne is supposed to have founded a school of metaphysical poetry that lasted throughout the first half of the 17th century.

As jargon in English poetry, it refers to a certain type of poetry by Donne, Vaughan, Herbert, Crashaw, Cowley, Marvell, etc.  It was a technique deliberately strained, far‑fetched, unusual images.

“Conceit”––a reference to an image that is ingeniously apt.  You admire it, but there’s a lurking humour too.  Wit is the faculty of making such conceits in metaphysical poetry.

This poetry was in fashion until 1660.  Then the French influence came in, and the Augustan age: Dryden, Pope, Johnson, etc.  Metaphysical poetry went out of fashion.  Johnson and Pope criticize this school for manipulating their own wit, trying too hard to do this

Even through the Romantic and Victorian periods, Donne and his school were still out of favour.  Not until the 20th century has the interest revived, led by T.S. Eliot.

These restless, agile poets seem to have more to say to the 20th century.

H.J.C. Grierson, ed. Donne’s Poetical Works (Oxford)

127 Clifton Road.  St. Clair Car.  East from Yonge.  Wed. 12th [These directions to the Fryes’ home were almost certainly for a social occasion.  Frye regularly invited students to his home.]

Lecture 13.

Metaphysical poetry––an intellectual revolt against the conventions of the Elizabethan age.  In Donne we have a technique developed in a deliberate, conscious aim to startle by use of a type of strained image.  “Yoked by violence heterogeneous ideas”––Johnson.  When this happens it usually points to some condition in the cultural background.  In medieval times: their symbolic images and ideas, seven stars, planets, etc., provided a great one‑to‑one correspondence of ideas.  All ideas linked naturally and systematically.  The medieval system in the time of Donne was breaking up.  Their ideas synthesized were falling away before the first discoveries of 17th‑century science.  This influenced Donne.  The breaking world and the coming new world resulted in a sinewy leaning intellect, trying to unite a breaking system of ideas––metaphysical.

As true of Eliot and the 20th century as it was for Donne in the 17th.

Man occupying the central place in the chain of being from God to chaos.  Possesses all the elements of the universe.  Then Donne, a flat map, taking to him the character of the universe.

Metaphysical poet demanded tact, but is never dull, like a dull pastoral.

Lecture 14.

Donne known for unique association of ideas, and this type of poetry was popular until 1660.  A break with old conventions.  A systematic use of intellectual imagery.  We have a feeling of a poetry being deliberately created to bring these images in.  The use of abstract ideas does not seem poetic, for we think of poetry as depending on sense experience.  We get references in his ideas to the thought of the medieval schoolman.  (See “The Dream.”)

Metaphysical poets enjoy using mathematical or geometrical images.  Mathematical abstractions are not directly connected with sense experience, and so are of use to the metaphysical poets.

Marvell in “The Definition of Love”––plane geometry involved in the definition.

See Donne, Holy Sonnet VII––power packed.

Donne, “Of the Progress of the Soul: Second Anniversary”––long, philosophical  (on the anniversary of death of girl in the family).  Shows in a meditation Donne’s outlook on the universe.

The satire is an intellectual poetic form.  Satire is the name of the form in this case.  It began in Roman literature as a poetic form developed by Juvenal, Horace, Persius.  This is taken up first in England by Wyatt in “On the Mean and Sure Estate.”

Gascoigne, “The Steel Glass.”  Gascoigne wrote the first critical essay on the English poem.  Translated Greek tragedy for the English stage.  “The Steel Glass” was the first formal satire in English.  He praises the old‑fashioned virtue of using steel mirrors in England, against the import of glass from Italy.  New‑fangled ideas.

[in left margin] The bestiary appears in late classical times.  Describes habits of real and imaginary creatures.  They were popular all over Europe.  Its form is always the same.  We learn their habits and then are given a moral from them.

Spenser’s “Mother Hubbard’s Tale”––a satire but not a formal one.

Joseph Hall, Virgidemiarum {a bundle of rods}.  A series of satires.  He wrote two series.  The example we have is a highbrow opinion of the stage.  Doesn’t like the mixing of scenes & of classes in the play.  (Richelieu felt the same way, and this had a great effect on the French drama.  Hall is right in thinking there is something socially subversive in the Elizabethan stage and drama.

Elizabethan satire––follows Juvenal, Persius

Sometime deliberately obscure.  Donne writes in a couplet that is a take‑off on the heroic couplet.  The rhyme can hardly be noticed when it is read properly.

In the 17th century there were three major schools: The Metaphysical; The Neo-Classical (Cavalier); The Allegorical (following Spenser)

Ben Jonson.  Born in London.  Stepson of a bricklayer.  Any reference to bricklaying in English drama is an attack on Jonson.

In Shakespeare’s company he wrote his first great comedy, Every Man in His Humour.  His type of comedy has never been touched.  His tragedies are very learned & recondite, but don’t stage well.

While Jonson was in charge of the Children’s Company he wrote his more involved plays.  He became popular at court.  Turned most of his efforts to writing masques.

As a writer of lyric and light songs, he has had great influence.

Lecture 15.

Ben Jonson became poet laureate.

He was a slow, careful writer––in contrast to Shakespeare.  Wonderful, beautiful, polished little lyrics are the result.

Jonson wrote six excellent comedies, but after that he became interested in masques & his later plays were flops.

Jonson talks down to his less‑educated public.

Die‑hard humanists insisted that all great works be written in Latin and Greek.  They were forced to retreat from this position, but they still insisted that such devices as rhyme, alliteration, and other such devices not be used.  So there was a prejudice against this.

Lecture 16.

In the Renaissance many distortions of English spelling by pedants who altered the spelling to bring out the Latin origin.  This is why there are so many anonymous [anomalous?] spellings in the poetry of the period.

Jonson’s verse is clear.  Many of his lines show the influence of the Roman classics.  Clarity and simplicity.

A third tradition in Elizabethan poetry, and that was Spenser.

Spenser and Milton were the top men.  But also we have Giles and Phineas Fletcher.  Giles is much the better of the two.

The tradition of Ben Jonson.  The greatest in this tradition was Robert Herrick.  The first of the strictly 17th‑century poets

Wrote epigrams on his parishioners in Devonshire, which he regarded as exiles.

His poetry is purely lyrical.  There are two volumes of his poems:  Hesperides (secular poetry) and Noble Numbers (sacred poems)

He was urbane, a classical scholar who studied Horace, Catullus, etc.  He read a good deal of the classical religion and antiquities.  He also studied the folk customs in Devonshire.  Realized that their customs were from a pre‑Christian religion, which closely resembled the classical religions.

Various approaches to this by Puritan vs. Catholics–Anglicans.  The latter group incorporated such things as the maypole and the Christmas feast into their religion.  The Puritans wanted to root them out.

Themes from classical writers: While you’re young, you might as well enjoy yourselves––one of Herrick’s favorite themes; e.g., “Corinna’s Gone A‑Maying”

Lecture 17.

George Herbert.  Cambridge.  The most articulate representative of a religious temperament contributed by the Church of England.

Puritans were not liberals.  They were revolutionaries.  The most intolerant of any of the church bodies.

The Church of England felt it was Aristotle’s “mean.”  The middle way.  An excellent solution.  They emphasized the role of reason in religion.

Herbert follows the courtly love convention, except that God has taken the place of the mistress.  Typical of religious poets following Donne.  (Donne in his later poems uses his same conceits, etc. as in his early poems with a religious [subject?]

Herbert’s poetry deals with the complaints of a lover rebuked, in a religious arena.

Emotionally Herbert fluctuates  from day to day.  He covers the whole range of religious experience within his points of reference.

Influenced by Donne but very different from him.  Herbert was careful, humble.  He worked and chiseled, carefully shaping and entirely reshaping his poems.  Care in stanza form.

Bibliography on metaphysical poets:  H.C. White, The Metaphysical Poets

Joan Bennett, Five Metaphysical Poets

J.B. Leishman, The Metaphysical Poets

H.J.C. Grierson––an anthology––Metaphysical Poetry from Donne to Butler––the introduction gives a good outline of metaphysical poetry.

Seventeenth‑Century Studies Presented to Sir Herbert Grierson.  N.B. essay on Herbert

White, Wallerstein, Quintana, Poetry and Prose of the Seventeenth Century

Basil Willey, The Seventeenth‑Century Background.  The history of ideas approach.  Useful for prose of Bacon and Browne.

Richard Crashaw––another 17th‑century Cambridge intellectual.  Became a very high Anglican in his religious views.  After the Civil War and the destruction of the Anglican Church as he saw it, he turned Catholic.  He was sent by the wife of Charles I to the Pope, who didn’t want him and sent him elsewhere.

His poetic technique is entirely unlike Herbert’s.

An intensity and fierceness in his religious feeling, which marks the 17th‑century Catholic.  Read the first couple of pages of Pratt’s Brebeuf for the Catholic spirit.  The Counter‑Reformation brought about a militant mysticism.  The Jesuits formed.  Most intense crucible of mystical heat in Spain.  Source of Jesuit poem.  Crashaw is right in the thick of it.  Some of the cult remains––League of Sacred Heart, etc.

Crashaw is not a poet of the worked‑out form.  A big, free‑flowing ode form he called anthem.

Lecture 18.

Crashaw largely influenced by the Counter‑Reformation and is characterized by its spirit.  Intensely spiritual, mystic.  Like Loyola.  St. Teresa is a mystic figure.

Many four‑beat lines in technically iambic pentameter verse.  This is carried over without a break from Anglo‑Saxon poetry.

Crashaw, “St. Teresa”––Thematic words in the poem like a musical passage: “Love,” “soul,” “life,” “death” are key words in this theme.  Sections of the poem close with this theme repeated.  Life and death brought in at the end as resolution of the poem.

“The Flaming Heart” has a really terrific conclusion, and it requires a 75‑line build up at the end for it.

An erotic nature in Crashaw’s imagery which he transfers to God.  He turns the convention of love poetry into religion, but Crashaw’s imagery is more erotic and more obviously sexual in its symbolism that is Herbert’s.

Henry Vaughan.  (Read Blunden, “On the Poetry of Vaughan”)

His twin brother was an occultist who wrote a great deal on magic, symbolism, etc.  Henry Vaughan uses some of this occult, theosophical imagery in his poetic symbolism, but not very much.  He is not an occult.  He was Celtic––a lover of twilight.  A type of literary intensity that has its own quality.  Like Crashaw, he was influenced by Herbert.  But he has not of Herbert’s carefully chiseled, precise quality.

A visionary––one who tries to think in terms of images, symbols.  Crashaw  is more a mystic and so did not succeed in this.  Vaughan felt there were two worlds, one of sense (that God built for man and wants him to live in it) and one not of sense, in which we actually live.  For Vaughan this world of slums and wilderness forms a heavy curtain or veil hiding the real world and he hopes to snip the right branch and catch a glimpse of this world.  For this reason the moments of dawn and twilight are important.  A favourite word is “white.”

Lecture 19.

Vaughan.  Moments of transition.  Dawn and twilight.  Birth and death.

Traherne.  Unknown as a poet until about 1890.  Known in his day as an anti‑Catholic controversialist.  In many ways, like Vaughan.  Sense of real world hidden behind time and space.  Hidden by a curtain.  A metaphysical.

All these selections have the same point of view.

He is better in his prose.  He wrote a series of short meditative paragraphs, which he wrote in groups of 100, calling them “Centuries of Meditation.”

Andrew Marvell.  An elusive character, like Shakespeare.  He was a Member of Parliament for Hull in Yorkshire, which was very strongly Puritan.  He was in the Long Parliament.  He was the only man in England who kept his seat and influence after the Restoration.  He remained the lone critic of Charles II and his ministers.

He wrote a series of satires which were hard‑hitting.  They tried to bribe him or shut him up in some way.  Died in 1678, an honest and hard‑hitting man.  Poems published in 1681.  The contain some of the most amazing poems in the English language.  They have a elusive beauty.  Seem to have been written during the early days of the Commonwealth.

Some of his poems are straight metaphysical verse.

Lecture 20.

Marvell, “Horatian Ode”––Cromwell is neither a good man nor a bad man insofar as he is a strong man.  It is not a case for moral justice––the Machiavellian principle.  Cromwell as a force in nature.  The portent as something very new.

Never ends a poem as you would expect.

Bermudas––One of his lovelier poems.  About people going to the Bermudas to escape religious persecution.  It is first pictured as a paradise, something like the islands in classical myth.  He can here use his garden imagery.  You can just reach out and eat.  It is a real paradise.

“The Nymph Complaining for the Death of Her Fawn”––a poem about an intolerable, unbearable situation.  The situation is too pathetic for Marvell and it turns away from its subject.  Becomes too diffuse.

“The Character of Holland”––Part of his satire.  The poets had to be angry with the Dutch, since England and Holland were trade rivals

Actually all Marvell does is spin conceits about what it’s like to live in a country below sea level.

Edmund Waller

There are four poets––Waller, Denham, Butler, and Cowley––who form a sort of transition from English 2i to 2j.

Edmund Waller was a poet who survived both the Commonwealth and the Restoration.  He wrote panegyrics on both Cromwell and Charles II.  A sly chap, keeping on the good side of anyone in power.

He uses the pentameter couplet that became popular from 1660 to 1760.  The heavy couplet.  No weak light endings, run‑on lines.  Always a pause in the rhythm at the end of a line.  Heavy pause at the end of a couplet.  Caesura in centre of line.  (Like Pope and Dryden).

Waller is better in his lighter lyrics.  “Song: Go Lovely Rose”––is much like Spenser

“Of the Last Verses in the Book”  Ends with a curious ambiguous overtone.

Sir John Denham

––heavy, reflective poems.  Climb a hill and describe what you see and then make reflections on everything you see.

See these two poets in Samuel Johnson’s Lives of the Poets.  Both brought in the Augustan type of poetry.

Samuel Butler

After the Restoration he lets go a burlesque on English literature––Hudibras.  An immediate success.  It is one of the great burlesques in English.  Everyone got a laugh from it.

What Butler discovered was that in English, where there are such heavy stresses on words, rhymes are too evident.  Triple rhymes can belong only to comic verse.  It is impossible to make unusual rhyme.

Consequently, unusual rhymes in English belong to comic verse.  Gilbert and Sullivan.  Therefore Hudibras was written in intentional doggerel.  The poem gives itself all the airs of a serious love poem.

Lecture 21.

Hudibras is also one of the most erudite poems in the English language.  In many respects Butler is the forerunner of Swift.  Both have a tendency to ridicule science and the new learning.  Their reasons for doing so are somewhat important.  The front lie of defence was satire, which often tackles the social consequences of committing oneself to philosophy.  Samuel Butler and Swift attack Cartesian philosophy & the Royal Society.  Voltaire in Candide ridicules Leibnitz and Spinoza.  The Samuel Butler of the Victorian period attacks Darwinian evolution by attacking its social consequences.

Hudibras has been so greatly educated that he feels that intellectual formulae are adequate and valuable.

[in left margin]  onomatopoeia (imitative harmony).  The reproduction of meaning by rhythm: “squeeze,” “explosion,” “whisper”

Christmas traditions came from Romantic Germany in the time of Victoria

Abraham Cowley.  One of the most popular poets in his own day, but about 1700 his reputation collapsed.  He falls in the metaphysical tradition.  (See remarks on metaphysical poets in Johnson.)

Cowley was interested in free verse––verse with great irregularity of rhyme and meter.  From Cowley’s time to the eighteenth century there was a passion for the sublime ode, based on Pindar.  It was a lyrical eulogy.

Cowley developed a theory.  If we wish to recapture the spirit of Pindar in English poetry, we have to write irregularly.

A new type of Pindaric ode––“Hymn to the Royal Society”

When you make rhythm irregular, you can pick up the rhythm of the meaning itself.

Lecture 22.

Thomas More.  The beginnings of the 16th century.  At Oxford he became interested in humanism, especially Greek.  Direct knowledge of Greek became popular.

Now the New Testament could be more critically studied.  Plato now came to rival the supremacy of Aristotle.  A literary development began at this time.  Medieval philosophy, scholasticism had built up a technical language.  For the next two‑hundred years philosophy was in the hands of amateurs who emphasized style.  Philosophy, especially in England, was in the hands of amateurs––Bacon, Locke, Berkeley, Hume.  Plato’s dialogue form especially appealed to the Renaissance.  Plato was aware of the aesthetic as a factor in philosophy.  His poetic, aesthetic awareness inspired Copernicus in astronomy.

Also Plato brought forth a philosophy of love which was much in line with the courtly love convention.  Therefore Oxford began to study Greek, and here Erasmus and More took up humanism.  Both More and Erasmus represent the type of learning characteristic of early humanism.  Both were cosmopolitan, citizens of the world.  They wrote, spoke, and thought in Latin.  Both were deeply Christian, and their culture was fundamentally Christian.  At this time there was a growth of historical criticism.  Skepticism on less fundamental issues.  E.g., “The Donation of Constantine,” on which the Pope based his temporal power, was proved to be a forgery.  More and Erasmus were reformers, but not sympathetic to the Reformation movement.  However, there were some points on which they agreed.

Tyndale made the first English translation of the Bible under Henry VIII.

More and Tyndale were involved in a controversy.  This brings out an important fact in the history of religion.  It is impossible to impartially translate the Bible.  It is translated into either a Catholic or a Protestant frame of reference.  εκκλησία = church or congregation; presbys = priest or elder; metanoia = penance or repentance; episousion = supersubstantiation or daily (in the context of the Lord’s Prayer).

More was very useful to Henry VIII.  In London he became known as a fair and upright judge.  He was made Lord Chancellor––popular, almost legendary.  However, More was the only man who opposed Henry VIII when he went ahead with his divorce, so Henry felt he had to get rid of him.  He could not through law get More’s head, so he passed a “Bill of Attainder.”  More has been canonized.

The Utopia was written early I the reign and before the rise of Luther.  Therefore, there is a boldness and freedom in it.

First book is a satire on England in More’s time.  The second book was written first and describes Utopia.  It imitates Plato’s dialogues & turns eventually into a monologue.

The Republic influenced More.  But it was from the Timaeus and Critias (immediately following the Republic) from which the legendary Atlantis arose, that we find More most strongly influenced.

The first book is an economic, political, and social satire.  The leading character’s name in Greek means “babbler.”

ουτοπία means nowhere, no place.  This indicates the fiction of the work.

By writing in a dialogue form More ducks out of being entirely responsible for what he said.  The dialogue between More and Hythloday shows the differences between Reformers and Revolutionaries.

The great social evil of the time was the enclosure system.  The capitalists took over the land as ranches to raise sheep.  Therefore, the small land owner was displaced and had nowhere to go.

There were capital offences for stealing as well as killing, and More points out that this had led to increased ferocity in crime.  Hythloday says that the trouble is not love of money, but the ability to get hold of it.  Private property must be abolished. (“Anarchy of private enterprise.”)

What in Europe is called the Commonwealth government or state is really a conspiracy to defend the helpless.  In the Utopia he goes on to explain what has happened as a result of the abolition of private property.

Rank distinctions and class distinctions.

Lecture 23.

Hythloday’s indictment against 16th­‑century Europe is (1) economic (2) political.  His attitude is that the root of these problems is the desire for the acquisition of private property.  The only thing that could be done for Europe would be to sweep away all conception of private property.

More uses a kind of sober mock‑realism––dead‑pan devices (as Defoe later).  The use of some real characters.  If you didn’t know the Greek meaning of Utopia and Hythloday, you could be taken in.  More gets away from the wild traveller’s tales of the Middle Ages.

Hythloday describes a conversation with Cardinal Morton in England.  Morton was an important man, & Henry VIII had Morton collect money for him in the form of Benevolences.  However, More makes Morton appear better than he actually was in history.  Those at the table laugh when Morton laughs, agree when he agrees.  There is a reactionary (a lawyer) present.

More shows in his writing that he had a very civilized background.

Uses a sober, deadpanned defence of the ideal state.  He, in life, delighted in paradox and the defence of paradoxes.  The “Utopia” is isolated in English.  It develops and fosters a probing of enlightened isolation (England an island).  More then describes the general set‑up of the country: (1) no private property (2) everybody works.  Work is not specialized (this is opposed to Plato’s Republic) except in the case of exceptional scholars.  Consequently, all the Utopians had to work only six hours a day.  In England workers actually had to work much more than that, but that is because the workers support so many parasites.  The Utopians have much leisure but not diversions such as drinking and other synthetic pleasures.  Their leisure is real, devoted to self‑improvement.  Utopia is a mixture of monastery and university.  Communism was a feature of monastic institutions.  The cities of Utopia are all alike.  People change their houses every ten years, but they do not change around their furniture.  There is nothing to steal: all property is common.  They dressed in wool but did not go to the ends of the earth to find dyes.  They do not dye the wool.  All this equalizing is to keep down the tale’s ideas of inequality.  There was no money in Utopia.  The state keeps a stock of gold for trading with neighbors.  The Utopians attach no value to gold.  Use it in chamber pots, children’s toys, etc.  Lots of competition in Utopia, but it is in intellect, not in expensive clothes, jewelry, drink, etc.  (More generally leaves out the problems of technological development, which Francis Bacon takes a good account of in his New Atlantis.)

Strict discipline.  Criminals, occasional prisoners are given menial servants’ tasks.  They are not treated harshly but live under a penal regime.  Capital punishment is rarely resorted to.

The motive for theft is abolished.  False moral issues, which clutter up societies, are removed.  There are fewer moral dilemmas in Utopia because they are unnecessary.  No reason a man should have to choose between honesty and his stomach.

More believes in the family as the stabilizing unit (unlike Plato).  Deference of young to old.  The older get deference because they earn it.  In growing older they have grown wiser.

Utopia is governed by reason.  Reason is the standard for anything.  Rigorous control of size of families and cities.  However, they are threatened with increasing population and so buy waste lands from other countries, and if other countries will not sell to the Utopians, they just move in on them.  They hired mercenaries whenever there was fighting to do.  They saw no point in killing off their own men unless the war is very stubborn.  Their main effort in such a total war is to assassinate the other country’s ruler.  They form a fifth column by distributing leaflets offering rewards.  They have a great reputation for keeping treaties, and so make as few as possible.  Their reputation is a considerable military asset.

(Contrast More’s concept of war with Plato’s)

Their religion is for the most part a religion of reason (like late Roman empire).  They believe in a supreme being and in immortality.  But variety of cults.

Lecture 24.

Utopia is an ideal state but not a Christian state.  More carefully works out the Utopian religion (two kinds: revealed and natural)

Natural religion is the kind that men immediately begin to form because of the constitution of their mind––the kind one gets by contemplating nature, such as in Plato and Aristotle.  Much use of images for symbols of the Supreme Being.  A great deal of tolerance in Utopia.    But believed a man not competent for public office unless he believed in the immortality of the soul.  Church and state thus close together.  They are intolerant of intolerance.  An over‑energetic Christian is jailed.  No man allowed to bother other people with his religion.

Other things in Utopian religion that were not in keeping with the Catholic European societies.  Their priests are very holy and therefore very few.  They are married.  The law of Utopia permits divorce for incompatibility.  All this is compatible with natural religion, but not with our revealed religion.  Many feature of Utopian religion are in keeping with the late Roman Empire.

The first book gives us the key to the satiric intention of Utopia.  Any Utopia is at least potentially a satire, by contrast with the existing state of society (Republic)––actually a satire––Gulliver’s Travels

Inverted Utopia––Orwell’s 1984, as the logical conclusion of the society in which we live (pure satire: Huxley, Orwell, London).  But even the first book is a satire by contrast.

Swift––the life of sense and reason (natural) is only for animals, for they are already adjusted to nature.  It is not for man.

The Yahoo is for Swift what man would be by his own destiny, if he were abandoned by God.

[in left margin] Montaigne’s essay “On the Cannibals”––a great work in which he shows the cannibal as better in many respects than 16th‑century Europeans.

The Utopia has natural religion.  16th‑century Europe had revealed religion.

Utopia has a simpler, sensible, better way of life.

16th‑century Europe should not necessarily follow suit.

But 16th‑century Europe should be warned by the fact that the simpler Utopia without Christian religion is better than 16th‑century Europe with it.

The Utopians are a reproach to our civilization in the same way that in Swift the horses are a reproach to human civilization.

Lecture 25.

Essay: A Comparison of More’s Utopia with Any Other Utopia”

Plato, Republic (Timaeus, Critias––Atlantis)

Bacon, New Atlantis

Campanella, City of the Sun

Rabelais, “Abbey of Thélème”

17th century

Harrington, Oceana

19th century

Bellamy, Looking Backward

Morris, News from Nowhere

H.G. Wells, A Modern Utopia (and others

Take offs

Aristophanes, The Birds (satire on society)

Swift, Gulliver’s Travels, Book IV

Butler, Erewhon

A. Huxley, Brave New World

Orwell, 1984

J. London, The Iron Heel

Utopia.  More can be admired either by very conservative people or very radical people.  Marxists like and show a respect for More’s Utopia.  The views of the evils societies produced by private property made at the end by Hythloday are especially admired by Marx and Engels.

More’s purpose is serious, but More is a very different person from Hythloday.

Utopia is a working, informing idea.  It isn’t meant to be followed, nor yet to be ignored.  It is an interesting eye‑opener.  The aspects of religion differing from Christianity keep the Utopians consistent in their own sphere.

The Utopians are tolerant, and More responds to their toleration.  We have a great deal to learn from them.  Utopia––an idea that works from within to produce charity, tolerance, less bigotry, etc.  Not an ideal society of the future to which we should go.

Between Plato and More there comes a whole tradition of medieval thought.

St. Augustine––about 450.  Pagans said that if Roman Empire had not turned Christian, the fall of the Empire would never have occurred.  Augustine thought that this was public opinion, so his City of God is partly an attempt to refute the argument that Christianity was the cause.  This leads him to describe the ideal Christian state.

Two cities: (1) Jerusalem, ideal city, eternal, cannot exist on earth, but it does exist in presence here in time and space.  Yet you cannot make it coincide with earthly institution, the state. (2) City of Destruction––fallen away from God, corrupt.  Between these two extremes come such states as our own empire kept together by natural law and justice.  “If you took away from the Roman Empire the conception of justice you would have nothing but organized brigandage” [“Without justice what is sovereignty but organized brigandage?” (De civitate Dei, IV, 4)]

This leads to the conception of Jerusalem––City of God versus Babylon (City of the World, Destruction).  In between is Rome.  Insofar as it is an empire, it will be pulled down, but in the state is the Church which cannot fall, and if the state clings to it, it will be pulled up.

Socrates admits the ideal state can never exist, but the wise man must live in it and carry on.  This Socrates does.

Lecture 26.

Ascham.  Humanism in action.  Elizabethan educational basis.  Renaissance culture, city‑state culture came to Italy first because it had little feudalism.  Machiavelli says there are two kinds of government––principalities (dictatorships) and republics, which were unstable and always broke down into dictatorships.  Machiavelli decides that the solidarity of the state lies in the qualities of the leader.  He decides that the qualities of a good leader are not moral: he must be forceful and cunning.  His actions are to be expedient, not moral.  The prince must know warfare.  The Utopia takes a somewhat Machiavellian approach to warfare.  Machiavelli is working out the structure of Renaissance government.  He begins the tradition which is carried out in the next century by Hobbes and became the philosophy of the dictator.  Machiavelli in his own limited way makes sense.  What is the answer to his argument?

In comparison with More, there is one thing he leaves out.  The strongest states keep winning in warfare, get bigger and bigger, and then collapse.  He does not control the size and extent of the state.  He thinks entirely in terms of the ruler and his followers, but Hythloday remembers the conspiracy of rich men––a leader, no matter how great, is in some sense a stooge.  A rich, privileged class gets the leader into office.

Henry VIII carried along Machiavelli’s point of view.  However, Bacon points out that the stability under the Tudors was caused by domestic balance.

Against the realism of Machiavelli, Castiglione wrote an ideal book on education.  It is a Platonic dialogue on a Platonic theme, looking for the Form of the courtier.  A group of Florentines sit down to discuss what an ideal courtier is.  They decided that he would be of good birth, because it would be much easier for him if he were.  You need an absolute sense of comfort and security.  Everything in Castiglione’s argument is for the appearance of the courtier––he must not be boorish or stupid.  Must at least keep up an appearance of education.  He must have grace and “recklessness” (a careless, graceful, easy quality).  He ought to know all the arts and sciences of his country.  He cannot know it as a scholar, but he should be a connoisseur.  If not able to paint, he should know the difference between a good and a bad poem.  His poetry should look as if he had just dashed it off.  He must not appear to be working hard.  He must not be a pedant either in culture or physical training.  He should excel in things like tennis, but not wrestling because it is not graceful.

The first book of The Courtier shows that he must be a cultivated, graceful amateur in all things important.  In the second book we find that conversation is the proof of his education.  Timing is important.  The courtier should know how to tell a story.

The rhythm of the cultured conversation is the indication of the level of the people involved.

In the third book we see that we cannot assign culture to one sex alone.  This book is devoted to the education of women, with the emphasis on the similarities with men.

In the fourth book he eulogizes courtly love as the perfect expression of the courtier.  It shows his courtesy, his inner power and passion.

Ascham was somewhat influenced by Castiglione, but Ascham is far more middle class.  He takes a more bourgeois line.  He writes in a country where the middle class is coming to lay down the rules of conduct.  These are more practical and more intimately connected with the education of the scholar.

The Humanist––classical wisdom and culture being made a part of the way of life.  It was possible in the 16th century to read just about everything written in Greek and Latin, because there was a limit to the number of books.  Thus you were able to become knowledgeable on just about every subject.

Ascham himself was the diplomatic correspondent of the country.  The letters had to be written in Latin.  The style was his own.  He had been Elizabeth’s tutor and became a favourite at Elizabeth’s court.  Ascham’s chief interests were education and archery.  Englishmen should practice the long‑bow much more.  He thinks that people should learn more Latin, young men between 17 and 27 should be more carefully escorted; society is going to pot, etc.  He is a bit of a bore, but still and enlightened and forward—looking educator.  We can see the love of Latin at the basis of Elizabethan culture.  Education associated with the vision of greatness.

Lecture 27.

First great educational treatise in English is Elyot’s The Governour, thinking of Henry VIII.  The prince must be educated and secondarily the courtier.  Ascham brings to bear upper middle‑class ideas on this educational theory.  Wrote during Elizabeth’s reign and places her as the educational ideal.  Praised Castiglione and thought that the court had degenerated from the form of The Courtier.  A growing insularity becoming a part of English culture.  This is evident in his conception of the ideal student.

The ideal student must have ευφυία––natural intelligence accompanying birth.  Teachers take pride in quick wit and intelligence when these properties are not produced by the teacher but are explicitly the students’.  Quick wits lack moral energy and perseverance.  Hard wits are strong, worthwhile when intellectual development begins.

The growing distrust of brilliance as something foreign is here reflected.  This is the good old John Bull trust in the English stalwartness and heaviness—deep moral energy.  This is insularity.

Thinking is a product of long, ingrained habit––in every case.

Ascham’s nationalism was limited.  Had travelled in Germany and picked up the ideals of the German humanists.

Other evidences of insularity are prevalent in the Elizabethan era.  The retaliation to Machiavelli’s The Prince was a book by a man who had travelled extensively in France and encountered European interest in Machiavelli.  His book exposed the Italian writer as cold, brutal, cynical, hard.  Before this, The Prince was known only by hearsay in England.  Stimulated by the book, the Machiavellian villain became a stock bogey of English drama.

Hereafter Italy became a symbol of intrigue, assassination, etc. in English writing.  England’s tendency to isolate itself.

Lyly wrote a book in England called Euphues, or Anatomy of Wit.

Ascham’s tastes are those of the middle Renaissance––revolted against dramatic styles, except Shakespeare.  Wanted quantitative basis of poetry of classical times, like their drama.  Revolted against all that smacked of Middle Ages., including germinal root of Arthurian legends and the two foci of philosophy of the Middle Ages (1) Thomism––13th‑century realism (2) Franciscanism under Duns Scotus at Oxford.

Early 16th‑century revolt against scholasticism.  Humanists insisted on strict logic of thought.

Ascham’s purpose was not to ridicule the Italians or despise Middle Age culture.  Ascham had definite views on education, particularly on corporal punishment, and he published his views, receiving encouragement, in a very humbly titled book––The Scholemaster (a schoolmaster at the time was a person of inferior class)

Education of the day––grammar school and then to Oxford (theology) and Cambridge (law).

Ascham deals with boys just beginning to read.

Grammar based on Latin.  One learned English grammar through Latin.  There were no courses in English in Renaissance schools.  To go to school meant to read and write Latin; reading and writing English were incidental.  Therefore, Shakespeare knew Latin well, despite controversy over his education.

Ascham’s system of learning Latin was direct comparison of a child’s work with Cicero.  This system did not bring a heavy Latinized abstract style, which tendency is a product of one who is unacquainted  with the manifold differences between the Latin and English languages, but it did create the distinct style native to Elizabethan English.  The whole system of Elizabeth English is based on a Latin foundation.

Lecture 28.

Tremendous revival of sense of style under humanism.  Aesthetic approach to classical literature.  A conception of Latin as having achieved its peak in the Augustan age.  In another century, it declined to the silver age.  Then Latin kept getting more ornamented.  With rise of church fathers Latin fell apart.  Medieval Latin was the worst possible, according to the humanists––low down, vulgar, slangish.  Consequently, humanistic scholars said that if you’re going to learn Latin you must learn that of the writers of the Augustan age.  Thus the humanists at the time of Erasmus killed Latin as a living language because they raised it as a dead language.  It became a high‑brow language of intellectuals.  This is Ascham’s notion as well, as he points our in his second book.

In Shakespeare’s time you still had to hesitate over whether to write  in English or in Latin.  Until 1600 much great English literature was written in Latin––Milton and Bacon, for example.  If you wrote in English, your learned audience would be restricted.

Bacon––The Advancement of Learning was written in English to attract the attention of James I because he was interested in science and Bacon knew that to advance science it would need royal patronage.  He wrote another larger edition in Latin.  Typical Renaissance scheming politician.  Conscientiously & pedantically unscrupulous.  Seems to have set his teeth to be ruthless, but he wasn’t the type

Bacon, after Elizabeth died, became a great favorite of James I.  He was given the job of drawing up the act of union between the two countries.  Under James he was advanced to the peerage.  Attained good honours along with many other jobs.  Obtained Sir Thomas More’s old job.  Bacon was a great champion of the royal prerogative against Parliament (which he felt represented only the rich merchant class).  The Parliament won the civil war later because they had money and the king hadn’t.  Bacon successfully defended the king, but Parliament pounced on him afterwards.  Bacon was exiled from London.

He allowed people to bribe him, but he did not necessarily give decisions in favor of those who bribed him.  In those days bribes were quite difficult to distinguish from presents.  In his retirement he got some writing done.  In his writing he was over‑ambitious.  A great planner and drafter of intellectual schemes and prospects, and he proposed more books than he ever disposed of.

He spread propaganda for science and made it respectable, and thereby he set himself in opposition to the whole humanist tradition, which was pretty weak on the scientific side.  A great deal of English scientific advance was done in the next three centuries by men of rank, working as amateurs.  Charles II, later on, founded the Royal Society––amateurs of rank.  Science was outside the universities until the late 19th century.

A virtuoso in the 17th century was one who spent his time in science.  Swift in particular ridiculed this science in the Third Voyage of Gulliver’s Travels.

Bacon formed the plan of the Great Instauration––having six parts.  Felt he would do the beginning of this and the rest be done by posterity.  He set down the axioms and principles of the scientific method.  His big jobs were The Advancement of Learning and The New Organum.  Aristotle wrote the first treatise on logic, but Bacon wrote a second, different kind that was more applicable to the scientific method.

Aristotle’s logic was deductive, in which you reason from premises to a conclusion.  The typical form is the syllogism.

All through the Middle Ages this formal logic was elaborated and developed.  The Schoolmen knew how to argue deductively according to formal logic.  This logic was especially good for mathematics.

Bacon says that this logic tells you nothing new.  The syllogism never leads to new knowledge and so we must have a different kind of logic, which is inductive.  We go from particulars (body of facts, data) to a general principle.

The Novum Organum was an attempt to work out the inductive system.  The early method had been one good for argument, for you didn’t need to know anything to argue in syllogisms.

Lecture 29.

The Elizabethan period was not a great one for speculative literature except for Bacon and Hooker.  The intellectuals included a minority in the court.  Bacon is rather outside the general tradition.  He is expounding the new science and the new method.

The deductive method is handy in mathematics and theology.  From premises of faith you proceed to draw conclusions.  From the Church doctrines the medieval scholars drew conclusions.  And these conclusions came more and more to deal with natural problems––philosophy.  And from philosophy to science.  Biological, chemical, social sciences remained quite undeveloped in the Middle Ages.

For the inductive method we must turn this inside out.  We begin with scientific facts and work to philosophy.

The 16th century began the break‑up of this system of knowledge, both through the rise of the inductive method & the rise of Protestantism, which believed less in reason than in revelation.  Bacon solves the problem of science and religion by saying that they run on different planes.  Religion will never conflict with science nor science with religion so long as each sticks to its own job.  Science leads to rationality, purpose, and design in the universe.  We will get the hunch through a careful study of science that there is an intelligence or purpose behind the workings of the universe.  (The Puritans chopped off religion and science and let science go ahead on its own, whereas Catholicism suppressed it.  The Puritans were extremely practical in their views of the world, believing that science and religion do not clash.)

The effects of the medieval structure of thought are still with us.  The sciences have developed according to their closeness to mathematics.  Astronomy and physics assumed their modern form in the 16th century.  Chemistry gets its start around the time of the Restoration with Robert Boyle, but took another century to develop into a modern form.  The biological science did not get established until the 19th century.  The social sciences, a 20th‑century development, are not fully established yet.

Bacon was not really a spokesman for the science of his own time.  He distrusted mathematics.  He was a prophet of later sciences.  Bacon goes out of his way to attack the “spectator” theory of man.  Man cannot stand back and regard nature, but is an active participant.  In this Bacon foresees the human sciences (biological, social).

In the Novum Organum he says there are four great fallacies––idols of the tribe, which are errors that we have from birth, what people tell us.  We accept these, instead of trying to find out for ourselves; idols of the cave––subjective fallacy; idols of the marketplace––the influence of public opinion; the belief that words can replace things as the object of thought (defend McCarthy and the Dixiecrats, while still hanging on to the definition of democracy); idols of the theatre––the Galileo belief that man can look at nature as a theatrical show.  This state of mind leads us to draw pictures rather than studying science.  “Mental‑doodling.”

This attitude of mind led Bacon to be out of touch with the science of his time and in this way he was wrong.  Bacon calls Copernicus’ view an idol of the theatre––an attempt to paint a more symmetrical, ordered pattern of the universe.

In Bacon’s time lived a great scientist, Gilbert.  Studied magnetism.  Wrote a book saying the earth was a great magnet, having a pole at either end.  He proposed a theory of attraction, an opening for the theory of gravitation.  His work was an idol of the theatre.  From a few observations he drew a vast conclusion.  Bacon was right that hundreds of scientists working in different places separately would have to pool observations for large inductions.  In the scientist we need humility.  He must be content with making a small contribution.  Philosophers make the error of attempting to expand whole theories, structures, on a small discovery.  Plato and Aristotle both fell into this error.  They forgot the work of the other great scientists, like Democritus.  Plato was to eager to talk and not eager enough to work.

Refutes the point of view of the humanists who believed the older it was the better it was authoritatively.  Bacon conceives science as slowly advancing anonymously over the ages.

Nothing is there because anyone says so, but because it is true by experiment.  Arts are different––they do not improve.  The work of great men is a cult of authority.  Shakespeare is the last word in play‑writing.  Nobody gets to be a great poet by improving on a predecessor.  Shakespeare not built on Marlowe, for example.

Lecture 30. Feb. 2

Bacon’s philosophic importance is as a propagandist for the new scientific method.  Cowley in a poem calls Bacon the Moses of the new learning.  He was considered for the next two centuries the great leader of the new science.  He became more a symbolic figure than a real one.  See. F.H. Anderson, The Philosophy of Francis Bacon.

The Advancement of Learning is addressed to James I and takes account of James I’s tastes.  James didn’t catch on to all that Bacon proposed and did nothing to advance science, although he was quite a learned man (King Solomon of England).  Bacon says that knowledge is power and was interested in the engineering and technical side of knowledge.  This was mainly a selling point, for he makes two points quite clear: (1) Knowledge is useful, as pointed out above (2) Knowledge is of value for its own sake.  According to Bacon there are three fallacies that obscure knowledge (of philosophy and science: he does not make a distinction between the two).  He divides learning into three fields––history, poetry, and philosophy.  According to Plato there were three forms of good:

Plato just                  beautiful                      true

(will)                (feelings)                      (reason)

Bacon history art                                            science

(Art is between the active and the contemplative, and we meet this again in Sidney.)

Bacon in The Advancement of Learning makes his general distinction between history, poetry, and philosophy.  He tells us that poetry is doing all right, so no detailed study here is necessary.  In Book I he surveys the state of scientific and philosophical learning in his day.)

The fallacies are:

(1) fantastical learning (occultism, magic, alchemy, astrology, etc.).  Plato seems to have been the god‑father of this; we don’t know why.  Possibly from his Timaeus.  At any rate, in the Middle Ages the occult angle was built up through the neo‑Platonists and mystics, such as Plotinus.  This fantastical learning was revived in the Renaissance.  Astrology was the greatest to be rooted in scientific foundations, for astrologers did take accurate measurements of the heavens which were later used in astronomy.

Alchemy sought two things: principle of transmutation and the elixir of life.  Elizabeth kept a couple of tame alchemists around the court just in case they did find anything.  Alchemists did not have a high standing, but their principle of transmutation was attached to religion, and many of them were rather holy.

Magic was the attempt to the human mind to control nature.  The cause‑effect relationship is by analogy.  Black magic was trafficking with the devil, while magic was like science or medicine.  In Bacon’s day natural magic was more in vogue.

(2) contentious learning, the second fallacy: scholasticism or medieval philosophy.  Bacon attacks scholasticism as having been concerned with spinning rational structures out of logic but not with collecting new facts.  He planned on putting so many new facts in that scholasticism would be obsolete.  Medieval philosophy was largely cobweb spinning, but it did set up a technical philosophical vocabulary that is of great value.

Catholic philosophers today have begun a great return to scholasticism––especially St. Thomas Aquinas.

Bacon says that as long as you do not collect new facts, you will have all sorts of contending schools.  Men have too much propensity for talking and not enough for doing.

(Fact collecting is actually an irrational activity––an irrational exposure to nature.  Reason can block the advance of knowledge because you have a pre‑fabricated theory of what you are going to find.)  Rational activity is the establishment of relations between facts.

(3) the third fallacy, delicate learning––humanism.  Ascham’s saying that Cicero was the perfect style was opposed to reason.  The idea that it doesn’t matter what you say as long as you say it with sufficient eloquence.  The cult of style as an end in itself.  Aestheticism.

The desire to talk learnedly and eloquently without doing any work.  Hooker adopts a Ciceronian style, but in the 17th century a reaction set in, taking Seneca for its model.  A conversational free‑style

See Williamson, The Senecan Amble

Willey, The Seventeenth‑Century Background (first two chapters especially)

Seventeenth‑Century Prose and Verse White, Wallerstein, Quintana.  More useful than Coffin and Witherspoon.  Less bull.

For Wed.  Finish [Bacon?]

Lecture 31. Feb. 4

In The Advancement of Learning Bacon expresses the idea that the world is getting older and better.  For Bacon Aristotle’s philosophy was a premature attempt to found a whole philosophy on the syllogism.  The Neo‑Platonists got lost in a maze of mathematics.  Both held back the advance of science.

He touches on the relations of science and religion, saying that the two are on different planes and so never can conflict.  Nature is a second Word of God.

The style of the book is to attract King James.  As James was a scholar, the Latin quotations were left in the original.

The Essays––the centre of Bacon’s literary reputation, much to his disgust.  The first edition, containing ten, was so popular that he put out two later editions, much expanded, with longer essays.

The earliest essays are a series of aphorisms (and were written one sentence to a paragraph).  Disjointed statements.

He took the name “Essay” from Montaigne, but that was all he did take from him.  They have virtually nothing in common.  Montaigne believe the essays should be discursive.  Bacon never even bordered on a discursive style.

In the Latin version of The Advancement of Learning, he discusses rhetoric, and it is thus that the essay came about.  Rhetoric was for ornament and for use.  The Renaissance courtier required rhetoric and used if for both ornament and use.

[in left margin] Read Cicero, On Rhetoric, Book I

Rhetoric, the science of effective speech, required also by the poet, became a central subject in Elizabethan England.  Hundreds of figures of speech.

Bacon stresses the importance of rhetorical exercise.  He gives examples from his earlier essays; so the Essays stem from Bacon’s interest in rhetoric and rhetoric as knowledge.

He picks up a theme and then puts down a list of aphorisms, supplemented by examples––more aphorisms from the classics, biblical authority, anecdotes, etc.

Bacon has a tremendous respect for aphorisms.  His Novum Organum is a series of aphorisms.  An aphorism is not a platitude.  A profound observation rather than a superficial one.

To estimate the quality of Bacon’s essays we must observe the quality of his wit.  For he is witty––aphorisms, not platitudes.  He always manages to turn the platitude, common statement, into an image‑filled aphorism or paradox.  Concentrates them.  Each part of a sentence contains a whole milieu of life.  There is a quality of with, more so than wisdom, in the essays.  The essays are sort of a handbook for the English courtier.  He tells how to behave in the unusual life of the Elizabethan–Jacobean court.  He tells us how to get around people.  Machiavelli’s insistence on what happens rather than on what is supposed to happen is right up Bacon’s alley.  Bacon gives us a picture of practical wisdom (how to get things done; do the things that have been tried and found to work).  A 16th‑century Benjamin Franklin.  Practically no subject on which Bacon does not have something to say, and something both wise and witty. (Compare Bacon’s “On Gardens” with Nashe later on––nature as contrasted with childish taste.)

Sums up complex matter in simple terms.

His attitude to life as a whole is characterized by what we read here.  A respect for clear intelligence, focused directly on its object.

Truth comes better from error than from confusion (a mixture of the two).

If Bacon wrote Shakespeare’s plays, then Shakespeare wrote Bacon’s essays.  The two writers are totally incompatible.  The difference between a Lord Chancellor and a middle‑class artisan.


The Anglicans and Puritans during Elizabethan times were both in the Church of England.  There was little logical difference.  The 39 Articles on the whole were acceptable to the Puritans.  Oxford and Cambridge excluded Catholics, but not Puritans.  The two differed more on church organization than in belief.  It was not until the 17th century that the Puritans broke away.  In Elizabethan times the Puritans were a pressure group within the church crying for a different kind of church organization than Episcopal.  They wanted either Presbyterian (ruled by minister and elders) or congregational.

Hooker set himself to try to define the outlook of the Church of England in regard to tradition and the Reformation.  He had a great respect for St. Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin.  Tried to steer a middle course between Catholics and extreme Protestants.  One problem was the source of authority, the Calvinists believing in the authority of the Bible.  Hooker tries to make the Bible’s authority prior to the Church, but make the Church the interpreter, etc.

Lecture 32. Feb. 9

Hooker sets himself primarily to study law and authority.  So he primarily searches for (1) the sources of authority and (2) the method of transmittance to man.

Catholics and Puritans differed in their outlook.

1.  The Catholics believed in God’s will conditioned by reason.  Thomism is greatly impressed by the sense of order in nature, and by the Church also ordered.  Therefore, God is rational, and he reveals himself through reason.  A higher place is given in Thomist thought to the God of natural religion.

According to the Puritans God’s will in unconditioned.  He is arbitrary in our eyes.  This shows the split in Puritan thought between the laws of society and the laws of nature.

2.  Means of Communication.  The Catholics believe that the Bible is interpreted through the Church.  The Church teaches Christianity but the Bible doesn’t.  The Bible is to be read only in the light of Church doctrine.

In the Protestant position the Church is a human institution and subject to error in its interpretation of Scripture.  The Bible is the final word of authority.

(We can see how the Protestants feel that the Bible is the direct word of God by the arbitrary nature they assign to Him.)

Hooker, like the Protestants, puts the Bible above the Church, but, like the Catholics, feels that the Church is the word of God interpreted in history.  To the Protestants the Bible is chronologically and theologically prior.

Hooker works out his concept of law as being inherent in God.  He interprets law in (1) terms of power (will) (2) terms of equity, reasonableness (reason).  The laws may move from one extreme to the other––arbitrary or reasonable.  But in Hooker both will and reason are potentially present; and both are present in the nature of God.  Hooker says that each of these divisions has a law of its own.

[in left margin]  Great Chain of Being:             God / angels / man / organic world   /         inorganic world / chaos

In the inorganic world we have automatism––a regular and predictable type of behaviour.

In the organic world we have an obedience to law, which may be called instinctive.

The angels stand in the presence of God; therefore, the action of God is reasonable to them by direct apprehension.  Therefore, their law is intuitive.  (He then has difficulty explaining the fall of the angels.)

God contains law within his own nature––essential.

In the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity Hooker explains the operation of law in each of these spheres.

Man does not apprehend the will of God clearly, but he doesn’t run on instinct either.  In man’s natural state the law of God appears mysterious, yet tolerable.  He apprehends it in terms of fate, fortune.  Interprets it like machinery––a mixture of power and reason.  Therefore, the laws of man are moral laws.






Man in the middle of the chain of being and has some of the qualities of those above and below.  Moral = natural or rational.  Below thee rational laws we find also we find expedient, sub‑reasonable laws––laws present in society.  We begin with arbitrary commands and gradually begin to see the reason behind the law; but if the arbitrary command has no sense, it is revocable, as being only a law presented by human nature in its relationship with social beings.  Above these are laws which aid men in forming churches.

The first religious laws will appear to be divine commands which at first do not appear reasonable.  They are laid down for us to obey.  Law’s positive, which relate to man’s religious destiny, at first have a kind of arbitrariness about them.  As man goes on in his existence, he may understand them better, but to his reason these will always appear incomprehensible.  We can understand them only through revelation.  The laws positive develop a ritual, acts which cannot be explained wholly on rational terms.—the development of the habit of doing the will of God.  Here is where the Church comes in, training man in these habits preparing him for the upper chain of being.

Lecture 33. Feb. 11

Spirit of toleration rampant in the 17th‑century Church of England.  The split with the Puritans came in the reign of James I.

Browne. Doctors had the reputation of being skeptical, materialistic.  In Browne’s time the body and mind were considered a unit.  In the 17th century man still lives in a world where the state of melancholy is both of the mind and the body.

Hooker wrote in a stiff, balanced, Ciceronian style.  Sir Thomas Browne is quite the opposite––colloquial, free and easy style in his Religio Medici.  “Attic prose.”  He was a doctor, equally interested in the ancient and the modern: Galen and Paracelsus.  Galen, the classical authority, believed that there were opposites, antipathies, which extend through the whole of nature.  When sick, you take something opposed to the ailment to drive it out.

In the Renaissance there came a new school of medicine headed by Paracelsus.  He was a curious mixture of genius and sharpness.  He was largely occult.  His great medieval principle was homeopathy––searching for a like principle (yellow for jaundice).  A great believer in minerals, while Galen believed in herbs.

Paracelsus discovered mercury was a good remedy for syphilis, a new disease just introduced from America.  Galen regarded it as a highly improper disease, for it was not treated in Galen’s works & they refused to treat it.  Browne is a unique mixture of the two schools, but he seems more of the occult, speculative.

Browne was a man of his own time.  He was interested in modern science.  Bacon mentioned in his Advancement of Learning that someone ought to write out a list of commonly accepted beliefs that are actually erroneous.  Browne proceeded to do that in his ambitious Pseudodoxia Epidemica––
“Vulgar Errors.”  He examines the crazy natural history.  Quotes all the classical “authorities” on a particular question, and then rationalizes to a general conclusion that such a thing is probably wrong.  He uses a rational approach, not an experimental approach.

He is characteristically speculative, a sharp insight.  Searches for the elementary principles of design in nature.

He was the opposite of the Royal Society, which demanded dry‑bone facts, not the high degree of speculation in Browne.  Swift’s projected essay “A Panegyric on the Number Three” is a direct swing at Browne and his Quincunx.

Browne is interested in a comprehensive viewpoint and synthesis.  Of the four causes of Aristotle, Browne thinks that the question of purpose, of final cause, of why? is the most important question.

Lecture 34.

In Browne there is no limitation of objectives.  He permits many subjects to enter as he writes.  Paradoxical humour.  Surveys the panorama of knowledge, but feels the limitation of human knowledge, feels we cannot hope to uncover it all.  He takes a skeptical attitude to knowledge.  Much of the deep faith of the 17th century was founded on intellectual skepticism.  Belief in revealed religion through a distrust of the human mind to know what it thinks it knows––Browne, Pascal, Dryden.

There are no questions that can be answered without another why?  This goes on ad infinitum.

Three levels in the human mind: (1) reason.  (Makes a monkey out of sense experience.  As far as reason is concerned, we live on a flat world, an order and design which isn’t there.  Belief in the power of human design, architecture.  A paradoxical, ironical relationship between reason and sense experience teaches us to distrust the adequacy of our senses.)  (2) sense (3) faith––a religious conception.  The quality of paradoxical irony is carried into the third level.  The first function of faith is to make a monkey out of reason.  In a properly religious frame of mind, your mind is thoroughly flexible.

If you accept only the first two levels of mind, you are addicted to mental stodginess––just faith in reason instead of faith beyond reason.

When you turn to the Bible you leave reason and sense experience behind.  The quality of the divine revelation to man takes the form of stories that are largely absurd.  Browne’s only criticism of the Bible was that it was too sober.

Browne distinguishes real belief (flexibility of mind) from persuasion (belief in something you can’t help believing in).  This latter is response, not an expression of an active, energetic mind, but only a response to sense experience.  Faith for Browne is the highest part of his mind.

In the realm of religion the human mind can stretch itself as ease.  His faith is founded on the distrust of reason––content to understand the mystery without a definition.

(1) Sense––physical     (2) Reason––logical     (3) Faith––operates in Scriptures, Church (a series of rituals).

Hooker: three laws in mankind: (1) expedient, paralleling Browne’s “sense.” (2) rational, paralleling Browne’s “reason.”  (3) sacramental, paralleling Browne’s “faith.”

Browne can be relaxed in both is attitude toward philosophy and toward science.  He does not dismiss things simply because they are unreasonable.  His validity is based on how things balance our life.

Soundness of faith and flexibility toward science.  He was a philosophical skeptic, but not a skeptic in the field of faith

He tries to unite the human with what is above the human (spiritual and angelic) world in the scale of creation.  The order of creation rises with proportion.

Lecture 35.

Looking at the world at each of the three levels, each by itself is self‑consistent, but when we leap from one to another we are involved in contradiction.  We cannot build up a perfect synthesis at one level because we have to look out to make our leap.

ψυχή = soul, butterfly––concept of resurrection for Browne.  Looks at the visible world for symbols and signs of divine presence and the invisible world.  The insects turning from a worm to a butterfly was an example of an appearing self‑sufficient natural world of a metamorphosis indicating a jump from one level to another.  This was symbolic of the resurrection.  The leap of man from body to soul in death.

In rituals of the Church physical actions are symbolic of affecting spiritual life in one way on another.  There are many people searching the physical world for symbols and indications of the invisible world, especially Catholics and Anglicans.  Browne is a very high church Anglican.  Sympathetic with Catholic Church.  He shows some of the tendencies of Protestant thinking––the primacy of the Word of God.  However, he gives as much authority to the Church as possible.

In the created world, Browne believes that nature does everything for a purpose.  The philosopher finds nothing irrational on the level of reason.  Similarly, on the level of faith, the world is clear.  Everything has its own beauty, value, etc.

General attitude of tolerance to the whole created  world is part of the tolerant acceptance of the world as it is, which is a necessary part of faith.

Book I of Religio Medici is on faith.  Book II is on charity––the practice of religion.  In opening Book II, he congratulates himself on his tolerance––a natural tendency to take things easily.  A general indifference toward the conditions of life.

Emancipates the imagination in the realm of spiritual beings.  Interest in the chain of being.  He has to drag fallen angels (evil spirits), witches in by the heels, as such an idea is antithetical to the concept.  Sounds off about witches––indicates the power of such a train of thought in the 17th century

“World soul”––in Plato’s Timaeus.  This concept recurs in later thought.  Bergson brings it in as élan vital.  Shaw calls it the “life force.”  Browne also makes use of the conception.  God in three persons, one of which is the Holy Spirit––fusing spirit in nature––“anima mundi.”

Different conception of God appears at different levels.  Angels’ perception of God is direct; therefore, they understand God intuitively.  But on different levels you get different responses to the idea of God.



man––reasonable (mysticism)

animals / plants––instinct

inorganic world––automatic

chaos––luck or chance

We can see a certain amount of predictability in the universe.

Wed. Feb 25, Mon, Mar. 2.  Classes cancelled.

Lecture 36.

(next.  Sidney’s Apology, and prose fiction)

Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy.  Burton was a clergyman,  Don of Christ’s Church, Oxford.  Spent all of his time reading, especially medical texts.  His work is technically a medical treatment.  Melancholy in Burton’s time was a simultaneous disease of boy and mind.  An extremely long book: his only work.  It is suffused with all his learning, and a pervasive, ambling sense of humour, which makes him a leading satirist.  His satire is based on books rather than observation.  One of the most vigorously written books in the world.

He treats his subject by quoting everything he has read on the subject, and comes to no general conclusion.

The most important instruments in Elizabethan medicine are blood‑letting and purgation by heavy laxatives, the greatest of which was white hellebore.  He asks whether hellebore is good for melancholy.  He then devotes fifty pages for medical evidence against it as a poison and fifty pages to its value.

A rhythmic prose style, an exhaustive knowledge.  His book was so popular that he kept expanding it.  He expanded to the greatest extent the question of love melancholy.  Comes finally to the conclusion that young people should do as they like.  Fond of maxims: “Love is blind.”

Continues bird‑shot style––mixture of English and Latin, throwing it at you as fast as he can.  Many authors since have cribbed from Burton (Sterne, Tristram Shandy).

High regard for beer as a cure for melancholy & a low regard for salads.

Calls himself Democritus Junior––laughing at the humour.

His favourite word is “whether.”  Gives us both sides of a question.  Seldom comes to any conclusions himself.

A fascinating period in history when we are unable to know anything for certain.

His digressions are perhaps the most interesting part of his book.

Lecture 37.

Sidney’s Apology for Poetry,  Typical formal apology.  A set form of rhetoric.  Every part of Sidney’s Apology follows this rhetorical pattern

His Apology is partly an answer to Gosson, a Puritan who attacked the study of literature.

Poetry is to be studied in light of certain postulates.  The poet never affirms (e.g., we do not read Hamlet and say, “Well, this isn’t true.  I don’t believe in ghosts.”)  The poet’s statement is hypothetical.  There is no truth or falsehood in it.

Since Plato:



│                                                                                                │                                        │

{this world} just )                                                                                           beautiful                                                                      true {timeless world}

(will)                                                                        (feelings)                                                                         (reason)

Beside these ideal forms they also have their actualities

law and history                                               art                                                                                                        science and philosophy

The world of law and the world of reason both assert; both are impersonal and impartial.  In the realm of art there are truths, but these are flexible.  There is a wide range of truth.  You must enter into it and discover by your own experience.  There must be a personal absorption to find truth.  The world of art is not one of impersonal assertion.  The world of history produces the example. (history affords many examples of history), and the world of philosophy (letters) produces the precept (of the hero, the ideal perfect hero.  The pattern, form, Platonic ideal).  The precepts of philosophy are once removed from ordinary life.  The examples of history are once removed from the ideal.  Poetry brings the two together in an image so that we can see both the example and the precept at once.

Sidney is working from Aristotle’s principle that poetry synthesizes history and philosophy, with philosophy predominating.

Aristotle said that poetry is an imitation of nature.  By that is meant that a work of art is a thing of human form––a tool, instrument shaped out of nature.  That means that a work of art is not a natural object but it grows naturally out of nature.  (This is what μίμηση in Greek implies.  Imitation is not a copy, but grows out of nature.  Art is a human creation of nature.)  Hence the poet is a maker or shaper.  Sidney does not like the idea at God created something out of nothing.  A poet sits down in an order of nature and an order of words, and out of these two things poetry is produced.  A human world of conscious meaning, founded on nature.  Therefore, poetry is not supernatural but out of nature.

Sidney thinks of poetry as a form of rhetoric––close to oratory.  He thinks poetry is integral to the whole of society.  He says that in the time of Moses the poets were the law‑givers.  Shelley later said that the poet was the unacknowledged legislator of the world.  Sidney is closely attached to Castiglione’s conception of the courtier.  Poet, courtier, orator, server of the prince––all tied closely together.

Sidney is commenting on drama that to us would appear pretty bad––the early plays that Shakespeare made fun of.  Sidney is speaking of drama that came before the great Elizabeth works.

He takes a high‑brow Elizabethan attitude.  Tragedy should deal with upper‑class figures, comedy with low‑brows.  Low clowns should not appear in tragedy & steal the show.  Everything must be appropriate to the central conception.  Observe decorum.  Decorum is much more objective than today’s conception of personal style.  Shakespeare has no style––pure decorum.  Every character in Shakespeare speaks exactly as he should.  A certain unity of mood preserved.

Lecture 38.

Sidney, Apology for Poetry

Awareness of the relation of poetry to the other arts.  Much of the relation of poetry to the lyre and to painting.

Distinguishes the inferior from the great painter.  Imitation of nature means for him the re‑creation of nature in human form.

Uses the great classical authorities in poetry as his criterion for judgement of poetry.  Distinguishes between Theocritus, who wrote in a genuine dialect like Burns, from Spenser, who did not.

In drama, Sidney demands unity of action, but leaves it rather vague.  Other critics of Sidney’s time called this unity of time and unity of place, calling on the classical drama as authority.

Action of the play should take place within twenty‑four hours.  It should all take place in one setting.  The high‑brows also demanded the unity of classes.  A tragedy should contain only the higher classes; comedy, on the lower.  Shakespeare disregarded all unities of time and place, appearing almost to flout the highbrows.

However, Sidney was passing judgement on poor theatre, one that had not achieved unity of action.

The high‑brows like Sidney demanded all three unities to keep up an illusion.  Samuel Johnson later states that the spectator is prepared for illusion when he enter the theatre.  Therefore, if you can make the spectator think a scene is Rome, you can easily switch it to Athens or Alexandria.

High‑brows thought that mixing of the classes was socially subversive.  A clown must not steal the show from a prince.  Mixture of classes would break up the unity of mood.  A tragedy should be a tragedy all the way through.  Shakespeare uses contrasting scenes all the way through most effectively.

The Shorter Novels: two by Deloney, one by Greene, one by Nashe.

Deloney––a literary tendency of little importance in the Elizabethan period.  Wrote for the lower and middle classes and was despised by the high‑brows.  But he appealed to a class that later came to power.  He was of the school of Defoe and Richardson.  The novel is a particularly cultural form peculiar to a class that later came to power in the 18th century in England.  As it rose, the drama went down.  In the Elizabethan age music & drama were in the ascendancy; fiction and the essay remained comparatively undeveloped.

The court was at Westminster, which was at some little distance from London proper.  The city was all middle‑class people; the court, all High Church and Tory.  Elizabeth would never look at anyone who did not have a title.  As a poor boy starting out in life, your ambition was not to live at court, but to become Lord Mayor of London.  This is your dream of the highest class if you are of the middle class.  Dick Whittington.

In Deloney we get a plug for the enclosure movement.  He is not a proletarian writer; he was an exponent of free enterprise, the entrepreneur in the woolen trade.

Jack of Newberry is the story of the woolen trade and a man who made good in it.  Deloney dedicates the book to all famous cloth makers.  His other book, Thomas of Reading, which is laid in the 12th century, has much the same theme.  The people that Deloney deals with are the same as those in Richardson––hardworking middle‑class people.  Independence is the core of their life.

The Domestic System in economics––big wool merchants had wool spun in private homes and sent their journeymen to collect it.  No factories.  The whole system still rooted in the home, some of which became quite prosperous.

Deloney’s theme is always how much good these entrepreneurs are doing for the country, promoting business, employment.

Opposition to foreign entanglements, which kill free trade, etc.

Jack of Newberry––laid in Henry VIII’s time.  Dislike of Catholicism because Pope symbolizes entanglements with continental powers.

Lecture 39.

Deloney––a sharp eye for small, concrete details.  His psychology devoted to middle‑class independence––financial independence.  The foreigner ridiculed.  Middle‑class attitude to monarchy––several chapters devoted to the king’s trying to get the favour of the clothiers.  Praise of woolen industry.  His sources are the sources of popular literature.  His slapstick is from the folklore that has been attached to different periods of English history.

(Broadside Ballad––Ballad, a traditional narrative poem, handed down orally.   Broadside ballads made possible by the printing press.  Doggerel poems dealing with some item of current news (the ancestor of the tabloid).  Elizabethan England is on the verge of journalism, which was delayed with this form of popular literature.

Bride in the summertime weaving “finest worsted”––the woollen trade again.  Full of people who have grown rich with nothing to start wit.

The stories in Thomas of Reading are older than those in Jack of Newberry.  The old murder story, “The Terribly Strange Bed,” is wonderfully told.

––The horror story

Emphasis on dialogue.  Technique of control of horror scenes with comic scenes

Insight into human nature.

Greene.  A complicated story.  One of the best of the early Elizabethan dramatists before Shakespeare.  Greene was a shiftless character and was a journalistic type.  He would write anything which was popular in London at this time (population between 100,000 and 200,000)

Lecture 40.

Greene’s book is a copy of the style of Euphues, which has such a new style that it was called euphuism.  His style is much like rhetoric and uses all sorts of poetic figures of speech and rhetorical devices.  Euphuism is an attempt to incorporate all these devices in prose.  Modern prose turns entirely away from this.

[in left margin] Lyly’s Works, ed. Bond.  Edition of Euphues, ed. Croll and Clemens.  In Croll and Clemens we have a good discussion of euphuism.

In Greene, and endless sing‑song balance, metrical, assonance, alliteration.  Such a style is bound to bear traces of its rhetorical origin.  Greene’s telling of the story leads to long laments, long moral reflections, endless letters, etc., but not much story except in a very staggered way.  The story is carried from harangue to harangue.  Long formal diatribes, soliloquies, laments, etc.  We get our plot in chunks between these rhetorical passages.

Euphuism is easy to parody (Falstaff in Henry IV, Pt. I).

Both Lyly and Greene are fond of proverbs.  Also, many examples––parallels or illustrations from natural history

(Curious mixture of fable, legend, and biology.)  Many of these have medical reference (medical information that there is always something that is good for an animal when it is sick, for a lion, a she‑wolf, etc.).

Euphuism used chiefly in the monasteries, and was popular among women.  Required great care, as much as for poetry, to write.

Lecture 41.

Nashe, The Unfortunate Traveller––a tendency to more realistic fiction.  Most fiction of that time was romantic, courtly love, or euphuistic.  It was through drama that most realism came.  Nashe came from the Cambridge school of wit––Lyly, Greene, Marvell, Nashe.  He was also a bit of a playwright.  He was a satirist primarily.  Nashe got his start as a satirist by writing a series of abusive pamphlets during the Anglican–Puritan controversy.  Invective––a most interesting, entertaining type of writing. (Panegyric is rather boring.)  Gabriel Harvey was a great scholar, but a pedant and Nashe liked to attack him.  The controversy of pamphlets between these two lasted several years.  The picking out of someone to hurl invective at was quite popular generally in London at this time.

The Unfortunate Traveller––most serious incursion of Nashe into literature.  Told in first person.  Jack Wilton, a bit of a blackguard, not particularly well educated.  Slangy, journalese style of speaking.  Punctuates his sentences with drinks.  He tells a type of story that became quite popular in English––a picaresque novel––the account of the adventures of a scoundrel or rogue.  Always getting away with small crimes. (For picaresque novels, see also Huckleberry Finn, Defoe’s Moll Flanders.)  The Unfortunate Traveller is to some extent an historical novel––time of Henry VIII.  The time of Nashe’s story is almost the same as Deloney’s first novel.  Deloney hardly ever mentions historical characters.  He feels that people are all the same in every period of history.  Nashe is more of a historical writer.  He lugs in all the historical stuff possible.

Henry VIII came to the throne in 1509 and almost immediately plunged into war with France.  Scotland entered and was defeated at Flanders.  Jack Wilton was on the French expedition.   Therefore the date is about 1513.  The story carries on for a few years.

Nashe brings in More writing his Utopia.  Erasmus popular at this time.  Luther after 1517 comes into Nashe’s story.  Surrey gets into Nashe’s story.  Jack Wilton travels for a time as Surrey’s servant

Before Luther got going in German there was a group, the Anabaptists, already regarded as heretical.  Anarchists in religion and politics.  One group that was perfectly harmless, peaceful (descendants of the Mennonites).  Another group that were terrorists––cruel uprisings.  Jack Wilton tells us all about their uprising and their execution.  Wittenberg (Luther’s university) the best known of the period.

University training in disputation.  Public disputes of theses.  Jack Wilton records being at some of these.

Another big thing they did in universities was to stage plays.  In Latin, by Plautus and Terrence.

Modern plays written in Latin by their masters––usually a Biblical theme, sometimes morality plays.

Universities were an important source for dramatic activities.  From universities in England you often went to Inns of Court to learn law.  Here, many more sophisticated plays were written.

Jack Wilton also mentions Cornelius Agrippa, the philosopher.  Agrippa had a great reputation as a magician.  A legendary figure like Faust.  Supposed to have sold his soul to the devil.

Nashe also pays a long tribute to an Italian Pope––Aretine.

––Typical of lampoon and satire in Renaissance literature.  A particularly mean, vicious satirist, who was paid money by Italian nobility so he wouldn’t write poems about them.

Lecture 42.

Isaak Walton

A careful, calculating writer.  Attempted to appear artless.  A type of deliberate naivety. The conception of fishing as an expression of an attitude to life.  Leaves the city behind but not the culture behind.  Fishing affords him an opportunity for meditation.  Walton is a nostalgic figure.

Belief in spontaneous generation, which was current at the time.  Pickerel came from eating pickerel weed.  No science in him.  He likes to feel that nature is a careful, cunning artist.  He brings to imaginative life a world of colours and sounds.  His mind is focused on a subject in its tiniest details

His Lives.  To some extent, hagiography.  (Lives of saints.)  Out to show that the Church of England turns out the same lives of saintliness as other churches.  Thus, unfortunately he glosses over some of these lives (e.g., Donne).  Treats Donne as if he had not had doubts and fears.  Oversimplifies the life of Herbert as a country parson.  In his Hooker he goes in for another stock saintly type, the absent‑minded type.

His biographies are most interesting and informative, though.  Every once in a while his attitude shows between the lines.

A master of the polite style.  He has to deal in his biographies with some first‑class heels, and he treats these with a great deal of urbanity.  We have to read carefully to discover who is a villain (like in Henry James).

Tom Fuller––17th‑century clergyman––good‑humoured, tolerant.  Royalist all through the Civil War.  Wrote a series of brief prose meditations.

Chiefly, a historian, antiquarian.  Interested in a wide variety of historical studies.  A Church History of England, which was very good. Pepys was a great admirer of Fuller.  Listened to him preach whenever he could.  An antiquarian of prodigious learning and industry.

“Worthies of England”––valuable biographical notes.

Fuller’s most important book is Holy State and Profane State––character books of famous Anglican clergymen and others.

Joseph Hall, Theophrastus.  Imaginary characters based on Aristotle’s Ethics.  This book had great influence in both France and England at this time.  The idiom and general style recaptured.  Ease of moving from historical fact to his reflections on the fact.  An aggressive pro‑Protestant stance, partly because he knows it aids his style.

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