About This Chapter
Historical, Cultural and Critical Contexts of Literature - Chapter Summary
This chapter opens with a crash course in literary movements and periods, after which you'll receive an introduction to literary theory, including major critics and groups. As the chapter progresses, it will also cover medieval literature in a historical context and provide you with information about Old and Middle English. Additional topics include naturalism in literature, including authors and characteristics.
The instructor will also discuss more contemporary topics, such as the authors, contexts and styles associated with literary modernism. Areas of emphasis include the major works and writers found in modern American literature. Along with the aforementioned topics, this chapter will also provide you with information about the following literary people and periods:
- Renaissance literature
- 17th- and 18th-century literature
- Romantic poetry
- Romantic prose
- Victorian literature, including themes and styles
- The Lost (or World War I) Generation and expatriate writers of the 20th century
- The Beat Generation of the 1950s and characteristics of Beat poetry
Our short lesson on the historical, cultural and critical contexts of literature is presented by an experienced instructor in an easy-to-follow and engaging format. It is also available in transcript form, with key terms linked to text-based lessons and additional information. Other features include self-assessment quizzes, and if you need to revisit a part of the lesson, the video tags will allow you to jump to selected points without having to re-watch the entire tutorial.
1. Overview of Literary Periods and Movements: A Historical Crash Course
When it comes to studying literature, there's about 1500 years of it to take in - and that's just in the English language! Fortunately, you can check out our crash course of key literary movements to see how the art form has developed over time.
2. Introduction to Literary Theory: Major Critics and Movements
When you hear the word 'theory,' your mind probably darts to the sciences - the theory of relativity, the theory of gravity, etc. Did you know that literature, too, is full of theory? Check out this lesson to get a basic primer on just what literary theory is, and how you might apply it.
3. Introduction to Medieval Literature: Old English, Middle English, and Historical Context
We'll go over some quick medieval history to situate some of the major literary works of the time period. We're going from Caedmon and Beowulf, writing in Old English, all the way up to Sir Thomas Malory's collections of the Arthur myths in late Middle English.
4. Introduction to Renaissance Literature: Characterizing Authors and Works
Chances are, you've heard of the term 'Renaissance' before, but do you know what it means? Watch this video to learn about how this artistic movement forever altered England and the way we look at literature.
5. Introduction to 17th- and 18th-Century Literature: Major Authors and Works
A lot can happen in 200 years, as you'll see on our lesson that introduces you to British literature of the 17th and 18th centuries. Go from Shakespeare to the invention of the novel to the introduction of a prominent dictionary in our video below!
6. Introduction to Romantic Poetry: Overview of Authors and Works
Like the French Revolution that helped inspire it, the Romantic poetry movement signaled massive, controversial changes with ramifications that are still being felt today. Watch this video lesson for an introduction to Romantic poetry, including descriptions of the major authors and significant works.
7. Introduction to Romantic Prose: Overview of Authors and Works
Romantic prose exists in novels, short stories and essays written during the Romantic period, specifically in England. The Romantic period lasted from about 1800 to 1840.
8. Introduction to Victorian Literature: Overview of Themes, Style, and Authors
Victorian literature is literature written in England during the reign of Queen Victoria, or roughly from 1837 -1901. It is largely characterized by the struggle of working people and the triumph of right over wrong.
9. Naturalism in Literature: Authors and Characteristics
Nature is indifferent; humans are just animals. So it goes in naturalism. In this lesson, we'll explore this literary movement. Authors discussed include Stephen Crane, Jack London and Theodore Dreiser.
10. Overview of Literary Modernism: Authors, Context, and Style
This video provides an introduction to the literary movement known as Modernism. Encompassing such writers as James Joyce, T.S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf, Modernism developed out of a sense that the art forms of the late nineteenth-century were inadequate to describe the condition of Europe after World War I.
11. The Lost Generation: Expatriate Writers of the 20th Century
In this lesson, we will explore the effects of WWI on the American literary community. We will take a look at the Lost Generation of writers, the characteristics of their work and the ways in which they represented post-war attitudes both in the U.S. and abroad.
12. The Beat Generation: Characteristics of Beat Poetry
It's a movement that began with a howl, and it had a major impact on both poetry and culture in America. In this lesson, we'll cover the Beat Generation and review the defining characteristics of their style.
13. Contemporary American Literature: Authors and Major Works
This lesson helps you decipher pieces of contemporary American literature by looking at famous examples from some of the greatest authors of the time.
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Other chapters within the Comprehensive English: Overview & Practice course
- Sentence Structure: Elements of Grammar
- Sentence Structure: Understanding Grammar
- Essay Basics: Types of Essay
- Essay Basics: Writing an Essay
- Writing Mechanics
- The Writing Process: Development & Planning
- The Writing Process: Writing & Structuring an Essay
- The Writing Process: Revision & Improving Your Essay
- Reading and Understanding Essays: Help & Tutorial
- Interpreting Theme & Meaning
- Figurative Language
- Examples of Literary Analysis
- Prominent Authors & Major Works
- Reading Strategies & Literary Analysis
- Interpreting Meaning in Literature
- Reading & Editing Essays
- Writing to a Specific Audience
- Grammar, Mechanics & Usage
- Proofreading & Revising an Essay
- Writing Assessment Tools & Strategies
- Effective Listening & Speaking
- Developing Word Identification Skills