Prose II – Eng 503. Introduction. English prose fiction appeared as translations from the Italian ‘novella’ in the sixteenth century These translations only have historical interest Lyly initiated English prose by publishing a little book entitled 'Euphues and His Anatomie of Wit.'.
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English prose fiction appeared as translations from the Italian ‘novella’ in the sixteenth century
'Euphues' means 'the well-bred man,' and though there is a slight action, the work is mainly a series of moralizing disquisitions on love, religion, and conduct.
Sidney’s Arcadia gives the life of Sicilian shepherds and was written primarily for his sister the Countess of Pembroke
The invasion of England by William of Orange and the subsequent Glorious Revolution of 1688 firmly established a Protestant monarchy together with effective rule by Parliament.
Moderation and common sense became intellectual values as well as standards of behavior.
The brilliant prose satirist Jonathan Swift was not so sanguine as Pope. His "savage indignation" resulted in devastating attacks on his age in A Tale of a Tub (1704), Gulliver's Travels (1726), and A Modest Proposal (1729).
The 18th cent. was the age of town life with its coffeehouses and clubs. One of the most famous of the latter was the Scriblerus Club, whose members included Pope, Swift, and John Gay (author of The Beggar's Opera ). Its purpose was to defend and uphold high literary standards against the rising tide of middle-class values and tastes.
Letters were a popular form of polite literature. Pope, Swift, Horace Walpole, and Thomas Gray were masters of the form, and letters make up the chief literary output of the prose work of the age.
The author of these Travels, Mr. Lemuel Gulliver, is my ancient and intimate friend; there is likewise some relation between us on the mother’s side. About three years ago, Mr. Gulliver growing weary of the concourse of curious people coming to him at his house in Redriff, made a small purchase of land, with a convenient house, near Newark, in Nottinghamshire, his native country; where he now lives retired, yet in good esteem among his neighbours.
Although Mr. Gulliver was born in Nottinghamshire, where his father dwelt, yet I have heard him say his family came from Oxfordshire; to confirm which, I have observed in the churchyard at Banbury in that county, several tombs and monuments of the Gullivers.
Before he quitted Redriff, he left the custody of the following papers in my hands, with the liberty to dispose of them as I should think fit. I have carefully perused them three times. The style is very plain and simple; and the only fault I find is, that the author, after the manner of travellers, is a little too circumstantial.
There is an air of truth apparent through the whole; and indeed the author was so distinguished for his veracity, that it became a sort of proverb among his neighbours at Redriff, when any one affirmed a thing, to say, it was as true as if Mr. Gulliver had spoken it.
By the advice of several worthy persons, to whom, with the author’s permission, I communicated these papers, I now venture to send them into the world, hoping they may be, at least for some time, a better entertainment to our young noblemen, than the common scribbles of politics and party.
This volume would have been at least twice as large, if I had not made bold to strike out innumerable passages relating to the winds and tides, as well as to the variations and bearings in the several voyages, together with the minute descriptions of the management of the ship in storms, in the style of sailors; likewise the account of longitudes and latitudes; wherein I have reason to apprehend, that Mr. Gulliver may be a little dissatisfied.