19

TL;DR: As late as the beginning of the 17th century, the editor Thomas Speght claimed that it was possible for a skillful reader to scan Chaucer. But he modernized Chaucer’s spelling, making it hard for anyone after him to do the same! It seems that in the mid-16th century, some people still knew, or thought they knew, how to scan Chaucer. Gavin Douglas, in ...


15

Since Milton is often discussed in the context of Renaissance literature, I'll quote the definition of "epic" from The Renaissance (edited by Marion Wynne-Davies, Bloomsbury Guides to English Literature, Bloomsbury, 1992): A narrative of heroic actions, often with a principal hero, usually mythical in its content, offering inspiration and ...


15

The claim that ‘Dickens invented the scary clown’ seems to be rooted in the work of Andrew McConnel Scott, Professor of English at the University of Buffalo, through his paper ‘Clowns on the Verge of a nervous breakdown: Dickens coulrophobia and the Memoirs of joseph Grimaldi' where Through a focus on the career of the British pantomimist Joseph Grimaldi (...


13

tl;dr Nobody could credibly claim that Shakespeare was the first to write sonnets in English. He wasn't even the first to use what we now think of as the typical "Shakespearean" rhyme scheme: abab cdcd efef gg. Nor is his the first sonnet sequence (series of linked sonnets) in English. Details. This is a supplement to and clarification of, not a ...


11

According to Jakob Schippers's A History of English Versification, the first English sonnet writers were Sir Thomas Wyatt and Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey. Wyatt's poems appear to have circulated at court, but they were not published under his name until after his death in 1542. Tottel's Miscellany, the first printed anthology of English poetry, was first ...


9

One person who believed that Chaucer could not count syllables, and possibly the most prominent one, was the poet John Dryden. Certainly, Dryden was of the opinion that Chaucer's poetry did not scan properly. In the preface to his book Fables, Ancient and Modern (1700), that contains translations of poems by Chaucer and Ovid, Dryden writes that Chaucer's ...


7

tl;dr Iambic meters are the most common of all classical and modern meters generally, and iambic pentameter is closest to the natural patterns of English speech. Plus, it was a successful conspiracy cooked up by Marlowe, Sidney, and the Great Vowel Shift. Introduction The word iamb comes from an ancient Greek genre of invective poetry. The metrical term ...


7

The earliest use of the phrase in this sense that I can find is from 1873, in a school textbook by William Smith and Theophilus Hall: Shakspearian Sonnet.—In its less proper form the Sonnet is simply a poem of fourteen Heroic† lines, rhymed alternately and ending with a Couplet. The Sonnets of Shakspeare belong to this class. William Smith and Theophilus D. ...


7

Introduction The term Ur-Hamlet was first used by Frederick S. Boas in the introduction to his 1901 edition of the works of Thomas Kyd. Discussing a hypothetical play on the Hamlet story predating Shakespeare’s, he wrote: I have adopted the convenient German title, which tersely distinguishes the Ur, or original, Hamlet-tragedy from Shakespeare’s play. (p. ...


7

There is little doubt that Shakespeare's play is based on the British King Leir, as the OP states. However, a similar story is also attached to King Ina. Indeed, it may have started there, been transferred to Lear with whom it has stuck in the popular imagination due to Shakespeare. English History and Antiquarian William Camden released a book of essays ...


5

Hunter may have been referring to the four-volume "The English Poets. Selections with Critical Introductions by Various Writers and a General Introduction by Matthew Arnold", edited by Thomas Humphry Ward, published by Macmillan in 1880. Ward was married to Arnold's niece (novelist, Mrs. Humphry Ward). The Preface to the anthology begins, "The aim of this ...


5

To give you a proper answer, we need to define a few more terms than simply "literature". Such as what is meant by "texts". Defining "text", we need to understand whether or not inscriptions -- anything written or painted on walls, stones, or other objects -- are included. This extends the range from an illiterate person's ...


4

If you're looking for an exact number, I can't give that to you. But I can give you a rough idea: the overwhelming majority of clay tablets are financial records. Let me put this into perspective: in the 1930s a French archeological team discovered about 30,000 clay tablets at Larsa -- all of these were records of items deposited at the temple or removed ...


4

From 1925 or maybe 1911: the "scientific restaurants" in the 1925 novel Ralph 124C 41+: A Romance of the Year 2660 by Hugo Gernsback. It was originally serialized in Gernsback's Modern Electrics magazine in 1911–1912, which I have not seen. The excerpt below is from the Project Gutenberg etext of the 1950 second edition. When it neared noon Ralph ...


4

I will base this answer on what I remember from school - we discussed Büchner extensively, but then this was more than 30 years ago. So this will be a stand-in until somebody more knowledgable gives a better answer. Politically, Büchner is important because he lived, and actively took part in, auspicious times. This is now known as the "Vormärz" (...


4

Kernan's 1969 article definitely wasn't the first use of "Henriad" ... Searching Google Scholar for "Henriad" Shakespeare threw up a few results from before 1950: H. M. McLuhan, "Henry IV, a Mirror of Magistrates", University of Toronto Quarterly 17(2) (1948), 152-160: The themes on which Shakespeare descants in the "...


4

Colin Wilson's book The Strength to Dream: Literature and the Imagination (which you found) has an entire chapter entitled "The Assault on Rationality", in which Lovecraft features prominently as one of the authors discussed. Wilson takes a very dim view of Lovecraft and his writing (and I quote: "it must be admitted that Lovecraft is a very ...


3

Of the Shakespeare plays that were published in quarto before 1623, the following contained a prologue: Romeo and Juliet, first quarto, 1597, Pericles, which was, however, not included in the First Folio, The Second part of King Henry the Fourth, first quarto, 1600 ("prologue" spoken by Rumour). When looking at the First Folio versions of these ...


3

The earliest example in the Oxford English Dictionary is from 1935 in The Observer: It was a good idea to supplement the first part of the ‘Henriad’, now on view at His Majesty's, with its even greater sequel. They also have an example from a 1944 letter (printed in a 2004 book). Is there an earlier example of the word? Perhaps, but we don’t know for ...


3

In his book Die Babylonier. Geschichte, Gesellschaft, Kultur (2004; 3rd, revised edition 2015), Michael Jursa (Professor of Assyriology at the University of Vienna) writes that the following categorisation of cuneiforms texts has established itself: Archival texts are texts that belong to the sphere of daily life. They include contracts, letters, ...


3

The following is from a book titled Now and Then We Time Travel: Visiting Pasts and Futures in Film and Television by Frasier A. Sherman (2017), p. 193: Some sources have cited William Dean Howell's "Christmas Every Day" (1892) as the earliest time-loop story, but that's incorrect: Time passes normally in the story, with magic forcing everyone to ...


3

Although comments above point to earlier examples (e.g., Les Diaboliques and The Mousetrap), I would argue that the "spoiler" first became a modern phenomenon, at least in American popular culture, with the Alfred Hitchcock's famous advertisements surrounding his 1960 film Psycho. The unexpected murder of Janet Leigh's character, and of course the final ...


3

For a complete series, Alan Garner's Alderly series, consisting of The Weirdstone of Brisingamen (1960), The Moon of Gomrath (1963), Boneland (2012), was published over a span of 52 years. He has been saying that there was an unwritten third book in the series since shortly after publishing the second (although I expect the third book looks very different ...


3

In 1977, Jeffrey H. Tigay published the article Was There an Integrated Gilgamesh Epic in the Old Babylonian Period? (Ancient Near Eastern Studies in Memory of Jacob Joel Finkelstein, Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, Memoir 19 (1977): 215-18). Tigay noted that the assumption that the “canonical” version of the Gilgamesh Epic was based on an Old ...


3

The oldest surviving Robin Hood tales are A Gest of Robyn Hode, between 1492 and 1534, Robin Hood and the Monk written after 1450, and Robin Hood and the Potter, about 1503. There is no evidence that the tales were written down prior to that. Although the first literary reference to Robin Hood was in 1370-ish (in Piers Plowman), it does not require the ...


3

Although it seems that this question has initially received a negative vote, I will give an answer (according to my readings, my analysis and my understanding or interpretation of ancient texts) in an attempt to provide plausible explanations or clarifications about ancient mythology, ancient stories, the stories of the gods and the actions of Zeus. As an ...


3

I think just comparing two poems to try to figure out the difference between Romanticism and Symbolism is very misleading. I believe that Symbolist poets wrote poems which spanned the whole spectrum from Romanticism to Symbolism. Poetry Foundation describes Symbolism as: They rejected their predecessors’ tendency toward naturalism and realism, believing ...


2

I enjoyed the short-lived 12 novel series A Dance to the Music of Time, by Anthony Powell, published between 1951 and 1975, a comparative flash in the pan.


2

In Ancient Greece the East (Anatolia, the "Orient") was stereotyped as a place of richness, wealth, immorality, power, luxury - the opposite of a more austere and humble life, but more virtuous, that the non-Anatolian (western) Greeks would live. Anatolia had rich states (Lydia) and its wealth came also to the Greek cities nearby. The oldest reference I know ...


2

The Professor Branestawm books might stretch the definition of a series but were all written by the same author, Norman Hunter, and set in the same universe. They were published between 1933, when The Incredible Adventures of Professor Branestawm was released, and 1983's Professor Branestawm's Hair-Raising Idea, for a total of 50 years. After writing the ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible