English Literature

A Short History of English Literature by Harry Blamires

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By Harry Blamires

`It is sweet to determine a reprint and entire updating of this famous historic travel de strength, with its facts of huge analyzing and actually millions of worthy facts.' - instances academic complement

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    Barabas is deprived of all his wealth, and embarks on a complex career of revenge in which ultimately he kills even his own daughter, Abigail. Eventually he himself becomes governor of Malta and plots to kill the Turkish commander. He is foolish enough to involve Ferneze and is out-plotted. The drama is a series of episodes strung together and, as each one ends, there is a premature sense of completion. The play seems to be continually starting again. As for the moral drift of the work, we seem to enter a society of rogues seen through the eyes of a cynic.

    A series of failures on the part of the men they employ, Black Will and Shakebag, adds to the tension and suspense. After much protraction, the combined efforts of four conspirators, including Alice Arden herself, do Arden to death in his own home. There is psychological reality in the central theme, and the characters as a whole belong to the world immediately outside the Elizabethan theatre. Arden himself is a gentleman landowner: a landlord, a painter, a goldsmith and a sailor appear among the cast.

    The two do not form a cunningly structured drama, but present 44 A Short History of English Literature a succession of adventures. Tamburlaine makes his grandiose progress through a sequence of battles, achieving more and bigger victories, greater and greater power. There is no human retribution at the end: Tamburlaine does not lose a battle; he dies in the midst of another victory. Each battle is introduced by a poetic survey of the forces involved—long geographical catalogues in which Marlowe’s rhetoric surges, wave upon wave.

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