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自考《英美文学选读》(美)浪漫主义时期(2)

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  二。美国浪漫主义时期的主要作家

  Ⅰ。 Washington Irving(1783-l859)

  Irving''s position in American literature Washington Irving was one of the first American writers to earn an international reputation, and regarded as an early Romantic writer in the merican literary history and Father of the American short stories.

  一。一般识记

  His life and major works

  Washington Irving was born in New York City in a wealthy family. From a very early age he began to read widely and write juvenile poems, essays, and plays. In l798, he conc1uded his education at private schools and entered a law office, but he loved writing more.

  His first successful work is A History Of New York from the Beginning Of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty, which, written under the name of Diedrich Knickerbocker, won him wide popularity after it came out in 1809. With the publication of The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. in serials between 1819 and 1820, Irving won a measure of international fame on both sides of the Atlantic. The book contains familiar essays on the Eng1ish life and Americanized versions of European folk tales like "Rip Van Winkle", and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." Geoffrey Crayon is a carefully contrived persona and behind Crayon stands Irving, juxtaposing the Old World and the New, and manipulating his own antiquarian interest with artistic perspectives.

  The major work of his later years was The Life of George Washington.

  二。识记

  1.Irving''s great indebtedness to European literature

  Most of Irving''s subject matter are borrowed heavily from European sources, which are chiefly Germanic. Irving''s relationship with the Old World in terms of his literary imagination can hardly be ignored considering his success both abroad and at home.

  A History of New York is a patchwork of references, echoes, and burlesques. He parodies or imitates Homer, Cervantes, Fielding, Swift and many other favorites of his. He was also absorbed in German Literature and got ideas from German legends for two of his famous stories "Rip Van Winkle" and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." The Alhambra is usually regarded as Irving''s "Spanish Sketch Book" simply because it has a strong flavor of Spanish culture. Most of the thirty-three essays in The Sketch Book were written in England, filled with English scenes and quotations from English authors and faithful to British orthography. Washington Irving brought to the new nation what its peop1e desired most in a man of 1etters the respect of the Old World.

  2.Irving''s unique contribution to American literature

  Irving''s contribution to American literature is unique in more than one way. He was the first American writer of imaginative literature to gain international fame. Although greatly influenced by European literature, Irving gave his works distinctive American flavor. "Rip Van Winkle" or "The Legend of Sleepy Hol1ow", however exotic these stories are, are among the treasures of the American language and culture. These two stories easily trigger off American imagination with their focus on American subjects, American landscape, and, in Irving''s case, the legends of the Hudson River region of the fresh young 1and. It is not the sketches about the Old World but the tales about America that made Washington Irving a household word and his fame enduring. He was father of American short stories. And later in the hands of Hawthorne and Melville the short story attained a degree of perfection.

  三。领会

  1.Irving''s theme of conservatism as is revealed in "Rip Van Winkle"

  Irving''s taste was essentia1ly conservative and always exa1ted a disappearing past. This socia1 conservatism and literary preference for the past is revea1ed, to some extent, in his famous story "Rip Van Winkle." The story is a tale remembered mostly for Rip''s 20-year s1eep, set against the background of the inevitably changing America. Rip went to sleep before the War of Independence and woke up after it. The change that had occurred in the 20 years he slept was to him not always for the better. The revolution upset the natural order of things. In the story Irving ski1lfu1ly presents to us paralleled juxtapositions of two totally different worlds before and after Rip''s 20 years'' s1eep. By moving Rip back and forth from a noisy world with his wife on the farm to a wild but peaceful natural world in the mountains, and from a pre-Revolution village to a George Washington era, lrving describes Rip''s response and reaction in a dramatic way, so that we see clearly both the narrator and Irving agree on the preferabi1ity of the past to the present, and the preferability of a dream-like world to the real one. Irving never seemed to accept a modern democratic America.

  2.Irving''s literary craftsmanship

  Washington Irving has always been regarded as a writer who "perfected the best classic style that American Literature ever produced."


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