Exercises for History of British Literature 

Part One

I.                   Blank Filling:

1.       The 16th century saw the fall of feudalism and the rise of _________ in England. After the Hundred Years’ War and the Wars of the _________, Henry VII founded the Tudor ______, a centralized monarchy of a totally new type.

2.       The _________ Reformation was in essence a political movement in a _________ guise.

3.       The Authorized Version of the Bible was sometimes called _________, which had a great influence on English language and literature.

4.       The key-note of the Renaissance is ________, which reflected the new outlook of the rising _________ class.

5.       In the days of Henry VIII, a group of scholars called Oxford ________ introduced classical literature to England.

6.       “Utopia” is written in the form of a ________ between More and Hythloday, a returned voyager.

7.       In Book One of “Utopia”, More condemned the _________ of land as the source of social evils.

8.       Book Two of “Utopia” is a sketch of an ideal ________ in some unknown ocean, where property is held in ________ and there is no _________.

9.       As a poet, Sir Philip Sidney wrote a collection of sonnets, ________; as a critic, he wrote _________, one of the earliest English literary essays.

10.   Edmund Spenser’s first important work is _______, and his masterpiece is ________, dedicated to Queen Elizabeth.

11.   The tragedy of Doctor Faustus is symbolic of a ________ in the age of Renaissance.

 II.                Choose the best answer:

1.       In the second half of the 16th century, which is sometimes called the _________ Period, the English Renaissance burst into a flowering of literature.

A. Queen Mary’s   B. Elizabethan    C. Henry VIII’s     D. king James’

2.       Which of the following does Not appear during the flourishing period of English Literature?

A. translation of classical works into English     B. works on England’s history

C. books describing discoveries and adventures   D. sonnets and blank verse

E. alliterative verse

3.       The language Spenser used can be called _________ English.

A. Old    B. Middle    C. Modern    D. Contemporary

4.       The most famous sonnet sequences of the Elizabethan Age Does not include _________.

A. Spensers’ sonnets    B. Shakespeare’s sonnets    C. Sidney’s sonnets    D. Milton’s sonnets

5.       Francis Bancon’s works does Not include _______.

A. “Advancement of Learning”    B. “New Instrument”     C. “Essays”   D. “Euphuism”

6.       “Everyman” is a popular _______.

A. miracle play    B. morality play    C. interlude

7.       _________ is the first English tragedy.

A. “The Play of the Weather”   B. “Gammer Gurton’s Needle”    C. “Gorboduc”

8.       Which of the following is Not a play of Marlowe’s?

A. “Tamburlaine”     B. “The Jew of Malta”    C. Doctor Faustus    D. “Armada”

 III.             Answer the following questions.

1.       What are the features of the Renaissance?

2.       In what form is “The Faerie Queen” written?

3.       What is “Euphuism”?

4.       Describe the London Theatre and the Audience.

5.       What’s the social significance of Marlowe’s plays?

 IV.              Explain the following terms.

1. sonnet

2. blank verse

3. literary criticism

4. pastoral

5. eclogue

6. allegory

7. nationalism

8. humanism

9. Puritanism

10. scene

11. climax

12. comedy

13. tragedy

14. classical drama

15. act

16. forms of drama

17. playwrights

18. university wits

19. lyrical

20. characterization


 Part Two

I.         Blank Filling.

1.       The second period of Shakespeare’s playwriting is his period of _________. It contains a series of tragedies headed by the famous “__________”.

2.       The general spirit of Shakespeare’s comedies in the first period is _________. “Romeo and Juliet”, though a tragedy written in the first period, is _______ in spirit.

3.       Shakespeare’s histories are ________ plays. The theme of these plays is the necessity for _______ under one sovereign.

4.       “The Merchant of Venice” is _______ in origin. The story in “King Lear” is from an old ______legend.

5.       “___________” is considered the summit of Shakespeare’s art. The story in the play comes from an old _________ legend.

6.       The key-note of Hamlet’s character is ___________.

7.       ___________ and the Authorized Version of the English Bible are the two great treasuries of the English language.

8.       Of the many contemporaries and successors of Shakespeare, the most well-known was _______.

9.       The works of the _______ poets are characterized, generally speaking, by __________ in content and _________ in form.

10.   John Milton’s two famous epics are “________” and “______”. His “Samson Agonistes” is a _______ modeled on the Greek tragedies.

11.   The greatest English epic is _______. It is a long epic in ________ books, done in ________.

12.   “The Pilgrim’s Progress” is a __________ allegory.

13.   ___________ was the greatest and most versatile writer of the Restoration Period and the forerunner of the English classical school of literature.

14.   Shakespeare wrote a cycle of _______ sonnets. “Venus and Adonis” and “The Rape of Lucrece” are his two ________poems.

15.   Shakespeare’s four great tragedies are “King Lear”, “Macbeth”, “Hamlet” and “___________”.

 II.      Characters and Authors

1.       Rosalind, Orlando and Frederick

2.       Launce and his dog Crab

3.       Henry V., Hotspur and Falstuff

4.       Cordelia, Regan, Goneril and their Father Lear

5.       Portia, Antonio, Shylock and Bassanio

6.       Ophelia, Queen Gertrude and Claudius

7.       Prospero, Ariel, Caliban and Prince Firdinand

8.       Desdemona, Brabantio, Iago and Cassio

9.       Adam, Eve and Satan

10.   Christian, Faithful and Mr. Hopeful

  III.   Choose the right answer.

1.       __________ has been universally acknowledged to be the summit of the English Renaissance.

A. Edmund Spenser      B. William Shakespeare     C. john Milton   D. Christopher Marlowe

2.       Henry IV deals with the events of _________ century and gives the picture of a troubled reign.

A. 14th   B. 15th    C. 16th     D. 17th

3.       The omnipresent power of money in the age or growing capitalism can be shown in:

A. Othello     B. Timon of Athens       C. Hamlet     D. The Tempest

4.       Ben Jonson’s masterpiece is:

A. Volpone    B. Every Man in His Humor    C. The Alchemist   D. Sejanus

5.       The well-known soliloquy by Hamlet “to be or not to be …” shows his:

A. hatred for his uncle    B. Love of life    C. resolution of revenge    D. inner strike

6.       John Milton is a great poet in the period of English:

A. feudalism    B. Renaissance   C. Bourgeois Revolution    D. Enlightenment

7.       The real hero is Milton’s Paradise Lost is

A. Adam and Eve     B. God   C. the angels   D. Satan

8.       __________ is the glorious pioneer to introduce blank verse into non-dramatic poetry.

A. John Milton    B. William Shakespeare    C. Edmund Spenser     D. John Dryden

9.       When James II threatened to restore the old absolute monarchy, the bourgeoisie expelled him and invited William from Holland to be King of England in 1688. this was so-called the:

A. English Bourgeois Revolution    B. Industrial Revolution

C. The Wars of the Roses           D. Glorious Revolution

10.   The story in Paradise Lost comes from:

A. English Chronicles    B. The Old Testament of the Bible   C. Greek Legends  

D. The New Testament of the Bible

 IV.    Answer the following questions in English.

1.       The key-note of Shakespeare’s comedies

2.       The theme of Shakespeare’s plays

3.       The characterization of Hamlet

4.       The image of Satan

5.       Analyze the main idea and the artistic features of Paradise Lost


Part Three


I. Blank Filling.

1.         __________________ was the main current in Enlish novel in the middle of the  19th     century.

2.         So far as the literary form or genre is concerned, the major contribution made by the 19th century critical realists in their perfection of the _____________.

3.         The greatest representation of English critical realism was ________________.

4.         In his novel “A Tale of Two Cities”, Dickens takes the _________________ as the background.

5.         Robert Browning’s principal achivement lies in his introducing to English poetry __________.

6.         Mrs. Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “___________________” exposes the criminal system of child-labour prevailing in the 19th century England.

7.         “_________________________” is Thackeray’s masterpiece. The sub-title of the book, “A Novel Without A Hero”, suggests the fact that the writer’s intention was not to portray individuals, but the bourgeois and aristocratic society as a whole.

8.         ___________________ was one of the first English writers to make the calss struggle between the workers and the capitalists the theme of a novel.

9.         The three remarkable novels of George Eliot: “Adam Bede”, “The Mill on the Floss”, and “Silas Marner”, all dealt with ___________________ problems and contained ___________ studies of character.

10.     “____________________” has been called “the supreme epic of English life”, ___________ and ______________ in this novel are a pair of 19th-century English Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.

11.     In 1836, arose the working-class movement known as _____________, which was, according to Lenin, “the first broad, really mass, politically formed, proleterian resolutionary movement.

12.     In English history, the mid and late 19th century is sometimes called the ________________, because the reign of Queen Victoria covered the period ______________.

13.     The Victorian Age was largely an age of ______________, especially the ___________, eminently represented by ________________ and _______________. As well as literary and social criticism, represented by ___________ and ________________.

14.     ____________ was the most important poet of the Victorian Age.

II.. Choose the best answer:

1Charles Dickens, William Makepeace Thackeray, and Bronte sisters were all ____________.

A. Romanticists         B. Stream-of-Consciousness writers

C. Enlighteners          D. Critical Realistic Writers

2. Vanity Fair is a __________.

A. allegorical novel      B. realistic novel      

C. historical novel        D. romance

3. Dombey and Son is a _______.

A. biographical novel          B. allegorical novel    

C. critical realistic novel       D. historical novel

4. Pride and Prejudice is a ____________.:

A. novel of naturalism       B. social novel     

C. historical novel          D. allegorical novel

5. Wuthering Heights is a __________.

A. poem    B. prose    C. novel     D. play

6. A Tale of Two Cities is a ________.

A. sentimental novel       B. historical novel    

C. realistic novel          D. stream-of-consciousness novel

7. The Mill on the Floss is a ______.

A. novel      B. poem    C. prose       D. play

8. Mary Barton is a ______.

A. satirical novel          B. realistic novel        

C. historical novel         D. modern novel

9. 'My Last Duchess' is a ______.

A. lyric                  B. didactic poem     

C. philosophical poem       D. dramatic monologue

10. 'Break, Break, Break' is a ______.

A. lyric                  B. dramatic poem   

C. satiric poem            D. epic

 Part Four

 I.. Blank Filling:

1.         At the beginning of the 18th and 19th century, __________ became to be the new trend in English literature. It rose and grew under the impetus of the ____________ Revolution and the ____________ Revolution.

2.         The publication of “_______________” jointly written by ______ and _________ marked the beginning of the romantic revival in England.

3.         Owning to difference in political attitudes, romantic writers split into two schools: _______________ romanticists and active romanticists. The former school is represented by Wordsworth, _________ and ___________, while the later one is represented by ________, _______ and ________.

4.         Passive romanticists have often been mentioned as “______ poets”, because they lived in the Lake District in the Northwestern part of England.

5.         Wordsworth’s poetry is distinguished by the __________ and  ___________ of his language. It was his theory that the language spoken by the __________ was, when purified, the best of all.

6.         Two of S. T. Coleridge’s best poems are: a)_____________________, which tells a story about an old sailor’s adventures at sea; and b)______________, which is a dream poem.

7.         The long poem “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage” was written by _________. It contains ___________ cantos and was written in ____________.

8.         ______________________is Byron’s masterpiece, it displayed Byron’s genius as a romanticist and a _______________ simultaneously. Juan belongs to a__________________ hero.

9.         Shelley’s masterpiece of long poem is _________________, a lyrical drama in four acts.

10.     The most well-known lyrics by Shelley is ________________ , which shows his strong belief of the final victory of the revolutionary cause.

11.     The leading principle of poem creation by John Keats is “_________________, truth beauty”. He believes “_____________ in all things.

12.     Of the numerous shorter poems by Keats, the most important are his odes and ______________.

13.     Most of Keat’s famous odes were written with ____________________ as their general theme, among them, the most important one is “_________________________”.

14.     ___________________ and _____________________ are two well-known essayists of the Romantic period, they were the leading figures in the development of ___________essays.

15.     Scott has been regarded as the founder and great master of the _______________.

II. Identify the author and the work of the following quotations

1.         “If winter comes, can spring be far behind?”

2.         “all good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feeling.”

3.         “she lived unknown , and few could know when Lucy seased to be. But she is in her grave, and oh, the difference to me!”

4.         “Yet, Freedom! Yet they banner, torn, but flying, ……”

5.         “Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget what thou among the leaves hast never known.”

III. . Answer the questions.

1..         What’s the common features of the literary works of Romanticism?

2..         What’s the theme of Shelley’s “Piomethus Unbound”?

3..         Tell the theme of “Ode to the West Wind”.

4..     Talk about the general features of Byron’s poem and the theme of “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage”.

5.  What is the theme of “Don Juan”.