New PDF release: A History of British Irish and American Literature

By Hans-Peter Wagner

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Another compiler of travel reports, Samuel Purchas (1577-1626), was to reprint some of Coryat's material. Apart from Purchas His Pilgrimage. Or Relations of the World and the Religions Observed in All Ages (1613), his most influential collection is Hakluytus Post-humus, or Purchas His Pilgrimes, Contayning a History of the World in Sea Voyages and Land Travell by Englishmen and Others (1625). Based to some extent on manuscripts left by Richard Hakluyt, this consists of 20 books in two sections, with accounts of voyages to India, China, Japan, Africa, and the Mediterranean; the second part deals with expeditions to the West Indies and Florida.

Intending to divide his kingdom among his daughters Goneril, Regan, and Cordelia, Lear asks them to say which loves him most. Goneril and Regan declare their love without hesitating, and Cordelia, disgusted with their falsity, merely speaks of filial duty. Infuriated with Cordelia's answer, Lear gives two thirds of the kingdom to Goneril and Regan and divides the remaining third between them, leaving Cordelia with nothing. But he soon finds out about the true character of his daughters when Goneril and Regan refuse to maintain the old king and turn him out of doors in a storm.

It is just because Shakespeare ignored contemporary dramatic rules – the famous unities of action, time, and place – that he was superior. His sole aim was to divert and to move his audience. In Shakespeare's plays tragical, romantic, humorous, and farcical elements are often interwoven: the coarse competes with the sublime, and the serious with the humorous. One of the reasons why this should be so is that Shakespeare wrote plays for, and was aware of writing them for, an Elizabethan audience made up of aristocrats, gallants, thieves, sailors, soldiers, and apprentices.

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A History of British Irish and American Literature by Hans-Peter Wagner


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