What are the common characteristics of the ages and poets that had developed acheivements during their ages & their acheivements?I have been studing Old, Middle, Elizabethan, Milton and...

What are the common characteristics of the ages and poets that had developed acheivements during their ages & their acheivements?

I have been studing Old, Middle, Elizabethan, Milton and Restoration ages.

The essay concentrates on two things. Firstly, the common features between the ages.

Secondly, poets who write in a developing way: "poets who wrote in prose then in lyric or they wrote in old then middle and so on..."

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asked on by marmr

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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This question has me just a tad confused, but there are some commonalities through the ages of English poetry from Old to Restoration that I might mention as a springboard for more clarity. To start with, from Beowulf onward, it was a common practice to write from borrowed sources. Beowulf was written from an oral tradition with elements of Christianity superadded. Chaucer borrowed from poets like Petrarch and Boccaccio, an example of borrowing from Boccaccio being Troilus and Criseyde (also later borrowed by Shakespeare).

There was a belief throughout these poetic eras that poets and poetry were divinely inspired and reflecting of spiritual truths of right and goodness that the poet described for people whose souls longed to attain to these truths. This is the mimetic theory begun with Aristotle and later described by Philip Sidney and exquisitely put into practice by Edmund Spenser. Along with this was a commitment to artistic or poetic language that was "elevated" beyond the vocabulary and construction of daily converse. This commitment held sway until Wordsworth overturned it with Lyrical Ballads during the later era of Romantic poets.

Structurally, English poetry from the Old English period through to the Restoration has always made use of tropes, language that is used figuratively, not literally, like in metaphor, simile, personification, oxymorons. Another structural element common through the ages right to the present poetic age is the importance of the pause in English poetry. The pause, though often overlooked, is integral to establishing rhythm in English poetry, as Beowulf demonstrates by way of the caesura.

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