Paul’s Progress and Christening (excerpt)

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Paul’s Progress and Christening (excerpt)


It happened to be an iron grey autumnal day, with a shrew east wind blowing a day in keeping with the proceedings. Mr Dombey represented in himself the wind, the shade, and the autumn christening. He stood in his library to receive the company, as hard and cold as the weather; and when he looked out through the glass room, at the trees in the little garden, their brown and yellow leaves came fluttering down, as if he blighted them. Ugh! They were black, cold rooms; and seemed to be in mourning, like the inmates of the house. The books precisely matched as to size, and drawn up in line, like soldiers, looked in their cold, hard, slippery uniforms, as if they had but one idea among them, and that a freezer. The bookcase, glazed and locked, repudiated all familiarities. Mr Pitt, in bronze on the top, with no trace of his celestial origin about him, guarded the unattainable treasure like an enchanted Moor. A dusty urn at each high corner, dug up from an ancient tomb, preached desolation and decay, as from two pulpits; and the chimney glass, reflecting Mr Dombey and his portrait at one blow, seemed fraught with melancholy meditations.

The stiff and stark fire irons appeared to claim a nearer relationship than anything else there to Mr Dombey, with his buttoned соat; his white cravat, his heavy gold watch chain, and his creaking boots. But this was before the arrival of Mr and Mrs Chick, his lawful relatives, who soon presented themselves. [3]


1. decay (u) 2. to repudiate (old fashioned) 3. celestial (literary) 4. unattainable 5. to desolate 6. enchanted 7. to blight a. to spoil or damage plants b. the gradual destruction of buildings and structures caused by a lack of care to c. to make a place seem empty and sad d. to state that you no longer have any connection with someone, especially a relative e. very beautiful f. impossible to achieve g. be changed by magic  



3. Render the text.

William Makepeace Thackeraywas an English novelist of the 19th century. He was famous for his satirical works, particularly Vanity Fair, a panoramic portrait of English society.

Thackeray began as a satirist and parodist, writing papers with a sneaking fondness for roguish upstarts like Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair, Barry Lyndon in The Luck of Barry Lyndon and Catherine in Catherine. In his earliest works, writing under such pseudonyms as Charles James Yellowplush, Michael Angelo Titmarsh and George Savage Fitz-Boodle, he tended towards the savage in his attacks on high society, military prowess, the institution of marriage and hypocrisy.

One of his very earliest works, Timbuctoo (1829), contained his burlesque upon the subject set for the Cambridge Chancellor's medal for English verse, (the contest was won by Tennyson with “Timbuctoo”). His writing career really began with a series of satirical sketches now usually known as The Yellowplush Papers, which appeared in Fraser’s Magazine beginning in 1837. These were adapted for BBC Radio 4 in 2009, with Adam Buxton playing Charles Yellowplush.

Between May 1839 and February 1840, Fraser’s published the work sometimes considered Thackeray's first novel, Catherine, originally intended as a satire of the Newgate school of crime fiction but ending up more as a rollicking picaresque tale in its own right.


In The Luck of Barry Lyndon, a novel serialized in Fraser’s in 1844, Thackeray explored the situation of an outsider trying to achieve status in high society, a theme he developed much more successfully in Vanity Fair with the character of Becky Sharp, the artist’s daughter who rises nearly to the heights by manipulating the other characters.

He is best known now for Vanity Fair, with its deft skewerings of human foibles and its roguishly attractive heroine. His large novels from the period after this, once described unflatteringly by Henry James as examples of “loose baggy monsters”, have faded from view, perhaps because they reflect a mellowing in the author, who became so successful with his satires on society that he seemed to lose his zest for attacking it.

The later works include Pendennis, a sort of bildungsroman depicting the coming of age of Arthur Pendennis, a kind of alter ego of Thackeray’s who also features as the narrator of two later novels: The Newcomes and The Adventures of Philip. The Newcomes is noteworthy for its critical portrayal of the “marriage market”, while Philip is noteworthy for its semi-autobiographical look back at Thackeray's early life, in which the author partially regains some of his early satirical zest.

Also notable among the later novels is The History of Henry Esmond, in which Thackeray tried to write a novel in the style of the eighteenth century. In fact, the eighteenth century held a great appeal for Thackeray. Not only Esmond but also Barry Lyndon and Catherine are set then, as is the sequel to Esmond, The Virginians, which takes place in America and includes George Washington as a character who nearly kills one of the protagonists in a duel. [28]


4. Match the characters with their description.


1. Sir Pitt Crawley, Baronet   2. Becky Sharp   3. William Dobbin   4. Rawdon Crawley   5. Amelia Sedley   6. Jos Sedley     a. She is the heroine: good natured but passive and naive. She has a round, rosy snub-nosed face and brown hair. Although she is not outstandingly beautiful, she is well liked by most men because of her sweet personality, a popularity which is often resented by other women. She marries George Osborne against the wishes of George's father, and is devoted to him despite his neglect of her and flirtation with Becky.   b. The anti-heroine, and Amelia's opposite, is an intelligent young woman with a gift for satire. She is described as a petite sandy haired girl who has green eyes and a great deal of wit. Fluent in both French and English, Becky has a beautiful singing voice, plays the piano, and shows great talent as an actress. c.He isthe younger of the two Crawley sons, is an empty-headed cavalry officer who is his wealthy aunt's favorite until he marries Becky Sharp, who is of a far lower class. He permanently alienates his aunt, who leaves her estate to Sir Pitt instead. Sir Pitt has by this time inherited their father's estate, leaving Rawdon destitute.   d.He is very religious and has political aspirations, although not many people appreciate his intelligence or wisdom because there's not much there to appreciate. Somewhat pedantic and conservative, he does nothing to help Rawdon or Becky even when they fall on hard times.   e. He is the best friend of George Osborne is tall, ungainly, and not particularly handsome. He is a few years older than George but has been friends with him since his school days even though Dobbin's father is a fig-merchant and the Osbornes belong to the genteel class and have become independently wealthy.   f. Amelia's older brother is a "nabob", who made a respectable fortune as a tax collector in India. Obese and self-important but very shy and insecure, he is attracted to Becky Sharp but circumstances prevent him from proposing. [27]



Литература США. Американский романтизм.

Вопросы для обсуждения:

1. Особенности американского романтизма по сравнению с европейским.

2. Джеймс Фенимор Купер - «американский Вальтер Скотт». Романтические и реалистические черты в пенталогии «Кожаный чулок»

3. Эдгар Аллан По - создатель детективного жанра в американской литературе. Рассказы По.

4. Поэзия Э. По: лиризм, приемы создания настроения, музыкальность, мастерство и новаторство формы. Стихотворение «Ворон», «Колокола», «Аннабел Ли».


Рекомендованная литература.


1. История американской литературы. Ч. 1, под ред. Н.И. Самохвалова, М., Просвещение, 1971.

2. Ван Вик Брукс. Писатель и американская жизнь. Т. 1, М., Прогресс, 1967.

3. Боброва М.Н. Романтизм в американской литературе XIX века. М., Высшая школа, 1972.

4. Этгар Аллан По. Стихотворения. М., Радуга, 1988. Предисловие А. Зверева «Подводное течение смысла»

Задания для выполнения в классе:

1. Render the text.


Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American writer, poet, editor and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective-fiction genre. He is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction. He was the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career.

He was born as Edgar Poe in Boston, Massachusetts; he was orphaned young when his mother died shortly after his father abandoned the family. Poe was taken in by John and Frances Allan, of Richmond, Virginia, but they never formally adopted him. He attended the University of Virginia for one semester but left due to lack of money. After enlisting in the Army and later failing as an officer's cadet at West Point, Poe parted ways with the Allans. His publishing career began humbly, with an anonymous collection of poems, Tamerlane and Other Poems (1827), credited only to “a Bostonian”.

Poe switched his focus to prose and spent the next several years working for literary journals and periodicals, becoming known for his own style of literary criticism. His work forced him to move between several cities, including Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York City. In Baltimore in 1835, he married Virginia Clemm, his 13-year-old cousin. In January 1845 Poe published his poem “The Raven” to instant success. His wife died of tuberculosis two years after its publication. He began planning to produce his own journal, The Penn (later renamed The Stylus), though he died before it could be produced. On October 7, 1849, at age 40, Poe died in Baltimore; the cause of his death is unknown and has been variously attributed to alcohol, brain congestion, cholera, drugs, heart disease, rabies, suicide, tuberculosis, and other agents. Poe and his works influenced literature in the United States and around the world, as well as in specialized fields, such as cosmology and cryptography. Poe and his work appear throughout popular culture in literature, music, films, and television. A number of his homes are dedicated museums today.



Poe’s best known fiction works are Gothic, a genre he followed to appease the public taste. His most recurring themes deal with questions of death, including its physical signs, the effects of decomposition, concerns of premature burial, the reanimation of the dead, and mourning. Many of his works are generally considered part of the dark romanticism genre, a literary reaction to transcendentalism, which Poe strongly disliked. He referred to followers of the movement as Frogpondians after the pond on Boston Common. and ridiculed their writings as “metaphor-run”, lapsing into “obscurity for obscurity’s sake” or “mysticism for mysticism's sake.” Poe once wrote in a letter to Thomas Holley Chivers that he did not dislike Transcendentalists, “only the pretenders and sophists among them.”

Beyond horror, Poe also wrote satires, humour tales, and hoaxes. For comic effect, he used irony and ludicrous extravagance, often in an attempt to liberate the reader from cultural conformity. In fact, Metzengerstein, the first story that Poe is known to have published, and his first foray into horror, was originally intended as a burlesque satirizing the popular genre. Poe also reinvented science fiction, responding in his writing to emerging technologies such as hot air balloons in The Balloon-Hoax.

Poe wrote much of his work using themes specifically catered for mass market tastes. To that end, his fiction often included elements of popular pseudosciences such as phrenology and physiognomy.


Literary theory

Poe's writing reflects his literary theories, which he presented in his criticism and also in essays such as The Poetic Principle. He disliked didacticism and allegory, though he believed that meaning in literature should be an undercurrent just beneath the surface. Works with obvious meanings, he wrote, cease to be art. He believed that quality work should be brief and focus on a specific single effect. To that end, he believed that the writer should carefully calculate every sentiment and idea. In The Philosophy of Composition, an essay in which Poe describes his method in writing The Raven, he claims to have strictly followed this method. It has been questioned, however, if he really followed this system. T. S. Eliot said: “It is difficult for us to read that essay without reflecting that if Poe plotted out his poem with such calculation, he might have taken a little more pains over it: the result hardly does credit to the method.” Biographer Joseph Wood Krutch described the essay as “a rather highly ingenious exercise in the art of rationalization”. [10]


Poetic structure

The poem The Raven is made up of 18 stanzas of six lines each. Generally, the meter is trochaic octameter — eight trochaic feet per line, each foot having one stressed syllable followed by one unstressed syllable. The first line, for example (with / representing stressed syllables and x representing unstressed):

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