Female Characters in Eugene O’Neill’s Plays

Like many other male writers, Eugene O’Neill created a world populated primarily by men. From the sea plays at the beginning of his career to such late works as The Iceman Cometh and Hughie, men dominate his theatrical space. A simple number count confirms that only about one-third of the onstage characters in O’Neill’s dramas… Read More Female Characters in Eugene O’Neill’s Plays

Literary Criticism of John Dryden

John Dryden (1631–1700) occupies a seminal place in English critical history. Samuel Johnson called him “the father of English criticism,” and affirmed of his Essay of Dramatic Poesy (1668) that “modern English prose begins here.” Dryden’s critical work was extensive, treating of various genres such as epic, tragedy, comedy and dramatic theory, satire, the relative virtues… Read More Literary Criticism of John Dryden

Literary Criticism of Sir Philip Sidney

Sir Philip Sidney (1554–1586) is often cited as an archetype of the well-rounded “Renaissance man”: his talents were multifold, encompassing not only poetry and cultivated learning but also the virtues of statesmanship and military service. He was born into an aristocratic family, was eventually knighted, and held government appointments which included the governorship of Flushing in… Read More Literary Criticism of Sir Philip Sidney

Stephen Greenblatt and New Historicism

While he was teaching at the University of California, Berkeley, Greenblatt helped to found a journal called Representations, in which some of the earlier important New Historicist criticism appeared. As mentioned earlier, however, it was his introduction to The Power of Forms in the English Renaissance (1982) that spurred the growth of the New Historicism.… Read More Stephen Greenblatt and New Historicism

Symbolism, Aestheticism and Charles Baudelaire

Known as the founder of French symbolism (though not himself part of the movement), and often associated with the artistic decadence and aestheticism of the later nineteenth century, Baudelaire was born in Paris where he lived a bohemian life, adopting the artistic posture of a dandy, devoted to beauty and disdainfully aloof from the vulgar… Read More Symbolism, Aestheticism and Charles Baudelaire

Postmodern British Poetry

If the era of ‘postmodernity’ is increasingly seen as ‘a socio-economic mode that has intensified and surpassed modernity itself’ then poetry produced under this new ‘socio-economic mode’ might rightly be dismissed as another form of ‘postmodern’ candyfloss neatly packaged for our quick or therapeutic consumption.1 On the other hand perhaps poets, often relatively uninvested in… Read More Postmodern British Poetry