EN 1006 Lecture Notes - Lycidas, Dulce Et Decorum Est, Elegy

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Published on 17 Apr 2013
School
York University
Department
English
Course
EN 1006
April 16th
Movement towards the 20th Century
Focus on fragmented and isolating city
Exploration of the psychological complexities typical of the changing scientific and urban present
Anxieties about human nature once religion has been replaced by science
War has a state of mind and an actual experience
Death and remembrance of death
The Elegy
A formal lyric poem that laments death of a friend, loved one, or public figure, or reflects
seriously on a solemn subject
Since Milton’s elegy “Lycidas,” the term has usually denoted a lament
Adjective “elegiac” refers to mournful mood of poems
The pastoral elegy: usually begins with expression of grief
o Usually features funeral procession, a description of sympathetic mourning throughout
nature, and musings about the unkindness of death
o Ex. John Milton’s “Lycidas” (1637)
The English “graveyard school” of poets: wrote reflections on death and immortality
o Express sorrow and pain of bereavement, evoke the horror of death’s physical
manifestations, and suggest the impermanent nature of human life.
o Ex. Thomas Gray’s “An Elegy Written in a Country Church Yard” (published in 1751)
Thomas Gray’s “An Elegy Written in a Country Church Yard” (1751)
Quatrains in iambic pentameter; rhyme scheme (abab)
Pays tribute to generations of humble villagers buried in church cemetery
Glorified simple ways of life in contrast to ways of the rich who want fortune and fame
All are linked by death = common fate
Nothing withstands death, including speaker himself
Writes his own epitaph, a short text that honours his own death
They didn’t expect anything. Did not want to leave the village. They were happy.
Why end the elegy with an epitaph? What ideas does it pick up from the poem that precedes it?
What kind of person is the speaker?
The person is a common person, (frowned not on his humble bird)
Pays tribute to soldiers but does not glorify their contributions to war
World War I as War of Illusions
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Document Summary

Exploration of the psychological complexities typical of the changing scientific and urban present. Anxieties about human nature once religion has been replaced by science. War has a state of mind and an actual experience. A formal lyric poem that laments death of a friend, loved one, or public figure, or reflects seriously on a solemn subject. Since milton"s elegy lycidas, the term has usually denoted a lament. Adjective elegiac refers to mournful mood of poems. The pastoral elegy: usually begins with expression of grief: usually features funeral procession, a description of sympathetic mourning throughout nature, and musings about the unkindness of death, ex. The english graveyard school of poets: wrote reflections on death and immortality: express sorrow and pain of bereavement, evoke the horror of death"s physical manifestations, and suggest the impermanent nature of human life, ex. Thomas gray"s an elegy written in a country church yard (published in 1751)

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