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Historical Period

The Middle Ages (to about 1485)

The Renaissance

  1. Sixteenth Century (early Renaissance): 1485-1603
  2. Early Seventeenth Century (later Renaissance): 1603-1660

Restoration and Eighteenth Century (1660-1798)

Romantic Period: 1798-1832

Victorian Age: 1832-1901

Twentieth Century/Modernism ---> Postmodernism

Source: The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vols 1 & 2

Poetic Types

All poetry belongs to one of 3 General Types: Lyric, Epic, Dramatic.

Examples of Epics: Virgil's Aenid, Dante's Divine Comedy, Tasso's Jerusalem Delivered, Milton's [Paradise Lost. Spenser's The Faerie Queene--some call this a romance.

Dramatic Poetry is drama written in verse -- ex. the plays of Shakespeare.

Lyric Poetry: all other kinds of verse.

Lyric: A relatively brief subjective poem strongly marked by imagination, melody and emotion, and creating for a reader a single, unified impression. Note that "brief" is understood in relation to Epic and Dramatic poems, which can run form 20-500 pages.

The lyric is the most inclusive of all types of verse. It is as much a manner of writing as it is a type of poetry: subjectivity, imagination, melody and emotion have characterized the lyric fairly consistently. But as times and manners have changed, this manner has been restricted and loosened in various ways. As a result, we have, within the lyric type, various sub-types. Hymns, sonnets, ballads, odes, elegies -- all these are kinds of lyrical expression, classified according to differences in form, subject matter and mood. All of the poetry we are examining can be termed "lyric poetry," though there are often more specialized terms used to name them. (For example, metaphysical poetry is lyric poetry, but metaphysical poetry is, by far, the more precise classification.)

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