Restoration and Eighteenth Century British Literature

Midterm Exam

March 2000



I.                Identifications.  Identify all of the following passages, telling the author and title of the work.  Then choose any three of these passages and write a short essay for each passage (one or two paragraphs each) that places the passage in the context of the work from which it is drawn, as well as the larger themes and issues of the period we are studying.  Donıt just paraphrase or reiterate the passage; rather, use it as the basis for a short essay that shows how the passage exemplifies themes, formal features, and ideas that are characteristic of the author and the period.  (5 points for each ID; 10 points for each essay; total 60 points)



1.                                How are we falın, falın by mistaken rules?

And Educationıs, more than Natureıs fools,

Debarred from all improvements of the mind,

And to be dull, expected and designed;

And if some one, would Soar above the rest,

With warmer fancy, and ambition pressed,

So strong, thıopposing faction still appears,

The hopes to thrive, can neıer outweigh the fears,

Be cautioned then my Muse, and still retired;

Nor be despised, aiming to be admired;

Conscious of wants, still with contracted wing,

To some few friends, and to thy sorrow sing;

For groves of Laurel, thou wert never meant;

Be dark enough thy shades, and be thou there content.



2.  It may, perhaps, seem strange that Beauplaisir should in such near Intimacies continue still deceived:  I know there are Men who will swear it is an Impossibility, and that no Disguise could hinder them from knowing a Woman they had once enjoyed.  In answer to these Scruples, I can only say, that besides the Alteration which the Change of Dress made in her, she was so admirably skilled in the Art of feigning, that she had the Power of putting on almost what Face she pleased, and knew so exactly how to form her Behaviour to the character she represented, that all the comedians at both Playhouses are infinitely short of her Performances.



3.                     We have been Europeıs Sink, the Jakes where she

Voids all her Offal Out-cast Progeny.

From our Fifth Henryıs time, the Strolling Bands

Of banished Fugitives from neighbıring Lands,

Have here a certain Sanctuary found:

The Eternal Refuge of the Vagabond.

Where in but half a common Age of time,

Borrıwing new blood and Manners from the Clime,

Proudly they learn all Mankind to contemn,

And all their Race are True-Born Englishmen.



4.  If the embodied critics of France, when fifty years had been spent upon their work, were obliged to change its economy, and give their second edition another form, I may surely be contented without the praise of perfection, which, if I could obtain, in this gloom of solitude, what would it avail me?  I have protracted my work until most of those whom I wished to please, have sunk into the grave, and success and miscarriage are empty sounds; I therefore dismiss it with frigid tranquillity, having little to fear or hope from censure or from praise.



5.                     Honour, which differs Man from Man much more

Than Reason differed him from Beasts before,

Suffers this common Fate of all things good,

By the Blind world to be misunderstood.



6.   I was so touched with this Story (which I think should be always a Counterpart to the Ephesian Matron) that I left the Room with Tears in my Eyes; which a Woman of Ariettaıs good Sense did, I am sure, take for greater Applause, than any compliments I could make her.












II.             Essay.  Choose one of the following questions and write a cogent and coherent essay, one that incorporates at least three of the texts we have read to this point of this semester.  (At least two of the texts you choose to write about must be different from those in section I.)  Take time to organize and think through your answer; back up your claims with specific details drawn from the text.  (40 points).



1.     The political theorist Benedict Anderson says that nations can be thought of as ³imagined communities²;  they enable everyone living in a certain place and time to imagine of themselves as joined in a common enterprise.  How do authors and texts that we have read imagine seventeenth and early eighteenth-century Britain as a community?  What kind of community is it, and how do writers aim to create it in their works?


2.     Weıve talked about the development of print culture in this period.  As modern people who have grown up fully immersed in a print culture, we tend to assume that print is natural, and also that it is for the best; in other words, that it is a sign of progress and the advance of technology and culture.  But arguably, some things were also lost in the advance of print.  Using examples of some of the works we have read, talk about the things that eighteenth-century culture gained and lost with the advent of print.