Forms of Drama, Novel, and Poetry icon

Forms of Drama, Novel, and Poetry

Forms of Drama, Novel, and Poetry

Forms of Drama

Forms of Novel

Forms of Poetry



By Classical Drama we mean drama of Ancient Greeks and Rome. Both comedy and tragedy had their origin in Greek and Rome. Classical Drama has its rise from religious ceremonial. Greek drama or classical drama has following outline:

  1. In the beginning there was a common chant, a ceremonial song.

  2. It became elaborated. It developed narrative elements and forward movements were introduced.

  3. Two leaders instead of one made their appearance.

  4. The chorus gradually sang into the background. The spectators were filled with sense of awe and majesty befitting the occasion.

  5. The plots were stereo typed.

  6. The dialogues were stately & majestic.


In Rome the originator was Seneca and in Greek we have great tragic play writers such as Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. The Senecan Drama were closet plays, not intended for presentation in theatre. They show the weakening of tragic spirit. They are melodramatic, lacking in majesty of tone. They are immersed in horrors and physical torments. The Greek play writes provided a model for Aristotle to write his ‘The Poetics”. In “The Poetics” Aristotle gives a concrete view of all the elements of tragedy.


Comedy caricatures, while tragedy idealizes. Comedy is a representation of lower type worse than the average. By ‘lower’ or ‘worse’ Aristotle does not mean morally bad but only ridiculous. The original comedy writers were Plautus and Terence. They are the descendants of Satire comedy originator Aristophanes. The Aristophanic comedy develops into new comedy of Greece. This new comedy written by Plautus and Terrence were for aristocratic audience. They are witty, alert, and cleverly constructed but they lacked nobility. These plays were preserved in monasteries and convents in dark ages.


Three Unities: The Classical Drama is remarkable for three unities of time, place and action. By the unity of times it was meant that performance of the play should not exceed the time taken by the action itself. Unity of place was maintained by restraining the plot of the play to a single place. Unity of Action did not allow any subsidiary plot.

Classical Drama stands in opposition to Shakespearean Drama as Shakespearean drama is romantic. It does not observe the three unities of time, place and action.


Sentimental Comedy: In this form the virtues of private life are exhibited rather than the vices exposed and the distress rather than the frailty of mankind. The characters both good and bad are luminously simple and the hero ever magnanimous, honourable and hypersensitive to the sensibilities of other people. Sentimental Comedy does not have lighted hearted fun, trenchant dialogue, wit or satire. It is devoid of realism and humor which is the very life and blood of comedy. In place of laughter they sought tears, in place of intrigue, melodramatic, in place of gallants and witty damsels, pathetic heroines and serious lovers. Sentimentalism implies an unmanly pity and lack of strength and sometimes a puritanical hypocrisy. Sentimental Comedy highlighted over emphasis given to raw emotion and sentiments. As the name suggests, this type appeals more to the sentiments than to the intellect. Genuine comedy was replaced by farce and wit gave way to comic situation and laughter was aroused at the excess emotions portrayed.


1 - Careless Husband by Cyber

2 - Tender Husband by Steele


Sentimental comedy yielded place to anti sentimental comedy. Anti Sentimental Comedy are written in mood of satirical observation of life which 18th century novel expressed. The plots are ingenious and effective. The characters are stage types. The repartees are epigrammatic. The plays have charm and vivacity. The descriptions are accurate and graphic, full of sensation and scandals, thrills and excitement. Anti sentimental comedy

uses both irony and satire in a delicate manner accompanied by wit, charming dialogues and beautiful repartee.


  • The Rivals by Sheridian

  • The School for Scandal by Sheridian

  • She stoops to conquer -- Goldsmith


It flourished in Restoration Age. It deals with the relation and intrigues of gentlemen and ladies living in a polished and sophisticated society and relies for comic effect in a great part on the wit and sparkle of the dialogue often in the form of repartee, witty conversational give and take which constitutes a kind of verbal fencing match and to a lesser degree, on the ridiculous violation of social conventions and decorum by stupid characters such as wits, jealous husbands and foppish dandies. Comedy of Manners laid stress upon polish and wit and sprightliness. It concentrates upon the portrayal of men and women living in a social world ruled by conventions. The manners presented in these comedies are the affectations and cultured superficiality of a highly developed and self conscious group. The men and women tried to initiate the intellectual refinement, epigrammatic wit and easy dalliance. Comedy of Manners concentrates on the activities, intrigues and amorous achievements of gay and frivolous young men and women.


Shakespearean Drama is Romantic Drama. It is as much opposed to classical Drama as it does not follow the three unities.

  1. ^ SHAKESPEAREAN COMEDY: It is basically a Romantic comedy. Love pervades the entire Shakespearean comedy. The whole plot revolves around love. All journey ends in love meeting and all love culminate in marriage. Love & marriage are two cardinal points which constitute the beginning and end of all Shakespearean comedy vivacity, cheerfulness, and spiritedness, music, mirth, and merry making permeate the Shakespearean comedy. Wit and Humour are equitably interspersed scintillating frolic. Few characteristics of play are

  1. ^ Love and Marriage: The Shakespearean comedy was a story of love ending in marriage. The entire atmosphere of comedy is surcharged with love. The two concepts of love “Who ever loved that loved not at first sight,’ and “The course of true love never did run smooth” are harmoniously and artistically blended together. Besides love between heroes and heroines, there are several other kinds of love depicted in his play.

  1. ^ Romance and Realism: The settings in the play are romantic whereas the characterisation is realistic. Nicolle describes in the words, “Characters and scenes alike are viewed through magic casements which transform reality. The settings are all imaginative yet all are related to real life.

  1. Music and Mirth: Music and mirth, fun and frolic are the essential ingredients of Shakespearean comedy. Music and dance are its very life and soul. The fools and clowns contribute immensely towards enhancing the atmosphere of revelry and gaiety. Since Shakespearean comedy ends in marriage, music, song, dance, mirth, revelry and gaiety becomes indispensable.

  1. ^ Plot Construction: The Shakespearean comedy does not follow the classical rules of the unity of time, place and action; scenes quickly shift from courts to the shores. Shakespearean laid emphasis on characters’ action etc. The heroines of Shakespeare’s comedy are brilliant, vivacious, cheerful and full of life; the young men may be fine and handsome, but when any real business has got to be done, it is always the woman who does it. He has combined in several of them true womanliness with heroic courage & genuine charm with strength.

  1. ^ Wit and Humour: Play upon words was the chief characteristic of Elizabethan poetry, which is very clearly marked in Shakespeare’s comedy. Humour in Shakespeare’s comedies is “The natural bubbling up of the fountain of happy youth into gracious gaiety of temper, into self delightful joy” in words of S.A. Brooke. The use of wit and humour make his comedies much more mirthful. They add to gaiety and cheerfulness. The utterances of fools and clowns are full of humour and wit the comments of the fools are full of practical wisdom, they stimulate wit as well as provoke laughter.

Examples of good comedies are

Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing.


Shakespearean tragedy is essentially a tale of suffering and calamity leading to death. The suffering and calamity are exceptional – they befall a conspicuous person and are unexpected and are contrasted with previous happiness or glory. Such exceptional suffering and calamity affecting the hero arouse pity and fear which in turn effect the proper catharsis of emotions. Few remarkable features of Shakespeare’s tragedy are

  1. ^ The tragic hero – He is generally a man who stood in high degrees often a king or a prince, a member of some great family as Romeo, or a leader in state as Coriolanus, Brutus or Anthony or a Governor-general or Othello. The hero is placed in a position where he alone cannot face the battle. Thus, the ‘tragic-trait’ becomes fatal to the hero.

  2. ^ Shakespeare’s Medieval Conception – Shakespeare only enlarged the dimensions of the tragic hero without however changing the basic concept of the medieval tragedy on the issue of hero. In Shakespearean tragedy, the interest centers wholly on the personality and actions of the hero, and pleasures derived from the drama come from the sense of greatness which the personality brings with it.

  3. ^ Character and Destiny – In Shakespearean tragedy as the plot develops the calamities and catastrophe follow inevitably from the deeds of men, and the main source of these deeds are characters. In the opinion of A. Nicolle, instead of “Character is destiny”, “Character and destiny” is Shakespeare’s final doctrine.

  4. ^ Chance, Supernatural, Abnormality – In ‘Othello’ the handkerchief episode is based on sheer chance – this one single chance incident contributed immeasurably to the tragedy of Othello. In Macbeth the witches play a very important role, as they provoke Macbeth to follow the short cut to become the king. Similarly, In Hamlet, the ghost of Hamlet’s father instigates Hamlet to take revenge and thus plot develop. The Shakespeare makes use of yet another factor in the story which seemingly affects the actions of men. It is the abnormal conditions of mind-insanity, somnambulism, hallucinations, e.g. Lady Macbeth sleep-walking.

  5. Conflict-It is an essential and very important aspect in a Shakespearean tragedy. Since tragedy is an imitation of action, this action is essentially the expression of character. Character can fully be expressed only when his external actions as well as the thoughts that impel those actions are fully expressed. This brings about the theory of conflict. Action and conflict move together. There is an outward conflict of persons and groups, there is also a conflict of forces in the hero’s soul, i.e. conflict between conscience and the evil forces present in the nature of a person.

  6. Soliloquies-Shakespeare makes ample use of soliloquies to describe his inner conflict. ‘^ Hamlet’ and ‘Macbeth’ are most remarkable in this respect. While ‘Hamlet is philosophic and reflective, ‘Macbeth’ is emotional and poetic. By using this device Shakespeare has not only delineated the character of tragic heroes but also made the inner conflict as important and interesting, and artistically as effective as the external conflict.

  7. ^ Good and Evil Theory - In words of Dowden “Tragedy as conceived by Shakespeare is concerned with the ruin or restoration of the soul and of the life of man. In other words, its subject is the struggle of good and evil in the world.”

  8. Glorification – It is associated with the theory of conflict and glorification of the soul of man. According to Charlton, Shakespeare tragedy is “the apotheosis (glorification) of the soul of man.” This becomes evident in the inner conflict, and that, too through the soliloquies. The tragic hero struggles hard and dies with a sane and cleansed mind. In the lost moments of his life the hero forms a fresh attitude towards life which drives out a part of the evil lurking in his being.

  9. ^ Spiritual force – It is on account of the full awakening of the spiritual force in the being of the tragic hero, that at the end he becomes a regenerated man and gets a glimpse of the reality and dies with sane and cleansed mind. This sense of realisation glorifies his soul. The Aristotelian idea of arousing pity of fear and effecting the proper catharsis of these emotion is also fulfilled.

  10. ^ Tragic Trait – Despite the presence of inherent goodness and spiritual force in the character of the tragic hero, the tragedy occurs on account of the tragic-trait, tragic-flow or fatal-flow. The conflict acquires that magnitude which stirs not only sympathy and pity, but admiration, terror and awe.

  11. Poetic Justice – By poetic justice we mean that the virtuous should be rewarded and the evil-doer should be punished.

  12. Universality– Shakespeare’s tragedies are through and through replete with universality. They do not belong to any particular nationality or age. Their emotions, feelings and actions have universal appeal.

  13. The form – Shakespearean tragedy is a fine admixture, both in substance and form, of the classical, the medieval and the romantic models. In plot-construction he followed the Aristotelian concept of preference for probable impossibility. He rejected the concept of three unities of time, place & action.

Three important points in Shakespearean tragedy

  • Hamartia leading to wrong decision

  • Wrong decision leading to suffering

  • Suffering leading to higher perception & realization, glorification & purification.


Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus, Timan of Athens.


  • Problem Plays

The word problem becomes significant for we find that such plays end with a question mark and that the dramatist states his problem clearly, without trying to suggest a solution to the problem. The problem play is a form of tragedy without tragic dimensions for it is a presentation of issues, ideas and arguments that are serious but it lacks that tragic conflict which is the essence of a tragedy. John Galsworthy and G.B Shaw are two great problem play writers. In their plays like The Silver Box, Strife, Justice, Arms and the Man, The Apple Cart, these writers are naturalistic, morally earnest and preoccupied with the sores of the society. They take up such problems as marriage, sex etc. They ignored all those problems which are related to universal human emotions because his concern is with the social problems of his time.

  • Poetic Drama

The ancient Greek Drama was regarded as a form of poetry. The dramatists like Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides used poetry as a medium for they found it capable of expressing profound and fundamental issues of life. The dramatist of the twentieth century felt that the Elizabethan blank verse had gained its power precisely because it was related to the ordinary speech of Shakespeare age. Some poetic dramatists made a conscious endeavour to adapt the earlier verse measures or to shape fresh measures in such a way as to make them vital for the modern theatre. The emotional power exhibited here gave assurance to those who had been pleading so long for the re-introduction of poetry to the theatre. Thus Poetic drama revived in the 20th century due to the efforts of W.B. Yeats, J.M Synge and Lady Gregory. They found poetic drama to be related to their national culture. They established in Dublin ‘The Irish National Theatre’ which went a long way in reviving the poetic drama. Some of the important poetic dramas are

^ The Land of Heart’s Desire by W.B. Yeats

The Shadowy Waters by W.B. Yeats

Juno and the Paycock by Sean O ‘Casly

Within the gates by Sean O ‘Casly

The Family Reunion by T.S. Eliot

The Murder in the Cathedral by T.S. Eliot


Now-a-days, the term ‘Novel’ is applied to a variety of common writings that have in common only the attribute of being extended works of prose fiction act distinguished from short story and from middle length called the novelette. Its magnitude permits a greater variety of characters greater complication in the plot and a more sustained and subtle explanation of character than to the shorter modes.

The term form of Novel in the most European language is ‘Roman’ which is derived from med wale ‘Romance’. The English name for the form however, is derived form the Italian word Novella (a little New thing), which was a short pane in close

The History of the Origin of Novel: The germ of the Novel lay in the Medieval ‘Romance’. In 1350 Boccacio wrote world famous collection of love stories in prose entitled ‘The Decameron’. Such short stories are called in Italian as Novella. The term originally meant a fresh story but gradually came to signify story in prose form.

Crawford, a popular American novelist once described novel as a ‘Pocket Theater’. It is more formally defined as a long narrative in prose. Detailing the action of fictitious people, Mendith called it a summary of actual life including both within and without of us.

Novel form is a cluster of literacy arts but its very freedom from all limitations allows it to give a fuller representation of real life and character than anything else can provide. It is nonetheless a very effective medium for the portrayal of human thought and action, combining in itself the creation of poetry with details of history and generates history, experience of philosophy, a novel of life. The novel has no rigid frame work and allows maximum features.

16th Century - Arcadia by Sir Phillip Sidney

Pandosto by Robert Greene

18th Century - Pamela by Samuel Richardson

Joseph & Rule by Fielding

The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith

19th Century - Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

Jane by Charlotte Bronte

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Old Mentality by Sir Walter Scott

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Vanity Fair by William Thackeray

Middlemarch by George Eliot

20th Century - Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Missing Dialogue by Virginia Woolf

Ulysses by James Joyce

A Passage to India by E.M. Forster

Sons & lovers by D.H. Lawrence


The word Picaresque is derived from the Spanish word ‘Picaro’ which means ‘rogue’ or ‘knave’. It is a term applied to a class of romances dealing with rogues & knaves. It is applied especially to style of literary fiction. Dealing with adventures of Rogue chiefly of Spanish origin, Picaresque novel emerged in 16th century in Spain.

^ Daniel Defoe
he typical story is the escapades of an insouciant rascal who lives by his wits. It deals with his adventure outside his home The Picaresque novel is a life story of a rogue who earns

his livelihood by trick & robbery rather than by honorable profession. The Rouge is the social outcast, the man who is rejected by and rejects. The picaresque novel is novel in which the hero takes a journey, which plunges him into all sorts of conditions and classes of man. Picaresque Novel is a realistic portrayal of criminal life in which criminal and their tricks constitute the chief source of interest. The hero of Picaresque novel is the traveling hero who goes from inn to inn from country to country from town to town, from people to people that comes during the course of his adventures. It is a hero centered novel and consists of a series of thrilling adventures and incidents & happening to the low social hero, who earn livelihood by trick. The plot consists of thrilling incidents stately interwoven by organic unity. The Picaresque novel at its best has a beginning but no end. The aim of novelist is to introduce adventures after adventures. The hero wanders from place to place, from job to job and this wandering in different social settings permits the hero to meet people of all classes and profession, thereby giving an opportunity to the novelist to satirize the hypocrisy of the society. The novelist of Picaresque novel is not concerned with didactic but with a curiosity about life. The Picaresque fiction is realistic in manner, episodic in structure and usually satiric in aim. Its hero is a flat character who does not change in his life. It is realistic in manner and incidents introduced are either thrilling or sensational. It is a picture of the contemporary society. Its hero is either born of poor, degraded parents or is an illegitimate child. It offers an immense variety of social setting, incident and character. Picaresque Novel is not moral in its intention. The aim of the novelist in satirising people and society is to entertain and delight the reader.


1 – ^ Robinson Crusoe by Defoe

2 – Moll Flanders by Defoe

3 – The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

4 – Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

5 – Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

6 – Tom Jones by Fielding

7 – Roderick Random by Smollett

8 – Gill Blas by Le Sage


Originally the word Gothic means ‘related to the Goths, a Germanic tribe. Gothic Novel had its origin in the 18th century with The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole.

Gothic Novels are tales of mystery and terror. It is against the domination of reason of authority. It is also known as terror novel. They have in them all happenings, presences, props etc. They also introduce dark forests, feudal halls, medieval castles with dangerous, secret passages, sliding panels. We get in these novels monstrous apparitions and curses in a stupefied atmosphere of doom and gloom. The Gothic Novel are set in medieval period, often in a gloomy castle replete with dungeons subterranean passages and sliding panels, and made plentiful use of ghosts, mysterious disappearances, and other sensational and supernatural occurrences. Their principle aim was to evoke chilling terror by exploiting mystery, cruelty and horror. A somber restless villain is the central figure. The heroine, beautiful, sensitive, innocent and full of sensibility, is always waiting to be rescued by chivalrous lover. The term gothic also denotes a type of fiction which likes medieval settings but develops a brooding atmosphere of gloom and terror and represents events that are melodramatic, violent and often deals with the psychological state.


1 – The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole

2 – The Mysteries of Udolpho by Mrs. Anne Radcliffe

3 – Frankenstein by Mrs. Mary Shelley


Women Novelists of the 18th century wrote novels in which the heroines were trying to be appreciated by their lovers or the world at large. They never tried to fashion them from the heart outwards. The readers of the late 18th century refused to love and like Mrs. Aphra Behn and Addison. The new love was adoration of domestic life. Fanny Burney, Maria Edgeworth and Jane Austen rejected the old wild life of the road. In their novels domestic life became the standard and the subject. They delighted their readers with their work depicting the triumph of woman, creator and the created in the novel. Their novels were termed as the romance of the tea table. The phrase suggests justly enough the area of their domain. It was party gathered around a tea table that gave them enough space to work on. As the term indicates, this kind of novel chooses its theme from the family life of typical middle class. The problem of finding a suitable husband for the daughter is one subject that proved to be a favourite one for the women novelist of the period. Mary Godwin & Jane Austen wrote domestic novels on every day events and situations. The writer tends to put up a mirror in front of us and reflect the image. Domestic novels deal with the everyday concerns, issues, events and interactions. The readers can associate themselves with situations and characters. A domestic novel deals with the day to day life of the common people. The character is an ordinary middle class people. Nearer to us, the action moves on common everyday level. The domestic novel studies men & women in relation to each other with in the family circle. The central theme varies from love to marriage and from marriage to remarriage. Marriage is the central theme of novel. The treatment and the character are womanly. As the name suggests, the novelist prime concern is with all the domestic issues like marriage of daughters, parties, social security, money and other family issues. Jane Austen is said to be the pioneer of domestic novel.


1 – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

2 – Patronage by Maria Edgeworth

3 – Evelina by Fanny Burney.

4 – Emma by Jane Austen

5 – Pamella by Samuel Richardson


It was introduced in early 19th century. Historical Novel is a combination of history and fiction. A historical novelist reconstructs imaginatively the life of past. It is a fine blend of fact and fiction. It takes its settings, some of its characters and events from history. It is a form of fictional narrative which reconstructs history and recreates it imaginatively. Historical Novel is a vivid and lively account of a past age represented in a thrilling manner. It is an imaginative reconstruction of the past, dealing primarily with human character. Historical Novel seeks to show the life and manners of the age chosen. Historical Novel is an attempt to reconstruct the atmosphere, the habits of thought, the prevailing psychology of a generation with which the writer has had no intimate contact. The hero of a historical novel is usually an imaginary character who is kept in the fore ground. In making use of the fact, novelist does not follow the method of historian but of the artist. He does not allow historical facts to impede his fiction nor does he permit his fiction to violate historical significance. Entertainment and instruction are the most commonly emphasized value of historical fiction. This is a sort of history but cannot be trusted because of the lack of authenticity. According to E.A Baker “ To present and interpret facts is the historians business; To summon up a past epoch; To show men and women alive in it and behaving as they must have behaved in the circumstances, is the labour and joy of the genuine historical novelist”. Historical novel was inaugurated by Sir Walter Scott who is the rightly known as the father of historical novel. The primary aim of the Historical Novelist is to tell the story with all the picaresque details and romantic feelings of the Bygone Age. The Historical Novel creates sense of History and makes its readers conscious of their cultural heritage and tradition. Sense of history gave them sense of tradition and feeling of rooted-ness and belongingness. The historical characters are kept in background.


1 – ^ Henry Edmond by Thackeray

2 – A Tale of Two Cities by Dickens

3 – Romola by George Eliot

4 – War and Piece by Leo Tolstoy

5 – Old Mentality by Sir Walter Scott

6 – Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott


The literary tendencies and development of the Restoration age made it certain that the writings in prose fiction in the 18th century would be welcomed if they were realistic and dealt with average contemporary life. It was an age in which people and writers laid stress upon matter of fact and boldly analyzed feelings and argued freely upon institutions. The realistic writings of Daniel and Defoe are the off spring of this taste. The realistic writers gave accurate precise description of what life actually is. They held a mirror of what was passing in life without painting imaginatively. Realistic novel paints pure realism. Realistic novel is the representation of real life. It is the off shot or the by-product of the naturalistic novel. We may be called it sophisticated form of naturalism. Pure realism is the essence of realistic novel. The realism is used in lower base

  1. to denote a literary movement of 19th century especially in the prose fiction, George Eliot in England and William Dean Hovels in a America

  2. to designate a recurrent way of representing life in literature.

Realistic fiction is opposed to romantic fiction, which is said, serves to present life. Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and Thackeray are realistic writers. Austen greatly valued fidelity to observed truth. She believed in keeping the subject well within her range of observation. Dickens mirrored the motley multitude pouring through the streets. He presents the hole and corner places of the city which appears to be an incomprehensible terrifying, fascinating, delightful personality. The club land and the upper structure of London society are more faithfully pictured by Thackeray, by reason of his better knowledge. He excels as a painter of manners, as an artist of the conventions and as a draughtsman of civilized man with all his merits and limitations. The characters of the novel are usually of the middle class people without high expectations, endowment and live through ordinary expectations of childhood, adolescence, love, marriage and parenthood etc. The aspirations, ambitions, cravings & longings of human beings are described as plainly as their failures, despairs, frustrations and sorrows. All the various aspects of life are presented in their true colours. If joys and happiness are described, tear and tribulations are also not left behind. Life is painted as it is.


1 – Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

2 – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

4 – Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham


Regional novel portrays the character, his concerns, mannerism etc. as rooted in one particular region. This kind of novel lays emphasis on the setting, speech and customs of a particular region which not merely add local colour but also acts as important conditions affecting the characters and their way of thinking, feeling and acting. Regional novel is known as the national novel. It is a novel which is concerned with one particular part or a region of a nation. The characters are taken from that region, their customs and tradition social and religious, ceremony and rules their habits, manners, their way of life their occupations and professions are elaborately described in the physical features of that region - hills, valley, meadows, orchards, woods, rivers etc. form the background of the regional novel. The climate conditions like the winter, autumn, summer and spring of that region are faithfully described. Even the characters speak the language and dialect of that region. English literature is extremely rich in regional novel which flowered in 19th century and 20th century. A regional novelist concentrates on the specified and particular area. Such particular area may be rural or provincial. The people seem to have its deep impact on their character and personality. They do not the affect the locale and the locale does not affect them.


1 – Middlemarch by George Eliot

2 – The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy

3 – Shirley by Charlotte Bronte

4 – Adam Bede by George Eliot

5 – Wessex Novels by Thomas Hardy


The Psychological Novel is a term to describe that kind of fiction which is for the most part concerned with the spiritual, emotional and mental lives of the characters and with the analysis of character rather than with the plot and the action. Psychological Novel enabled the writer to bring the reader into direct touch with all that was going on inside the mind of the protagonist. Those who used this technique believed that our consciousness is a part of our soul and does not proceed coherently or logically. In Psychological Novel, time is made insignificant and it compels the novelist to minimize plot and to eliminate action completely. It also necessitates the absence of the elaborate description of characters by describing their individual appearances, gestures. Plot, action, characters and thought are drowned in the stream of consciousness. Only consciousness remains- bottomless and endless. A Psychological Novel manifests a tendency to present a slice of life in a serious of flashes, instead of bringing his scenes as the highlights of a logically developed story in a psychological order. The beginnings of the Psychological Novel may be traced to Richardson in the 18th cent. His Clarissa offered him a great scope for profound and microscopic insight into the workings of emotion. Psychological novel came in to existence on the eve of 1st world war. Psychological novel are called the novel of the “stream of consciousness” or the novel of subjectivity or the novel of interior monologue. It flourished under the influence of psychologists and philosopher such as William James and Sigmund Freud and Bergson. It is preoccupied with subjectivity, inwardness, absence of plot and action. This novel describes what goes on in the subconscious and unconscious mind. In a Psychological novel, emphasis is laid not on the character setting incidents, lower actions and events but on the inner working of the human minds of the character. Psychological novel give an insight into the manipulations and mental process of the characters. Psychological novel shows the difference between the words uttered by the character and their thoughts. They are said to be soul reflectors of thoughts, feelings and intentions of the characters. The main aim of these novelists is to catch the flow of stream of consciousness and then to reveal the deepest recess of human psyche. Human Personality is like an iceberg, only the tip of which is visible and the rest of the iceberg remains hidden under the water. Similarly the action of a man reveals only a fraction of his personality and the rest part remains hidden. These novelists tried to reveal that part of human personality especially that is always obscured.


1 – Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

2 – Ulysses by James Joyce

3 – Pointed Roofs by Dorothy Richardson


In 1895 Hardy, Meredith and Huxley stopped writing for various reasons. This year marked the end of an era which was dominated by the Victorian novelist. The year,1895, is the turning point in the history of English for it marked the death of Victorian era and the birth of the modern novel. There were various influences which left mark on the birth, growth and development of the modern novel.

Modernism refers to work of literature after the 1st World War. It was also exclusive because after those numerous experiments were done in techniques. The period from 1918 to 1946 is generally called Modernist Period. In the field of poetry, literacy giants like T. S. Eliot dominated the scene, i.e. the Wasteland novel, and Psychiatrist like Freud and Bergson left mammoth influences behind themselves. The disillusionment which followed the discovery of Darwin and 1st World War gave new dimension to the outlook. Literature artist came up with stream of consciousness techniques, fragmented stanzas free verse, patch work and scientific fantasies. All these changed the scenario which prevailed till recent time. Shaw and Galsworthy wrote against evil of society.

D. H. Lawrence wrote independently and frankly about sex. In this age, literature in real sense transcended the boundary.

In the middle of 19th century, science created a strong influence on novel. At first, there was influence of Darwin philosophy who regarded man as a specially developed genus of animal and so the novelist interpreted human behaviour on the basis of primitive instincts. The social scientist emphasized on the social environments and so the man is described as developing under social influence. By the end of the century, Freud developed his method of revealing the unconscious springs of action. He declared that the conscious mind is the product of education and serves as mask to cover the unconscious mind wherein all our instincts & impulses lie. He emphasized on the unconscious mind which is the real picture of man. Therefore the novelist discarded surface reality which is often deceptive and misleading and took up the task of reporting the inner mind, its thinking and working, its impressions and influence which mould it.

The modern novel no longer tells a story. In fact, in some of them, there are no stories at all. We have only a series of incidences to have an impression of what the character is like. It is apt to recall quotations by Virginia Woolf, “Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged. Life is luminous halo; a semi transparent envelope surroundings us from the beginning of consciousness to the end”. In such kind of novel we noticed that the novelist shuns the surface reality, all external details and plunges headlong into the consciousness of her characters. Novel here tend to become something different from a mere fiction narrative of characters. Under such category we have novelist Virginia Woolf, Joseph Conrad, James Joyce and D. H. Lawrence.

With the change in the treatment of the subject matter- there also emerged the difficulty of communication of the inner action in words. It was difficult to express the vision in the terms of the popular meanings to the words. There was the danger of not being understood by the public and the existing meanings of the words did not have enough power to communicate the ideas and feelings.

New subject always need new techniques, new modes of presentation and a new style. These novelists adopted new techniques of presentation. These techniques include the study of instincts and impulses and representation of unconscious through the medium of sounds, smell and perceptions. The modern novelist made heavy use of symbol. Describing the utility of this method, Arthur Symonds has said “To name is destroy, to suggest is to create”

The Modern Novel has different trends which are difficult to be followed. The readers have to remain very cautious and alert. He has to study not only the minds of character and continuous changes going on in that period but also the development of the mind of the artist producing novel.



    The term ode is the derivative of the Greek root ‘ODE’ which means to sing. Hence the ode is an elaborate lyrical poem, often of some length, generally addressed to somebody or something and intended to be sung in chorus. It is a choric song intended for collective singing. It is sung to the accompaniment of instrumental music and is supplemented by a dance. It is a poem usually irregular in meter and expressing noble feelings often in celebration of some special event. It is a serious and dignified composition almost always in rhyme and longer than lyric. It is in form of an address and is sometimes used to commemorate an important public occasion.

    ^ Features of an ode

  • Ode is a dignified expression of an exalted theme. The theme is noble and lofty. Neither the theme nor the treatment can be trivial & undignified. Wordsworth Ode on “Intimations of Immortality” deals with the divinity of child’s soul.

  • An ode is longer than lyric proper, for the emotions it embodies is of a kind that admits of development. It may be full of deep & sincere emotion but its expression is impressive and diffusive.

  • Generally Ode is written in the form of an address either addressed directly or indirectly. Shelly’s ‘Ode to the West Wind’ begins with, ‘Oh! Wild West Wind’

    Keats ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ begins with, ‘Thou still unravish’d bride of quietness’

  • Sometimes it celebrates great events or public occasions like a National Jubilee or Death of a great person, etc.

  • Has regular as well as irregular structure.

    Types of Odes

    There are two kinds of Odes

  • Dorian or Pindaric Ode

    It was named after the Greek poet Pindar. It was originally enchanted to movement of dance in a specific manner. It was composed of three metrical sections called ‘Strophe’, ‘Anti-strophe’ and ‘Epode’. The Strophe was chanted during the movements of dancer from right to left, Anti-Strophe when dancers turned from left to right and Epode was sung when dancers stood still. Ben Johnson translated these turns as ‘Turns’, ‘Counter-Turn’ and ‘After-song’ respectively. Ben Johnson, Cowley and Gray wrote Odes in the form of Pindaric Ode.

  • Lesbian and Horatian Ode

    Horatian Ode is named after the Roman poet ‘Horace’. Lesbian Ode so called because it flourished originally in the island Lesbos. This form consists of simple and short stanzas of similar length. It was a model for English Odes on account of its directness, dignity and clarity and thought.

    E.g. Andrew Marvell’s ^ Upon Cromwell’s return from Ireland

    Shelly’s Ode to the West Wind

    Regular and Irregular Odes

    English odes can be divided into regular and irregular odes. Odes of Shelly and Keats are the best examples of Regular Odes. They contain a number of exactly similar stanzas in respect of metrical arrangement. The best examples of irregular odes are Tennyson and Robert Bridges. In irregular odes each stage differs from others in metrical arrangement.


    An epic is a narrative poem involving heroic, even supernatural actions and characters, sustained by tradition, implicated in the life, way of the people and enveloped in the aura of the unusual, the awful and the sublime.

    “An epic is a narrative poem large in effect in the characters, the events and the settings” by J.T Shipley.

    Concise Oxford Dictionary defines as “a poem that celebrates the form of a continuous narrative, the achievements of one or more heroic personages of history and tradition.”

    ^ Types of Epic

  1. Epic of Growth or Folk Epic

    It is a work of a single man. It is result of evolution over a period of time and consolidation of a lot of pre-existing material including legends and folk-poems. Homers Epic belongs to this class.

  1. ^ Epic of Art or Literary Epic

    The Epic of art is result of an age of scholarship and developed literary, culture. Examples.

    Aeneid’ by Virgil and ‘Paradise Lost’ by Milton

    The real difference between the two is that one is recited and handled down orally while other is written one.

    ^ Characteristics of an Epic

  • High Seriousness

    The writer has to be very serious. He should try to produce something very best. This sense of dedication, something like that of a great architect who humbly sets out to build a superlatively splendid cathedral to the glory is characteristic of all major characteristic poets.

  • Comprehensiveness

    The plot of epic is marked with majesty of incidence and greatness of scope. In it there is an ample scope for great variety – the tragic, the instructive, the descriptive the touches of humanity and even moments of comedy. The action of an epic is usually spacious and is worked out into majestic proportions. Amplitude, breadth and inclusiveness are its essential qualities.

  • The ideals of units

    There is always a single action in any epic poem. Though the poet is allowed to introduce numerous episodes as long as they are made relevant to the main action but it must concern itself with the one dominating figure of hero.

  • The Choric quality

    By Choric quality we mean that it should not speak only for its author but through him it should speak for a large body of people living at the same time. It should in some way express the spirit of age or of nation or of religion and not mere feelings and ideas of an individual.

    ^ Epic Conventions (Rules of writing Epic)

    Proposition and invocation

  • The theme of an epic is usually stated in the first few lines of the poems and is accompanied by a prayer or invocation of the Muses (Goddess of learning) to help and inspire the poet in his work. The statement of theme is technically called proposition and the prayer to the Muses is called invocation.

    Epic Simile

  • The use of Epic Simile or Homeric simile is the second convention. This simile starts with a comparison of two similar objects and develops into a word picture or into a short poem.

  • Super-natural Machinery

    Super-natural agents control the action of Epic. In Homer and Virgil these are classical gods and goddess. In Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’ they come in form of Satan and his companions.

  • Division into twelve or twenty-four books

    An Epic is divided into twelve twenty-four books. Homer’s two Epics ‘Iliad’ and ‘Odyssey’ are of twenty-five books each.

  • Thrilling Episodes

    Epic contains a number of thrilling episodes i.e. mustering of troops, battles duels perilous wonderings and ordeals, etc. ‘^ Paradise Lost’ shows Satan’s journey from Hell to earth and back.

  • Media’s res

    This is a Latin term meaning beginning from middle, i.e. its action start from middle of story. Paradise lost begins with description of Satan and Fallen angels. The beginning of the story that is revolt of Satan, the war in Heaven and the expulsion of rebel angels led by Satan is related in the six books.

  • Moral Purpose

    The epic should have a moral purpose, although this moral is not prominent in the early epics. The moral purpose of Spencer’s ‘^ Fairy Queen’ is to fashion gentlemen into virtuous and gentle discipline, and the moral purpose of ‘Paradise Lost’ is justify the ways of God to Men.

  • Representative of an age or Nation

    An epic has to be the mouthpiece of not only the author but also of an age of Nation. Virgil’s ‘^ Aenied’ represents the spirit of greatness of Roman people during the age of Augustus. Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’ represents the spirit of Puritan England.

  • Grand Style

    Epic should be written in a grand style according to its grand theme and heroic characters. To make the style grand, epic writers view metaphors, idioms of other languages, lengthening of a phrase, extension or contraction of particular word.

  • Comprehensive picture of life

    It is another feature of epic writing. Epic points the picture of human life in its different facets.

  • In Mock epic subject is trivial, tone is non-serious, manner is mocking. Satire is the chief ingredient of mock epic. Characters are ridiculed rather than extolled. Supernatural machinery is also used to heighten the effect of mock epic theme – trivial & treatment –serious.


    A mock epic poem imitates the elaborate form and ceremonious style of Epic genre and applies it to a common place and trivial subject matter. The story includes such elements of epic protocols as super-natural machinery, a voyage on Board ship, a visit to underworld and heroically scaled battles between the sexes. The term “Mock Heroic” is often applied to other dignified poetic forms which are purposely mismatched to a lowly subject. Italy and France set the fashion for a parody of the Epic form, which later found imitators in England. In thus a theme obviously unworthy of a serious epic-an incident quiet trifling in itself is clothed in all the traditional form and solemn dignity of the Epic form, i.e. ‘Battle of the Frogs & Mice’ is a Greek parody of Eliot. The finest example in English poetry is Alexander Pope’s ‘Rape of the Lock’ which deals with a trivial subject i.e. the theft of a lock of hair from Belinda’s head – in an epic manner. The jest lies in the resulting incongruity between the theme and treatment. In a mock epic insignificant subject is rendered ridiculous by being treated with the elaborate and dignified devices of the Epic. In the Mock epic the little is made great & the great little. The theme is neither of Epic dignity nor is the occasion for Epic action. The Mock Epic is a parody of epic form.


    The term ‘Ballad’ seems to have originated from word ‘Ballade’ and ‘Baller’ which means to dance Ballade is accompanied by dancing & musical declamation. Ballad literally means a song, transmitted orally which tells a story.

    ^ Types of Ballad

  • Popular Ballad is dramatic and impersonal. The narrator begins with a climatic episode, tells the story tersely by means of actions and dialogue and tells it without expressing his personal attitudes or feelings.

  • A Broad Side Ballad is a ballad printed on one side of single sheet (broad side) dealing with current events or issues and sung to a well, known tune. Beginning with 16th century, the Broad side Ballads was hopped into streets or at country fair in Great Britain.

  • A Literary Ballad is a narrative poem written by a learned poet in deliberate imitation of a form of spirit of popular ballad. Ballad originates from folk literature. Originally it was sung from village to village to the accompaniment of harp & fiddle by a strolling singer or bands of singers, who earned a living in his way. Ballad, etymologically speaking, means a dancing song. In days before printing was invented, it was handled down by oral tradition, each generation making its own alterations to suit contemporary or local conditions.

    ^ Distinguishing features of Ballad

    Ballad is a short story in words, intended to be sung to an audience. Since it developed at an early age, in man’s cultural evolution, its subjects are deeds rather than thought. The form may be summarized as follows

  • Poem is written in ballad measure, a quatrain (four line poem) in which the first and third lines are four foot short syllable followed by long one iambic and the second and fourth are three foot iambic.

  • The tale opens abruptly without any systematic introduction. Sometimes it begins with a question and answer, which makes the situation quiet clear.

  • Balled is impersonal in nature. The writer’s identity or personality is not revealed. An Epic can have personal touches but Ballad can never.

  • There is no attempt to give detail of time or place. The story may belong to any time and place of action may be anywhere; both time and place are ignored in the interest of the story.


    Francis J. Chiles – ^ English and Scottish and Popular Ballads

    B.H. Bronson - The Traditional Tunes of Child’s Ballad

    Keats - La Belle Dame Sans Merci

    A few well known Ballads are Chase, The Wife of Usher’s well, Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Scott’s Eve of St. John.

  • Extreme simplicity is the most remarkable quality of a ballad. The ballad is full of sweet music and melody.

  • It deals with simple and primary emotions of human being like love, Jealousy, hatred etc war; chivalry & heroism are often its dominant themes.

  • It embodies too much of supernatural element.

  • Repetitions of lines are accepted device of Ballad. One line is repealed from stanza to stanza, as a refrain.


    Saints Burry defines Dramatic Monologue in the following manner, “The poet takes a character and anecdotes sometimes little more than a name… dissecting or trying to dissect its (characters) soul, analyzing its constituents, folding or unfolding it to get different lights and aspects but never exactly summing up or giving us the whole. The speaker while talking refers to his past, present and future, thereby giving a kaleidoscopic picture of his life.”

    Dramatic Monologue designates a type of poetry which was perfected by Robert Browning. It is not strictly art form, for it is not, as a rule, intended for presentation to an audience. It is a poetic form having dramatic affinity. A single person who is not the poet himself utters the entire poem in a specific situation at a critical moment. This person addresses an interact with one or more people whose presence is assumed as they are just silent listeners. The Monologue is so organized that its focus is on the temperament and characters that the dramatic speaker unintentionally speaks in course of what he says. The aim is at character studying psychological analysis without the other dramatic adjourns of incidences and dialogue. The person who speaks is made to reveal himself and the motives that impelled him at some prices in his life, throughout its course. He may speak in self-justification or in a mood of detachment, self-explanation, contentment or remorseful. The author’s intention is to show us the inner man. Dramatic monologue was perfected by Browning. Browning adopted dramatic monologue to reveal human nature. He allows his character to speak for himself. He becomes so much interested in his character and his mind that he cares little for action. He does not reveal characters. Dramatic Monologue is partly drama and partly poetry. It is a speech in poetic medium with a dominant dramatic note. The very character of assumed audience listening to somebody lends it a dramatic colour. Moreover, it is a study in character, which is one of the main functions of drama, but it differs from drama in its complete lack of action and interchange of speech.

    Browning raised Dramatic Monologue to the rank of the major poetic form by making it the repository of his ripest experience and profoundest reflection. It not only reveals human passions but also give ethical teachings which make it important & inspiring force.


    Alfred Lord Tennyson – ^ Ulysses


    Robert Browning - Andrea Del Sarto

    My Last Duchess

    Bishop Blougram’s Apology

    Difference between Dramatic Monologue and Soliloquy

    Dramatic Monologue quotes comparison with the Soliloquy in which an actor on stage similarly unburdens his soul, but it is addressed to a passive listeners whose reaction to what is being said is hinted at, now and then by the speaker. The soliloquy is an actor’s private thoughts uttered aloud in order to acquaint the audience with what is passing in his mind. The soliloquy is not supposed to be heard but a dramatic Monologue is.


    Lyric is a short poem or a song expressing the varying moods of the poet to the accompaniment of Lyre (a musical instrument). Greek songs were divided into two classes:

  • Meric or Lyric Song

    It was sung by a single voice to the accompaniment of a lyre.

  • Choric Song

    It is intended for collective singing to the accompaniment of instrumental music and is supplemented by a dance. Lyric is an expression of a single emotion and it is a musical composition. According to M.H. Abrahams the term Lyric is now used for any fairly short non-narrative poem presenting a single speaker who expresses a state of mind or a process of thoughts and feelings. The characteristic of the lyric speaker is adapted to a particular lyric situation and affect and the utterance is artistically ordered. In lyric the speaker may be very different from poet. However, unpolished the language of the song’s, it is made musical by voice of singer keeping in tune with the sound of the instrument. The subject matter was of little importance so long as the singer voice could give it the right emotional effect. The lyrics of Elizabethan are unrivaled for their worth music and verbal melody. The vowels and consonants are so as to compose a music of their own – an art which was developed by Keats, Shelly, and Tennyson.

  • Tennyson – Break Break Break, Ulysses

  • Wordsworth – Tintern Abbey

  • Teats – Lake Isle of Innisfree

    Lyric is a short poem in which a single speaker expresses his thoughts and feelings.


    The word Elegy is a derivative of the Latin word ‘Elegia’ meaning a lamentation. Hence, it is usually a lamentation on for the dead. Elegy is a poem or a song of sorrow especially for the dead. It is a funeral song or a song of mourning over the loss of nearest or dearest one. It is a poem of serious, pensive or reflective mood in commemoration of a dear departed soul. It is a sad spontaneous tribute to someone loved and lost. In present critical usage an Elegy is a formal and sustained poem of lament of a death of a particular person such as Tennyson’s “In Memoriam” written on the death of his dear friend Arthur Hallam and W.H. Auden’s “In memory of W.B. Yeats”. Sometimes the term is more broadly used for meditative poems, such as, Gray’s “Elegy written in a country Churchyard”. Dirge also expresses grief on the occasion of death but differs from the Elegy, in that it is short, less formal and usually represented as text to be sung.

    ^ Salient features of an Elegy

  • Subjectivity

    It is the first characteristic. It reveals the poet’s emotions, thought and feelings. Gray’s elegy brings out his deep sympathy for poor rustics but at the same time throw ample light on his life scholarship and melancholy temperament.

  • Sadness

    Elegy is essentially a poem of mourning or lamentation. As death is the inspiration in all Elegies and Death is always associated with sad thoughts, Elegy cannot be without sadness. In fact the under-current of sadness that runs through most of the Elegies is the source of their powerful appeal.

  • Sincerity of Emotion and Expression

    The aim of the Elegy is to create an effect of dignity and solemnity without a sense of artificiality. Sincerity of emotion is a pre-condition for the creation of a good Elegy. The poet is moved by pensive thoughts at the death of some near and dear one or the fall of something great. A slightest hint of artificiality will destroy the Elegiac note.

  • Philosophic and Speculative element

    The Elegy deals with death and death is also serious and sober. It therefore leads the poet to brood over complex problems of life, death and destiny. Milton bewails the degradation of religion in ‘^ Lycidas’; Tennyson reflects on puzzle of life and destiny in ‘In Memoriam’. These reflections are digressions in relation to the main theme but at the same time they are inseparable part of the entire structure of Elegy.

  • A note of hope and resignation

    Though Elegy is an expression of Elegiac grief and sorrow it often ends on a note of hope and resignation and even joy when the poet expresses his faith in immortality or future re-union and when he realizes that death in this world is the entry to a higher world.

  • Universality of appeal

    Though Elegy has a subjective note, yet, the sense of sorrow expressed in it has universal appeal gives an enduring charm to the Elegies.

    Types of Elegies

  • Simple Elegy

    In its simplest form an Elegy is a funeral song or a poem of lament for an individual. Tennyson’s ‘^ Break! Break! Break!’ is an example of simple Elegy of personal grief.

  • Encomiastic Elegy

    It has grown into a memorial and encomiastic poem. The poet pays tribute to some great man, not necessary a relative or personal friend i.e. Ben Jonson’s celebrated poem ‘^ To, the Memory of My beloved Master Mr. William Shakespeare,’ and ‘Arnolds Rugby Chapel’.

  • Reflective Elegy

    The term Elegy is also used for a poem which has a reflective character and melancholy strain Gray’s ‘Elegy written in a country Churchyard’ – mourns not a person but a way of life.

  • Critical Elegy

    In modern literature the Elegy has often been used as a vehicle of literary criticism. Sir William Watson’s “^ Wordsworth Grave” can be placed in this category. In “Memorial Verses” Arnold pays tribute to the greatness of Wordsworth and regards him as a greater poet than Gothe & Byron.

  • Pastoral Elegy

    An important species of Elegy was introduced during Renaissance. This was Pastoral Elegy. This poetic form was originated by Theocritus, continued by Roman poet Virgil and was later developed by many European poet. This type of Elegy represents both the mourner and the one he mourns as Shepherds. In pastoral elegy the poet laments as a shepherd for the dead companion represents. The poet and his subjects are spoken of as Shepherds and goat herds. The setting is Classical Pastoral world. There are other conventions as well.

  • The lyric speaker begins by invoking the Muses and goes on to make frequent reference to other figures of classical mythology.

  • All nature joins in mourning the Shepherd’s Death.

  • The mourners charge with negligence the nymphs or other guardians of dead Shepherd.

  • There is a procession of appropriate mourners.

  • The poet raises question about the justice of divine providence and adverts to the corrupt condition of his own time (such passages though sometimes called digressions are entirely integral to evaluation of mourner’s thoughts).

  • Post-Rennessai Elegies often include an elaborate passage in which appropriate flowers are brought to deck the Hearse. (Carriage for carrying dead bodies)

  • There is a reversal from despair to joy when the Elegists suddenly realizes that Death in this World is the entry to a higher life.

  • The poet represents himself as Shepherd bewailing the loss of a companion. The manner of speech and setting are borrowed from Rustic life (Village life).

    Examples of Pastoral Elegies are:

  • Milton’s “Lycidas” written in memory of King Edward. King

  • Arnold’s “Thyrsis” written in memory of A.H. Cloughs

  • Shelly’s “Adonis” written in memory of Keats

  • Tennyson’s “In Memoriam” written in memory of Arthur Hallam


    Sonnet has been derived from the Italian word “Sonneto” which means a little strain or a sound. It is a short poem of 14 line dealing.

    Two kinds of sonnets

  • Petrarchan Sonnet

    Petrarchan Sonnet is known after its originator Petrarch. He wrote his sonnets to express his deep love for his beloved Laura. It is also known as Miltonis sonnet because Milton perfected this structure in English. Petrarchan sonnet contains 14 lines in an iambic pentameter which expresses one single thought/feeling; structurally a Petrarchan sonnet is divided into two parts.

    (a) Octave containing 8 lines divided into two quatrains. The rhyming scheme is abba, abba. In the octave the poet presents a problem.

    (b) The second is a sestet which contains six lines which are divided into two tercets. The rhyming scheme of sestet is cde, cde. In the sestet the poet gives us a solution to the problem post in the octave.

  • English Sonnet

    Shakespearean’s sonnets/ English sonnets – Sonnets in English was first introduced by Sir Thomas Wyatt and Henry Howard, the Earl of Surrey in the beginning of 16th century. This form was perfected to its limit by Shakespeare structurally it is divided into 3 questions and a concluding couplet. The rhyming scheme of English Sonnet is abab, cdcd, etet, gg. English Sonnets have variety of subthemes force. Shakespeare perfected love sonnets. Milton perfected religious sonnets etc. Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets in all some addressed to his friend W.H and some to the dark lady. Some of the prominent sonneteers are John Keats, Browning, Spenser and Rossetti.


    The two commonest couplets in English are the Decasyllabic couplet and Octosyllabic couplet. The Decasyllabic couplet is used in two ways – the closed couplet, complete in itself, perfected by Dryden & Pope & run-on couplet where the meaning passes from one line of the couplet to the other and also from one couplet to another. The heroic couplet is simply two rhyming of iambic feet making ten syllables. It is also called heroic couplet because iambic pentameter verse was first used for epic or heroic poetry. The second syllabic of each foot is accented. The two lines of the couplet rhyme and the rhyme may be single/double. Iambic couplets were mostly used by Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Dryden Pope.


    Blank Verse is a verse without a rhyme especially the iambic pentameter/unrhymed heroic. It is a regular measure of English dramatic & epic poetry. This meter was introduced by Henry Howard, The Erle of Surrey in his translation of ‘Aeneid’. In the field of drama, blank verse was first used by Thomas Kyd in his Spanish tragedy. Verse in unrhymed iambic, usually with lines of 10 syllables, each is blank verse. The formal divisions in blank verse poems, setting of each sustained unit of meaning, are called verse paragraphs. This form was used primarily by Shakespeare, Milton, Wordsworth and Tennyson.


    Free Verse is often called verse libre or polyrhythmic verse. Free verse is distinguished by an irregular metrical pattern and the use of cadence, rather than uniform metrical feet. In free verse unit is the stanza/strophe. The Biblical Psalms and the Songs of Solomon are written in free verse. The writers of free verse surrender the rhythmic power and the song of traditional verification in order to exploit other effects. Besides the French symbolists free verse was used by T.S Eliot, Ezra Pound etc.

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