By Robert Huntington Fletcher
Jonathan rapid, one other exact determine of very combined qualities, is like Defoe in that he connects the reign of William III with that of his successors and that, in response to the spirit of his age, he wrote for the main half now not for literary yet for functional reasons; in lots of different respects the 2 are extensively varied. quick is among the most sensible representatives in English literature of sheer highbrow strength, yet his personality, his goals, his setting, and the conditions of his existence denied to him additionally literary success of the best everlasting importance.
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In the original story, we can see to−day, Gareth must have been under a witch's spell which compelled him to a season of distasteful servitude; but this motivating bit of superstition Malory discards, or rather, in this case, it had been lost from the story at a much earlier stage. It results, therefore, that Malory's supernatural incidents are often far from clear and satisfactory; yet the reader is little troubled by this difficulty either in so thoroughly romantic a work. Other technical faults may easily be pointed out in Malory's book.
No foible is too trifling for Chaucer's quiet observation; while if he does not choose to denounce the hypocrisy of the Pardoner and the worldliness of the Monk, he has made their weaknesses sources of amusement (and indeed object−lessons as well) for all the coming generations. 3. He is one of the greatest of all narrative poets. Chaucer is an exquisite lyric poet, but only a few of his lyrics have come down to us, and his fame must always rest largely on his narratives. Here, first, he possesses unfailing fluency.
Nevertheless this version has served as the starting point for almost all those that have come after it in English, as even a hasty reader of this one must be conscious; and no reader can fail to admire in it the sturdy Saxon vigor which has helped to make our own version one of the great masterpieces of English literature. THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY. With Chaucer's death in 1400 the half century of original creative literature in which he is the main figure comes to an end, and for a hundred and fifty years thereafter there is only a single author of the highest rank.