StudentShare solutions
Triangle menu

English Romantic Literature - Book Report/Review Example

Not dowloaded yet

Extract of sample
English Romantic Literature

Although it cannot be argued that literature often has the power to transform social order, works that challenge traditions act as a symbol and a basis of defiance. Two of such works, "The Monk" by M.G. Lewis and "Lamia" by John Keats - with Lewis explicitly questioning the church's dominion over moral order and Keats's implicit sympathy and ambivalence towards 'evil' and immorality - were able to bring to the forefront the issue of religious control over human emotions. Lewis' inversion and subversion of the traditional roles of religion and sex in 'The Monk', and Keats's ambiguity on his treatment of evil in 'Lamia' both show that religion cannot defy human emotions such as love and sexuality.
The blatant sexuality depicted in Lewis' 'Monk' had stirred controversy from its inception in 1796 until this day. This was the consequence of Lewis' thesis that the Catholic Church, with its repression of sexuality and control of sexual conduct had produced more deviant sexual behaviors (Blakemore 521). Sexual aberrations, both depicted by the masses, the sovereigns and the aristocrats and the church's 'celibates', sprang forth from the church's 'unnatural' prescription of celibacy and stringent sexual conduct which, for the liberals of Lewis' time, violate human nature (Blakemore 521-522). Peter Brooks asserts that the depiction of 'The Monk' as a form of rebellion against church authorities as well as its religio-philosophical significance is "one of the first and most lucid contextualizations of life in a world where reason has lost its prestige" (Brooks 249).
The defiance of "The Monk" against the Catholic clergy is clearly illustrated through its protagonist, Ambrosio who is revered for his strict adherence to chastity (Lewis 6). Lewis initially depicts Ambrosio as a 'virgin' whose innocence of the world and its iniquities made him vulnerable to temptations. What is interesting to note here is Lewis' misogynic comparison of Ambrosio to a female chaste who does not recognize "what consists the difference of Man and Woman" (Lewis 17). This is of course, one of the significant points Lewis conveys - that the Catholic Church's sexual prescriptions through the vows of celibacy and chastity 'feminize' members of the priesthood as well as deem them susceptible to hypocrisy and temptation. This contention is further delineated in the novel when Rosario, disguised as a male priest, discloses to Ambrosio, that he is a woman. For Blakemore (522-523), this illustrates Lewis' delineation of 'sexual ambiguity' and 'confusion of gender roles' in the novel, where sexual awareness is akin to the 'forbidden apple' which entices the 'virgin' monk to commit iniquities. Lewis' assertions of sexual awareness and gender roles in this novel, clearly defy the church's prescription of the sexual roles of men and women as well as the church's unequivocal doctrine with regards celibacy in the priesthood.
Lewis' blatant inversion of gender roles and sexual prescription strongly illustrates his subversion towards gender and sexual stereotypes that the church had proliferated as well as promulgated. Blakemore for instance, points out that the words 'virtue, honor, chaste, purity and shame' have gender connotations. Lewis, however, inverts his usage of these words describing Ambrosio as 'pure and virtuous' where the word 'pure' has feminine ...Show more


Religion has always taken a significant role in the regulation of sexual conduct. In the past centuries, social norms and prescriptions were mainly founded on the teachings of the church. Defying these religious doctrines with regards sexuality and the conduct of relationships between male and female often had dire consequences…
Author : ashtonkshlerin
English Romantic Literature essay example
Read Text Preview
Save Your Time for More Important Things
Let us write or edit the book report/review on your topic
"English Romantic Literature"
with a personal 20% discount.
Grab the best paper

Related Essays

English Literature Master Book Report/Review
This was due to the fact that during the author, Charlotte Bronte's times women were not considered equal to men and even Bronte had to publish her book under a pseudonym because it was considered immoral and rebellious in that society. Through this example, we could make out that any theme which runs in the story is actually the picture of the social and cultural context of that society.
7 pages (1750 words) Book Report/Review
Women Representation in Victorian Era Literature
Rejecting the repressive moral and aesthetic values of the Victorian era, writers began re-examining the institution of marriage and the traditional relations between the sexes in their novels. This re-examination, particularly by women writers, saw the emergence of new genres of women's fiction - women's 'sensation' novel of the 1860s and the 'new woman' novel of the 1890s - as well as the emergence of a 'new' kind of woman in literature and society, challenging the Victorian social ideals and perceptions of femininity.
6 pages (1500 words) Book Report/Review
English Society and Literature
This dramatic monologue begins on a soothing, fanciful note, with the lady narrator walking around amid flowers in a garden (I walk down the garden paths, /And all the daffodils/Are blowing, and the bright blue squills.), but goes on to take a restless, almost seditious tone within the confines of the constricting brocade and the patterned garden paths (I walk down the patterned garden-paths
5 pages (1250 words) Book Report/Review
Gothic Literature
Gothic fiction, sometimes referred to as Gothic horror, is a genre of literature that combines elements of both horror and romance. Influencing much of the literature that we now read as traditionally "romantic", Gothic genre was marginalized as a legitimate literary form in the twentieth century due to its critical success and reception. The origins of Gothic literature can be traced to various historical, cultural, and artistic precedents.
25 pages (6250 words) Book Report/Review
Romantic Poems
The thesis argues that January, 1795 is the antithesis of The Prelude, Book Seventh, Residence In London, lines 624 - 741. January, 1795 has beautiful rhyme and rhythm. Each line has eight syllables giving perfect rhythm to the poem. For example, when the first two lines are read, it is realised that each line contains exactly eight syllables; 'Pavement slipp'ry, people sneezing, / Lords in ermine, beggars freezing ; / '.
6 pages (1500 words) Book Report/Review
English Society in Literature
Both works, as shall be argued, undertake a brutal deconstruction of human society with the explicated purpose of illustrating the extent to which the perversion of norms and nature have culminated in the isolation of man from his own social setting and, in the case of Gulliver, from his own human persona and self.
7 pages (1750 words) Book Report/Review
English Literature, Shakespeare, Hamlet
Hamlet is a tragedy and in a tragedy the tragic hero suffers from a tragic flaw. The tragic flaw in Hamlet is the impulsive nature of Hamlet. Hamlet fails to act when he thinks, the whole process of acing upon a decision never happens in Hamlet and the same is the tragic flaw in Hamlet.
2 pages (500 words) Book Report/Review
Early Modern English Literature
Among these is The Cruell Shrow by Arthur Hilliarg which was published in 1673. It is among the Roxburghe Ballads and one of the admired anti-marriage literary pieces. However, nothing much has been written about Hilliarg. Hilliarg's work opened my eyes to the misery of a man who has been unfortunate to have ever married a nagging wife.
6 pages (1500 words) Book Report/Review
Modernist Literature
It may also be viewed as a collective term for the remarkable variety of competing groups, movements, and schools in literature, art, and music throughout Europe over the same period: Symbolism, Decadence, Cubism, Expressionism, Imagism, Vorticism, Surrealism and so on.
8 pages (2000 words) Book Report/Review
Spanish Civil War and Literature
One of the most important elements about these accounts of the civil war period in Spain is the fact that every author has approached and treated the civil war experience in his particular style. Thus, one gets three beautiful accounts of the same background in the subtlest manner, and a reflective analysis of the works proves the individual narrative techniques of every writer as most distinct.
7 pages (1750 words) Book Report/Review
Get a custom paper written
by a pro under your requirements!
Win a special DISCOUNT!
Put in your e-mail and click the button with your lucky finger
Your email
Comments (0)
Rate this paper:
Thank you! Your comment has been sent and will be posted after moderation