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ENGL 299 Final
Professors Drexler and Schweizer
The oral examinations will take place on Friday, May 5, 8-12 a.m., Monday, May 8, 10-12 a.m.
and 1-4 p.m., and Tuesday May 9, 8-12 a.m..
The individual examinations are scheduled in twenty minute intervals. You may delete six
questions from this list but only two of them can be from the same period.
1. What are the dates of the Old and Middle English periods?
2. What is and when occurred the Norman Conquest?
3. List some tribes who settled or lived in England.
4. How is the history of Christian evangelism associated with early Britain?
5. What was the effect of the conquest on the English language and Norman England?
6. What is the role of the Domesday Book in the administration of feudalism?
7. Who was Saint Thomas, Becket?
8. Define trivium with examples.
9. What is an allegory? Examples.
10. What is a Romance?
11. Why would Chaucer have had a hard time understanding the language of Sir Gawain?
12. List six parallel worlds in Sir Gawain
13. List three Medieval writers after the conquest.
14. When was movable type invented and what historic events ensued?
15. Give dates and definition of Renaissance in contrast to earlier period.
16. Name two of the scientific discoveries during the early modern period that resulted in
paradigm shifts later known as the Reformation.
17. List some characteristics of Shakespearean tragedy (in comparison to Greek tragedy).
18. What would it mean to describe Iago as satanic?
19. Name authors (with approx. dates) and some of their major works during the early modern
20. What is metaphysical poetry? List three poets.
21. Name a very influential political theorist (approx. dates) and his major work who rejected
Aristotle’s idea of man as a social creature. How does he describe the state of nature?
22. Define the genres of lyric, drama, epic, each with two examples each.
23. Why are many of the scenes in Paradise Lost described through Satan’s gaze?
24. What is Milton’s overt purpose in writing Paradise Lost?
25. Locate and interpret the (half)line, “whate’er Death is.”
26. Name five literary works before and after Robinson Crusoe that relate to Defoe’s novel.
27. How would you structure Robinson Crusoe into four parts?
28. Name five major 18th century authors and one major work for each.
29. Who was William of Orange?
30. How did the “the middling rank” develop in the 18th century?
31. Why could the 18th century also be called “an age of exuberance”?
32. Why does satire flourish in the 18th century?
33. How does Robinson Crusoe allegorize the situation of the 18th century reader?
34. Why is the poet in Rasselas unpopular?
35. John Winthrop described the Massachusetts Bay Colony as a city on a hill. Why?
36. How did going to London affect Phillis Wheatley’s status?
37. What is the relevance of the French Revolution for the Romantics?
38. Set into context and comment on “Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.”
39. How would you distinguish Romanticism from the 18th century? Include names of authors
and works in your answer.
40. What are Wordsworth’s moral claims for “These beauteous forms”? Use memorized
quotation in your answer.
41. Why do “Shades of the prison-house begin to close / Upon the growing Boy” in
Wordsworth’s “Intimations Ode”? Use quotation (memorized).
42. Comment on the binarism set up in Mansfield Park between the city and the country.
43. How does the Sotherton episode foreshadow the events of the novel?
44. In what sense could we read Whitman as egalitarian, democratic, “American”?
45. Interpret the line “I dwell in Possibility...” (with quotation).
46. In what sense could you say that Dickinson’s poems are “transgressive”?
47. What is Douglass’s purpose in giving his speech “What is the forth of July...”? (with
summary of major points of his argument)
48. Describe and comment on stylistic differences between Whitman’s and Dickinson’s
poetry. Include memorized examples in your answer.
49. How do the stylistic differences between Defoe’s, Austen’s and Woolf’s novels reflect the
resp. historical periods in which these novels were written?
50. How does Arnold’s “Dover Beach” reflect a post romantic or Darwinian consciousness?
Use memorized quotation in your answer.
51. List four Victorian poets and four novelists and give a very brief characterization of their
52. What were the goals of the Utilitarians and the Evangelicals?
53. Comment briefly on the Governor Eyre scandal.
54. How does Tennyson resolve the question of faith and knowledge in “In Memoriam”?
55. Discuss the context and significance of “For words, like Nature, half reveal / And half
conceal the Soul within.”
56. What is Darwin’s “view of life” in the “entangled bank” passage?
57. What are the foundations of “the moral qualities” for Darwin and how would his
definition of moral principles compare to, say, Milton’s or Wordsworth’s?
58. Why was the Victorian period “the golden age of the English novel?
59. How does Septimus Smith’s predicament lend itself to exemplify Woolf’s style?
60. What is modernism? (with examples)
61. Compare Fanny Price to Mrs. Dalloway.
62. Professor Carr defined the modernist plot as “plotless.” Could you comment, with
63. Comment on Faulkner’s use of the name “Jesus” in “That Evening Sun.”
64. List eight major modernist writers, each with a characteristic work.
65. Cite the opening three lines of “Prufrock” and interpret the third line in light of Professor
Pollack’s list of “useful generalizations about ... modernism.”
66. What does stream-of-consciousness narrative imply about the “self”? (examples)
67. List at least two romantic poems by Yeats; in what sense are they romantic?
68. Locate and comment on “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold...”