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of Great Britain
Great Britain is known by the outstanding people. To them concern
William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, William Makepeace Thackeray,
Charlotte Bronte etc.
William Shakespeare was one of the greatest and famous writers. He was
born in 1564 in Stratford-on-Avon. It was a small English town. His
father wanted his son to be an educated person and William was sent to
the local grammar school. When the boy studied at school, he had no free
time. When he had a rest, William liked to go to the forest and to river
At that time actors and actresses visited Stratford-on-Avon. William
liked to watch them. He was fond of their profession and he decided to
become an actor.
Then he moved to London. There he became an actor. He began to write
plays and play supporting roles. Shakespeare was both an actor and a
playwright. In his works he described important and dramatic events of
life. His plays were staged in many theatres, translated into many
languages and they made Shakespeare a very popular person.
The most famous plays of the writer are «Othello», «King Lear»,
«Hamlet», «Romeo and Juliet». Shakespeare would be well known for his
poetry alone. His sonnets, full of music and harmony, praise love,
friendship and beauty. His poetry is at the summit of human achievement.
William Shakespeare died in 1616. But his plays are popular now and
millions of people admire them.
One of the greatest writers of this school of novelists was Charles
Dickens. He was born in 1812 in the family of a small government
official in the city of Portsmouth. There Charles first went to school.
Never a strong child, he could not join his friends in games or any
sports. He spent most of his free time reading various books.
In 1821 the family moved to London where his father was soon ruined. His
father was thrown into a debtor’s prison called Marshalsea and the whole
family went to live there. For many years the dark buildings of the
Marshalsea prison were the family’s home. Charles though only ten years
of age had to leave school and begin a long and hard struggle with
poverty. In order to help the family in some way he went to work at a
blacking factory. He worked from early morning till late at night. He
suffered there so much that years later when he was at the height of his
fame he never spoke of the time spent at the factory without pain.
Many years passed before Charles returned to school. When he graduated
from school he became reporter on one of London’s newspapers. He did his
work so well that he was considered the best parliamentary reporter in
London. The work of a reporter led him to journalism, and journalism led
to novel-writing. In 1836 when only twenty-four years of age, Charles
Dickens wrote his first book «Sketches by Boz». This book was followed
by «The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club» and in two years by
«Oliver Twist». These novels brought him fame both in England and in
other countries. From that time on Charles Dickens devoted himself to
literature. His most famous novels are «Hard Times», «David
Copperfield», «Domby and Son» and others. Charles Dickens died in 1870,
at the age of fifty-eight.
In his books he protested against social injustice in bourgeois society,
the work-houses, the debtor’s prisons and the ruthless exploitation of
children. It is this exposure of social injustice in bourgeois society
that makes his books so important though he did not call for active
struggle against the exploiting classes.
William Makepeace Thackeray
William Makepeace Thackeray was born in Calcutta, India, as the only son
of Richmond Thackeray, a Collector in the East Indian Company’s service.
After his father died he was sent to home to England. He was educated at
Charterhouse and at Trinity College, Cambridge. Thackeray abandoned his
studies without taking a degree, having lost some of his inheritance of
twenty thousand pounds through gambling. In the beginning of the 1830s
he visited Germany, where he met HYPERLINK
«http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/goethe.htm» Goethe .
During 1831-33 Thackeray studied law at the Middle Temple, London, but
had little enthusiasm to continued his studies. In 1833 he brought with
a large heritage the National Standard, but lost his fortune a year
later in the Indian bank failures and other bad investments.
«Suppose in a game of life — and it is but a twopenny game after all —
you are equally eager of winning. Shall you be ashamed of your ambition,
or glory in it?» (from ‘Autour de mon Chapeau’, 1863)
After art studies in Paris, Thackeray returned in 1837 to London and
started his career as a hard working journalist. Often he used absurd
pen names such as George Savage Fitz-Boodle, Michael Angelo Titmarsh,
Theophile Wagstaff, and C.J. Yellowplush, Esq. In 1836 he married a poor
Irish girl, Isabella Shawe; they had three daughters. Their first child,
Anne Thackeray Ritchie (1837-1919), became a writer — her
impressionistic texts impressed HYPERLINK
«http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/vwoolf.htm» Virginia Woolf , who drew a
portrait of her in Night and Day as ‘Mrs Hilbery’.
Thackeray began to contribute regularly to Fraser’s Magazine, Morning
Chronicle, New Monthly Magazine and The Times. His writings attracted
first attention in Punch, where he satirized English snobbery. These
sketches reappeared in 1848 as THE BOOK OF SNOBS, stating in it that «he
who meanly admires mean things is a Snob.» In 1840 Isabella Thackeray
suffered a mental breakdown, from which she never recovered, through she
survived Thackeray by thirty years. The author was forced to send his
children to France to his mother. The children returned to England in
1846 to live with him.
In the 1840s Thackeray started to gain name as a writer. In Vanity Fair
he gave a panoramic picture of high life in England, and created one of
the most fascinating immoral female characters, Becky Sharp. «I think I
could be a good woman if I had five thousand a year.» (from Vanity Fair)
The book brought him prosperity and made him established writer and
popular lecturer in Europe and in the United States. His increasing love
for Jane Brookfield, the wife of an old Cambridge friend, led to a
rupture in their friendship. THE HISTORY OF HENRY ESMOND appeared in
three volumes in 1852, and reflected the melancholic period in the life
of the author. «‘Tis strange what a man may do, and a woman yet think
him an angel.» By the end of his career, Thackeray’s disillusionment
with contemporary culture seems to have deepened. In THE ADVENTURES OF
PHILIP (1862) the protagonist, Philip, is out of place in a world that
does not accommodate his vision of masculinity.
Thackeray said that he couldn’t start a novel until he knew every aspect
of his characters. He called Victorian times «if not the most moral,
certainly the most squeamish.» Once, as an editor, he rejected an
HYPERLINK «http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/ebrownin.htm» Elizabeth Barrett
Browning poem because it employed the word harlot. Thackeray became in
1860 the first editor of the Cornhill Magazine, for which he wrote his
raundabout papers, love the widower, the adventures of philip and the
unfinished DENIS DUVAL. Less successful Thackeray was with his attempt
to stand for Parliament. His contacts with friendly rival HYPERLINK
«http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/dickens.htm» Charles Dickens ended in a
quarrel. Thackeray died suddenly on Christams Eve 1863. He was buried in
Westminster Abbey. Thackeray’s bust was made by the Italian sculptor
Marachetti. The poet’s daughter was not satisfied with the work and let
another sculptor to modify her father’s stone sideburns until they were
the right length.
Charlotte Bronte (1816-1855), English writer noted for her novel Jane
Eyre (1847), sister of Anne Bronte and Emily Bronte. The three sisters
are almost as famous for their short, tragic lives as for their novels.
In the past 40 years Charlotte Brontл’s reputation has risen rapidly,
and feminist criticism has done much to show that she was speaking up
for oppressed women of every age.
Charlotte was born in Thornton, Yorkshire, in the north of England, the
daughter of an Anglican clergyman who moved with his family to Haworth
amid the Yorkshire moors in 1820. After their mother and two eldest
children died, Charlotte was left with her sisters Emily and Anne and
brother Branwell to the care of their father, and their strict,
religious aunt, Elisabeth Branwell. The children created imaginary
kingdoms, which were built around Branwell’s toy soldiers, and which
inspired them to write continuing sagas about the fantasylands of Angria
Charlotte attended the Clergy Daughter’s School at Cowan Bridge in 1824.
She returned home next year because of the harsh conditions. In 1831 she
went to school at Roe Head, where she later worked as a teacher.
However, she fell ill, suffered from melancholia, and gave up this post.
Charlotte’s attempts to earn her living as a governess were hindered by
her disabling shyness, her ignorance of normal children, and her
yearning to be with her sisters.
The collection of poems, Poems By Currer, Ellis And Acton Bell (1846),
which Charlotte wrote with her sisters, sold only two copies. By this
time she had finished a novel; THE PROFESSOR, but it never found a
publisher during her lifetime. Undeterred by this rejection, Charlotte
began Jane Eyre, which appeared in 1847 and became an immediate success.
Charlotte dedicated the book to William Makepeace Thackeray. The heroine
is a penniless orphan who becomes a teacher, obtains a post as a
governess, inherits money from an uncle, and marries the Byronic hero in
Branwell and Emily died in 1848 and Anne died the following year.
Although her identity was now well known, Charlotte continued to publish
as Currer Bell. Jane Eyre was followed by Shirley (1848) and Vilette
(1853). In Jane Eyre Charlotte used her experiences at the Evangelical
school and as governess. The novel severely criticized the limited
options open to educated but impoverished women. The title character
from Shirley was an attempted ideal portrait of Emily. Shirley was one
of the first fully developed independent, brave, outspoken heroines in
In 1854 Charlotte Bronte married her father’s curate, Arthur Bell
Nicholls. She died during her pregnancy on March 31, 1855 in Haworth,
Yorkshire. The Professor was posthumously published in 1857.