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Alfred Noyes (1880-1958)
Transcript of Alfred Noyes (1880-1958)
Time Period (1914-1945)
Lived during the Modernist Movement - radical forms of experimentation in literature driven by a new self-consciousness during the two World Wars
Assurances once provided by religion, politics, or society were no longer enough
The artists (including authors) believed they were the ones who had to provide guidance, understanding, and insight into the human condition
Increased specialization of science
Believed literature should challenge and unsettle the reader
Literature was demanding and difficult
Emphasized chaos and fragmentation as representative of the modern experience
Abrupt shifts in perspective, voice, and tone.
Relied on obscure symbols and images instead of clear statements of meaning
Alfred Noyes(Life Background)
Born in Wolverhampton, England in 1880
Extremely diverse writer
Best known for his traditional English poetry
Spent much time in the U.S. where he was a professor at Princeton University
Although surrounded by a changing world, he refused to conform to modernist style writing
Continued to write in the traditional style
loved to pay homage to England
rejected the innovations of 20th century lit.
Was an optimist and opposed the spread of pessimism and defiance found in modernist literature
After his first wife Garnett Daniels died, he remarried to a catholic named Mary Weld-Blundell
Soon he too converted to Catholicism
His traditional and conservative style led to a limited audience later on in the 20th century
Died at 78 in 1958
"The Highwayman" and its Romantic influence
Elizabethan time period
contains supernatural elements
Romanticized heroes- Noyes uses a Highwayman as his hero instead of a knight or soldier
Theme of self-sacrifice for love
Not modern in the way that it is told like an old legend
made it easier for readers to understand
It does not deal with modern real problems but is instead fantasy
Used obvious symbols
Expresses Noyes's religious views
Theme: Self-Sacrifice for love
"'It is I'" shows the speaker's selfishness
Stanza 2: L
Love is personified
love is a higher power (God)
"Not room for you both" = speaker + his alter ego
desert representative of where Jesus went to pray alone to God
"To...Crown of thorns." is a biblical allusion
The speaker is becoming more humble like Jesus
word choice "softly" and "wistfully" shows speaker's change (actions speak louder than words)
"'None now but thee." : the speaker is no longer selfish and is considerate of others.
"great doors" are like the gates of heaven
"glory of light" = God
"Song" influenced by Noyes' Faith/Religion
Theme of self-sacrifice for love
Personification (The higher powers represent God)
Message of repentance and cleansing
Theme of self-sacrifice for Love
Shows Noyes's traditional style of story-telling
alliteration and descriptive language opens the scene like a cinema-script and creates an urgent tone
"riding--riding--riding--"; trochee, and the repetition gives the rhythm of a horse galloping (tlot-tlot, tlot-tlot, tlot-tlot)
Description of the Highwayman build up his ethos as he is described as elegant and noble despite his actions
"cobbles he clattered and clashed" adds urgency as well as emphasis on rhythm
red imagery is used as foreshadowing
emphasis on the word "dark" sets the eerie tone
Tim the Ostler serves as a character foil for The Highwayman
His eavesdropping is the rising action
"prize", "yellow gold" shows what the Highwayman actually does and adds danger
"moonlight" is a motif. This is when The Highwayman is active and alive.
Foreshadowing : "Though hell should bar the way"
repetition adds to suspense
"Red-coats" are the antagonists. Red a motif for danger
marching repetition adds sound imagery
"Death at every window...Hell at one dark window" is foreshadowing
"heard the dead-man say" = foreshadowing
Bess's struggle is the climax
use of onomatopoeia to build story-telling suspense
Bess's suicide is the ultimate act of self-sacrifice
emphasis of "red-blood" because red symbolized danger
The Highwayman died in the daytime
repetition of the first and second stanza except now they're ghosts.