The Literary Tribute by Fatema Aftab Miah

Submitted by: Fatema Aftab Miah (211013016) Course: ENG 2203: Literary Criticism Term: Summer 2022 Department of English and Humanities (DEH), University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh

Submitted by: Fatema Aftab Miah (211013016)
Course: ENG 2203: Literary Criticism
Term: Summer 2022
Department of English and Humanities (DEH), University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh


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September, 2022


O b j e c t i v e

This month's special is a tribute to a few of the most prominent

figures and critics of literature from the 15th to 18th century.

This newsletter aims to highlight not just their work, but

different points of their lives. As such, the entirety of the

magazine will not be compartmentalised - it will flow freely.

The main objective of this tribute is to provide readers to view

these particular exemplars not only as literary scholars, but as

people; people who have suffered loss, made their own

mistakes, had secret controversies and battled their own

demons, but held on to their dreams. In doing so, they have

each given the world immortal extensions of themselves which

will continue to live on as long as there will be people to

remember them by.

The Literary Tribute chooses to be amongst those people.


Daylight Robbery


While Dryden might have been one of the cattiest

critiques, there can be no denial of the man's

literary prowess. With the publication of Absalom

and Achitophel, Dryden earned himself the title as

the first Poet Laureate of England in the year 1688,

or so he thought.

Unfortunately for Dryden, poet Thomas Shadwell

(re: the bane of Dryden's existence) robbed him of

the designation in broad daylight! Granted this

may be an exaggeration - Dryden simply refused

to swear the Oath of Allegiance to the newly

appointed sovereigns King William and Queen

Mary - but given the poet’s petty nature, it would

be safe to assume that it felt that way to him.

This debacle occupied a huge portion of Dryden’s

mind which was what inspired him to pen one of

his most biting satirical poem Mac Flecnoe where

Thomas Shadwell bore the brunt of Dryden’s








With the publication of An Apology for Poetry, Sir Philip Sidney

broke his silence and officially responded to the attacks against

poetry posited by Stephen Gosson in The School of Abuse. For

those unfamiliar with Gosson’s essay, the English satirist

believed that poetry was nothing but a web of lies that ‘nurses

abuse’. Gosson backed his declaration by referencing the

renowned philosopher Plato who concluded that poetry was the

“Mother of all Lies” and as such, he banished anything that had

to do with poetry from his ideal world.

While both Gosson and Plato seem to present a united front on

the matter, Sir Philip Sidney challenged these claims in his essay

by defending poetry and its purpose. Not only that, but Sidney

also argues that some of Plato’s philosophies and dialogues

were stained with traces of poetic elements and for those that

have picked up Plato’s The Allegory of the Cave, it can be seen

that the philosopher actually does call on symbolic

representation and metaphors to get his point across which, if

anything, is an inherently poetic trait.


As Gosson constantly scurried to only what can be revered as

the protection of Plato’s claims, Sir Philip Sidney tried his best

to respectfully debunk the philosophers allegations by saying

that poetry could not possibly inflict abuse or corrupt the

masses as it is the culmination of the best facets of history

and philosophy. In other words, it promotes morality and

peace without being abstract or needing to directly refer to


“...the poet, he nothing

affirmeth, and therefore never


― Sir Philip Sidney, A Defence of Poetry

Throughout his response, Sidney tackled Gosson without

batting an eye. More than that, he was brave enough to

address claims of a philosopher whose ideologies have always

been studied with the highest regard.


Mary Shelley Wins Her

Husband's Heart

After the abrupt announcement of Percy Bysshe Shelly’s tragic death,

the young poet was cremated, and his ashes were buried by his loved

ones at the Protestant Cemetery situated in Rome. But there was an

integral part of P. B Shelley that refused to burn out - his heart!

While the rest of his body turned to ashes, Shelley’s reportedly

“unusually small” heart was merely scorched. His friend - and identifier

of his corpse - Edward John Trelawny, passed Shelley’s heart to

another friend/writer, Leigh Hunt who flat-out refused to hand it over

to Mary Shelley and instead preserved the organ in a jar of wine.

Luckily, Mary Shelley was relentless in

her pursuit and Leigh eventually

yielded. Mary finally won the heart of

her husband, and she buried it at

either Christchurch Priory or St.Peter’s

Church, apart from his grave.

The Latin inscription Cor Cordium was

etched atop P.B Shelley’s tombstone

at the Protestant Cemetery, which

translates to ‘Heart of Hearts’ and

although Shelley might not have been

cremated and buried with his actual

heart, it would be wrong to say that he

rests without one.


Page 6

A Dreamer in



Samuel Taylor Coleridge was known to many as an

avid dreamer and was reportedly enthusiastic in his

youth. He possessed an insatiable thirst for

knowledge that even the demise of his father

couldn’t dampen. From being one of Cambridge's

exceptional students, Coleridge eventually became

an accomplished scholar.

However, Cambridge didn’t pose as much of a

challenge to someone who bore a brain that was

equivalent to a seemingly inexhaustible machine and

over time, Coleridge reached a new low and fell

victim to the claws of depression. After his departure

from Cambridge, Coleridge joined the military in the

early 1800’s which, according to renowned English

writer Thomas De Quincy, was when he morphed into

a full-scale opium addict.


Laudanum - which was essentially just a combination

of opium and alcohol - was prescribed to Coleridge

during the early stages of his rheumatism, but

eventually he lost control of his consumption and

continued to plummet into a downward spiral: he

separated from his wife, had a falling-out with his

good friend William Wordsworth and lost a portion of

his annuity.

Coleridge eventually gave up the ghost on the 25th

of July, 1834 due to heart failure and complications

with his lungs that were possibly linked with his

addiction to opium. However, it was during the last

years of his life that Coleridge managed to turn his

life around and even publish one of his most popular

works, Biographia Literaria, and it is widely believed

that Coleridge was somewhat happier than ever

before his passing.

“Alone, alone, all, all alone,

Alone on a wide wide sea!

And never a saint took pity on

My soul in agony.”

-- Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of an Ancient Mariner.



Chamber of Secrets


William Wordsworth: gifted poet, trailblazer and also, a


While the last one may come as a bit of a shock, Mary Hutchinson

- his childhood sweetheart - wasn't the only woman that occupied

the chambers of Wordsworth’s heart, or his bed. During a visit to

France in the November of 1791, Wordsworth was beguiled by one

Annette Vallon and a year later, their daughter Anne Caroline

Wordsworth was born out of wedlock.

Due to complications between France and Britain, Wordsworth

returned to his homeland, leaving Vallon to raise their daughter in

his absence. Wordsworth returned with his sister Dorothy to

France in the year 1802, only to let her know that he was to wed


Incredibly little is known about Annette or their daughter and it

appears that Wordsworth intends for it to remain as such. He

actively avoided including their names in his works, to either

protect their reputations or to clear his name of scandal.

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