George Gordon Byron
Percy Bysshe Shelley
William Makepeace Thackeray
George Bernard Shaw
D. H. Lawrence
Appendix The Nobel Laureates of the United Kingdom
James Fenimore Cooper
T. S. Eliot
Ralph Waldo Ellison
F. Scott Fitzgerald
J. D. Salinger
Appendix The Nobel Laureates of the United States ~
Literature is a cultural heritage. Its importance can never be exaggerated. First,literature is a key to knowledge and wisdom. We encounter new ideas and concepts inliterary works. Secondly, literature helps us understand people around us and in differentparts of the world by recognizing the diverse points of view. Thirdly, literature can be atool to teach. Socrates believed that the effect of good literature is to lead the youth tofollow the correct path permitted by the laws. Last but not least, literature, when used inlanguage classes, helps us increase our vocabulary, master idiomatic expressions, enhanceour cultural awareness, and promote our intercultural communication.
British and American literature are among the best of the world literary heritage. Theyrepresent the imagination and creativity of British and American writers. To master theEnglish language and to inlprove our understanding of its culture, it is necessary to studysome works of British and American literature.
It is with this in mind that we compiled this textbook, which is divided into twovolumes: Selected Readings of British Literature and Selected Readings of AmericanLiterature. Each volume includes 19 writers, with an individual writer as a unit. Eachunit includes " About the Author", " The Story Selected Reading". '" Notes","Remarks" and "' Questions for Discussion". The emphasis is laid on the reading,appreciation and analysis of the original texts with a view to helping students understandthe richness of these works in their humanistic implications and artistic beauty.
John Mihon was born in London in 1608 at the height of the Protestant Reformation inEngland. His father was a law writer who had achieved some success when Milton wasborn. This prosperity afforded Milton an excellent education, first with private tutoring,then a private school, and finally Cambridge. Milton excelled in languages and classicalstudies. Cambridge afforded him time to write poetry. After Cambridge, he continued hisstudies for seven years in a leisurely life at his father's house. It was there that he wrotesome of his first published poems, including Comus （1634） and Lycidas （1638）. Miltontoured the European continent in 1638 - 1639 and met many of the great Renaissanceminds, including Galileo and Grotius. The beginning of the Puritan Revolution foundMilton back in England, fighting for a more humanist and reformed church. For more thantwenty years, Milton set aside poetry to write political and religious pamphlets for thecause of Puritanism. For a time, he served as Secretary for Foreign Tongues underCromwell. At the end of the war, Milton was imprisoned for a short time for his views. In1660, he emerged blind and disillusioned. Nevertheless, he was yet to write his greatestworks. Paradise Lost was published in 1667, followed by Paradise Regained in 1671.Milton's ability to combine his poetry with his polemics in these and other works, was thekey to his genius. Milton died in 1674 and was buried Jn the Church of St. Giles inLondon. At his death his literary reputation was growing rapidly and by 1700 Paradise Lostwas already considered as a classic of English literature, the greatest epic in the Englishlanguage.