GRE Subject Test: Literature in English : Contexts of World Poetry to 1660

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All GRE Subject Test: Literature in English Resources

1 Diagnostic Test 158 Practice Tests Question of the Day Flashcards Learn by Concept

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Example Question #1 : Contexts Of World Poetry To 1660

Canto I

Midway upon the journey of our life

  I found myself within a forest dark,

  For the straightforward pathway had been lost.

Ah me! how hard a thing it is to say

  What was this forest savage, rough, and stern,

  Which in the very thought renews the fear.

So bitter is it, death is little more;

  But of the good to treat, which there I found,

  Speak will I of the other things I saw there.

Who is this author?

Possible Answers:

Boccaccio

Chaucer

Shakespeare

Petrarch

Dante

Correct answer:

Dante

Explanation:

This is an excerpt from Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy – specifically, the famous opening lines of The Inferno. Even if you didn’t recognize these lines, you could have noticed that the work is written in couplets and that it is a canto, both of which are identifying features of The Divine Comedy.

Passage adapted from Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy, trans. Charles Eliot Norton (1920)

Example Question #2 : Contexts Of World Poetry To 1660

Canto I

Midway upon the journey of our life

  I found myself within a forest dark,

  For the straightforward pathway had been lost.

Ah me! how hard a thing it is to say

  What was this forest savage, rough, and stern,

  Which in the very thought renews the fear.

So bitter is it, death is little more;

  But of the good to treat, which there I found,

  Speak will I of the other things I saw there.

What country is this author from?

Possible Answers:

Morocco

Turkey

Italy

Spain

Greece

Correct answer:

Italy

Explanation:

Dante was from Florence, Italy.

Passage adapted from Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy, trans. Charles Eliot Norton (1920)

Example Question #3 : Contexts Of World Poetry To 1660

Canto I

Midway upon the journey of our life

  I found myself within a forest dark,

  For the straightforward pathway had been lost.

Ah me! how hard a thing it is to say

  What was this forest savage, rough, and stern,

  Which in the very thought renews the fear.

So bitter is it, death is little more;

  But of the good to treat, which there I found,

  Speak will I of the other things I saw there.

During what century was this work written?

Possible Answers:

1500s

1200s

1300s

1100s

1400s

Correct answer:

1300s

Explanation:

Although Dante was born in the 1200s (exact date unknown), The Divine Comedy was begun around 1308 and completed in 1320. Dante died in 1321.

Passage adapted from Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy, trans. Charles Eliot Norton (1920)  

Example Question #4 : Contexts Of World Poetry To 1660

Canto I

Midway upon the journey of our life

  I found myself within a forest dark,

  For the straightforward pathway had been lost.

Ah me! how hard a thing it is to say

  What was this forest savage, rough, and stern,

  Which in the very thought renews the fear.

So bitter is it, death is little more;

  But of the good to treat, which there I found,

  Speak will I of the other things I saw there.

One of the major characters in this work is the author of which epic poem?

Possible Answers:

The Lusiads

The Iliad

Metamorphoses

Paradise Lost

The Aeneid

Correct answer:

The Aeneid

Explanation:

Virgil, the Roman author of The Aeneid (19 BCE), serves as the narrator’s guide through Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory in Dante’s Divine Comedy.

Homer's The Illiad, John Milton's Paradise Lost (1674), Luis Vaz de Camoens's The Lusiads (1572), and Ovid's Metamorphoses were all used as alternative answer choices.

Passage adapted from Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy, trans. Charles Eliot Norton (1920)

Example Question #5 : Contexts Of World Poetry To 1660

Arms and the Heroes, who from Lisbon’s shore,

Thro’ seas where sail was never spread before,

Beyond where Ceylon lifts her spicy breast,

And waves her woods above the wat’ry waste,

With prowess more than human forc’d their way

To the fair kingdoms of the rising day:

What wars they wag’d, what seas, what dangers pass’d,

What glorious empire crown’d their toils at last,

Vent’rous I sing…

Who is the author of this work?

Possible Answers:

Fernando Pessoa

António Ferreira

Francisco de Quevedo

Luís Vaz de Camões

Miguel de Cervantes

Correct answer:

Luís Vaz de Camões

Explanation:

These are the opening lines of Luís Vaz de Camões’s The Lusiads, an epic poem written in response to and as a creative reimagining of the widespread 15th- and 16th-century European maritime explorations – particularly to India.

Passage adapted from Luís Vaz de Camões Os Lusíadas, trans. William Julius Mickle (1877)

Example Question #6 : Contexts Of World Poetry To 1660

Arms and the Heroes, who from Lisbon’s shore,

Thro’ seas where sail was never spread before,

Beyond where Ceylon lifts her spicy breast,

And waves her woods above the wat’ry waste,

With prowess more than human forc’d their way

To the fair kingdoms of the rising day:

What wars they wag’d, what seas, what dangers pass’d,

What glorious empire crown’d their toils at last,

Vent’rous I sing…

What country is this work from?

Possible Answers:

Italy

Portugal

Romania

Greece

Spain

Correct answer:

Portugal

Explanation:

Luís Vaz de Camões is Portuguese and one of his country’s most famous poets, and The Lusiads is often referred to as Portugal’s national epic.

Passage adapted from Luís Vaz de Camões Os Lusíadas, trans. William Julius Mickle (1877)

Example Question #7 : Contexts Of World Poetry To 1660

Arms and the Heroes, who from Lisbon’s shore,

Thro’ seas where sail was never spread before,

Beyond where Ceylon lifts her spicy breast,

And waves her woods above the wat’ry waste,

With prowess more than human forc’d their way

To the fair kingdoms of the rising day:

What wars they wag’d, what seas, what dangers pass’d,

What glorious empire crown’d their toils at last,

Vent’rous I sing…

In what century was this work written?

Possible Answers:

1600s

1500s

1700s

1300s

1400s

Correct answer:

1500s

Explanation:

The work was published in 1572, and Luís Vaz de Camões lived from around 1524 to 1580.

Passage adapted from Luís Vaz de Camões Os Lusíadas, trans. William Julius Mickle (1877)

Example Question #8 : Contexts Of World Poetry To 1660

Arms and the Heroes, who from Lisbon’s shore,

Thro’ seas where sail was never spread before,

Beyond where Ceylon lifts her spicy breast,

And waves her woods above the wat’ry waste,

With prowess more than human forc’d their way

To the fair kingdoms of the rising day:

What wars they wag’d, what seas, what dangers pass’d,

What glorious empire crown’d their toils at last,

Vent’rous I sing…

This poem’s dividing structure is the same as which other epic?

Possible Answers:

The Iliad

The Odyssey

The Divine Comedy

The Metamorphoses

The Aeneid

Correct answer:

The Divine Comedy

Explanation:

Both Dante’s Divine Comedy and de Damões’s The Lusiads are divided into cantos.

Passage adapted from Luís Vaz de Camões Os Lusíadas, trans. William Julius Mickle (1877)

Example Question #9 : Contexts Of World Poetry To 1660

Of arms I sing, and of the man, whom Fate

First drove from Troy to the Lavinian shore.

Full many an evil, through the mindful hate

Of cruel Juno, from the gods he bore,

Much tost on earth and ocean, yea, and more

In war enduring, ere he built a home,

And his loved household-deities brought o’er

To Latium, whence the Latin people come,

Whence rose the Alban sires, and walls of lofty Rome.

Which poem is this?

Possible Answers:

The Iliad

The Metamorphoses

The Odyssey

Lamentation for Ur

The Aeneid

Correct answer:

The Aeneid

Explanation:

These are the first lines of Virgil’s famous epic poem The Aeneid. The poem concerns the legend of Aeneas, with the first half discussing the hero’s travels from Troy to Italy and the second half describing the war between the Trojans and the Latins.

Passage adapted from Virgil’s Aeneid, trans. E. Fairfax Taylor (1907)

Example Question #10 : Contexts Of World Poetry To 1660

Of arms I sing, and of the man, whom Fate

First drove from Troy to the Lavinian shore.

Full many an evil, through the mindful hate

Of cruel Juno, from the gods he bore,

Much tost on earth and ocean, yea, and more

In war enduring, ere he built a home,

And his loved household-deities brought o’er

To Latium, whence the Latin people come,

Whence rose the Alban sires, and walls of lofty Rome.

When was this poem written?

Possible Answers:

the 20s BCE

the 20s CE

the 200s BCE

the 200s CE

the 2000s BCE

Correct answer:

the 20s BCE

Explanation:

The Aeneid was written sometime between 19 and 29 BCE.

Passage adapted from Virgil’s Aeneid, trans. E. Fairfax Taylor (1907)

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