GRE Subject Test: Literature in English : Identification of British Prose 1660–1925

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Example Question #51 : Identification Of Prose

I was yet enjoying the calm prospect and pleasant fresh air, yet listening with delight to the cawing of the rooks, yet surveying the wide, hoary front of the hall, and thinking what a great place it was for one lonely little dame like Mrs. Fairfax to inhabit, when that lady appeared at the door.

“What! out already?” said she. “I see you are an early riser.” I went up to her, and was received with an affable kiss and shake of the hand.

“How do you like Thornfield?” she asked. I told her I liked it very much.

“Yes,” she said, “it is a pretty place; but I fear it will be getting out of order, unless Mr. Rochester should take it into his head to come and reside here permanently; or, at least, visit it rather oftener: great houses and fine grounds require the presence of the proprietor.”

“Mr. Rochester!” I exclaimed. “Who is he?”

In which decade was this novel published?

Possible Answers:

1860s

1830s

1820s

1840s

1850s

Correct answer:

1840s

Explanation:

The novel was published by London’s Smith, Elder & Co. in 1847, the same year as Wuthering Heights.

Passage adapted from Jane Eyre: An Autobiography by Charlotte Brontë (1847; ed. 1897, Townsend)

Example Question #11 : Identification Of British Prose 1660–1925

I was yet enjoying the calm prospect and pleasant fresh air, yet listening with delight to the cawing of the rooks, yet surveying the wide, hoary front of the hall, and thinking what a great place it was for one lonely little dame like Mrs. Fairfax to inhabit, when that lady appeared at the door.

“What! out already?” said she. “I see you are an early riser.” I went up to her, and was received with an affable kiss and shake of the hand.

“How do you like Thornfield?” she asked. I told her I liked it very much.

“Yes,” she said, “it is a pretty place; but I fear it will be getting out of order, unless Mr. Rochester should take it into his head to come and reside here permanently; or, at least, visit it rather oftener: great houses and fine grounds require the presence of the proprietor.”

“Mr. Rochester!” I exclaimed. “Who is he?”

To which genre does this novel belong?

Possible Answers:

Sturm und Drang

Roman à clef

Comedy of manners

Travelogue

Bildungsroman

Correct answer:

Bildungsroman

Explanation:

This is primarily a bildungsroman, or coming-of-age novel. The plot follows the eponymous female protagonist as she grows from a child to an adolescent to an adult, takes a governess position at Thornfield Hall, and gradually falls in love with her employer, Mr. Rochester.

Passage adapted from Jane Eyre: An Autobiography by Charlotte Brontë (1847; ed. 1897, Townsend)

Example Question #62 : Identification Of Prose

I was yet enjoying the calm prospect and pleasant fresh air, yet listening with delight to the cawing of the rooks, yet surveying the wide, hoary front of the hall, and thinking what a great place it was for one lonely little dame like Mrs. Fairfax to inhabit, when that lady appeared at the door.

“What! out already?” said she. “I see you are an early riser.” I went up to her, and was received with an affable kiss and shake of the hand.

“How do you like Thornfield?” she asked. I told her I liked it very much.

“Yes,” she said, “it is a pretty place; but I fear it will be getting out of order, unless Mr. Rochester should take it into his head to come and reside here permanently; or, at least, visit it rather oftener: great houses and fine grounds require the presence of the proprietor.”

“Mr. Rochester!” I exclaimed. “Who is he?”

Which of the following postcolonial novels is based on a madwoman in this novel and serves as a prequel to it?

Possible Answers:

Disgrace

Heart of Darkness

A House for Mr. Biswas

The God of Small Things

Wide Sargasso Sea

Correct answer:

Wide Sargasso Sea

Explanation:

Jean Rhys’ 1966 novel Wide Sargasso Sea, a postcolonial and feminist work, explores the Caribbean childhood of Bertha, the mad wife of Jane Eyre’s Mr. Rochester.

Passage adapted from Jane Eyre: An Autobiography by Charlotte Brontë (1847; ed. 1897, Townsend)

Example Question #11 : Identification Of British Prose 1660–1925

I was yet enjoying the calm prospect and pleasant fresh air, yet listening with delight to the cawing of the rooks, yet surveying the wide, hoary front of the hall, and thinking what a great place it was for one lonely little dame like Mrs. Fairfax to inhabit, when that lady appeared at the door.

“What! out already?” said she. “I see you are an early riser.” I went up to her, and was received with an affable kiss and shake of the hand.

“How do you like Thornfield?” she asked. I told her I liked it very much.

“Yes,” she said, “it is a pretty place; but I fear it will be getting out of order, unless Mr. Rochester should take it into his head to come and reside here permanently; or, at least, visit it rather oftener: great houses and fine grounds require the presence of the proprietor.”

“Mr. Rochester!” I exclaimed. “Who is he?”

The Mr. Rochester mentioned in this passage is which kind of literary character?

Possible Answers:

Epic hero

Byronic hero

Classic hero

Antihero

Villain

Correct answer:

Byronic hero

Explanation:

Mr. Rochester is a well-known Byronic hero, which is a character type based on the poet Lord Byron and a precursor to the modern antihero. The Byronic hero archetype is categorized as charismatic, moody, and unhappy, someone who is deeply passionate and proud and who often does not fit into his society.

Passage adapted from Jane Eyre: An Autobiography by Charlotte Brontë (1847; ed. 1897, Townsend)

Example Question #171 : Gre Subject Test: Literature In English

Manfred, Prince of Otranto, had one son and one daughter: the latter, a most beautiful virgin, aged eighteen, was called Matilda. Conrad, the son, was three years younger, a homely youth, sickly, and of no promising disposition; yet he was the darling of his father, who never showed any symptoms of affection to Matilda. Manfred had contracted a marriage for his son with the Marquis of Vicenza’s daughter, Isabella; and she had already been delivered by her guardians into the hands of Manfred, that he might celebrate the wedding as soon as Conrad’s infirm state of health would permit.

Manfred’s impatience for this ceremonial was remarked by his family and neighbours. The former, indeed, apprehending the severity of their Prince’s disposition, did not dare to utter their surmises on this precipitation. Hippolita, his wife, an amiable lady, did sometimes venture to represent the danger of marrying their only son so early, considering his great youth, and greater infirmities; but she never received any other answer than reflections on her own sterility, who had given him but one heir. His tenants and subjects were less cautious in their discourses. They attributed this hasty wedding to the Prince’s dread of seeing accomplished an ancient prophecy, which was said to have pronounced that the castle and lordship of Otranto “should pass from the present family, whenever the real owner should be grown too large to inhabit it.” It was difficult to make any sense of this prophecy; and still less easy to conceive what it had to do with the marriage in question.

Who wrote this novel?

Possible Answers:

Jane Austen

Horace Walpole

Charles Dickens

Emily Brontë

Laurence Sterne

Correct answer:

Horace Walpole

Explanation:

This passage is adapted from Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto, A Story. Translated by William Marshal, Gent. From the Original Italian of Onuphrio Muralto, Canon of the Church of St. Nicholas at Otranto (usually referred to simply as The Castle of Otranto). The storyline involves a noble family that is supposedly cursed, with a son dying in an accident on his wedding day, a father who tries to divorce his wife and marry his deceased son’s intended bride, helpful peasants and friars, battle with foreign knights, and an accidental murder.

Adapted from The Castle of Otranto, A Story. Translated by William Marshal, Gent. From the Original Italian of Onuphrio Muralto, Canon of the Church of St. Nicholas at Otranto by Horace Walpole (1764; ed. 1901)

Example Question #65 : Identification Of Prose

Manfred, Prince of Otranto, had one son and one daughter: the latter, a most beautiful virgin, aged eighteen, was called Matilda. Conrad, the son, was three years younger, a homely youth, sickly, and of no promising disposition; yet he was the darling of his father, who never showed any symptoms of affection to Matilda. Manfred had contracted a marriage for his son with the Marquis of Vicenza’s daughter, Isabella; and she had already been delivered by her guardians into the hands of Manfred, that he might celebrate the wedding as soon as Conrad’s infirm state of health would permit.

Manfred’s impatience for this ceremonial was remarked by his family and neighbours. The former, indeed, apprehending the severity of their Prince’s disposition, did not dare to utter their surmises on this precipitation. Hippolita, his wife, an amiable lady, did sometimes venture to represent the danger of marrying their only son so early, considering his great youth, and greater infirmities; but she never received any other answer than reflections on her own sterility, who had given him but one heir. His tenants and subjects were less cautious in their discourses. They attributed this hasty wedding to the Prince’s dread of seeing accomplished an ancient prophecy, which was said to have pronounced that the castle and lordship of Otranto “should pass from the present family, whenever the real owner should be grown too large to inhabit it.” It was difficult to make any sense of this prophecy; and still less easy to conceive what it had to do with the marriage in question.

In what decade was this novel published?

Possible Answers:

1660s

1760s

1860s

1560s

Correct answer:

1760s

Explanation:

The novel was published in 1764.

Adapted from The Castle of Otranto, A Story. Translated by William Marshal, Gent. From the Original Italian of Onuphrio Muralto, Canon of the Church of St. Nicholas at Otranto by Horace Walpole (1764; ed. 1901)

Example Question #61 : Identification Of Prose

Manfred, Prince of Otranto, had one son and one daughter: the latter, a most beautiful virgin, aged eighteen, was called Matilda. Conrad, the son, was three years younger, a homely youth, sickly, and of no promising disposition; yet he was the darling of his father, who never showed any symptoms of affection to Matilda. Manfred had contracted a marriage for his son with the Marquis of Vicenza’s daughter, Isabella; and she had already been delivered by her guardians into the hands of Manfred, that he might celebrate the wedding as soon as Conrad’s infirm state of health would permit.

Manfred’s impatience for this ceremonial was remarked by his family and neighbours. The former, indeed, apprehending the severity of their Prince’s disposition, did not dare to utter their surmises on this precipitation. Hippolita, his wife, an amiable lady, did sometimes venture to represent the danger of marrying their only son so early, considering his great youth, and greater infirmities; but she never received any other answer than reflections on her own sterility, who had given him but one heir. His tenants and subjects were less cautious in their discourses. They attributed this hasty wedding to the Prince’s dread of seeing accomplished an ancient prophecy, which was said to have pronounced that the castle and lordship of Otranto “should pass from the present family, whenever the real owner should be grown too large to inhabit it.” It was difficult to make any sense of this prophecy; and still less easy to conceive what it had to do with the marriage in question.

This novel is considered the first of its kind in what genre?

Possible Answers:

Melodrama

Gothic

Romantic

Southern Gothic

Mystery

Correct answer:

Gothic

Explanation:

Walpole’s novel is generally regarded as the first Gothic novel. This genre is sometimes seen as a subset or extreme variant of Romanticism, and it contains many of the same elements: fanciful plots, a damsel in distress, strong heroes, and overt symbolism; however, the Gothic genre also prominently features mystery, the occult, the macabre or grotesque, preoccupation with death, and a sort of pleasurable terror that is often mimicked in horror movies today.

Adapted from The Castle of Otranto, A Story. Translated by William Marshal, Gent. From the Original Italian of Onuphrio Muralto, Canon of the Church of St. Nicholas at Otranto by Horace Walpole (1764; ed. 1901)

Example Question #11 : Identification Of British Prose 1660–1925

Manfred, Prince of Otranto, had one son and one daughter: the latter, a most beautiful virgin, aged eighteen, was called Matilda. Conrad, the son, was three years younger, a homely youth, sickly, and of no promising disposition; yet he was the darling of his father, who never showed any symptoms of affection to Matilda. Manfred had contracted a marriage for his son with the Marquis of Vicenza’s daughter, Isabella; and she had already been delivered by her guardians into the hands of Manfred, that he might celebrate the wedding as soon as Conrad’s infirm state of health would permit.

Manfred’s impatience for this ceremonial was remarked by his family and neighbours. The former, indeed, apprehending the severity of their Prince’s disposition, did not dare to utter their surmises on this precipitation. Hippolita, his wife, an amiable lady, did sometimes venture to represent the danger of marrying their only son so early, considering his great youth, and greater infirmities; but she never received any other answer than reflections on her own sterility, who had given him but one heir. His tenants and subjects were less cautious in their discourses. They attributed this hasty wedding to the Prince’s dread of seeing accomplished an ancient prophecy, which was said to have pronounced that the castle and lordship of Otranto “should pass from the present family, whenever the real owner should be grown too large to inhabit it.” It was difficult to make any sense of this prophecy; and still less easy to conceive what it had to do with the marriage in question.

Which of the following is not a classic Gothic trope that appears in this novel?

Possible Answers:

A beautiful heroine

Doors opening and closing of their own volition

Unexplained noises

A decaying building

A long voyage

Correct answer:

A long voyage

Explanation:

Long voyages are not a Gothic device. Real Gothic tropes include a lascivious male character, superstitions and curses, caves or subterranean passages, characters with mysterious pasts, prophecies and omens, approaching footsteps, and damsels in distress.

Adapted from The Castle of Otranto, A Story. Translated by William Marshal, Gent. From the Original Italian of Onuphrio Muralto, Canon of the Church of St. Nicholas at Otranto by Horace Walpole (1764; ed. 1901)

Example Question #12 : Identification Of British Prose 1660–1925

Manfred, Prince of Otranto, had one son and one daughter: the latter, a most beautiful virgin, aged eighteen, was called Matilda. Conrad, the son, was three years younger, a homely youth, sickly, and of no promising disposition; yet he was the darling of his father, who never showed any symptoms of affection to Matilda. Manfred had contracted a marriage for his son with the Marquis of Vicenza’s daughter, Isabella; and she had already been delivered by her guardians into the hands of Manfred, that he might celebrate the wedding as soon as Conrad’s infirm state of health would permit.

Manfred’s impatience for this ceremonial was remarked by his family and neighbours. The former, indeed, apprehending the severity of their Prince’s disposition, did not dare to utter their surmises on this precipitation. Hippolita, his wife, an amiable lady, did sometimes venture to represent the danger of marrying their only son so early, considering his great youth, and greater infirmities; but she never received any other answer than reflections on her own sterility, who had given him but one heir. His tenants and subjects were less cautious in their discourses. They attributed this hasty wedding to the Prince’s dread of seeing accomplished an ancient prophecy, which was said to have pronounced that the castle and lordship of Otranto “should pass from the present family, whenever the real owner should be grown too large to inhabit it.” It was difficult to make any sense of this prophecy; and still less easy to conceive what it had to do with the marriage in question.

Which of the following authors did not later write a work in the same genre?

Possible Answers:

Edgar Allan Poe

Charles Dickens

Clara Reeve

Ann Radcliffe

Mary Shelley

Correct answer:

Charles Dickens

Explanation:

Reeve, Poe, Shelley, and Radcliffe all published Gothic novels in the nineteenth century. Dickens’ novels, which include Great Expectations, The Pickwick Papers, A Christmas Carol, A Tale of Two Cities, and David Copperfield, did not write Gothic literature, but rather Victorian works with elements of realism, social commentary, comedy, melodrama, and eloquent description.

Adapted from The Castle of Otranto, A Story. Translated by William Marshal, Gent. From the Original Italian of Onuphrio Muralto, Canon of the Church of St. Nicholas at Otranto by Horace Walpole (1764; ed. 1901)

Example Question #181 : Gre Subject Test: Literature In English

Manfred, Prince of Otranto, had one son and one daughter: the latter, a most beautiful virgin, aged eighteen, was called Matilda. Conrad, the son, was three years younger, a homely youth, sickly, and of no promising disposition; yet he was the darling of his father, who never showed any symptoms of affection to Matilda. Manfred had contracted a marriage for his son with the Marquis of Vicenza’s daughter, Isabella; and she had already been delivered by her guardians into the hands of Manfred, that he might celebrate the wedding as soon as Conrad’s infirm state of health would permit.

Manfred’s impatience for this ceremonial was remarked by his family and neighbours. The former, indeed, apprehending the severity of their Prince’s disposition, did not dare to utter their surmises on this precipitation. Hippolita, his wife, an amiable lady, did sometimes venture to represent the danger of marrying their only son so early, considering his great youth, and greater infirmities; but she never received any other answer than reflections on her own sterility, who had given him but one heir. His tenants and subjects were less cautious in their discourses. They attributed this hasty wedding to the Prince’s dread of seeing accomplished an ancient prophecy, which was said to have pronounced that the castle and lordship of Otranto “should pass from the present family, whenever the real owner should be grown too large to inhabit it.” It was difficult to make any sense of this prophecy; and still less easy to conceive what it had to do with the marriage in question.

Which of the following authors did not publish a novel during the late nineteenth-century revival of this same genre?

Possible Answers:

Henry James

Robert Louis Stevenson

Bram Stoker

Rudyard Kipling

Oscar Wilde

Correct answer:

Rudyard Kipling

Explanation:

Stoker’s Dracula, Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde, Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, and James’ The Turn of the Screw are all fin-de-siècle Gothic novels. Although Rudyard Kipling was writing at the same time, his work was concerned with British India and did not contain overtly Gothic elements.

Adapted from The Castle of Otranto, A Story. Translated by William Marshal, Gent. From the Original Italian of Onuphrio Muralto, Canon of the Church of St. Nicholas at Otranto by Horace Walpole (1764; ed. 1901)

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