GRE Subject Test: Literature in English : Identification of World Poetry

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GRE Subject Test: Literature in English

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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

Example Questions

Example Question #51 : Identification Of Poetry

Bestir thee now, and with thy speech ornate,
  And with what needful is for his release,
  Assist him so, that I may be consoled.

Beatrice am I, who do bid thee go;
  I come from there, where I would fain return;
  Love moved me, which compelleth me to speak.

When I shall be in presence of my Lord,
  Full often will I praise thee unto him.'
  Then paused she, and thereafter I began . . .

The above lines belong to which work of literature?

Possible Answers:

The Iliad

Confessions

The Aeneid     

The Divine Comedy

The Odyssey

Correct answer:

The Divine Comedy

Explanation:

This is Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, one of three books in epic poem The Divine Comedy. Dante’s masterpiece, which was written in the fourteenth century, includes several main characters: Beatrice, who is Dante’s muse; Virgil, who guides the narrator on his journey through Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory; and the narrator himself, who embarks on an allegorical/metaphysical journey from sinfulness to God.

Passage adapted from The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri l.67-75 (trans. Longfellow 1867)

Example Question #52 : Identification

Achilles' wrath, to Greece the direful spring
Of woes unnumber'd, heavenly goddess, sing!
That wrath which hurl'd to Pluto's gloomy reign
The souls of mighty chiefs untimely slain;
Whose limbs unburied on the naked shore,
Devouring dogs and hungry vultures tore.
Since great Achilles and Atrides strove,
Such was the sovereign doom, and such the will of Jove!

These lines open which epic poem?

Possible Answers:

The Divine Comedy

The Aeneid

The Odyssey

The Epic of Gilgamesh

The Iliad

Correct answer:

The Iliad

Explanation:

This is the opening of Homer’s Iliad, a poem written in dactylic hexameter and set during the ten-year Trojan War. The poem centers on the battles and events that arise from a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles and includes the characters Patroclus, Odysseus, Helen, Hector, Paris, and Menelaus. Written around the 1100s BCE, the poem is known for beginning in media res.

Passage adapted from The Iliad by Homer, l.1-8 (trans. Pope 1715)

Example Question #61 : Gre Subject Test: Literature In English

Which when Ulysses heard, Hero renown’d,
Adjusting close the lid, he cast a cord
Around it which with many a mazy knot
He tied, by Circe taught him long before.
And now, the mistress of the household charge
Summon’d him to his bath; glad he beheld
The steaming vase, uncustom’d to its use
E’er since his voyage from the isle of fair
Calypso, although, while a guest with her,
Ever familiar with it, as a God.

These lines are from which epic poem?

Possible Answers:

The Epic of Gilgamesh

The Iliad

The Odyssey

The Aeneid

The Divine Comedy

Correct answer:

The Odyssey

Explanation:

This excerpt is identifiable as Homer’s Odyssey because of the characters mentioned: Ulysses (Odysseus), a Greek hero who fought in the Trojan War and is on a ten-year journey to return home to his native Ithaca; Circe, an enchantress and Ulysses’ lover; and Calypso, a beautiful nymph who falls in love with and imprisons Ulysses. Other characters in this epic poem, which was written around the same time as the Iliad, are Penelope, Telemachus, Polyphemus, Scylla, Charybdis, Zeus, and Tiresias.

Passage adapted from The Odyssey, l.547-556 (trans. Cowper 1791)

Example Question #1 : Identification Of World Poetry After 1925

Which major Caribbean poet wrote The Arrivants, Middle Passages, and Born to Slow Horses?

Possible Answers:

Aimé Césaire

Jean “Binta” Breeze

Ama Ata Aidoo

Stanley French

Kamau Brathwaite

Correct answer:

Kamau Brathwaite

Explanation:

This is Kamau Brathwaite, a Barbados-born poet and author of critical works such as History of the Voice and The Development of Creole Society in Jamaica.

Example Question #2 : Identification Of World Poetry After 1925

Which Nobel Prize-winning Eastern European poet wrote The World, City Without a Name, and The Unencompassed Earth?

Possible Answers:

Grigori Dashevsky

Wisława Szymborska

Joseph Brodsky

Jan Polkowski

Czesław Miłosz

Correct answer:

Czesław Miłosz

Explanation:

This is the Polish poet Czesław Miłosz, who is also known for his nonfiction book denouncing Stalin titled The Captive Mind. Miłosz was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1980.

Example Question #3 : Identification Of World Poetry After 1925

Which Nobel Prize-winning Eastern European poet wrote Elegy for John Donne and Other Poems, On Grief and Reason, and To Urania?

Possible Answers:

Czesław Miłosz

Joseph Brodsky

Jan Polkowski

Wisława Szymborska

Grigori Dashevsky

Correct answer:

Czesław Miłosz

Explanation:

This is the Russian poet Joseph Brodsky, who was forced to emigrate from the Soviet Union to the United States in the 1970s. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1987 and was appointed Poet Laureate of the United States in 1991.

Example Question #4 : Identification Of World Poetry After 1925

The Jamaican poet Jean “Binta” Breeze wrote all of the following except which collection of poetry?

Possible Answers:

Third World Girl

The Fifth Figure

Riddym Ravings and Other Poems

The Arrival of Brighteye and Other Poems

Sea Grapes

Correct answer:

Sea Grapes

Explanation:

Sea Grapes is a 1976 poetry collection by Derek Walcott.

Example Question #5 : Identification Of World Poetry After 1925

Which Nobel Prize-winning Caribbean poet wrote Omeros, a contemporary Caribbean epic poem that loosely reimagines Homer’s Iliad?

Possible Answers:

Ama Ata Aidoo

Stanley French

Kamau Brathwaite

Derek Walcott

Aimé Césaire

Correct answer:

Derek Walcott

Explanation:

This is the St. Lucian poet Derek Walcott, an important post-colonial writer. Omeros was published in 1990 and contains characters with mythical names such as Achille, Hector, and Helen, although the work itself is set primarily in modern-day St. Lucia.

Example Question #6 : Identification Of World Poetry After 1925

Which Caribbean poet wrote the seminal book-length poem Notebook of a Return to the Native Land?

Possible Answers:

Stanley French

René Depestre

Aimé Césaire

Kamau Brathwaite

Ama Ata Aidoo

Correct answer:

Aimé Césaire

Explanation:

This is the Martinican writer Aimé Césaire, an important founder of négritude in French-language literature. Césaire’s work also includes plays such as A Tempest (based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest) and critical essays such as Discourse on Colonialism. Notebook of a Return to the Native Land was first published in 1939 in France.

Example Question #2 : Identification Of World Poetry After 1925

What is contemporary Japanese poetry called?

Possible Answers:

shi

waka

gendai-shi

tanka

haiku

Correct answer:

gendai-shi

Explanation:

All of these terms except “gendai-shi” refer to older, more traditional forms of Japanese poetry.

All GRE Subject Test: Literature in English Resources

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