GRE Subject Test: Literature in English : Literary Analysis of British Plays

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 #1 : Literary Analysis Of British Plays

Adapted from Timon of Athens, IV:3, lines 409-447 by William Shakespeare

 

The sun's a thief, and with his great attraction

Robs the vast sea: the moon's an arrant thief,

And her pale fire she snatches from the sun:

The sea's a thief, whose liquid surge resolves

The moon into salt tears: the earth's a thief,

That feeds and breeds by a composture stol'n

From general excrement: each thing's a thief:

The laws, your curb and whip, in their rough power

Have uncheck'd theft.

Which of the following is NOT exemplified in the above selection from Timon of Athens?

Possible Answers:

Iambic Pentameter

Poetic Conceit

Personification

Sprung Rhythm

Blank Verse

Correct answer:

Sprung Rhythm

Explanation:

Sprung Rhythm is a system of scansion in which only stressed syllables are counted. It was invented by the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins in the late-19th century.

 

Blank Verse is a poetic form composed of unrhymed lines of iambic pentameter.

Iambic pentameter is a metrical form in which each line consists of five iambic feet. A metrical foot is a unit of stressed and unstressed syllables. An iambic foot consists of one unstressed syllable followed by one stressed syllable.

Personification is the attribution of human qualities to inanimate objects.

A Poetic Conceit is an extended metaphor that compares dissimilar objects in a surprising and imaginative manner.

Example Question #2 : Literary Analysis Of British Plays

Adapted from Timon of Athens, IV:3, lines 409-447 by William Shakespeare

 

The sun's a thief, and with his great attraction

Robs the vast sea: the moon's an arrant thief,

And her pale fire she snatches from the sun:

The sea's a thief, whose liquid surge resolves

The moon into salt tears: the earth's a thief,

That feeds and breeds by a composture stol'n

From general excrement: each thing's a thief:

The laws, your curb and whip, in their rough power

Have uncheck'd theft.

The above passage from Shakespeare's "Timon of Athens" is the source of the title of a novel by which twentieth century author?

Possible Answers:

John Updike

William Faulkner

Thomas Pynchon

Vladimir Nabokov

Ernest Hemingway

Correct answer:

Vladimir Nabokov

Explanation:

"Timon of Athens" (one of the more obscure works by Shakespeare) is a key intertext in Vladimir Nabokov's 1962 novel Pale Fire, the title of which was drawn from the third line of the passage in question.

All GRE Subject Test: Literature in English Resources

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