The authors choice of his own writings

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This means that the authors have to put down a good deal of work in order to produce a readable text.

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Who is your audience? What can you assume that your reader already knows, and how many definitions are needed?


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For example, are you writing for your supervisor or for a general reader? The general advice is to aim somewhere in between, and to write as you would do for a fellow student. Many students and researchers use the passive voice of verbs in their texts. Sometimes this is necessary, but too much passive voice makes for a heavy-going text. Moreover, passive constructions often give rise to other problems. For example, you are likely to end up with long sequences of words strung together by prepositions.

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Use of the passive voice tends to conceal who is doing the action. In a methods section, this is often the norm since the results should be reproducible by anyone. It is sensible to vary your writing style as appropriate. Do not feel that you have to avoid it altogether, however, as overuse of the active voice also becomes tiring for your reader.

In some fields, writing in the first person i. English literature has sometimes been stigmatized as insular.

Yet in the Middle Ages the Old English literature of the subjugated Saxons was leavened by the Latin and Anglo-Norman writings , eminently foreign in origin, in which the churchmen and the Norman conquerors expressed themselves. From this combination emerged a flexible and subtle linguistic instrument exploited by Geoffrey Chaucer and brought to supreme application by William Shakespeare. During the Renaissance the renewed interest in Classical learning and values had an important effect on English literature, as on all the arts; and ideas of Augustan literary propriety in the 18th century and reverence in the 19th century for a less specific, though still selectively viewed, Classical antiquity continued to shape the literature.

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All three of these impulses derived from a foreign source, namely the Mediterranean basin. The Decadents of the late 19th century and the Modernists of the early 20th looked to continental European individuals and movements for inspiration. Nor was attraction toward European intellectualism dead in the late 20th century, for by the mids the approach known as structuralism, a phenomenon predominantly French and German in origin, infused the very study of English literature itself in a host of published critical studies and university departments.

Additional influence was exercised by deconstructionist analysis, based largely on the work of French philosopher Jacques Derrida. Finally, English literature has enjoyed a certain diffusion abroad, not only in predominantly English-speaking countries but also in all those others where English is the first choice of study as a second language. English literature is therefore not so much insular as detached from the continental European tradition across the Channel.

Even in philosophical writings, popularly thought of as hard to combine with literary value, thinkers such as Thomas Hobbes , John Locke , David Hume , John Stuart Mill , and Bertrand Russell stand comparison for lucidity and grace with the best of the French philosophers and the masters of Classical antiquity. Naipaul and Tom Stoppard at its end—were born outside the British Isles.

What is more, none of the aforementioned had as much in common with his adoptive country as did, for instance, Doris Lessing and Peter Porter two other distinguished writer-immigrants to Britain , both having been born into a British family and having been brought up on British Commonwealth soil. On the other hand, during the same period in the 20th century, many notable practitioners of English literature left the British Isles to live abroad: James Joyce , D.

In one case, that of Samuel Beckett , this process was carried to the extent of writing works first in French and then translating them into English.

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Even English literature considered purely as a product of the British Isles is extraordinarily heterogeneous , however. Yet Irish, Scots, and Welsh writers have contributed enormously to English literature even when they have written in dialect , as the 18th-century poet Robert Burns and the 20th-century Scots writer Alasdair Gray have done. In the latter half of the 20th century, interest began also to focus on writings in English or English dialect by recent settlers in Britain, such as Afro-Caribbeans and people from Africa proper, the Indian subcontinent, and East Asia.

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