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GRE阅读真题之OG2 Passage 32

2016-11-24 15:59

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  OG-2

  Passage 32

  The work of English writer Aphra Behn (1640–1689) changed markedly during the 1680s, as she turned from writing plays to writing prose narratives. According to literary critic Rachel Carnell, most scholars view this change as primarily motivated by financial considerations: earning a living by writing for the theatre became more difficult in the 1680s, so Behn tried various other types of prose genres in the hope of finding another lucrative medium. In fact, a long epistolary scandal novel that she wrote in the mid-1680s sold quite well. Yet, as Carnell notes, Behn did not repeat this approach in her other prose works; instead, she turned to writing shorter, more serious novels, even though only about half of these were published during her lifetime. Carnell argues that Behn, whose stage productions are primarily comedies, may have turned to an emerging literary form, the novel, in a conscious attempt to criticize, and subvert for her own ends, the conventions and ideology of a well-established form of her day, the dramatic tragedy.

  Carnell acknowledges that Behn admired the skill of such contemporary writers of dramatic tragedy as John Dryden, and that Behn’s own comic stage productions displayed the same partisanship for the reigning Stuart monarchy that characterized most of the politically oriented dramatic tragedies of her day. However, Carnell argues that Behn took issue with the way in which these writers and plays defined the nature of tragedy. As prescribed by Dryden, tragedy was supposed to concern a heroic man who is a public figure and who undergoes a fall that evokes pity from the audience. Carnell points out that Behn’s tragic novels focus instead on the plight of little-known women and the private world of the household; even in her few novels featuring male protagonists, Behn insists on the importance of the crimes these otherwise heroic figures commit in the domestic sphere. Moreover, according to Carnell, Behn questioned the view promulgated by monarchist dramatic tragedies such as Dryden’s: that the envisioned “public” political ideal—passive obedience to the nation’s king—ought to be mirrored in the private sphere, with family members wholly obedient to a male head of household. Carnell sees Behn’s novels not only as rejecting the model of patriarchal and hierarchical family order, but also as warning that insisting on such a parallel can result in real tragedy befalling the members of the domestic sphere. According to Carnell, Behn’s choice of literary form underscores the differences between her own approach to crafting a tragic story and that taken in the dramatic tragedies, with their artificial distinction between the public and private spheres. Behn’s novels engage in the political dialogue of her era by demonstrating that the good of the nation ultimately encompasses more than the good of the public figures who rule it.

  1. The passage is primarily concerned with

  A. tracing how Behn’s view of the nature of tragedy changed over time

  B. explaining one author’s view of Behn’s contribution to the development of an emerging literary form

  C. differentiating between the early and the late literary works of Behn

  D. contrasting the approaches to tragedy taken by Behn and by Dryden

  E. presenting one scholar’s explanation for a major development in Behn’s literary career

  2. The passage suggests that Carnell sees Behn’s novels featuring male protagonists as differing from dramatic tragedies such as Dryden’s featuring male protagonists in that the former

  A. depict these characters as less than heroic in their public actions

  B. emphasize the consequences of these characters’ actions in the private sphere

  C. insist on a parallel between the public and the private spheres

  D. are aimed at a predominantly female audience

  E. depict family members who disobey these protagonists

  3. The passage suggests that Carnell believes Behn held which of the following attitudes about the relationship between the private and public spheres?

  A. The private sphere is more appropriate than is the public sphere as the setting for plays about political events.

  B. The structure of the private sphere should not replicate the hierarchical order of the public sphere.

  C. Actions in the private sphere are more fundamental to ensuring the good of the nation than are actions in the public sphere.

  D. Crimes committed in the private sphere are likely to cause tragedy in the public sphere rather than vice versa.

  E. The private sphere is the mirror in which issues affecting the public sphere can most clearly be seen.

  4. It can be inferred from the passage that the “artificial distinction” (line 53-54) refers to the

  A. practice utilized in dramatic tragedies of providing different structural models for the public and the private spheres

  B. ideology of many dramatic tragedies that advocate passive obedience only in the private sphere and not in the public sphere

  C. convention that drama ought to concern events in the public sphere and that novels ought to concern events in the private sphere

  D. assumption made by the authors of conventional dramatic tragedies that legitimate tragic action occurs only in the public sphere

  E. approach taken by the dramatic tragedies in depicting male and female characters differently, depending on whether their roles were public or private

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