21 Febuary, 1997 18th Century Literature The 18th century is a period of great literary works. are different throughout the period, but the unity of the work is still present. period focused on public and The styles Much of this general themes, until the Pre-Romantic era when literary works began to focus upon personal expression. 18th century literature can be broken down into three main parts: the Restoration, the Age of Pope, and Pre-Romantics. The literature of the Restoration period covers a time span from Charles's recovery of the throne to the years until the expulsion of James II in 1688 or until the death of John Dryden in 1700. The literature of the Restoration was characterized by wit and elegance influenced by French classical taste. "wit". The Diary of This period pertained to traditional values and Samuel Pepys written by Samuel Pepys and A Journel of the Plague Years by Daniel Defoe are just a few examples of literary works from the Restoration Period. Diary of Samuel Pepys is also an example of journalistic fiction. diary, he shows the historical The In the excerpts from Pepys' The reader is able to background and culture of the 18th century. understand the values and ethics of the time through the description detailed by Samuel Pepys and the reader is also exposed to the life a man in the 1660's. an example of historical A Journal of the Plague Year is fiction. Defoe uses wide ranges of vivid descriptions including verisimilitudes and imagery, to give the reader a realistic feel of what took place through the eyes of a witness. This literary time period also included works from John Dryden, who used elegance and cleverness in his writings. This period ended about 1700, and enabled a new age of literature. In literary history, the first half of the 18th century is known as the Age of the Pope. In this age, the writers expressed views of the public and restrained from writing personal topics or expressions. In the Age of the Pope or the Neoclassical Age, most of the literary themes were of social, political, and moral life. Alexander Pope, and "A The Rape of the Lock and Epigrams by Modest Proposal" and Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift are some examples from the Age of Pope or the Neoclassical age. used satirical styles to express a concern in society. doux", from The Most of the literary works in this period "Puffs, powders, patches, Bibles, billet- Rape of the Lock shows an example of pathos a satirical device used in this age of literature. Jonathan Swift also uses satire in Gulliver's Travels Parliament, and in "Modest to mock the Proposal" he writes about eating children as a solution to a socioeconomic problem. After the writings, literature began to focus on private expressions rather than public thoughts and emotions. ways. The Age of Johnson or the Pre-romantic era was shown in various Characteristics of the age included ballads, a new taste for ruins, Gothic castles and tales of mystery, and secret societies interested in magic. the inner world of Pre Romantics wrote about a mood in which wonder and strange feelings that led to private thoughts and emotions. Selecte Poems by William Blake and the "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" Gray are some examples of Pre Romantic literature. on the self, rather than by Thomas Both of this literary works focused on the society or public, which was the beginning of the Romantic Period. The 18th century was known as the Restoration Period. of this period sought unity and stability in everything. stablize life, The people The people wanted to unify and 18th century was filled government, and even maybe their literature. with many different types of devices and styles of literature. this era were the Restoration, The three major literary periods of the Age of the Pope, and the Pre Romanitics.
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