English Literature from the Restoration Through the Romantic Period (The Britannice Guide to World Literature)

English Literature from the Restoration Through the Romantic Period (The Britannice Guide to World Literature)

J. E. Luebering

Language: English

Pages: 242

ISBN: 1615301151

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Both the form and content of literature today owes much to the developments that took place in England between the Restoration and Romantic periods. The emergence of the novel triggered the creation of new genres and accompanied a rise in literacy throughout the country. As new dimensions were added to both poetry and prose, writers explored new styles and voices to articulate a fuller emotional range. This volume examines the English writers who helped shape the social, political, and religious climate of the age, and immerses students in the history of narratives that continue to enchant audiences today.

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Dunciad. But his greatest triumphs of versification are found in the Epilogue to the Satires, where he moves easily from witty, spirited dialogue to noble and elevated declamation, and in An Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot, which opens with a scene of domestic irritation suitably conveyed in broken rhythm: Shut, shut the door, good John! fatigu’d, I said: Tie up the knocker, say I’m sick, I’m dead. The Dog-star rages! nay ’tis past a doubt, All Bedlam, or Parnassus, is let out: Fire in each eye, and

however, and Defoe, writing always in the first person, enters into their minds and analyzes their motives. His novels are given verisimilitude by their matter-of-fact style and their vivid concreteness of detail; the latter may seem unselective, but it effectively helps to evoke a particular, circumscribed world. Their main defects are shapelessness, an overinsistent moralizing, occasional gaucheness, and naiveté. Defoe’s range is narrow, but within that range he is a novelist of considerable

1833 John Stuart Mill defined poetry as “feeling itself, employing thought only as the medium of its utterance.” It followed that the best poetry was that in which the greatest intensity of feeling was expressed, and hence a new importance was attached to the lyric. Another key quality of Romantic writing was its shift from the mimetic, or imitative, assumptions of the Neoclassical era to a new stress on imagination. Samuel Taylor Coleridge saw the imagination as the supreme poetic quality, a

John Bunyan, a preacher whose nonconformist bent landed him in jail for crimes against the Church of England. Out of this experience sprang Grace Abounding, his spiritual autobiography. Hulton Archive/ Getty Images self-improving artisan and the affluent tradesman. Yet it was below the horizon of polite literary taste. Perhaps Bunyan, born in 1628 and the uneducated son of a tinker, would have found such condescension appropriate. His writing crackles with suspicion of “gentlemen” and those who

became aware of reality’s imperfections, but the skepticism and cynicism bred of his disillusionment coexisted with a lifelong propensity to seek ideal perfection in all of life’s experiences. Consequently, he alternated between deep-seated melancholy and humorous mockery in his reaction to the disparity between real life and his unattainable ideals. The melancholy of Childe Harold and the satiric realism of Don Juan are thus two sides of the same coin: the former runs the gamut of the moods of

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