Trends in Style in 18th Century English Literature
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This paper examines the evolution in English literature through the 18th century in terms of style. The paper first describes how the century started with neo-classicism and ended with romanticism and explains that the latter can be seen as a revolt against the former. Neo-classicism is shown to be influenced by the rise of science, and the liberation in the arts brought about by the Restoration. The paper then charts how there is a gradual breaking away from the shackles of rationalism through the 18th century. The authors studied are Wycherley, Dryden, Pope, Gray, Burns, Blake, Richardson, Fielding and Bunyan.
From the Paper:"Even though tending towards popular sentiment, much of the literature accounted for so far remained beyond mass readership. The first widely popular book was John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress. The Puritans suffered suppression and imprisonment since the Restoration. Bunyan composed the book in prison, an allegorical account of life's journey, with Biblical significance. It too employed the simplicity of style that characterized the age, even though it stood up against the general trend. To sample the sparse simplicity, the pilgrims encounter the allegorical place of vane worldliness thus: "Then I saw in my dream, that when they were got out of the wilderness, they presently saw a town before them, and the name of that town is Vanity; and at the town there is a fair kept, called Vanity Fair: it is kept all the year long" (Bunyan, 1965, p. 105). Journalism was the other route to the heart of the people. "
Sample of Sources Used:
- Addison, J. & R. Steele. (2004). Sir Roger De Coverly Essays From The Spectator. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing.
- Blake, W. (1996). Selected Poetry. Ed. Michael Mason. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Bunyan, J. (1965). The Pilgrim's Progress. New York: Penguin Classics.
- Pope, A. (1966). The Poems of Alexander Pope. Ed. John Butt. London: Routledge.
Cite this Analytical Essay:
Trends in Style in 18th Century English Literature (2009, October 19) Retrieved May 28, 2015, from http://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/trends-in-style-in-18th-century-english-literature-116702/
"Trends in Style in 18th Century English Literature" 19 October 2009. Web. 28 May. 2015. <http://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/trends-in-style-in-18th-century-english-literature-116702/>