THE AGE OF REASON The Enlightenment The Neoclassical Period The Age of Elegance
THE AGE OF REASON
The Neoclassical Period
The Age of Elegance
emphasis on reason / logic,
scientific discovery and methods
saw the universe as ordered
emphasis on importance of social
tradition, established code of
behavior/manners, dress, and
renewed interest in classical
thought and literature
emphasis on logic and rational thought,
not emotions; emphasis on the
social/good of the community, not the
presence of numerous classical allusions;
use of satire; use of elevated diction;
formal style that adhered to set rhyme
schemes, such as couplets; twodimensional characters or stock types
that represent a class or vice
Influence of Drama-comic satires
rise of literary magazines
novel in various forms, including
picaresque, gothic, and novel of manners
1702 Queen Anne Period: Anne, Mary's sister, succeeds William to the
throne. During her reign, the rival Whigs and Tories dominated
Parliament, representing commercial and urban interests.
encourage war with France, which they hoped would lead to British
1714 House of Hanover
Anne is succeeded by George I
from the House of Hanover, who
favored the Whigs; the Whigdominated House of Commons
grows in importance during his
With George I and II, Whigs Robert Walpole and William Pitt came
advise the king; Pitt in particular advised the king during the 7 Years War
(a.k.a. the French and Indian Wars of 1756 - 1763). In 1760 George III
succeeds his grandfather George II and believes that the king should
play an active role in politics. Tories sympathizer, he urged an
inconclusive peace with France.
BRITISH NEOCLASSICISM continued
1750 Industrial Revolution
England rural cottage industries, where workers produced goods in
their homes, began to dry up.
Urban factories relying on machine-based manufacturing began to
dominate the economy.
1776 The American Revolution
Rebellion in North America results from Tory influence,
George III's desire to keep the colonies a producer of raw material
that was then shipped to England for processing.
1783 Britain recognizes America as a nation.
1789 The French Revolution
La Revolution ends
In France, democratic ideals destroy the social hierarchy of nobility,
landed gentry, merchants & professionals, and the working poor.
THE AMERICAN ENLIGHTENMENT
The Great Awakening 1730-1755
1775-1783 American Revolution
(“Sinners In the Hands of an Angry God”)
The last reactionary vestiges of a Puritan idealism
Appeal to fear
A militant (fundamentalist) revival of Puritanism
American independence seen as a divine sign that America
and her people were destined for greatness.
Military victory fanned nationalistic hopes for a great new
literature. Yet except for political writing, few works of note
appeared during or soon after the Revolution.
1790 American Copyright Law
American books were harshly reviewed in England.
The search for a native literature became a national
The copyright law of 1790, which allowed pirating, was
nationalistic in intent.
Drafted by Noah Webster, the great lexicographer who later
compiled an American dictionary, the law protected only the
work of American authors; it was felt that English writers
should look out for themselves.
AMERICAN ENLIGHTENMENT cont.
Epic, Mock Epic and Satire become the genres that separate American Neoclassical
literature from British Neoclassicism
Political Pamphlets / Non Fiction
Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur (1735-1813)
Thomas Paine (1737-1809); Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
Philip Freneau 1752-1832
Phillis Wheatley (c. 1753-1784)
Charles Brockden Brown (1771-1810)
Washington Irving (1789-1859)
James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851)