English Fiction in the 18th Century

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Defoe's Life. Defoe was the son of a London butcher. He got little education. When he grew up, he became a merchant. He was an enthusiastic supporter of the Glorious Revolution. He stood by the side of William II and took great interest in the establishment of the new government. . He wrote a number of pamphlets on current affairs.His The True-born Englishmen won him the favor of the king. His The Shortest Way with the Dissenters brought him into jail and made him go through public exposure i29910

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English Fiction in the 18th Century

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1. English Fiction in the 18th Century Realistic fiction Daniel Defoe Jonathan Swift Henry Fielding Sentimental//psychological Fiction Samuel Richardson Laurence Sterne

2. Defoe’s Life Defoe was the son of a London butcher. He got little education. When he grew up, he became a merchant. He was an enthusiastic supporter of the Glorious Revolution. He stood by the side of William II and took great interest in the establishment of the new government.

5. Robinson Crusoe Robinson Crusoe is based upon the experiences of Alexander Selkirk, who had been marooned in an uninhabited island and had lived there in solitude for five years.

8. Brief Analysis of Robinson Crusoe Robinson is a grand hero in westerners’ eyes. He survived in the deserted island and led a meaningful life. Robinson is a colonist, as can be seen from his selling the boy who helped save his life at the beginning of the novel.

10. Other novels Moll Flanders is the daughter of a bad woman who had been transported to Virginia for theft soon after her child’s birth. Abandoned in England, Moll grew up in a stranger’s house. The story relates her seduction, her subsequent marriages and her visit to Virginia, where she finds her mother. Moll discovers that she has married her own half brother. She returns to England and becomes a thief. She was caught and transported to Virginia with one of her former husband, a burglar.

12. Comments on Defoe Defoe believed in the educational function of novel. The central idea of his novel is that man is good by nature but may succumb to an evil environment. He thinks that the crimes and vices result from social inequality.

14. Comments on Defoe 2 Defoe’s novel take the form of memoirs or pretended historical narratives. They are chiefly told in the first person point of view. Defoe apparently believes that his fictions will be more credible, or at least acceptable, if the pretence that they are authentic record of actual events is maintained.

16. Jonathan Swift (1667—1745) He was born in Dublin, and his father died before he was born. After studying at Trinity College, Dublin, Swift went to England to serve as a private secretary to Sir William Temple, a retired diplomat and writer of essays. He was very proud and treated Swift very badly.

18. Major Works The Battle of the Books (to praise ancient writers and to condemn his contemporaries) A Tale of a Tub (criticize Christianity; Anglican Church is no better than Catholics or Puritans) Gulliver’s Travels A Modest Proposal

19. Gulliver’s Travels The novel is divided into 4 parts: voyage to Lilliput; voyage to Brobdingnag; voyage to Laputa & other places; voyage to Houyhnhnm. In the first part, through the description of the Lilliputian society, the author satirizes the two party system and the religious conflict between Catholics and Protestants.

22. A Modest Proposal It suggests that poor Irish parents sell their one-year-old baby to English lords and ladies as food so as to solve their own problem of famine. It is a devastating protest against the English exploitation and oppression. The essay is well- structured.

23. How to eat babies A child will make two dishes at an entertainment for friends, and when the family dines alone, the fore or hind quarter will make a reasonable dish, and seasoned with a little pepper or salt, will be very good boiled on the fourth day, especially in winter.

24. Why for English lords only I have reckoned upon a medium, that a child just born will weigh 12 pounds, and in a solar year, if tolerably nursed, increases to 28 pounds. I grant this food will be somewhat dear, and therefore very proper for landlords, who, as they have already devoured most of the parents, seem to have the best title to the children.

26. Comments on Jonathan Swift Swift is one of the realist writers. His realism is quite different from Defoe's. Defoe's stories are based upon the reality of human life, while Swift's come from imagination. His satire is marked by outward gravity and an apparent earnestness. This makes his satire all the more powerful.

30. Henry Fielding (1707-1754) Henry Fielding is the greatest novelist of the 18th century and is one of the most artistic that English literature has produced. He came from an aristocratic family and was well educated. He spent several years at the famous Eton school and took a degree in letters at the University of Leyden in Holland.

32. Major works Tom Jones Joseph Andrews Jonathan Wild the Great Amelia Don Quixote in England The Historical Register for the Year 1736

33. Fielding’s Plays Fielding attempted many forms of plays: witty comedies of manners or intrigues in the Restoration tradition; farces or ballad operas with political implications; and burlesques and satires that bear heavily upon the status-quo of England. The Historical Register for the Year 1736 is his best play.

35. Fielding’s Novels Joseph Andrews is a parody of Richardson’s Pamela. He takes Pamela’s brother, Joseph Andrews, as the protagonist. Joseph serves as the man-servant of Mr. B’s aunt, Lady Booby. Lady Booby pursues him with obstinacy. Having been rejected, Lady Booby drives Joseph out of her house.

36. Parody Parody is a literary composition in which the style or form of serious writing is imitated with the intention of producing a humorous effect. (Encyclopedia Americana, 1980:343) ??????,?????????

39. Tom Jones Tom Jones is Fielding’s masterpiece and the archetype of modern family problem fiction or movies. Tom Jones is an illegitimate child brought up by the benevolent squire Mr. Allworthy with Allworthy’s sister’s child Blifil. Blifil is a hypocrite while Tom is a good-natured youth.

42. Comments Fielding's method of relating a story is telling the story directly by the author. (Omniscient narrator) His rigid style stands for the order of the universe. (cf. classic Chinese novels such as The Three States) Satire/Humor abounds everywhere in Fielding's works.

43. Comments 2 Fielding believed in the educational function of the novel. Fielding is a master of style. His style is easy, unlabored and familiar, but extremely vivid and vigorous.

44. Fielding’s theory of novel writing In his preface to Joseph Andrews(1742), Fielding tried to extend traditional neoclassical theories of literature to include a new form, the “comic epic-poem in prose”.It is not to be confused with stage comedy, in as much as “its action is more extended and comprehensive; containing a much larger circle of incidents, and introducing a greater variety of characters”.

46. Sentimental fiction In the field of prose fiction the 18th century, sentimentalism had its most outstanding expression. There were three novelists who followed this tradition in novel writing. They are Samuel Richardson , Oliver Goldsmith and Laurence Sterne .

47. Samuel Richardson (1689-1761 ) Richardson was the son of a joiner. He received little education. He had a natural talent for writing letters. When he was still a boy, he was frequently employed by working girls to write love letters for them. This early experience and his fondness for the society of ladies gave him the intimate knowledge of the hearts of sentimental and uneducated women.

49. Major works Pamela ??? Clarrissa Harlowe «????-??» Sir Charles Grandison «???-????»

50. Pamela The novel was written in the form of a series of letters from the heroine to her parents and two friends, telling them in great detail her adventures at her employer’s house. The first part of the novel tells us that Pamela the heroines is a young maidservant in a rich family. After the mistress’s death, her son Mr. B. pursues the beautiful maid with sweet words. He wants to make love to her and seduce her. In order to avoid more troubles, she leaves the house and goes away.

52. Clarissa Harlowe Clarissa Harlowe is a beautiful, noble-minded, intelligent, accomplished and obedient young lady of a wealthy family. She is fascinated by Robert Lovelace, a handsome young aristocrat. Clarissa’s parents insisted that she get married to the old, wealthy and detestable Roger Soames. She eloped with Lovelace.

54. Sir Charles Grandison Sir Grandison represents Richardson’s ideal of manly virtue as Pamela stands for his ideal of female virtue. Since Mr. B. in Pamela and Lovelace in Clarissa are both villains, Richardson intended to counteract his stereotyped man character. He endeavors to depict Grandison as a wealthy man of virtue but fails to achieve his ambition.

55. Comments Richardson is the first novelist of sentimentalist tradition. His novels have a moral purpose. His Chief object in most of his works is to inculcate virtue and good deportment. All of his novels are written in the form of letters, known as epistolary novel.

57. The Full Title of Richardson’s Novel Pamela; or Virtue Rewarded. In a Series of Familiar Letters from a Beautiful Young Damsel, to Her Parents; Now Published in order to Cultivate Principles of Virtue and Religion in the Youth of Both Sexes. A Narrative which has its Foundation in truth; and at the same time that it agreeably entertains

60. Laurence Sterne Sterne is the most representative novelist of sentimentalist school. He was born in Ireland. He had never thought of becoming a writer until he was nearly 50 years old. When he was old enough, he turned to writing novels. His wrote his 2 masterpieces: The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy (1760) and A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy (1768).

61. Tristram Shandy It is a very strange book and it can hardly be labeled as a novel. Although the book is entitled The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, it offers little of the life or opinions of the protagonist. Shandy gets born in Volume IV and breeched in Volume VI. Then he vanishes from the book.

62. Shandy (Continued) Then the book shifts to the conversations between Tristram’s father and mother, Walter Shandy and Mrs. Shandy, between Tristram’s Uncle Toby and his servant Corporal Trim, between various visitors and other members of the family. In the latter part of the book, there is a love episode telling how a widow Mrs. Wadman pursues Uncle Toby with obstinacy.

63. Comments on Tristram Shandy The book is plotless. It is filled with digressions and associations, sentence fragments, dashes, and even blank pages. Sterne focuses on the inner thoughts of his characters and attempts to bring the activities of one’s mind into the open. Shandy is a pioneering work in the invention of the stream-of –consciousness novel, which becomes an influential literary genre in the hands of James Joyce and Virginia Woolf.

64. Further Reading Ian Watt, The Rise of the Novel. Walter Allen, The English Novel. ??,«?????»(Volume 2) ???,«???????» ???,«?????????»

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