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History and Anthology of English Literature. Mickey Xu. Chapter IV The Eighteenth Century. Section I The Enlightenment and England. 18th century England The Enlightenment The English Enlighteners.

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Chapter iv the eighteenth century
Chapter IV The Eighteenth Century

Section i the enlightenment and england
Section IThe Enlightenment and England

  • 18th century England

  • The Enlightenment

  • The English Enlighteners

Classicism The classicists modeled themselves on Greek and Latin authors, and tried to control literary creation by some fixed laws and rules drawn from Greek and Latin works.

Section ii classicists
Section II. Classicists

Addison and Steele Life-long friendship and partnership in literary career. They were born in the same year, educated at the same school, and then went to Oxford together.

Steele 1672 1729 and the tatler
Steele (1672--1729) and “ The Tatler”

  • Life

    • born in 1672, in Dublin. Charterhouse School and College education in Oxford. • Impulsive and affectionate. Many jobs: after graduation, he entered the Horse Guards, and then soldier, captain, poet, playwright, essayist, member of parliament, manager of a theater, publisher of a newspaper, etc. • Steele fought for the “cloth breeches”.• Youth in a riotous living and heavily in debt.• In his last years, quarrels with Addison. He was forced to leave London due to financial difficulties.• He died at Carmarthen, Wales, in 1729.

Works• pamphlet

• Papers

The Tatler “这张报纸的宗旨是揭露生活中虚伪装饰,剥去教化虚荣和矫揉造作的伪装,从衣着言谈移一直到举止行为都提倡一种简洁。”Steele was called “the Censor of Great Britain”.The Spectator (with Addison during 1711-12) The Theater (a bi-weekly from 1717---1720)• The Tatler: -- Aim : to entertain as well as to enlighten his fellow coffeehouse-goers, thus for middle class. -- Circulation: three times a week, a penny a copy. -- Time: 1709---Jan, 2, 1711

Form: • Essays: Under the pseudonym of “Isaac Bickerstaff”

Content: contempt for feudal prejudices and the arrogance of the rich. Expression of public antipathy for gambling and dueling. Warning his readers against swindlers and sharpers and spoke for women and children.

Addison(1672--1719) and “The Spectator”:

life:• the son of a scholarly clergyman, same education with Steele.• Travel on the Continent from 1699-1703, to qualify himself for the diplomatic service.• under-secretary of state, member of Parliament, Secretary for Ireland,, and Secretary of State.• 1716, he married a widow, the Countess of Warwick, only lasted three years, so a clubman. • He retired from office in 1718 and died in 1719.

works: • essays for “The Tatler”: 1709—1711• essays for “ The Spectator”: 1711--1712

The spectator
The Spectator

  • Content:

    essays dealing with the customs, manners, morals, literature and other current topics of the day, in a light and informal manner, not seriously.

  • Aiming at social reform

  • Style:

    Steele’s style is intimate, easy-going and careless.

Their contribution to english literature and society
Their contribution to English Literature and Society

  • The English essay completely established itself as a literary genre. Using it as a form of character sketching and story-telling, they ushered in the dawn of modern English novel:Their writings afforded a new code of social morality for the rising bourgeoisie, and they gave a true picture of the social life in England in the 18th.

Section iiii alexander pope 1688 1744
Section IIII. Alexander Pope(1688--1744)

  • Life:• The most important English poet in the first half of the 18th century.• born in London in 1688. His father was a Roman Catholic merchant. • At 12, his health ruined by a severe illness. Weak and deformed, body crooked. He was less than four feet high and his legs look like chicken’s legs, so he walked with difficulty, could not marry and enjoy the common pleasure of life, he was doomed to an existence of solitude.

    •He at first associated with Addison and then joined in the “Scriblerus Club” to “ridicule all false tastes in learning.”


  • Classic sentences:

    To err is human, to forgive, divine. A little learning is a dangerous thing.

His achievement
His achievement

  • Achievements:The most important representative of the English classical poetry.

  • He borrowed and adopted words and expressions of other writers.

Samuel johnson 1709 1784
Samuel Johnson (1709--1784)

  • Life:• lexicographer, critic and poet.• born in Litchfield, Stafford shire, the son of a poor bookseller.• He attended Oxford and quitted a year later due to poverty. • He wrote for living and gradually became famous.• In 1764, he founded the famous Literary Club, the members included Reynolds the painter, Adam Smith the political economist, Gibbon the historian, Burke the publicist and orator, Garrick the actor, Sheridan the novelist and poet, and Boswell, Johnson’s biographer. Johnson gave his verdicts upon literature through his talks. • He died in 1784, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.


Lives of Poets

Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language:

•some of the explanation showed his prejudices and personality: “Oats, n. grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people”.•It marked an epoch in English language.•It also marked the end of English writers reliance on the patronage of noblemen for support.

Boswell’s “Life of Johnson”

Defoe and the Rise

of the English Novel

Daniel Defoe (1660?-1731)

Life:•Born in London, the son of a butcher.• After schooling, a hosier, and between 1678-1683 traveled in Spain, Italy, France and Germany as a merchant. • In 1685, he took part in the rebellion against James II, and narrowly escaped punishment. • An passionate supporter of the GR, a soldier and pamphleteer, attacking the adherents of the Stuarts.• Ups and downs in business.• In May 1703, imprisoned for enraging the Tories by supporting the dissenters, being punished to stand in the pillory in the public square, but was cheered by people as a hero. Continued to write when in prison and when released.

• Jack of all trades: a merchant, soldier, economist, politician, journalist, pamphleteer, publicist, and novelist. • His journalistic writings gave rise to his creative imagination and a pure style-----smooth, easy, colloquial.

Works:Pamphlets: P173The Trueborn Englishman-----A Satire (1701)The Shortest Way with the Dissenters (1702)Hymn to Pillory (1703)

Novels:Robinson Crusoe (1719)--59Captain Singleton (1720): a novel of adventure in Africa West Indians, the Indian Ocean, and the China seas, the narrator is Singleton, the hero.Moll Flanders (1722):in the form of autobiography. Colonel Jacque (1722): a novel of adventure.

Robinson Crusoe

Analysis of Major Characters

Robinson Crusoe While he is not a hero or grand epic adventurer, Robinson Crusoe displays character traits that have won him the approval of generations of readers.

Admirable qualities: •perseverance: spending months making a canoe, and in practicing pottery making until he gets it right, is praiseworthy.Resourcefulness: building a home, dairy, grape arbor, country house, and goat stable from practically nothing is clearly remarkable.

Friday •his cultural importance:Probably the first nonwhite character to be given a realistic, individualized, and humane portrayal in the English novel, Friday has a huge literary and cultural importance.





Jonathan Swift (1667---1745)

Life ·He was born in Dublin in 1667. His father died before he was born, and his mother was poor, and his relatives helped him, but grudgingly. ·He studied at Trinity College, Dublin, but he detested the routine curriculum, reading only thing appealing to his nature. He was often at war with authorities.·While the nobleman feared the lash of his pen, the common folk felt the warmth of his kindness.·Remembering how he had suffered in his youth, he tried to help every young man of talent who seemed deserving.·He was afflicted by a brain illness from his early youth and he did not marry. His disease ended in madness and he died in 1745 in great misery.·In his will, he bequeathed all his property to a mad-house in Dublin. It is now still there, called “Dr. Swift’s Madhouse”.

work: A tale of a Tub: in the form of a parable. A satire upon all religious sects of Christianity.The Battle of the Books: unfinished. An attack on pedantry in the literary world of the time by the story of the Bee and the Spider.

Bickerstaff Almanac(1708): The Drapier’s Letters

A Modest proposalCadenus and Vanessa: A record of his tragic love stories.Journal to Stella: love-lettersOn the Death of Dr. Swift: he pictures his own death and what his acquaintances would day of him ·

Gulliver’s Travels

Four Parts:

The 1st part: Gulliver’s travels in Lilliput (Swift satirized the Tories and the Whigs by the use of high and low heels. Religious disputes were laughed at by the problem which divided the Lilliputians: “Should the egg be broken at the big end or the little end?”)

The 2nd part: the voyage to Brobdingnag. ( Gulliver laughed at the strutting and bowing of English lords and ladies)

The 3rd part: the Flying Island---the Island of Sorcerors. A satire on philosophers and projectors, who lived in the air.

The 4th part: the bitterest satire. In the country of horses, where horses were possessed of reason, and were the governing class, while the Yahoos, though in the shape of man, were brute beasts with vices. He praised the life and virtues of the horses while he was disgusted with the Yahoos, whose relations reminded him of those existing in English society.



-- One of the masters of English prose. -- His language is simple, clear and vigorous. Proper words in proper places. -- A master satirist, His satire is an apparent calmness conceals his bitter irony.

Samuel Richardson(1689----1761)

Life: •The son of a joiner, a well-behaved boy, nicknamed as “seriousness and gravity”•He came to London as an apprentice to a printer, and married his master’s daughter.•A limited education and limited experience of the world, but a passion for letter-writing. •At 13, he used to be called on to write love-letters for young women. Thus he has acquired some ability in invention, some insight into the secrets of the female heart, and fluency in letters.

Works: all epistolary novel.Pamela (1740)Clarissa Harlowe (1747---48), a tragical storySir Charles Grandison(1753--54)

Pamela: Plot: in a series of letters. Pamela is a maid of 15, whose mistress had just died at the beginning of the novel. The lady’s son, Mr.B, took dishonorable advantage of her and continuously so. She refused him. But Mr. B laid many snares for her and one day, taking her to his still more lonely estate. Finally Mr. B is compelled to marry her. The second part tells the marriage life of Pamela. She suffers the burden of a profligate husband. Then she behaved herself with dignity and humility, and finally made herself beloved of all relations.


---He influenced later writers as Henry James, James Joyce and Virginia Woolf.

---the best-seller of the day. the “neat pocket-volumes ”of the ladies. At a village, people listened to the reading by the blacksmith, and were so excited at hearing that Pamela was safely married that they rushed off and rang the church bells.

Henry Fielding• British writer, playwright and journalist, founder of the English Realistic school in literature with Samuel Richardson.

Works:As a playwright, he wrote 26 plays in 9 years, include regular comedies, adaptations from the French, farces, burlesques, and dramatic satires,and was at best at the last two types.

As a satirist, he had the zeal for social reform. He attacked all contemporary vices, and realized the dramatization of the real life in his time.

As a novelist,he was the father of English realistic novel.

Fielding’s theory of realism:• He is the founder of the English realistic novel and sets up the theory of realism in literary creation:---“Nature herself”, i.e. the exact observation and study of real life, was the basis of Fielding ‘s work. By “nature ”, he meant the close and constant study of men and women in real life. ---The center of Fielding’s working philosophy was a common earthly Man with his earthly interests, needs and passions, which should be studied and portrayed in action, in clashes and in development.---The profound knowledge of human nature, was mainly acquired by what he himself called “conversation”。

Features of Fielding ’s Novel• The narrator was the author.

• Satire abounds in his novel • The educational function of novels

• Fielding’s style: easy, unlabored, familiar, vivid, vigorous.


In the latter half of the 18th century, a new literary movement arose in Europe, called the Romantic Revival. It was marked by the strong protest against the bondage of classicism, by recognition of the claims of passion and emotion, and by a renewed interest in medieval literature. In England, this movement showed itself in the trend of Pre-romanticism in poetry, (which was ushered in by Percy, Macpherson and Chatterton ), and represented by Blake and Burns.

William BlakeI. Life ﹡Born on 28 November 1757, the son of a London hosier.﹡He never went to school and he studied by himself, his favorite studies in early days were Shakespeare, Milton and Chatterton. ﹡At 14, an apprentice to an engraver. The illustrations engraved by him had a peculiar style.﹡In 1782, he married Catherine Boucher, an illiterate but smart girl. Blake taught her to read and help him in engraving.﹡In his old age Blake gave up poetry to devote himself to painting and engraving. In 1809 he put on a one-man exhibition, but it was a total failure because few people understood his pictures.﹡In 1827, Blake died in obscurity and poverty.

Works:﹡Poetical Sketches (1783): his first collection of poems. He tried the Spenserian Stanza, Shakespearian and Miltonic blank verse, the ballad form and lyric meters. He was opposed to the classical tradition of the 18th century.

(Spenserian Stanza A nine-line stanza having eight Verses in iambic pentameter, its ninth verse in iambic hexameter, and the rhyme scheme ababbcbcc. This stanza form was first used by Edmund Spenser in his allegorical poem The Faerie Queene. )

III. Songs of Innocence (1789) and Songs of Experience. (1794)

---The contrast between the two collections of poems is of great significance: It marks a progress in the poet’s outlook in life. The former portrays a world of harmony, peace and love; while the latter revealed the power of evil, the great misery and pain of the people’s life.

IV. Blake’s Position in English Literature:---A pre-romantic or a forerunner of the Romantic poetry of the 19th century.

---His lyric poetry displays the characteristics of the romantic spirit, emphasizing the natural sentiment and individual originality. ---A strong likeness between Shelly and Blake: the imagery and symbolism as well as the underlying revolutionary spirit.








我就说:“小托姆,不要紧,光了脑袋,   打起来煤屑就不会糟踏你白头发。”  他就安安静静了,当天夜里,   托姆睡着了,事情就来得稀奇,   他看见千千万万的扫烟囱小孩   阿猫阿狗全都给锁进了黑棺材。

后来来了个天使,拿了把金钥匙,   开棺材放出了孩子们(真是好天使 !)   他们就边跳,边笑,边跑过草坪,   到河里洗了澡,太阳里晒得亮晶晶。

光光的,白白的,把袋子都抛个一,   他们就升上了云端,在风里游戏; “只要你做个好孩子, ”天使对托姆说, “上帝会做你的父亲,你永远快乐。”  托姆就醒了;屋子里黑咕隆咚,   我们就起来拿袋子、扫帚去做工。   大清早尽管冷,托姆的心里可温暖;   这叫做:各尽本分,就不怕灾难。

Robert Burns (1759--1796)

I. Life:﹡born in a clay cottage, Scotland, in 1759. His father a poor, honest peasant.﹡At 6, he had a little schooling. From his early childhood, he had an intimate knowledge of Scottish folk songs and poems. Then, he had to work on the land from morning till dawn, but he squeezed out some time to read and write. ﹡In 1789 he was appointed exciseman with a small salary. He was in conflict with his superiors due to his support of the FR.﹡During the last 12 years, he did a great deal in collecting Scottish folk songs for two anthologies, “Select Collection of Original Scottish Airs” and “The Scots Musical Museum”. In 1796, he died due to an illness.

II. Works:Songs written in the Scottish dialect

Songs of love and friendship

Songs of patriotism

Songs on the theme of revolution

Songs showing sympathy for the Negro slaves

Songs of satire

III. Features of Burns’ Poetry:---He is the national poet of Scotland

---He is a poet of the peasants, a poet of the people: rural theme. ---He mastered the old song tradition

---He refined the old songs into noble masterpieces with higher artistic effect.---His poems have a musical quality. E,g, “Auld Lang Syne”----originally a Scottish song, rewritten by Burns.