Survey of English Literature 19 th & 20 th Centuries - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Survey of English Literature 19 th & 20 th Centuries

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  1. Survey of English Literature19th & 20th Centuries • Scope of this course • Romanticism • Victorianism • Modernism • Review syllabus • 18th-century backgrounds to Romanticism

  2. The 18th-Century in a Nutshell • Politics • Socio-Economics • Religion & Philosophy • Literature

  3. 18th-Century Politics & Economics • In America and France, what occurred in the late 18th-century? • War & violence • Hierarchies toppled • Shift away from land & agriculture-based economy • Middle-classes gain importance

  4. 18th-Century England • What happened in England at this time? • Ever hear of the English Revolution? • Hierarchies remained intact • Without violence, order was maintained • Political & economic conservatism

  5. 18th-Century Religion & Philosophy • Religion after the Renaissance • In England, religious diversity tolerated; conservatism still reigns • Philosophy of Reason dominates • Shift from Hobbes’ view of man (greed)to Rousseau’s view (goodness)

  6. 18th-Century also known as: • Georgian Age (4 King Georges in a row!) • Augustan Age • Neoclassical Age • Age of Reason: • Descartes: “I think, therefore I am”

  7. Reason, Order, Control, Submission Natural hierarchies • God over Man • Man over Animals • Men over Women • Aristocracy over Middle/Working classes • Reason over • Passion • Imagination • Appetites

  8. 18th-Century English Literature • Reflected society’s conservatism • Focus on man’s proper place • Emphasis on didactic, philosophic poetry and essays • Style: formal, regular, orderly

  9. Alexander Pope: An Essay on Man • A deeply philosophic poem, deals with: • Life-Death, Man-God, Earth-Heaven • Written for a very elite audience • Didactic, i.e. educational • Justifying the ways of God to man

  10. Chain of Being (ll. 237-41) • Why might this be appealing? • Sin of Pride (ll. 123-30) • Pride breeds chaos (ll. 241-46; 251-58) • Pope’s advice: Submit (ll. 279-92) • Beauty of the status quo

  11. Samuel Johnson: Rasselas • Another didactic work, this time fictional • Age of Reason, imagination seen as enemy • Solitude feeds imagination • Imagination akin to madness • “All power of fancy over reason is a degree of insanity.”

  12. Romanticism & Revolution • Romantic poets responded to 18th-century rationalism • Romantic poets were inspired by the revolutions in America & France • Romantic poets saw themselves as applying revolutionary principles to literature