Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
The eighteenth century probably will be called the age of reason and classicism as long as English literature is studied. Reason prevailed not only in literature but in almost all of the phases of life; religion, politics, social intercourse and domestic relations, all were brought under the sway of reason. “A literature which is essentially rational is not the work of a generation; it can come fully into its own, be securely established, only after a process of increment, through which the average instincts have been adapted to it, and every predictable difficulty has been smothered away. One may say that the age of Pope lives more fully, more spontaneously at the pitch of that dominant intellectuality, which during the preceding age was chiefly an irresistible impulse, a kind of contagious intoxication. The Restoration had turned Reason herself into a free, adventures guide; classicism now makes her a clear and calm advisor.” Clearness and calmness, those two words seem to describe the ideals of the writers of the first half of the century. To them the two words are inseparable; clearness of thought and calmness of expression are to be the important criteria in the producing of their own works and in the judging of the works of their contemporaries.
Marks, Janet B., "Criticism of contemporary literature in English periodicals, 1700-1760" (1938). Student Work. 3232.
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