Tuesday, May 26, 2009

1700 to 1799: "An Essay on Criticism" to Gil Blas

Chronology of World, British and American Literature.

Alexander Pope. British. 1711. Literary Criticism. “An Essay on Criticism.” Discussion of literary taste, style, verse structure. Criticism based on neoclassical principles.

Anonymous (Robert Burns?) British/Scottish. 1711? Song. “Auld Lang Syne.” New version of an older song. “…took it down from an old man’s singing.”

Joseph Addison and Richard Steele. British. March 1711 – December 1712. Essays. The Spectator. Picture of the social life of the times.

Alexander Pope. British. 1714. Poetry. “The Rape of the Lock.” Cuts off a lock of Belinda’s hair and she demands its return. Mock-heroic.

Alain Rene Lesage. French. 1715/35. Novel. Histoire de Gil Blas de Santillane. Picaresque. Extraordinary number of episodes. No coherent plot. Blas evolves: innocence, corruption, triumph of virtue. He meets adventurers, thieves, valets, actors, authors, doctors, clergymen and noblemen. Setting is supposedly Spanish, but it is actually a picture of French society.

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