Wednesday, May 27, 2009

1700 to 1799: Robinson Crusoe to Gulliver's Travels.

Chronology of World, British and American Literature.

Daniel Defoe. British. 1719/20. Novel. Robinson Crusoe. Shipwrecked. Leads solitary existence for 24 years. He and Friday battle cannibals. Qualities: courage, patience, ingenuity and industry. Based stories on adventures of Alexander Selkirk. Allegory of his own life?

Daniel Defoe. British. 1722. Novel. Moll Flanders. Full title summarizes her life, one of the earliest social novels in England. The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders, Who Was Born at Newgate, and During a Life of Continued Variety for Three Score Year, Besides Her Childhood, Was Twelve Year a Whore, five Time a Wife (Whereof Once to Her Own Brother), Twelve Year a Thief, Eight Year a Transported Felon in Virginia, at Last Grew Rich, liv’d Honest, and Died a Penitent.

Daniel Defoe. British. 1722. Nonfiction? A Journal of the Plague Year. Account of an epidemic of bubonic plague in England during the summer and fall of 1665. Remarkably convincing.

Voltaire. French. 1723. Epic Poem. La Henriade. Struggle of Henry IV of Navarre to gain the throne. Condemns civil strife and religious fanaticism.

Jonathan Swift. British. 1726. Satire. Gulliver’s Travels. Bitter denunciation of mankind. Man’s corruption of his highest attribute, reason. Form of journal. Ship’s physician. Lilliput (pigmies), Brobdingnag (giants), Laputa (wise men), Houyhnmland. Satirizes man’s abuse of human reason, reflected in political, social and academic institutions.

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