Thursday, May 28, 2009

1700 to 1799: The Seasons to "A Modest Proposal."

Chronology of World, British and American Literature.

James Thomson. British.

1726/30. Poetry. The Seasons. Belief in progress. Fascination with the idea of a golden age. Ordered universe is symbolized by the seasons.

Anonymous. American. 1727. Textbook. The New England Primer. Textbook to teach New England children the alphabet. Verses, illustrations, rules for behavior, hymns and prayers. “Now I lay me down to sleep.”

John Gay. British. 1728. Play. The Beggar’s Opera. Barbs aimed at the Italian opera, Walpole, marriage, ladies, gentlemen, lawyers, trade and sentimental tragedy.

Alexander Pope. British. 1728/43. Poetry. The Dunciad. Attacks the critics of his works. Cibber—king of the Dunces, the emperor of Dullness, which reigns supreme.

Jonathan Swift. British. 1729. Satire. “A Modest Proposal.” Mocking suggestion that the Irish poor rear children to be killed and sold for eating.

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