Friday, June 12, 2009

1700 to 1799: "John Gilpin" to Vathek.

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

William Cowper. British. 1782. Poetry/Ballad. “John Gilpin.” Preferring to ride on a horse rather than in a chaise, John is taken for a long ride by the horse.

George Crabbe. British. 1783. Poetry. The Village. Realistic response to the artificialities of the pastoral convention, exemplified by Goldsmith’s Deserted Village, a sentimentalized picture of rural life. Hardships, evils, sordidness and misery of country-dwellers of the day.

Friedrich Schiller. German. 1784. Play. Love and Intrigue. Love across social barriers. Musician’s daughter and an aristocrat whose father unwittingly causes their deaths.

William Cowper. British. 1785. Poetry. The Task. Purpose: Leave London and live life of rural ease and pleasure, piety and virtue. Topics: Nature, rural life, animals; simple, hard-working people, social reform. Inspiriting and healing qualities of nature: forerunner to Wordsworth. “God made the country and man made the town.”

William Beckford. British. 1786. Gothic Novel. Vathek, an Arabian Tale. Caliph sells his soul to the Devil to gain the throne of the Sultan. Finds that it is a place of torture and he is doomed to remain in it forever.

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