Literary and cultural processes are inextricably linked to social,historical and political structures.Explain?
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In 1814 Sir Walter Scott published the first historical novel. His was a pioneering effort which clearly exemplifies the interweaving of the socio-political factors with the literary and cultural factors of his time.
After the French Revolution in 1789 the European academicians and historians began to have a different perspective of their past. The scholars of the Neo-Classical Age before 1789 considered their age to be the best period ever in the history of mankind. They regarded all the past ages as being uncivilised and barbarous. They asserted that their age and only their age marked the peak of human perfection. If this was the case why then did something so violent and horrifying as the French Revolution occur? When the scholars were forced to take a fresh perspective of their past they realised the simple and obvious truth that society is constantly changing and that development and progress were only relative. History and historiography became the hottest academic disciplines in contemporary Europe.
Scott began his literary career as a ballad collector and poet, but as soon as Byron appeared on the literary scene and became very famous Scott stopped writing poetry and capitalized on this new popular interest in history and virtually invented a new literary form, the historical novel in which he blended fact and fiction and rendered actual historical incidents in a very imaginative way.
"Waverley" in 1814 by Scott is the first historical novel. Scott's sensitive and imaginative portrayal of an actual historical incident, the Jacobite Revolution, reveals dramatically the processes of historical and social change at work.
Literature and philosopy provide the ideas on which all aspects of our cultures are based. For example if you read the Ancient Greek philosophers and playwrites, you can see the worldview on which their governments, economy and culture were based. You can see how the ideas from the minds of men led to democracy, war, and disillusionment with the Gods. If you study the philosophers and writers of The Enlightenment you can see how their ideas played out in the American and French Revoutions and the development of our constitution. In order to understand a historical period, you need to understand it intellectually as well as factually.
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