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As their name implies, neoclassical writers were specifically in favor of returning to the principles, techniques, and styles that characterized classical texts. They idealized what they saw as the restraint, order, and economy of phrase in classical writing, as well as the emphasis on moral themes. One manifestation of this can be seen in the emphasis on the classical unities, derived from Aristotle, that were applied to drama. Playwrights, it was argued, should adhere to these unities, which included place, time and plot. Those who deviated from these unities (Shakespeare being a particularly prominent example) were derided by neoclassicists as crude and gratuitously ornamental in their work.
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