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Write a note on the various other terms applied to the Neo-classical Age of English...

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ashritaicym | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 18, 2007 at 5:42 PM via web

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Write a note on the various other terms applied to the Neo-classical Age of English Literature and state the reasons for these descriptions.

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Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted June 18, 2007 at 7:50 PM (Answer #1)

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Your question is unclear (what was your original term, since you have asked for "other terms") and I'm also not sure what you mean by "write a note" but I'll give it a shot as I can provide you with some of the key Neo-Classical terms as they apply to the theater.

It might be helpful to give a brief reminder of what Neo-classicm means in literary history. Neoclassicism was a movement in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries that sought to return literature to classical reasoning, which was noted for its form and restraint.

Unity of Action: Aristotle called for a "unity of action." Neoclassicists believed that events unfolding on stage had to be logically linked for unity of action to be realized.

Unity of Time: The action in a play, should it take place in a day, does not have to be strictly limited to 24 hours. It is better to let events unfold naturally than have them strictly adhered to. The audience will not be aware of it, usually, unless it is pointed out to them. It is best to not refer to
time at all.

Unity of Place: Events are most believable when they take place in one location but if it is necessary, changes to the stage should only be made during intermissions and in between acts. The best location is one that is "indetermined" and could be both "public and private."

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sagetrieb | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted June 28, 2007 at 12:06 AM (Answer #2)

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Most critics see Pope's "Essay on Criticism" (1711) as critical statements of Neoclassical principles, which include ideals of order, logic, restraint, accuracy, "correctness," "restraint," decorum, and so on, which would enable the practitioners of various arts to imitate or reproduce the structures and themes of Greek or Roman originals. These might be the sort of terms your teacher wants you to understand in regard to this period of literature. Other terms refer to the different stages of this literary period, as well as what preceded it and follows it. The Neoclassical period follows the Renaissance in British literary history, and is composed of the Restoration Age (1660-1700), in which Milton, Bunyan, and Dryden were the dominant influences; the Augustan Age (1700-1750), in which Pope was the central poetic figure, while Defoe, Richardson, Fielding, were developing the novel; and the Age of Johnson (1750-1798), which was characterized by Dr. Samuel Johnson, who embodied attitudes which led to the development of Romanticism (the love of nature, the novel of sensibility, the importance of the emotions) and the end of the Neoclassical period.

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