What were the three schools of writers in the eighteenth century? Explain.
Three schools of writers in the eighteenth century were neoclassical, sentimental, and gothic. Neoclassical writers emphasized reason and the classical world of Greece and Rome. Sentimental writers focused on feeling. Gothic authors explored the uncanny, supernatural, and frightening aspects of life.
The eighteenth century was a period of lots of new ideas in writing. Scholars have identified three general schools of writers in this period, including the classicists, the Romantics, and the early novelists.
The classicists were writers who called themselves members of an "Augustan Age." Writers in this school valued reason and rationality over emotion and sought to underline universal truths. They also stressed the importance of clear and precise writing. Examples of writers in this school include Jonathan Swift and Alexander Pope.
Romanticism was another school of writing that flourished in the eighteenth century. Romanticism focused less on logic and more on human individuality. Writers in this school emphasized the importance of spontaneity and aimed to inspire creative thinking. Examples of writers in this school include Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth.
Finally, the contemporary concept of the novel also emerged during the eighteenth century. Novels developed as works that explored themes accessible to average readers and new patterns of plot. This school actually began to emerge before the word "novel" was used to describe these works. Examples of writers in this school include Daniel Defoe and Laurence Sterne. For instance, Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe was significant because it revolutionized prose and was the first account of realistic fiction.
For further reading, I would suggest William Joseph Long’s book English Literature, Its History and Its Significance for the Life of the English Speaking World. Long breaks down these schools of writing into great detail.
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Three schools of writers in the eighteenth century include the neoclassical, the sentimental, and the gothic.
As eighteenth-century Britain increasingly became a powerful empire, it self-consciously modeled itself on the Roman empire and tried to imitate the literature of the Greco-Roman world. A neoclassical school of writing arose in conjunction with this goal. Poets such as Alexander Pope imitated the classical writers of the ancient world and put an emphasis on cool rationality and measured verses written in carefully crafted heroic couplets, most often conveying an ethical message.
As a reaction to this emphasis on reason, a sentimental school of literature emerged in the midcentury, characterized by poets like Thomas Gray and novelists like Samuel Richardson. These writers, though they used reason, highlighted the importance of feeling. Pushing back against the neoclassical emphasis on great men and the heroic deeds of the past, Gray's Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard, for example, focused on the lives of the simple and obscure and expressed a deep emotional connection with them. A novel such as Richardson's Pamela explored the emotional life of its heroine in dramatic terms, aiming for realism through use of the epistolary or letter writing format. Here, as in Gray, the emphasis is on the contemporary English world rather than the ancient world and on feeling.
The gothic genre, also a backlash against the rationalism of neoclassicism, developed in the eighteenth century. Starting with Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto, this literature explored the uncanny, the mysterious, the supernatural, the frightening, and the repressed sides of life, often within a medieval setting.
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