Critical Overview

(Literary Movements for Students)

Neoclassicism is an extension of the classical period. Scholars generally note that it was in fact a time of great importance because the works produced during this period have greatly influenced the course of literature to follow. Dubbed by many to be “intellectual art,” the works of neoclassical writers were praised for their didactic nature. Great admiration has been bestowed upon these founding fathers of the English canon—many have marveled at the great versatility of these writers who produced a seemingly endless variety of work, including poetry, satire, odes, drama, prose, criticism, and translations. The works themselves commanded greater admiration still, as they were apt to be written with elegance, simplicity, dignity, restraint, order, and proportion.

One rather negative assertion made on the part of critics is that imagination was intentionally repressed during the neoclassical period. To the contrary, Donald F. Bond, author of “The Neo- Classical Psychology of the Imagination,” argues that although writers were concerned with the “dangers of an uncontrolled imagination, an examina- tion of the psychological background of the period reveals an awareness of the validity of the imagination.” Considering the mind as a “storehouse of images,” he elaborates on his point by stating that “this aspect of the imagination, as the power whereby the mind is cognizant of external objects without direct sensory stimulus, is prevalent...

(The entire section is 359 words.)