Neoclassicism

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Characteristics and main features of Neoclassical poetry

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Neoclassical poetry is characterized by its emphasis on order, reason, and restraint. It often imitates classical forms and themes, drawing inspiration from ancient Greek and Roman literature. Key features include a focus on wit, clarity, and decorum, with poets aiming for polished and refined expression. Common themes include human nature, morality, and societal norms, often conveyed through satire and didacticism.

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What are the characteristics of neoclassical poetry?

Neoclassical poetry sought to emulate the values of ancient literature. In terms of subject matter, this meant dealing with human nature, which neoclassical poets such as Pope thought was firm and unchanging. In remaining close to nature, poetry was able to deal with universal themes that transcended time and place. In terms of style, the neoclassical approach involved the use of regular rhymes and meters, in keeping with what was perceived to be objective standards of composition.

Neo-classicism distrusted anything strange, unusual, or in the least bit innovative in relation to both subject matter and methods of prosody. Poetry should be written, it was argued, with an elite audience in mind, a small but sophisticated coterie of readers for whom refinement in literature as well as manners was everything. That being the case, it was thought vulgar and ill-mannered in the extreme for poets to depart from the tried-and-tested standards handed down from the past.

That's why the Romantic era was so revolutionary: because it radically redefined the whole nature of poetry and its intended audience. Romantic poetry was more experimental in its methods of composition and dealt with themes—such as the supernatural and the lives of country folk—that would never have been explored by the Neo-classicists. And in terms of language, the new poetry was firmly rooted in that it was used by the common folk in their ordinary, everyday lives, instead of the relatively artificial, elevated register that was such a notable feature of neoclassicism.

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What are the characteristics of neoclassical poetry?

Neo classical is a mimicry or reimagining of classic Greek and Roman ideas and ideals, derived from French critical models and Pope's "Essay on Criticism" (1711)

In poetry this would mimicry of the balladic style of Greek and Roman epics.  

So taking up the poem in the middle of the action, begins/mentions with the evocation of the muse or classical deity -sometimes even heroes like Achillies etc.  They usually contain a statement of theme, uses epithets, and shows divine intervention.  

The protagonists/mentioned individuals, sometimes the author, is the embodiment of civilisation and there are usually long lists of items, people, places etc.

vast or lofty themes, or on occaision presenting a trivial theme as very important such as Alexander Popes, The Rape of the Lock, which is written like a Homeric epic but is about a woman having her hair cut.

 In terms of structure the poetry was very ordered and tightly controlled with few running lines and little to no free verse.

It favoured elegent expression and 'wit' which was intelligent expression.  The period was marked with an 'obsession' with decorum and propriety

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What are the main features of Neoclassical poetry?

The main features of poetry during the neo classical age include the development of literary pieces based on prose and reason. In prose the works are developed to adhere to the normal flow of verbal communication instead of rhythm. The works contain normal sentences in paragraphs which are more focused on the message than the stylistic effect. The poet in such instances is seen to be having an ordinary conversation with no standard formula. Reason features predominantly in poetry developed during the neo classical era as a break away from the imaginative works of previous years. The poets of this age supported use of logic in developing the literary pieces and this may have been the reason that the work had to be done in prose. This is because the poets through their works presented their arguments and criticisms and thus reason and simplicity was important in forming the basis of their arguments. The Dunciad by Alexander Pope is a good example and one of the most popular pieces of poetry from the neo classical age.

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What are the main features of Neoclassical poetry?

The main features of poetry in the neoclassical age were:

a) Neoclassical poetry sprung from intellect, not from writers’ whims and imaginations.

b) It was a more moralising, educational type of poetry as opposed to the romantic poetry of the Renaissance Period (14th to 17th century). The neoclassical period was predominantly in the 18th and early 19th century.

c) Neoclassicism had three stages: Restoration Period (1660-1700), Augustan Age (1700-1750), and the Age of Johnson (1750-1798).

d) Its main feature was rationalism (reason as the primary foundation and test of knowledge).

e) Neoclassical poets wrote poetry without calling on feelings and imagination to help them create their literary works.

f) Plato was a significant source for writers of the neoclassical era.

g) Neoclassical poets, having high regard for classical rules, tried to adhere to these classical rules of poetry in their writings.

h) The neoclassical movement as a whole, which included its poetry, stemmed from the classical and contemporary French model.

i) Neoclassical poetry and other works embodied a response against the hopeful, enthusiastic, view of man typical to the Renaissance period.

j) Poets of the neoclassical era, many who were well-educated, made use of scholarly allusions in their work. They often made allusions to the classical writers such as Homer.

k) Being realists to a great degree, neoclassical poets endeavored to present what they believed was a true, real picture of the society in which they lived, worked, and played. This was in contrast to a romanticized view of society around them.

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What are the main features of Neoclassical poetry?

Neoclassical is a term used to describe the writing of late 17th to 18th century authors like Alexander Pope, John Dryden, and others. This style of writing referred to a “new” form of the “classics” inspired by form, function, and theme of originals from Greek and Roman literature. This style took an attitude toward human nature and ideas, logic, structure of order, and other artistic realms which would enable the author to replicate those originals from Greek and Roman literature. Regular meter, carefully controlled rhyme, and masterful use of difficult rhetorical and figurative devices, often imitating those found in Greek and Latin poetry, characterized this work. This era of neoclassical literature was predominant until late in the 18th century. At that time the romantic era was ushered in with the works of William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and others of that time period.

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What is Neoclassical Poetry and its main features?

Neoclassical poetry comes from 18th and 19th century American colonial contributors with conservative values.  It is made up of heroic couplets - two lines of iambic pentameter that rhyme, and each of these couplets is thought to express complete thought and rhyme.  Some features of neoclassical poetry are that man is rational, that man's purpose is to teach and to entertain, and that literature is a craft to be appreciated for its correctness.  This poetry focuses on humans and human qualities.

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