Neoclassical Poetry

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Neoclassicism is the idea about art and literature that evolved during the 17th and 18th century greatly affected by classical tradition. Changes in culture and consciousness influenced this period. Crucially, the Neoclassical Age, also known as The Age of Reason English Literature, can be classified into The Restoration Age (1660-1700), The Augustan Age or The Age of Pope (1700-1745), The Age of Johnson or The Age of Sensibility (1745-1785). Among these, Milton had a predominant influence over the Restoration Age. His important contributions during this period were Paradise Lost. Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes. Neoclassical poetry as such, did not have any concerted body of principles and methodology. The prominent writers shared a common view based on their response to the various ancients. They concurred regarding the concision, elegance and wit of their classical forerunners. Their poetry matched the intelligence of Horace’s Verse, beset energy of Juvenal’s Satire and the heroic raise of Homer’s Epic. Their theory of literature was shaped by a composite classical influence and which Aristotle and Horace stood out. According to the neoclassical critics, the overall meaning conveyed by any work should be the principle by which all its aspects should be assessed. Literature works of this age were judged by the impact it created and the poet was advised to adapt particular instruction and pleasure he wished to give the readers. Milton was the poet of steadfast will and purpose, who moved like a god amidst the fears, hopes and changing impulse of the world ignoring them as insignificant things, which can deviate progression of one’s purpose. This attitude made him a successful Restoration poet. “His writings were greatly influenced by the Restoration Age. He shows himself the Puritan that he was by birth and upbringing; but nurtured on the classics made popular by Renaissance, he refused to surrender his ’better judge-ment’ to sheer faith and...
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