18th century English literature

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Topics: 18th century, London
HISTORIC & CULTURAL BACKGROUND OF ENGLAND IN THE 18TH CENTURY
The Silver Age of the European Renaissance
1. There was a sense of relief and escape, relief from the strain of living in a mysterious universe and escape from the ignorance and barbarism of the Gothic centuries –not referring only to Gothic literature. The dark period provokes that people want to change and improve their lifestyle when they entered the 18th century. There was a general desire to emancipate from the dark aspects of rural and dark living.
2. Sanity, culture, and civilization had revived. There was a general feeling of emancipation from historic specters, a sense of security from the upheavals of the Civil War period.
3. Dryden wrote in 1668 “We have been so long together bad Englishmen that we had not leisure to be good poets”. This quote exemplifies that 17th century men were occupied with complete other things than humanities.
“Nature”–philosophical concept/religious concept that rule the 18th century. Western thinking– has been a controlling idea in the Western thought ever since antiquity, but it has probably never been so universally active as it was from the Renaissance to the end of the 18th century. The laws of “Nature” are the laws of reason; they are always and everywhere, and the axioms of mathematics they have only to be presented in order to be acknowledged as just and right by all men. This was the Golden Age of natural theology and deistical freethinking: Spinoza, Boyle, Locke, etc. During the Christian centuries religion has rested upon revelation; now it rested largely upon “Nature” and even the Orthodox who retain the supernatural basis felt that faith must be grounded firmly upon “Nature” before one had recourse t super-Nature. The 18th century is the century of Reason. If we want to apply reason, it has to be stable. Everything ought to be structured in logic axioms. It is the Golden Age of liberal thinking, also in religion which one had the power and gave

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