English Literature Part V

English Literature 5

According to rrrjewelry.com, this was also a central theme of the great philosophical didactic poems of the epoch, among others. J. Thomson , “The seasons” (1726–30; German “Jahreszeiten”, 1744, translated by BH Brockes ), A. Pope, “Essay on man” (1733; German “attempt from people”, 1740, translated by. BH Brockes). Conversely, however, the awareness of a critical historical turning point was also noticeable. The impossibility of writing an important epic and the popularity of the satirical-parodistic comic epic – A. Pope, “The rape of the lock”, (1712; German “Der merckworthige Haar-Locken-Raub”, 1739), J. Gay “Trivia, or the art of walking the streets of London” (1716) – showed the decline of traditional aristocratic-heroic ideals; the blossoming of satire, especially: J. Swift, “Gulliver’s travels” (1726; German “Des Capitains Lemuel Gulliver Reisen”, 1727-28) as well as works by A. Pope and S. Johnson, was a reaction to undesirable social developments as well on the corrupt political system operated by the parties that emerged after 1688–89.

At the same time, there were profound changes in the composition of the reading public due to the influx of readers and, above all, of readers from the rising middle class. As a result, new forms and genres emerged beyond the neoclassical genre system, in line with the needs of the new audience. Among them, the moral weeklies (“periodical essays”), which emerged from the informal coffee house culture, played a central role as organs of the emerging public. To start off, R. Steele and J. Addison with “The Tatler” (1709-11) and ” The Spectator «(1711–12, 1714), whose conversational essays fulfilled an important educational function; at the same time, they were the beginning of the extremely rich prose literature of the century, which, in addition to essays, mainly comprised forms of self-communication such as letters, biographies, diaries and memoirs.

In the drama, the tragedy turned into a melodramatic-moral bourgeois tragedy (G. Lillo , “The London merchant”, 1731; German “Der Kaufmann von London”, 1752), while the comedy said goodbye to the amoral ethos of the restoration pieces and took on sentimental traits (e.g. R. Steele, “The conscious lovers”, 1722; German 1752), who even appear in O. Goldsmith’s “laughing” comedies (“She stoops to conquer”, 1773; German “She lets down to zu siegen “, 1773) and RB Sheridans (” The school for scandal “, 1777; German” Die Lästerschule “, 1782) were not missing. The political farce (e.g. J. Gay, “ The beggar’s opera «, 1728; German »Die Bettler-Oper«, 1898), however, after the introduction of theater censorship in 1737, the stage was closed.

Finally, with D. Defoes “ Robinson Crusoe ” (1719–20; German 1721) and “ Moll Flanders ” (1722; German 1723), the central genre of bourgeois culture emerged: the novel, which as a large narrative form gives its readers orientation offered to a changing world. The genre was distinguished from the start by its diversity: on the one hand, realistic variants were created that aimed at the most authentic representation of human experience, but experimented with very different narrative forms and techniques. Sometimes they resorted to non-fictional forms such as letters, diaries or travel reports (D. Defoe, S. Richardson ), partly they followed on from the picaresque tradition (H. Fielding , T. Smollett ) or used a sensitive, sentimental tone (Henry Mackenzie (* 1745, † 1831), O. Goldsmith). In the second half of the century, the type of realistic social novel (F. Burney , M. Edgeworth and especially J. Austen ) developed, which was to become the dominant form in the 19th century.

In addition to these variants of the novel, which were realistic in the broadest sense, there were also other, alternative forms that opened up the realm of the fantastic, such as Oriental novels (including W. Beckford , “Vathek”, 1786; German 1788) or the – which has survived to the present day – Schauerroman (“Gothic novel”, especially: H. Walpole , A. Radcliffe , C. Reeve , MG Lewis ). Finally, L. Sterne dared with “ Tristram Shandy «(1759–67; German» Tristram Schandy’s Life and Opinions «, 1810) a formal experiment that, as if in anticipation of metafictional techniques of the 20th century, played a parodic game with the fundamental conventions of the new genre.

To the extent that the neoclassical norms lost their validity over the course of the century, there was a development that is often referred to as pre-romanticism. In literary theory, the abandonment of classicist rule poetics resulted in an appreciation of the imagination, the exuberance of emotions and the originality of genius, as well as a reassessment of medieval, Celtic and Norse literature, folk songs and folk ballads. In addition, the perception of nature changed, the aesthetic and emotional intrinsic value of which aroused increasing interest. The poetry followed the theory, as can be seen in the night and cemetery poetry by E. Young (“Night thoughts”, 1744; German “Nachtgedanken”, 1827), in the poems of J. Warton(“The enthusiast”, 1744), T. Wartons (“The pleasures of melancholy”, 1747), W. Collins ‘ (“Odes”, 1746) and T. Grays (“Elegy written in a country churchyard”, 1751), to R. Burns ‘ poems based on the folk song, to T. Percy’s collection of Scottish-English folk ballads (“Reliques of ancient English poetry”, 1765) and to J. Macphersons (“ Ossian ”, 1760–63; German “Fingal: a Heldengedicht ”, 1764) and   T. Chattertons (“ Rowley ”poems, 1770) can read popular forgeries of medieval texts.

English Literature 5