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8/26/2018

History of Augustan Age

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This age is called Augustan Age because the writers of this period imitated the style and elegance of the writers who wrote in Italy during the reign of Emperor Augustus(27 B.C.-14 A.D.). This span of time also called the Age of Pope because Alexander Pope was the best known poet of the time. During these years England was ruled by Queen Anne (1702-14), George I (1714-27) and George II (1727-60).

The important facts which influenced the literature of this period are:


  1. Scotland was annexed to England.
  2. Jacobite Raising continued.
  3. The first cabinet of England was formed.
  4. The first English daily newspaper, "The Daily Courant", appeared in London in 1702.
  5. The number of coffee houses , pubs and clubs was multiplied and people learned the habit of living together.
  6. A number of literary associations started. Of them the most famous was the Scriblerus Club. The members this club were Alexander Pope, John Gay, John Arbuthnot , Jonathan Swift and Thomas Parnell. The other clubs of this period were Kit-cat Club and the Spectator's club. 


Major Writers of the Period and Their Major Works: 

  • Daniel Defoe (1659-1731)
    "Robinson Crusoe" (1719)

  • Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)
    "The Battle of the Books (1704)
    "A Tale of a Tab" (1704)
    "Gulliver's Travels" (1726)

  • Joseph Addison (1672-1719) and Richard Steele (1672-1729)
     "The Tatler" and "Spectator" (1709-1712)

  • Alexander Pope (1688-1744).
   "The Rape of the Lock" (1712)
   "Dunciad" (1728)
   "Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot" (1735)
    " An Essay on Criticism" (1711)

  • Samuel Richardson (1689-1761)
     "Pamela or Virtue Rewarded " (1740)

  • Henry Fielding (1707-54)
    "Joseph Andrews" (1742), a novel


Main literary features of the Age:

  1. Neo-classical spirit continues.
  2. Poetry becomes a visual as well as verbal art following Horace's theory "as in painting, so in Poetry" ("ut pictura poesis")
  3. Precise , formal and elegant become the standard style of writing.
  4. Moderation , realism and rationalism become the main principals of creative works.
  5. The regular pentameter couplet and blank verse are to the best possible perfection.
  6. Lyric poetry losses dominance.
  7. Satirical verse continues.
  8. Satirical prose appears ; it blends fact and fiction in new forms ,  such as biographies , travelogue, political allegories , and Romantic tales.
  9. Novels and journalism begin.

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