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Enlightenment Literature: 1700 - 1800

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Ethan Case

on 16 October 2014

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Transcript of Enlightenment Literature: 1700 - 1800

Many cultural and historical events, new inventions, great discoveries, philosophical achievements, and even musical artists had an incredible impact on the literature of this time period. The eighteenth century was the time period from 1700 to 1800. The significance of this time is of great recognition in the subject of enlightening literature.
Defining Enlightenment
The definition of enlightenment is to be in the state of being enlightened. The Enlightenment period in history was a philosophical movement in the eighteenth century, characterized by belief in power of human reason and by innovations in political, religious, and educational doctrine. A doctrine is defined as a belief or set of beliefs held and taught by certain people or establishments.
General Historical and
Cultural Events
Historical Events & Cultural Events in 18th Century

1700- England and France dominate African slave trade to America
1735- John Peter Zenger, New York Editor, establishes press freedom
1752- Benjamin Franklin (scientist) develops the lighting rod
1755- Samuel Johnson publishes the first English Dictionary
1765- James Watt invents the steam engine
1783- Treaty of Paris. Britain excepts American Independence
1783- Beethoven's first printed works
1783- William Blake's importance in poems
1789- French Revolution
1792- Mary Wollstonecraft and A Vindication of the Rights of Women
By: Ethan Case
Enlightenment Literature: 1700 - 1800
Generalization of
Eighteenth Century
Political Figures...
One of the most influential figures in the French Revolution was Maximilien Robespierre. This revolution, was a turning point from the feudal times of old to the complete fulfillment of the Enlightenment movement.
George Washington commanded the American forces against the British troops which was an act in the American Revolution in the 1770's where the United States separated from the British Empire. Thus creating a strong country and a new topic of literature to be discussed.
Scientific Leaders...
Edward Jenner is referred to as the father of immunology and has had a great deal of influence on medical advancements. Jenner introduced the vaccine for small pox which lead to new paths to different looks into medical sciences.
Philosophical Figures...
Immanuel Kant introduced some of the most influential and powerful ideas. He was the leader of the Enlightenment movement through his great ideas on reason and ethics.
Economical Contributors...
Adam Smith is known as the father of modern economics. His book "The Wealth of Nations" has become the main guide for economics through the Industrial Revolution. Smith's ideas and about money and economic ideas influenced societies and his massive contribution to helping mankind derive thoughts on how to progress society when involving distribution of money and how it is the center of our world.
Musical Composers...
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Johan Sebastian Bach are some of the most important figures in the musical world. They created a whole new perspective for classical music which uplifted the people of this time as well as influenced musicians to come.
James Watt's invention of the steam engine was an invention that is still greatly relied upon today. This was introduced during the Industrial Revolution and dominated the entire world. This greatness accessibility to transportation and created industrial and technological growth among our population.
Furthering Knowledge of Enlightenment...

The Enlightenment, sometimes referred to as the Age of Reason, was a confluence of ideas and activities that took place throughout the eighteenth century in Western Europe, England, and American Colonies. Scientific rationalism, exemplified by the scientific method, was the hallmark of everything related to the Enlightenment. Following close on the heels of the Renaissance, Enlightenment thinkers believed that the advances of science and industry strongly pushed the progress of humankind.

Most Influential Author's of the Eighteenth Century
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) -
Samuel was a biographer, poet and lexicographer who wrote A Dictionary of the English Language. Although this did not consist of any plot, theme or story line, it is an important book which contained over forty two thousand English words and was defined as the most comprehensive English language dictionary ever compiled and remained the standard reference for over a century.
Fanny Burney (1752-1840) -
Burney's novels were quite popular during the eighteenth century. Although she was successful in the long wrong, she had overcome plenty of adversity from the very beginning. Her family's disapproval of her literature and writing put a damper on her writing and on one day when she had reached the breaking point, she burned all of her pieces of writing. She continued to write after and published the novel "Evilina", which won over the respect of her father and also Dr. Samuel Johnson. She would later secure a place in the Queen Charlotte's court and in English literary society. Her novels involved marriage, wealth, and power. She influenced many writers to come.
Alexander Pope (1688) -
Alexander was an 18th century English poet, best known for for his satirical verse and for his translation of Homer. He is also famous for his use of the heroic couplet and is the third msot frequently quoted writer in the Oxfod Dictionary of Quotations. Languages he spoke was English, French , Italian, Latin, and Greek.
Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) -
Mary had an unhappy childhood, having to live with her violent alcoholic father. Later in life in 1794, she visited France and Scandinavia. She had a daughter with an American businessman and attempted to commit suicide when their relationship failed. She then had a relationship with British author William Godwin. She gave birth to her daughter and died shortly after. Wollstonecraft diversified writing's of the subjects education, travel, history, politics, and women's rights. She is best known for "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman".
Mary Shelley (1797-1851) -
Although much of Mary's life was was in the 19th Century, she still impacted literature greatly.Mary was an English novelist, short story writer, dramatist, and is best known for her novel "Frankenstein". Frankenstein remains widely read and has inspired many theatrical film adaptations.
Elizabeth Montagu (1718-1800) -
She was a British social reformer, patron of the arts, literary critic, and writer who helped organize and then lead the Bluestocking Society. She came from a wealthy family and later married to a wealthy husband. She later devoted this wealth to fostering English and Scottish literature and to the relief of the poor. She wrote the "Dialogues of the Dead", and "An Essay on the Writing's and Genius of Shakespeare".
Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) -
He was a writer, philosopher and composer of the eighteenth century. His political philosophy influenced the French Revolution. He was of importance of pre-romanticism. He featured an increased focus on subjectivity and introspection that later characterized modern writing.
Conventions of Literature in Eighteenth Century
Most literature in the Eighteenth Century was non-fiction, which means that it was based on true or factual content rather than being made up by mainly imagination. The literature of this time was realistic. Its purpose was to instruct, to enlighten and to make people think. These people believed that reason showed life as it is, and imagination showed life as people wish it were or fear it may be. The people of the Enlightenment period revered the power of the mind to reason and to determine realities. They deprecated passions and emotions, meaning an expression of disapproval. They saw reason as the ruling principle of life and the key to progress and perfection to a certain degree. For example, James Thomson wrote in "The Seasons" which was a reflection on Newtonian concepts of order and beauty. Poetry and other pieces of writing started to take certain paths towards precise rules and ways of writing. Although many writers may have taken the more precise way of writing, many others still wrote about fiction and make belief ideas. This time period also introduced the specific layout of writing known as the novel. This became very popular during the Enlightenment. In conclusion, the literature of this time period had an increasing use of
"reasoning" and "understanding" of how everything worked in society and around the world.
Cultural Influences on Authors of the Eighteenth Century
Benjamin Franklin was born on January the 17th in the year 1706 and lived until April 17th in 1790. Benjamin was an American who contributed towards society by being a scientist, Printer-Publisher, writer and as well as a politician. Franklin was often referred to as an innovator. His inventions were the lightning rod, glass harmonica, (which is a glass instrument), bifocal glasses and the flexible urinary catheter. All of these inventions contribute towards the Enlightenment movement.
Ludwig Van Beethoven was a composer and a musical artist. He was born in 1770 in Bonn, Germany. Although Beethoven did not focus his work on literature, he certainly contributed towards enlightening people with his music. Some of his work was the Symphony No. 9, and Piano Sonata No. 14.
Maximilien Robespierre
Edward Jenner
Immanuel Kant
Adam Smith
Wolfgang Mozart
Johan Bach
James Watt
The Eighteenth Century was certainly a time of Enlightenment as we have discussed. This period of intellectual curiosty and experimentations was based on abiding faith in the power of human reason to unlock the mysteries of nature and society. One manifestation was a confident belief in the steady advance of civilization through scientific progress. Many people focused there thoughts and ideas to "useful" thought rather than abstract thougth and speculation. All of these changes in science, politics, and thinkning in general changed many cultures and the way lives were lived. Changes in French Society were reflected in changing literary preferences. Due to all of this logical reasoning, genres and the types of writing were altered. Many philosophers such as; Voltaire, Rousseau, Montesquieu, adn Diderot all wrote fictionas well as non-fiction essays on a variety of topics. The Enlightenment movement certainly brought more writers out of the dark. During this time period, many woman began to write and publish literature as well. Reflecting from the slide before, 5 of the 7 authors were woman of great importance and who contributed to literature. In my belief, the culture of this time affected authors in more ways than one. With such great progress in an everyday lifestyle and routine is hard not to be recognized. Although reasoning and identifying natural laws were important, many authors wrote fciitional stories and novels that became quite popular in the eighteenth century and still are today.
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