Encyclopedia of Literature and Criticism

By Martin Coyle; Peter Garside et al. | Go to book overview

17

‘AUGUSTAN’ POETRY

A.J.SAMBROOK

In 1660 John Dryden welcomed the restoration of Charles II with a long, celebratory, heroic-couplet poem, Astraea Redux, where he likens the king to Augustus, who brought peace home after the agony of civil war and inaugurated a glorious era of power abroad and flourishing arts at home. Earlier in the seventeenth century James I had been similarly praised by Ben Jonson and Cromwell by Edmund Waller. Eighteenth-century poets would also compare their rulers with Augustus, but they would do so ironically as often as not. Seventeenth- and eighteenth-century references to an ‘Augustan Age’ of English literature are few and far between. The earliest appears to be by Francis Atterbury, who in 1690 bestowed that title upon the reign of Charles II, by virtue of the poets flourishing then; this attribution was contradicted by Jonathan Swift and David Hume, among others, but was still being made at the end of the eighteenth century. Oliver Goldsmith’s opinion, published in 1759, that the ‘Augustan’ age of English literature was under William III and Anne, enjoyed a certain amount of contemporary support too (Erskine-Hill, 1983, pp. 236-63). In the twentieth century, though, ‘Augustan’ has been applied fairly indiscriminately to the period of literature from 1660 or 1700 to about 1800. The once-powerful critic George Saintsbury gave the term his authority in The Peace of the Augustans: A Survey of Eighteenth-Century Literature as a Place of Rest and Refreshment (1915), and, however strange he may appear as Saintsbury’s bedfellow, the still-powerful critic F.R. Leavis lent it further authority twenty years later. Leavis saw the poetry of what he called ‘the Augustan Tradition’ as characterized by ‘neatness and prose propriety’, or, at its best, rising to ‘a strong conventionality’ (Leavis, 1936, pp. 105-6), though he excepts the varied achievement of Alexander Pope from his dismissive generalizations. After the Second World War the term became commonplace in surveys and background books: e. g. John Butt, The Augustan Age (1950) and A.R. Humphreys, The Augustan World (1954). Two more recent commentators, Pat Rogers (1974) and Margaret Doody (1985), retain ‘Augustan’ as a

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Encyclopedia of Literature and Criticism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements xiii
  • Preface xvii
  • I - Introduction 1
  • 1 - Literature 3
  • Further Reading 24
  • Additional Works Cited 25
  • 2 - Criticism 27
  • Further Reading 63
  • II - Literature and History 67
  • 3 - Medieval Literature and the Medieval World 69
  • Further Reading 80
  • 4 - The Renaissance 82
  • 5 - Augustanism 93
  • Additional Works Cited 105
  • 6 - Romanticism 106
  • 7 - Modernism 119
  • Further Reading 129
  • 8 - Postmodernism 131
  • III - Poetry 149
  • 9 - Genre 151
  • Further Reading 162
  • 10 - Poetry 164
  • Additional Works Cited 176
  • 11 - Epic and Romance 177
  • 12 - Lyric 188
  • Further Reading 197
  • 13 - Narrative Verse 199
  • Further Reading 207
  • 14 - Women and the Poetic Tradition: The Oppressor’s Language 208
  • 15 - Medieval Poetry 223
  • Additional Works Cited 238
  • 16 - Renaissance Poetry 239
  • Additional Works Cited 250
  • 17 - ‘Augustan’ Poetry 253
  • 18 - Romantic Poetry 265
  • Further Reading 276
  • 19 - Victorian Poetry 278
  • 20 - The French Symbolists 295
  • Further Reading 306
  • 21 - Modern Poetry 308
  • 22 - British Poetry since 1945: Poetry and the Historical Moment 321
  • 23 - Contemporary American Poetry 336
  • IV - Drama 349
  • 24 - Stagecraft 351
  • Further Reading 361
  • 25 - Tragedy 363
  • Further Reading 374
  • 26 - Comedy 375
  • Further Reading 385
  • 27 - Shakespeare 387
  • Additional Works Cited 399
  • 28 - Medieval Drama 400
  • 29 - Renaissance Drama 413
  • Further Reading 423
  • 30 - Restoration Theatre 424
  • Further Reading 435
  • 31 - The Origins of the Modern British Stage 436
  • Further Reading 449
  • 32 - Theories of Modern Drama 451
  • 33 - The Theatre of the Absurd 464
  • Further Reading 474
  • 34 - Theatre and Politics 475
  • Further Reading 487
  • 35 - Feminist Theatre 488
  • V - The Novel 503
  • 36 - Modes of Eighteenth-Century Fiction 505
  • Further Reading 516
  • 37 - Feminine Fictions 518
  • Further Reading 529
  • 38 - The Historical Novel 531
  • 39 - The Nineteenth-Century Social Novel in England 544
  • Further Reading 553
  • 40 - The Realist Novel: The European Context 554
  • Further Reading 564
  • 41 - Realism and the English Novel 565
  • Additional Works Cited 575
  • 42 - American Romance 576
  • Further Reading 586
  • 43 - Formalism and the Novel: Henry James 589
  • Further Reading 601
  • 44 - The Novel and Modern Criticism 602
  • Further Reading 617
  • 45 - The Modernist Novel in the Twentieth Century 619
  • 46 - British Fiction since 1930 631
  • 47 - Contemporary Fiction 643
  • Further Reading 649
  • VI - Criticism 651
  • 48 - Biblical Hermeneutics 653
  • Further Reading 664
  • 49 - Neo-Classical Criticism 666
  • Further Reading 680
  • Additional Works Cited 681
  • 50 - The Romantic Critical Tradition 682
  • 51 - Great Traditions: The Logic of the Canon 696
  • Further Reading 706
  • 52 - Marxist Criticism 708
  • Further Reading 719
  • 53 - The New Criticism 721
  • Further Reading 734
  • 54 - Structuralism and Post-Structuralism: from the Centre to the Margin 736
  • Further Reading 748
  • 55 - Feminist Literary Criticism: ‘New Colours and Shadows’ 750
  • Further Reading 762
  • 56 - Psychoanalytic Criticism 764
  • 57 - Deconstruction 777
  • Further Reading 789
  • 58 - New Historicism 791
  • Further Reading 803
  • VII - Production and Reception 807
  • 59 - Production and Reception of the Literary Book 809
  • 60 - The Printed Book 825
  • 61 - Literacy 837
  • 62 - Publishing before 1800 848
  • Further Reading 860
  • 63 - Publishing since 1800 862
  • Further Reading 874
  • 64 - British Periodicals and Reading Publics 876
  • Further Reading 887
  • 65 - Libraries and the Reading Public 889
  • 66 - Censorship 901
  • 67 - The Bibliographic Record 915
  • 68 - The Institutionalization of Literature: The University 926
  • Additional Works Cited 938
  • VIII - Contexts 939
  • 69 - Literature and the History of Ideas 941
  • 70 - Literature and the Bible 951
  • Further Reading 962
  • 71 - Literature and the Classics 964
  • Additional Works Cited 975
  • 72 - Folk Literature 976
  • Further Reading 988
  • 73 - Literature and the Visual Arts 991
  • 74 - Literature and Music 1004
  • Further Reading 1014
  • 75 - Literature and Landscape 1015
  • Further Reading 1027
  • 76 - The Sentimental Ethic 1029
  • 77 - The Gothic 1044
  • Further Reading 1054
  • 78 - Aestheticism 1055
  • 79 - Literature and Science 1068
  • 80 - Literature and Language 1082
  • 81 - Culture and Popular Culture: The Politics of Photopoetry 1098
  • IX - Perspectives 1111
  • 82 - New English Literatures 1113
  • 83 - African Literature in English 1125
  • Further Reading 1134
  • 84 - The African-American Literary Tradition 1136
  • 85 - Australian Literature and the British Tradition 1148
  • 86 - Canadian Literature 1162
  • Further Reading 1175
  • 87 - Indian Literature in English 1176
  • 88 - New Zealand and Pacific Literature 1186
  • Further Reading 1196
  • 89 - West Indian Literature 1198
  • Additional Works Cited 1209
  • 90 - Western Literature in Modern China 1210
  • X - Afterword 1219
  • W(H)Ither ‘English’? 1221
  • Further Reading 1236
  • The Contributors 1237
  • Index 1241
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