English Literature

Defoe was a journalist, before he was novelist and he practice journalism and his very famous journal was about a very horrible set of events, a period which actually ruined a lot of things for the English people. This plague caused a lot of deaths and this man wrote a journal which was titled The journal of the plague year, in that journal, normally a journalist would report what is happening but this journal was in almost in the form of a diary, it was called a journal because there was no certain dates and this man did more than a journalist do when he would report a horrible disease. Normally a journalist report a situation like this starting from how it started, how many people have it killed so far, how it is contagious but Defoe took a different approach to this and he wrote about how horrible the event was but he looked psychological aspect, he looked at the social aspect, he talked about how horrified people become, how paranoid that become after the disease, how upset they were, how they didn’t trust anyone and what they felt about the origin of this disease. (17th cent)

After the restoration there was still puritan ideas that were alive in that century and such ideas fed the flame of divine punishment idea of the plague.

Pypes wrote daily entries – Defoe didn’t.
Pypes wrote about everything from his daily life to what he ate – Defoe didn’t focus on these but the disease itself and its effects.


The introduction starts with personal word choices which is contrary to general newspaper language.


Alexander Pope

A very important figure and representative writer in the 18th century. He was a catholic, he wasn’t actually allowed to do a lot of things when he was young, catholics were not nicely received and this man born into a catholic family although he had some good education he was not allowed show himself in the field he was working on, when he started writing in his youth at the age of 25 he established himself as a writer all these facts. He was mostly known for his work Rape of the Lock and Essay of Man

Essay on man

Despite its title, it is more of a poem than it is an Essay, which makes it an Epistle which means a letter which gives news. He believed in order of things, in the universe there was a grand order and everything that is alive and exists has a place in this order and he wanted to talk about this order and he mostly wanted to talk about the place of man in this order. Although this work is not in letter form as it is in verse form, it was still called an essay.

He is known for his heroic coplet, he was very skilful in expressing an idea expressing it in two lines and emphasising it.

He says “do not judge God” and emphasizes on finding ourselves by knowing ourselves. He says do not study God, do not presume what you can’t understand, know your place and study mankind, its limitations, its capabilities and etc.

This essay contains definition of the Man.

He is defining, men is in the middle of order of things, the god is at the top and animals are at the bottom. Man is darkly wise, a man can be wise and plan very harmful things unlike animals without free will and whatever God does, he cannot be labeled as bad. Man hangs between in doubt to himself and the beasts. Man is between to act or to rest. Man doesn’t know which choose, whether to choose mind or the beast (desires). Man is born to die and he has a talent of reasoning but he can make errors. He states that man was created half to rise and half to fall. Man is the glory but he is also a riddle, why does a human being does the things he does. Man is between his heart and his mind. He is talking about rising but as he man rises his guiding companion should be science. He also states that do not follow the people who imitate the god. Discover yourself, engage with yourself, not with the things that you can not understand. You would be amazed to discover what you are made of.


18th Century

  • While 17th century was the age of political dnd religious conflict, 18th centıry was tea ge of stability.
  • The age was characterised by a rational, scientific and secular attitude to life. Social laws (like universal laws) depended on reason and order. The age rejected intuition and mysticism.
  • The dominant intellectual attitude was empiricism (knowledge comes from experience) – direct observation of experience (John Locke’s argument of “tabula rasa”)
  • The key philosophy of The age is Deism, which united all men under one God and brotherhood. The deists argued that god revealed himself in nature rather than in books.
  • God is the supreme Architect, The Great Reason, The Great mathematician who built a relational universe for the benefit of man.
  • God is benevolent and his laws are kind and for the goodness of man.

Mind > Ruling powers of the 18th Century

Emotions > These are limited as they were seen harmful due to the harmful experience of the 17ht century

  • Concept of man: Man is a limited creature but he is perfectible because he has faculty of reason. He is no longer corrupt beyond repair because of the Fall (from Paradise).


The Rape of the Lock

The rape here is used in a metaphorical way and it is mocking the Epic genre. This is an example of mocking Epic. This work makes fun of all of the Epic features. The situation here is based on real events

    * Was written as an attempt to end a quarrel between two families. The quarrel had started when Lord Peter cut off a lock of hair, which he wished to “possess”, from the had of Miss Arabelle Fermor, the lady to whom he was engaged.
    * Pope wrote the poem in mock-epic style, in imitation of Homer, to “make a jest” of the indecent and to laugh with the two families.

He wanted to end this quarrel, so he wrote this mocking-epic story. He made these characters supernatural such as Belinda’s power of nymphs flying around her. He exaggerated everything such as Belinda’s beauty.

It is a poetry and this work is divided into Cantos which is a derived style from Italy. Throughout the work, Pope wants us to see idleness of the British people at that time, their foolishness and wasting the time away with various meaningless acts. People were snorting snuff which is a drug that is smelled and gives a good feeling.

Belinda is a thot who wants fame.

In epics some kind of narrator appears and warns you that everything is going to change.

With this work we see the element of “laughter”, he is making fun of English idleness. Here Pope is trying to make a point, he is saying that English people’s lives are very idle and meaningless and this led to a new genre which is called Satire.


Jonathan Swift – Modest Proposal

Swift detected a very important problem in Irish society.Ireland at the time was neglected, suppressed and English did not care about Irish. A population got out of control and there was not enough food to eat, there were horrible rulers and Ireland wasn’t doing good. Swift, he was an Irish and a weird man, he had interesting ideas, he saw that Irish had to help themselves and this problem that affected everything in Ireland, swift felt that something had to be done and he wrote a modest proposal. He chose to write in a satire genre because in this proposal he suggested eating babies, he stated there were way too many of them. The way he is doing it very scientific and logical, he presents it as a reasonable offer.

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