English Literature

English Literature

Modest Proposal

He was criticise the English government as they were ignoring Irish people and letting this chaotic problem consume them from inside. His criticism is really scientific including scientific research, using numbers, doing the math. He is presenting an argument which proposes babies as food as it would have a beneficial effect on economy, gastronomy and etc. He presents all his arguments in a very reasonable way.

With his disgusting reasonable proposal, he is also criticising his era which is era of reason as when someone solely focuses on reason, that person can think or even do filthy things.

He cared people as individuals not as groups. He may liked Jon but he may hate politicians, lawyers, etc.


Slowly the age of reason left its place to story-telling and stories. Since the first literature of England, the stories were told in verses, proses (French influence) but shortly evolved into novels.

Novels emerged in the 18th century for a variety of reasons. One of the reasons was to give people ability to expresses themselves in the age of reason. Novels are emotional outlet of for the author. In this century, middle-class was rising and their affluence was getting bigger and bigger and due to this they were able to get educated and learn to read, write. First works of novelty were conducted by women but due to society’s norms, they had to hide their names and use the men’s names to conceal themselves and share their work.

Jane Air – Sherlock Ronte, Emily Ronte, Ann Ronte: They wrote novels, each of them and they were really productive but they each used men’s name. When they went to the publishing firm, nobody believed that their literary works were conducted from a woman.

Journalism were becoming widespread, there was prose writing and it was getting more and more popular as well as biographies and there was the effect of puritanism.
Anything related to an individual could be made into a story.

The first English novel was Robinson Cruise written by Daniel Defo, in the novel people read what an indivuaul able to do when he is stuck in a situation, his survival instincts, what he was able to do in order to continue his life, stranded in an island. In the novel he was alone for some time but then he met a person and named him Friday as he met him on Friday. They were friends but they were not equal. People liked this book because even in the most hard situation an individual is able to rise, survive and etc. Later on there were a lot of references to Robinson Cruise such as “What would you do if you were stranded in an island?”

Robinson had to fight his way to make things for his life, to survive and all these required so much energy and strength. He motivated himself to overcome any hardships that may occur. In this work self-reliance was emphasised. (Puritanism).


Samuel Richardson – Pamela

He was an educated man and he was very good in writing letters. He made money out of writing letters, he wrote letters for people in business, for lovers and etc. One day a publishing house made him an offer, they wanted him to write letters and teach how to write letters for certain purposes. As he was doing his job, he realised that out of letters you could make a good story by their correspondence in different settings. He started working on his title called Pamela.

The main character is Pamela, she’s working at a very affluent house but she is very virtuous person despite the son’s advances to her. The son is seducted by her virtuous personality and falls in love with her and they live happily after. The main idea of this novel is importance of virtues. The novel is written in epistolary form (by combining letters).

This novel was criticised by H. Fielding, as the novel was focusing too much on virtues and modesty, so he wrote a novel Calle Josef Andrews, and this character was brother of Pamela. He later on wrote a novel calle Tom Jones which is a comic epic in prose work. This character is a very funny character and he puts himself in very difficult situations, he is a womaniser. Opposing Samuel Richardson, H. Fielding didn’t care about morals.

In novels, picaresque, this style emerged in Spain and it mens series of episodes in prose fiction where the hero is forced to seek his fortune outside of stable society. Imagine there is a family and in this family the father tells his son to go away and find his way, his place. Imagine we have a womaniser character and he has an affair with the married woman and the husband finds out and exiles him from the society.

Tom Jones is built with the picaresque style.


Gulliver’s Travels – J. Swift

  • The book basically asks a question: what sort of thing is man?

Identifying with Gulliver, voyaging through imaginary worlds we try tı find ourselves. Are proud insects, or lords of creation? Brutes, or reasonable beings?

Swift defined man not as a arational animal but as an animal capable of reason. He had a keen sense of our capacity for self delusion folly and vice.
He offers us comic and horrific perspectives, which confront us with unpleasant facets of human life, silently recommending proportion, humility and fellow-feeling.
The way others perceive you will you change what you are, you can be a giant in a place but a midget in another.

In this ship we have this man called Gulliver and he starts a voyage on that ship and he travels to imaginary places.

  • Four imaginary voyages of Lemuel Gulliver, a ship’s surgeon all of which end disastrously among “several remote nations oft he world.”
  • In the first book, Gulliver is shipwrecked in the empire of Lilliput, where he finds himself a giant among diminutive people.
  • In the second, Gulliver is abandoned by his shipmates in Brobdingnag, a land of giants, which appears to be a utopia governed by a human prince.
  • In the third voyage, to flying island of Laputa, Gulliver is together with scientists who are so occupied with their studies that they cannot see what is right in front of them.
  • The final voyage sets Gulliver between a race of horses, Houyhnhnms, who live…


Lawrance Sterne – The life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy

Shandy is a man and this book is about his life story in 9 big divisions of books, but his life story begins in the third book, before that he talks about his parents, society, etc. His life is full of funny incidents and he particularly talks about Uncle Toby

Lawrance had this interesting style, he had an interactive approach as he left some blanks in his books for you to fill them. Such as when he is descrpiting a beatiıful woman he leaves the desrictpion blank and expects you to write it. The book is written in a witty way accompanied with strange stylistic approaches.


Samuel Johnson – Dictionary of the English Language

The first dictionary of English and it represents the ideology of its era. In this dictionary Samuel Johnson passed his judgment into his work and defined words with his perspective. It is also important that how the vocabulary has changed over time.

Every age has its ideal concept of ideal man and in the age of reason, the ideal man is the person who uses his intelligence but one can not deny the fact that humans have emotions, too and after the age of era, there it comes

The Romantic Era.

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.

English Literature – Restoration (1660)

Charles the Second

Restoration Literature

-Every movement in literature is a reaction its predecessor.

Elizabethan literature, all those lyrical poems, enthusiasm, overflow of emotions but following Elizabethan Era, then came Puritans and then came the civil war.

Literature written between this period, this is a period which follows great chaos, civil war. The restoration of monarchy and literature produced by this restoration did not allow any extreme emotions. No religious extremism, no emotional extremism, it underlined and emphasized measure, order and calculation. They emphasized that we should control our emotions and we should not step overlain with them. We should focus on reason.

This is age of the reason.

Charles the Second came to the power from France, he was in exile in France with his family. When the common wealth ended and monarchy was restored he was chosen as the king and came back to England from France. He brought the French influence once upon England. French way of perceiving the world, meeting the people and etc. all about him was French. Included in this French influence was classicsm or neo-classicism, the French were really interested in the classical works from Romans and Greeks, they were fans of the Roman way of life. They translated most of the Roman literature into French and this king read all of the translated words and he was really interested in neo-classicism, when he got back to England, he brought all these with him and these ideas started to spread in England.

Not only literature, but dresses, architecture and etc. was inspired by Romans.

This new king who got the England from France, he wanted to do the same as French and be a fan of Roman life of style, their arhiceture, their dresses and etc.

In restoration we see “wit” as a very crucial part of the literature, so important that a good writer should have it in order be a good writer.
Reacting against the extravagance of the late Renaissance literature, writers of this period allowed the classical works, stressing restraint, clarity, regularity and good sense.

For them, wit was a crucial characteristic of a good writer and it meant inventiveness and quickness of thought expressed in “most easy language” rather than unnecessary embellishments.
A major question among restoration writers was whether the writers of classical antiquity (Romans or Greeks) had been better able to imitate human nature than the moderns.

Positing nature as the source and is imitation as the ultimate aim of art, the equation was to define the rules to be followed in any form or genre of writing.

Classical authors were widely translated and imitated by writers such as Dryden, Pope, and Johnson.

For moderns, studying the ancients (Greek writers such as Platon, Eurpides) was supposed to eb the same as studying nature itself.

With the restoration, criticism of art starts. People question what is an art, what is purpose of an art, is art for art or art for people. People are writing literature of all kinds but are they all art? Can we name as Art?

So, we see criticism of art surfacing in this period and what does art do? What should art imitate? So, there is a thought of Art reflects the nature. In restoration times this idea of what should art imitate and who did it better became a very commonly questions.

(Classical artists vs Modern Artists)


Dramatic poesy – Dramatic Poetry


Dryden’s An Essay on Dramatic Poesy

Written in the form of a conversation between four speakers, three of which present the ideals of order, restraint and accuracy characteristics of Neoclassicicsm (Crites, Lisideius, Eugenius).

The fourth spekaer, Neander, representing Dryden himself, embraces the moderns’ innovations, defends English drama against the French and chooses “irregular” Shakespeare over “correct” Jonson.


This period does not allow irregularity but in his work Dryden he is making a choice, he chooses Shakespeare, who is a very irregular writer writing in extremes such as ambition (Macbeth), Romeo and Juliet (extreme of love). Shakespeare was not a “regular”, whereas Jonson was pretty much “correct”.

Dyrden is defending Shakespare against Dryden and he is defending English literature against French influence and Neoclassicism. He claims that English comes with its innovations and the most perfect man for him is Shakespeare.

In this text, he praises Shakespeare a lot but why? Dryden is defending English here, he is saying we have Shakespare and you don’t to French. Hah they got you French. He says that Shakespeare’s irregularity makes him English and that makes him better than French and Greeks.

He claims that Shakpestre is the most “correct” poet, and this means the one who writes according to the rules (correct poet).

He compares Shakpesare with Ben Johnson, he says that Shakpesare is Homer and Johnson as Virgil.
Dramatic Rules

Three Unities

  1. Time: In classical drama a dramatic play takes place in the duration one day only. It must take place in the duration of one day.
  2. Place: The play must take place in the same place. So when you are watching a play if the setting is London it must be London throughout the play.
  3. Plot (Action): There must be one major action.

Shakespare did not obey these rules. In the classical times the greeks and the romans wrote according to three unities. In neoclassical times, the French wanted to the same, but English did not want to obey these rules but Shakespare did perfect without obeying these rules and did he fail? No, he did great.


Samuel Pepis was a scienctist and he was the president of an important organization called Royal Society for Science. Such organizations were very classified. This organization, its purpose was to advance science and learning, there was no politics involved and the members were interested in science solely. They were not in competition, they just wanted to do Science and Samuel was a that kind of a man. He was chosen as the president of this organization and at the same time he was working at Navy. He kept a diary, too but the diary was encrypted, he coded it, he didn’t aim people to read it.

He wrote everyday for 9 years, he wrote about everything in his life. He was constantly fighting with his father and brother, shaming his father for spending too much money, he crtiizwed his wife for her ambition to learn dance etc.

This diary shows us what life looked like in the restoration era. Years later this diary got discovered and it was decoded and everybody started reading it. When Pepis wrote about everything he also wrote about important things such as big fire in London which burnt down 1/3 of the whole city. He wrote about the kinds of gossips that people were doing behind the king and how people in lower classes talked about the royal family and all those changes that were taking in place.

It wasn’t aimed to be a literary works nor do we perceive it as it is, we read it to gather information about the restoration era.


!10 Downing Street – Home of Presidency!


We see how people getting increasingly social and urban. Urban life was vigorously expanding in those times. We see particularly following the big fire of London, the restanblishment of the city, it became very organized, the streets are going to be carefully planned, the roads going to be carefully made and the urban life expand. Slowly we see industrialization advancing and businesses thriving.

Many raw materials were being imported from the colonies at America and all these raw materials were in need of being used by different businesses in England and these businesses were usually in the City. We see slowly appearing Coffee Houses in the City where business owners and educated people to come to talk about business, general life affairs and mostly in this coffee houses we see political discussions with different idelogies and we see that who do get into these ideas do not fight with each other but tolerate each other and get to know each other in such places.

Now there is a very influential middle-class and they are making terrific money, they are not nobles, they have no lands but with all these money they started buying lands without titles such as being a lord. One way to get title is marrying ladies from royal families. We see a new class emerge in England and at the same time we see on the political side, we see basic two political parties emerge in England. The Tories supported the kind and Wigs supported Parliament and they were the opposition. These two parties formed in the parliament, supporters of thes parties gathered in the coffee houses they started arguing about their political views but they were not quarreling but modernly exchanging ideas. These coffee houses had this significance of exchange of ideas.


!Every Sunday was marked as (Lord’s Day) in this diary!

Although with restoration the puritans were suppressed, there were still some puritan practices were ongoing. With the restoration all the theaters were reopened but there were still some practices that did not change such as going to Church on Sunday, the pups were closed on Sundays.


We see that in his diary that gambling is becoming a sport for not only for money but for fun. Gentleman come together at night to play some card and slowly these slowly evolved into Gentlemen’s Club. We see that with these clubs a new form of sociality but still the religion continues to be an issue, in order to prevent this they made a bloodless revolution and they made a law, they brought someone from William Orange and put him to the throne and the next in line Queen Ann ( The favorite), with Queen Ann the Stewart Dynasty comes to and end but before she dies England, Ireland and Scots agree on union and becomes United Kingdom and slowly England establish itself as an Empire rather than a country. They embraced the flag of Union Jack.

Puritanism & Puritans

The roots of USA go back to Puritanism. Puritanism was a religion related issue, actually it was a reform movement.

This reform movement started to purify the Anglican Church. They thought that the people were being pulled away from the true virtues of the Church, for this reason this reform movement started.

These puritans had a certain way of dressing, they dressed in black and white for example ladies wore black dresses with white collars. Their homes were very simple. The kind of church they wanted to go and pray in was simple. The man wore mostly black and they had pointy hats.

The puritans believed in the teachings of Calvin. This man claims that there is no free will. Although it doesn’t put out free will completely, it pretty much conflicts with it. Calvin taught that it was okay to work for money. Calvin proposed money making businesses and his believers wanted to make a lot of money.

Puritans were not poor people, they were people who was rich and chosen a simplistic life style.

Civil War Broke Out (Royalists vs Parliament)

Puritans did not support the king as majority of the parliament consisted of puritans and as the king wasn’t a good king.

In this civil war, puritans were being hunted and most of them stayed in England but a lot of them fled the country, first to Netherlands and then most of them fled to United States and they established the first Colonies, they worked and lived in the new world. The first settlers of the United States were puritans, criminals, whores, so all of these people either fled to USA or they wanted to start a new life in the States. This new life in the states was basically puritan.

Movies Recommendation: Scarlet Letter

Puritanism in Literature

John Milton

He was a great writer but he was very tempered. He was highly intelligent, he studied at Cambridge and took lessons over health but he wasn’t happy with his major, so he changed his major to mathematics. He was a very

After finishing Cambridge, he continued his studies on his own for 5 years and learned to speak Italy.

He supported the Puritanism, he was a supporter of the parliament. He had some conflicts such as he believed in independence, individualism and freedom but contrary to himself he believed that all these should have a limit to themselves.

He wrote poems, he wrote propaganda for the puritans but at that he wrote his masterpiece known as Paradise Lost.

In English there are multiple words that means Cennet in Turkey such as Paradise, Heaven, Eden.

John Milton was a religious man and he wanted to write about an epic. In this epic he didn’t only want to write about heroes and villains but he wanted to write a religious epic. He wanted to base it on the Bible.

He wanted to make it his mission that anyone who read his work would accept the God as the Almighty Creator. He wanted to argue many things that got brought by the puritanism.

He wanted to talk about;

Free Will:

He wanted to talk about all these in setting of Bible. He borrowed the story of Genesis.

Story of Genesis from the Christian Perspective


God did not want Adam and Eve to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Eve because that would cause them lose their innocence. You would do bad only when you lose your innocence.

Before eating from the tree, Adam and Eve were innocent.

Milton wanted to work on this story in the form of poetry but he wanted it to be a grand production. It is an Epic written in 12 books. He was blind when he was writing these books and his wife, secretary and daughters helped him to complete this hard task.

Providence: It’s an idea from Puritanism that means God sees all and has the power to determine all.

Man’s first disobedience is the subject of Paradise Lost. In the beginning of Paradise Lost, Satan already rebelled against the God and they were thrown into Hell.

The power of mind; Satan claims that living in paradise may be a hell for him and living in hell may be a heaven for him depending on his perspective. He chooses hell over heaven for his beliefs and cause. In this situation the pride in himself shows itself as the chooses to reign over Hell rather than being a servant in Heaven.

[John Milton was criticized for making Satan as hero of his Epic, in this Paradise Lost, Satan has a character that makes you relate to him and understand him]

God speaks of Adam and Eve and points out that all these were their fault, that they did this to themselves. Adam and Eve had fallen from Heaven, had fallen from the eyes of God, had fallen from good to evil for committing the sin. But, God, knew all these would happen all along. He claims that he created Adam and Eve to able to choose good and stood but he also let them to commit sins which resulted in banishment.

Predestination vs Foreknowledge

[In the description of Paradise Lost, Tree of Life is next to Tree of Knowledge]

Satan wants to a revenge as he is kicked from paradise, he believes that he didn’t deserve that. He knew that God loves his creations and especially Adam and Eve. Satan had this idea of tricking Adam and Eve and make them disobey God. He feels that it is a better idea to start with Eve as Adam is in love with Eve and Adam will do everything for Eve. He enters to Eve’s dream and he starts talking about nice things and giving ideas, when she wakes up and talks with Adam, Adam warns Eve about Satan. Later on, when they get separated, Satan disguises himself as a serpent and he tells Eve “5-6”, he then succeeds in his plan and she loses her innocence. After all these, Eve wants Adam to eat the fruit and he eats the fruit for the love he has for Eve. After they lose their innocence, they release that they are naked (they were naked all along) and they try to hide their body parts and they feel ashamed. Finally, God banishes them for committing the sin.

Milton justifies the ways of God with this Epic.

After a while Milton wrote another book as sequel to this book and the book is about Jesus and the name of the book is Paradise Regained.