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British Neoclassicism (1660-17981) The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century Lecture notes 1.

. A general presentation of the Restoration Age in English culture and society: The Civil War (1642-1651); the rise of Oliver Cromwell and the beginning of the Interregnum (1649-1661); the Commonwealth (1649-1653); Cromwells Protectorate (1653-1659); the Restoration and the reign of Charles II; the Bill of Rights and the Glorious Revolution (1688) the crowning of William of Orange and Mary II as a protestant victory; political and religious factions (the two-party political system - Tories and Whigs and tensions between Anglicans, Nonconformists (Puritans, Presbyterians and Dissenters) and Catholics. British Neoclassicism and its three major periods: The Restoration Age (1660-1688/1700); The Augustan Age (1700-1745/50); The Age of Johnson (1745/50-1798). The historical context at the middle of the 17th century: The Civil War (1642-1651) Reasons for the war: Charles Is decision to dissolve Parliament in 1629 and his single-handed ruling of the country for 11 years until 1940, when he was forced to reopen Parliament to ask for an increase in taxes to pay for a war in Scotland. The Parliaments refusal to do so led to major tensions and when the king refused in turn to yield control of the army to Parliament the conflict became inevitable. Religious discrimination professed and practised by the English monarch (traditionally Head of the Church of England since Henry VIIIs time, according to the Act of Supremacy of 1534) and a large majority of the aristocracy; moreover, the tolerance of Roman Catholics at Charles Is court (his wife was Catholic) and the refusal of the king to keep them away from important positions in the state further complicated the nature of the relationship between the King and Puritan members of Parliament, who were supported by a significant portion of the population. When in the House of Commons the majority became Puritan, the resistance of Parliament to the kings absolute ruling became highly visible The early years of the Civil War 1942 King Charles I flees London and takes refuge in the north of England (Nottingham) followed by and supported by an army of Cavaliers (the royalists). The Puritans also organise themselves into an army (the Roundheads) led by a man who was to become the most important political leader of the next decade, a very charismatic, intelligent and determined man, Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658).

Some literary historians see Samuel Johnsons death in 1785 as marking the end of Neoclassicism. 1798 is the year of the publication of Lyrical Ballads, a volume of poetry by William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, where, in the Preface, Wordsworth formulates a Romantic literary manifesto, which marks the official beginning of British Romanticism.

The Interregnum and the rise of Cromwell 30 January 1949 King Charles I is beheaded and the Rump Parliament abolishes monarchy on 17 March that same year. This marks the beginning of the Interregnum (1649-1660). 19 May 1649 - England is declared a Commonwealth and free state, with the House of Commons as supreme authority in the land. This is the first English republic. The Civil War had three major military campaigns, sometimes referred to as the First Civil War (1642-46); the Second Civil War (1647-49) and the Third Civil War (1649-51). The highlight of the Second Civil War is, of course, the defeat of Charless army and his beheading in January 1649. The Third Civil War marks the invasion of Ireland (particularly the areas of Ulster, Leinster and Munster, which become part of the Commonwealth in 1650) and then of Scotland, where Charles II had taken refuge and had been crowned as king of Scotland in February that year. As a result of Cromwells victory at Worcester in September 1651, Charles II had to flee England (invaded a little earlier that year) and take refuge in The Netherlands, where he would live in exile for 9 years, until he was asked to return to England as king 1660. Overall, the Interregnum is a period of great political and social instability, with long stretches of time when the Parliament is dissolved and the countrys stability seems constantly threatened (a series of revolts take place in Ireland, Scotland and the country is at war with Spain and the Netherlands; in all of these conflicts, Cromwells New Model Army is victorious, which leads to an increase in Cromwells popularity and his rise as an uncontested leader of the country. Cromwells Protectorate (1653-1659) In 1653 Oliver Cromwell is asked to accept to become king, which he refuses; instead, he chooses the name Lord Protector and accepts all powers and attributes of an English monarch (he is even crowned without accepting to wear the crown) and continues to rule the country with an iron fist, but this time from a more legitimate position. There is an increase in peoples dissatisfaction with the authoritarian rule of Cromwell, which explains the readiness of a significant part of the members of Parliament and of the population to restore monarchy less than 2 years after Cromwells death, especially since his son Richard, the new Lord Protector, was only a shadow of the great man that his father had been. Richard was forced to resign in 1659, and after the reinstatement of the Commonwealth there followed a period of great political unrest, ended by the English Governor of Scotland, George Monck, who seized control of the country with the help of the New Model Army he led, and the period known as the Long Parliament began, making it possible for Charles II to return to England as king and monarchy to be restored. Nota Bene Important to remember, perhaps, is the fact that Cromwells authoritarian rule was in part a consequence of his military training and the long years of military conflict prior to and following the beheading of Charles I, and in part a consequence in his strong

commitment to his religious beliefs and his conviction that virtue had to overcome vice in personal as well as social life. He was much loved by many of his contemporaries, one of the most important ones being the greatest English poet of the 17th century, John Milton, who modelled his Paradise Lost character Satan after Cromwell, at least in the first four books of the poem. Oliver Cromwell was buried in Westminster Abbey with all honours befitting a king, though with the crown not on his head, but by his side. In 1661 he was exhumed and posthumously beheaded. The Restoration and the reign of Charles II Reasons for the restoration of monarchy Richard Cromwells failure to continue to rule with the same strong hand as his father; Peace and stability were much needed by a country that had been torn by years of war and religious and political factions. Moreover, most people resented the authoritarian rule of Cromwell and had never truly come to terms with Charles Is beheading, which to many was a very radical act in the light of the traditional political and religious doctrine known as the divine right of kings and predicated by all Tudor monarchs since Henry VIIIs reign, stating the monarchs supreme authority in the state and divine right to rule the country single-handedly. It was clearly formulated by James Is act by the same name, the Divine Right of Kings (written 1597-98, when he was James VI, King of Scotland), stating among others, that:
the king is over-lord of the whole land, so he is master over every person that inhabiteth the same, having the power of life or death of every one of them. The state of monarchy is the supremest thing upon earth: for kings are not only Gods Leutenants upon earth and sit upon Gods throne, but even by God himself they are called gods. In the Scriptures kings are called gods, and so their power after a certain relation is compared to Divine power. (from a speech addressed in Parliament in 1610)

The Restoration Period and the Glorious Revolution The Restoration of monarchy also meant restoration of the Church of England, although Charles II was more tolerant of other religious groups than the Anglicans would have liked. In his Declaration of Breda of 1649, published before his restoration, and his two Declarations of Indulgence (1662 and 1672), he clearly stated his attitude of tolerance towards all religious groups (i.e. including the Roman Catholics and the Protestants of all kinds). However, this did not reflect on the attitudes of his subject, and religious factions only increased and intolerance ruled and was to become reactivated after his death in 1685, when James II (a public sympathiser and supporter of Roman Catholics) showed an even greater tolerance which led to a political crisis ended in the Glorious Revolution of 1688, when William of Orange (of the House of Hanover) and his wife Mary II (James IIs daughter) were asked to debark in England and seize the throne, with the support of the population and of Parliament. The political scene was much calmer during Charles IIs reign than in the previous decade because Charles had the wisdom to allow Parliament significant power. In the 1680s there were two main political parties, the Whigs ( supporters of constitutional monarchy, the Hanoverian succession, and Protestantism - nonconformists,

defending the rights of the aristocratic families) and the Tories (Jacobites at first, supporting the return of the Stuarts to the throne after 1688, Anglican and defenders of the interests of the gentry). The major events of the mid-1660s are the Plague (1665-66) and the Great Fire of London (1666), both described in detail in Samuel Pepyss Diary (1660-1669). Much of Renaissance London was destroyed at the time and the population was decimated, but there was an impressive population growth in the following three decades, so that almost a tenth of the English population lived in London by 1700. The Royal Society for Improving Natural Knowledge was founded in 1664. Sponsored by the King, it gathered the greatest minds of the time and offered visibility to their research through its publication, the Philosophical Transactions (1665) The main scientists of the time were Isaac Newton (1642-1702), a mathematician and physicist, to whom we owe the Law of Gravity, but also a new understanding of the laws of nature as being intelligible and demonstrable through physics and mathematics. Newtons followers in the 18th century went even further, claiming that a careful assessment and understanding of the natural scheme of things was possible, which not only marked the rise of Deism (probably the most important development in religious thought of this century), but also helped dispel all traces of superstition and mediaeval religious thought system. This, of course, was possible by all remarkable developments in the sciences across Europe (The Scientific Revolution), including Galileo Galileis improvement of the telescope and subsequent demonstration of the Copernican view of the universe (the heliocentric theory, presented in On the Revolutions of Celestial Spheres, 1543) in the first half of the 17th century. Robert Boyle (1627-91), physicist, who formulated Boyles Law on gas pressure and separated chemistry from alchemy Edmund Halley, who observed and calculated the orbits of many comets, including the one bearing his name from 1682. William and Marys reign, following the bloodless revolution of 1688 marked the beginning of a new era for the Church of England (stronger than ever since the outbreak of the war) and for the Parliament -- the Bill of Rights (1689) recognised the central role of Parliament in the governing of the country and this marked the beginning of the process of turning the monarchy into a parliamentary democracy which, though not preventing political feuding and factions, consolidated the position of Parliament and weakened that of the monarch, and, eventually, led to greater economic and colonial expansion. (By the 1640s there were already around 12 towns in the Boston, Massachusetts area, home to around 15,000 people mostly Puritans and this expansion in the North-American continent was to continue throughout the 17th and the 18th centuries. In cultural terms, the second half of the 17th century is called the Restoration Period, which marks the beginning of a much longer period known as Neoclassicism, roughly covering the period 1660-1798. An alternative name for this period is the long

eighteenth century, because Neoclassical features are visible as early as the first decade of the Restoration Period and as late as the last decade of the 18th century, when Romantic philosophy and poetics were gradually replacing the Neoclassical ones in British literature and visual arts. British Neoclassicism can be subdivided into three major periods: The Restoration Period (1660-1700; or 1688 if we consider poetry); The Augustan Age (1700-1745- death of Jonathan Swift/1750, according to some literary historians); The Age of Johnson (1745/50-1798). Some of the features of Neoclassicism (preference for order, clarity, precision, wit, elegance of expression, didactic character of all forms of writingfictional or non-fictional) will appear in the early years of Restoration literature and will continue to be considered fundamental for another century, yet the height of Neoclassicism, at least in terms of literature and philosophy, is considered to be the Augustan Age, an age of poetry, satire (in verse or in prose), of the essay and the pamphlet, but, perhaps equally important, the age of the emergence of a genre that was to become the most important form of prose writing (and continues to be so), the novel. 2. John Milton his work and his place in the English literary canon. Focus on Paradise Lost (1667): the biblical sources of the poem and Miltons interventions at the level of the story and characters; the heroic poem ( definition; conventions of the genre); Miltons God and Christ; Adam and Eve; Miltons understanding of the universe. Miltons influence on romantic poets; Miltons style. seminar: Paradise Lost (1667) (see also the PowerPoint presentation) John Milton (1608-1674) Born in 1608, on 9 December, in a middle-class family, John Milton received a good education attending St. Pauls School and then Christs College, of the University of Cambridge, where he studied to become a clergymen. While in college he started writing poetry in Latin, Italian, and English, and changed his mind about a career in the clergy, deciding instead to become a poet. However, his sound religious education and his exposure to classical literature mostly Greek epic poetry (Homers Iliad and Odyssey), philosophy (Aristotle and Plato), and tragedy (Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides 5th c. BC), to Latin poetry (particularly Virgil and Ovid, two major poets of the age of Emperor Augustus of Rome 27 BC-14 AD) were highly influential throughout his life, and most of his work is either an imitation of favourite texts particularly in the formative years or a personal response to them, in his later, more mature work. After he received his MA in 1632, he spent 6 years in his fathers house in Hammersmith, where he concentrated on his serious study of ancient literature and on the study of other foreign languages (French, Italian, Spanish and even Hebrew). Some of the best known poems from his early career were written now: On Shakespeare (published anonymously in the second folio of Shakespeares plays of 1632; Miltons father had been requested to write the dedication to the first folio edition in 1623!!; this was Miltons first published poem); On the Morning of Christs Nativity, (written when still a student, yet published only in his 1645 volume, Poems), L'Allegro, Il Penseroso, (each poem reflecting, celebrating and encouraging the experience of a

different state of mind, and the pastoral elegy Lycidas., written on the death of a dear friend, Edward King. It is also the period when he wrote two masques2, Arcades (1632) and Comus. A Maske Presented at Ludlow Castle (1634). Comus, written in collaboration with composer Henry Lawes and performed at the official residence of the recently appointed Lord President of Wales, was later revised for the page and published as a poem in his 1645 volume of Poems. It is a morality tale, celebrating virtue and resistance to temptation. It presents the story of a young woman the Lady who is enchanted by Comus, a pagan god, supposedly the son of Bacchus and Circe, and lured to his home in the forest. He is a spirit of the natural realm and thus a symbol of natural forces, an incarnation of temptation that threatens the soul. He uses a magic dust and a magic potion in his attempt to subdue the woman and is clearly described as a seducer trying to lure the Lady with promises of enjoyment, of a feast of the senses. His tricks fail to work, however, and the Lady manages to resist temptation and is eventually released with the help of nymph Sabrina, called by the Ladys brothers to help them free their sister from the enchanted chair to which she is stuck. Virtue is variously referred to as chastity and continence and this poem clearly reflects Miltons early interest in the issue of sinlessness (particularly chastity) and sinfulness, further explored in his Paradise Lost. In May 1638, Milton left England on a tour of France and Italy, which lasted 13 months, during which he met many important intellectuals and also influential people, one of the most important of these being the Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei, the one who perfected Copernicus telescope and confirmed his heliocentric theory in Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems. The echoes of his meeting with Galileo can be traced in Miltons 1644 tract against censorship and apology of free speech, Areopagitica (from Areopagus, the name of the meeting place of the Council of State of ancient Athens) but also in Paradise Lost, in Miltons description of Satans shield, which looks like the moon seen through Galileos telescope. A Puritan and an advocate of a modern form of Protestantism (not the kind displayed by the Anglican church), John Milton presented his revolutionary ideas on the need for genuine religious reform in England in essays like Of Reformation Touching Church Discipline (1641) and the right and necessity for free speech on political as well as religious matters (especially in Areopagitica; A Speech of Mr John Milton for the Liberty of Unlicencd Printing (1644). His revolutionary ideas were further presented in essays like The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce (1643; rev.1644), an apology of divorce with arguments from history, theology and the Scriptures. As Andrew Sanders points out in his The Short Oxford History of English Literature (1994/2004), this tract on

Masque-- a form of amateur dramatic entertainment, popular among the nobility in 16th- and 17th-

century England, which consisted of dancing and acting performed by masked players. (OED) In England it was very popular during the reign of James I (1603-1625), in part due to set designer Inigo Jones, who made the most elaborate and beautiful sets. This genre influenced the later performance arts of opera and ballet.

divorce interlinks a Puritan insistence on rethinking the implications of inherited moral laws with a distinctly personal irritation with received wisdom. (229) Displaying, then, a genuine Protestant attitude to ready-made solutions or answers to critical or ontological questions, Milton was to try to offer his own answers in his later work, not only in essays or tracts on political and religious issues, but also in his masterpiece, Paradise Lost. Two other major contributions to the political and religious thought of the age are The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates (1649), a text written after Charles Is beheading, showing his approval of this action in the light of a more general political stance that kings derive their power solely from their people and, therefore, it is up to them to decide if their ruler is a tyrant or a wicked king and then take the appropriate measures to remove such an inappropriate ruler from power; but also in his 1660 essay The Readie and Easie Way to Establish a Free Commonwealth, published not long before the Restoration, in which he once again defends the Republic (the Commonwealth) and warns against the return of Anglican authority with the restoration of monarchy which would threaten the good Old Cause of the Protestant Commonwealth (1649-1659) that could preserve civil and religious liberties. Paradise Lost (1667) Paradise Lost was most likely written a long time before its publication, most likely soon after Milton completely lost his eyesight in 1652. Some consider that parts of the poem had been written even before that, but it is generally accepted that he wrote most of the poem between 1658 and 1663, and it was published, in 10 books, in 1667, only to be revised and reorganised into 12 books in 1674, when Milton, at the request of the editor, added an explanatory preface explaining his choice for blank verse and the brief summaries preceding each book and pointing out the most important events to follow. Paradise Lost is an epic poem in blank verse (unrhymed, iambic pentameter) on the Fall of Man (and on the promise of Redemption), meant to justify the ways of God to men (PL, 1.26) It is by far Miltons greatest poetic achievement, a work showing not only a good understanding of the conventions of the classical epic poem (in the tradition of Homers Iliad and the Odyssey or Virgils Aeneid), but also of the ability to adapt tone and diction to the events described and interpreted, and an impressive richness of vocabulary and complexity of expression that only a genius could show. By far the greatest poet of the 17th century, Milton was to impress not only many of his contemporaries (John Dryden, the most important poet of the Restoration, paid homage to Milton by attempting to imitate him), but also generations of English poets to come, impressed by the force of Miltons poetry and his courage to address debatable topics like the origin of evil, Gods relationship to Man, his foreknowledge and his plans for mankind, sin, moral corruption, repentance, salvation, redemption, heroism in unprecedented ways. What is more, Miltons Satana very intriguing character in the poemwas to cause quite a stir at the time, beingalongside Miltons ambivalent attitude towards the Doctrine of Predestination (the Protestant view of Gods relationship to Man and the ethereal beings)major reasons for accusing Milton of heresy. The major sources of Paradise Lost are

1. Biblical: Book of Genesis (particularly Genesis: I, II.1-4 the creation of the world, Genesis: II, III description of Adam and Eve in the Garden; Genesis: vi, VII, VIII, IX the story of Noahs Ark); Hebrews I.6 Christ presented as the Son of God and as God; Isaiah XIV the fall of Lucifer and the birth of the Archenemy, Satan) 2. Classical: Virgils Aeneid (29-19 BC), the Iliad, and the entire epic poem tradition The epic poem is a long poem, typically one derived from ancient oral tradition, narrating the deeds and adventures of heroic or legendary figures or the past history of a nation. Etymology: via Latin from Greek epikos, from epos 'word, song', related to eipein 'say' (OED) e.g. Beowulf, Gilgamesh, Odyssey Main elements of the epic or heroic poem: - invocation of the Muse (Calliope, for epic poetry; here the Holy Ghost, naturally) and the thesis statement (introduction of the topic of the poem); - a war (with several battles)described with great detail, with pathos and empathy; - epic heroes (of almost superhuman proportions), - supernatural forces intervening in conflicts, - a vast setting (including the underworld), - descriptions of the lifestyles and customs of both peoples or armies; - sustained, elevated style; poetic diction requires language to be appropriate for poetry, not the language of everyday speech, but an artificial language appropriate for the ambitious aims of the poet The poems structure3 is particularly interesting, and the rearrangement of events in achronological order is perfectly justified and part of a complex structural design relying on parallelisms and oppositions, echoing the theme of warbetween the forces of Good and of Evil, between God and his Archenemy, Satanwhich is the underlying theme of the poem. The poem is built on a series of parallelisms that demonstrate the carefully designed and complex structure of this narrative poem e.g. - History of Satan (books I-III) and history of Man (books X-XII); - destruction of an order (books V-VI) and establishment of a new order (books VII-VIII); Satans entry into Paradise (book IV) and his forced departure (book IX) - the Holy Trinity (Father-Son-Holy Ghost/Spirit) vs. trinity of Evil (Satan-SinDeath) The poem has an in medias res [Lat. in the middle of things] beginning, a poetic convention borrowed from other epic poems for its great dramatic impact. The poem begins with the consequences of the War in Heaven and the reaction of the banished fallen angels to their new state and it ends with the consequences of Adam and Eves disobedience, with their fall from Grace and the beginning of a new life, on earth, knowing that the blissful state that they enjoyed in Paradise is now lost but that

Originally the poem had 10 books, but now it has 12 books, to which the author himself added explanatory passages to help the reader follow the story

redemption is, nevertheless, possible. Milton made this point even clearer in his other poem on the consequences of Mans Fall, Paradise Regained (1671), in which he returned to the figure of Christ as the redeemer of mankind and demonstrated his belief in mans regaining of Paradise through the agency of Christ, as his earlier poem had only suggested. By indirectly comparing the two fallsthe angels and Lucifers and Mans Fallone opening, the other concluding the poem, we may say that Milton was trying to show that by comparison, the latter has less dramatic consequences and for Man there is still the possibility of regaining Paradise. One of the most important features of this poem is its ability to address some of the most problematic issues of human existence: 1). Mans relationship with God For Milton this is clearly a relationship based on love, which makes God not only create two beings characterised by beauty (inner and external) and capable of goodness, but also endow them with free will, the most precious gift of all, which represents their strength but also their weakness. Obedience is the clearest form of showing love and gratitude to God and that is why Mans disobedience whatever form it may take is considered the Original Sin, for which absolution is possible but only through sincere repentance and Divine grace. 2). The question of Divine Providence and the causes and effects of Mans Fall Is it all part of a divine plan, as the Doctrine of Predestination would have it, or is it simply a question of foreknowledge and personal responsibility, as the Doctrine of Free Will explains Gods knowledge of and refusal to intervene in Mans Fall? See Book III: God beholding from his prospect high,/Wherein past, present, future, he beholds,/Thus to his only Son foreseeing spake. (3.77-79) 3). The question of Evil and its appearance into this world (here Milton accuses Lucifer of self-corruption) 4). The importance of sincere repentance and of doing penance as means of obtaining redemption (again, a surprising anti-Calvinist attitude, showing Miltons questioning of the Calvinist doctrine of predestined salvation or damnation and of an implacable God whose mind cannot be changed regardless of what a person does in this life). Trying to justify the ways of God to Man, Milton searches answers to these key questions for which he is obviously unwilling to accept readymade answers, using the Biblical text as a starting point for his meditations on the nature of Good and Evil and, particularly interesting for a writer with his religious background, on the ways in which Man can turn his fate in his favour, no matter how low he has fallen. If Adam and Eve, the poem seems to suggest, could find forgiveness and hope (given that they were able to understand the serious consequence of their disobedience of the Heavenly Father and the moral obligation to take responsibility for their actions, demonstrating not only a great courage, but also the kind of humbleness that an act of repentance presupposes), so can all people work towards the salvation of their souls. In Book III, one of the key passages in the entire poem clearly states Miltons understanding of Gods relationship to Man as being based on love first and foremost, a love that frees His created beings (ethereal or human) to the extent that even the freedom to stop loving Him back and obeying Him is granted:
Such I created all the ethereal Powers

And Spirits, both them who stood, and them who fail'd; Freely they stood who stood, and fell who fell. Not free, what proof could they have given sincere Of true allegiance, constant faith or love, Where only what they needs must do appear'd, Not what they would? what praise could they receive? What pleasure I from such obedience paid, When will and reason (reason also is choice) Useless and vain, of freedom both despoil'd, Made passive both, had serv'd necessity, Not me. (3. 100-111)

Interestingly enough, though emphasising that both damnation and salvation are results of the exercise of free will, Milton also makes sure to have God explain that Mans fate is not entirely in his own hands, but in Gods, Mans redemption being possible only with Gods permission and as a consequence of his bestowing grace on Man: Man shall not quite be lost, but saved who will,/Yet not of will in him, but grace in me/Freely vouchsafed. (3.173-175) Mans existence is, therefore, a continuous struggle in which there are no certainties, only a series of challenges that constantly test the moral strength and power to resist temptation, something that paradoxically also constitutes the source of human greatness which, in the absence of such challenges, would remain latent within the soul and prevent spiritual growth. Saint Augustines theory of felix culpa (Fortunate Fall) is, therefore, adopted by Milton who seems to agree that, no matter how beautiful and serene life in Paradise may have been for our first parents, their virtue was only passive and ignorant before the tasting of the fruit of knowledge, whereas ours can be an active, knowledgeable one. Adam and Eve, as described by Milton, are embodiments of human perfection, evoked with tenderness and admiration as the first humans created by God Himself to fit the beauty of the newly created world. Unlike the Biblical text where the two are described strictly in terms of their defining qualities Miltons Adam and Eve are literary characters whose thoughts, feelings and emotions make them real for the reader, who cannot help but empathise with them and experience their tragic fate. Miltons portrayal of the first couple is, however, a reflection of his own understanding of the qualities and roles ascribed to man and woman:
Not equal, as their sex not equal seemed; For contemplation he and valour formed; For softness she and sweet attractive grace; He for God only, she for God in him: His fair large front and eye sublime declared Absolute rule; and hyacinthine locks Round from his parted forelock manly hung Clustering, but not beneath his shoulders broad: She, as a veil, down to the slender waist Her unadorned golden tresses wore Dishevelled, but in wanton ringlets waved As the vine curls her tendrils, which implied Subjection, but required with gentle sway, And by her yielded, by him best received, Yielded with coy submission, modest pride,


And sweet, reluctant, amorous delay. Nor those mysterious parts were then concealed; (4. 296-312)

His Adam is like Michelangelos David. Beautifully shaped and manly in his appearance, he is a figure of strength and authority for Eve, whose physical frailty is compensated by her innocent beauty but not also by an inner strength as that of her male companion, whom she is expected to obey and regard as a human mirroring of Gods authority. Adam and Eve are far from being equal in the eyes of Milton, for whom the father of mankind embodies a 17th-century male ideal: he is not only noble in spirit but also intelligent, inquisitive and desirous to learn more and understand the laws of nature and of the universe as a means to fully grasp Gods greatness and appreciate His creation. (See books V-VIII, where Raphael answers most of Adams questions regarding the War in Heaven and the destruction of the old order, as well as Gods creation of the earth and the planets, of Adam and Eve and their beautiful world where to live in bliss and tranquillity). She, on the other hand, is credulous and nave, a perfect target for Satans flattery, but Milton goes even further than the text of the Genesis in explaining the reason for her fall into temptation. That Adam and Eve were both innocent (not knowing evil, pure, not guilty of any sin) is something we all know from the Biblical text, but Milton feels the need to make an even clearer distinction between the first man and woman by connecting Eves credulity with a certain inability to understand certain things, which is why she isnt directly warned of the danger of temptation (it is only Adam who is told of Satans entry into Paradise and desire to tempt them both) or a witness to Michaels account of the future of mankind on earth. Feminist critics have accused Milton of misogyny for that reason, but we may say, in Miltons defence, that he simply voices an attitude to women that was quite common in his time, as reflected by the female characters created by many of his contemporaries and even long after Miltons time. If Eves sin is disobedienceowing to her desire to prove to Adam that she is as knowledgeable as he is, as the serpent promisesAdams sin is both a proof of weakness and of courage. He knows what kind of punishment awaits them both if they eat the forbidden fruit and thus disobey God, yet he also knows that he belongs with his wife, the companion that God gave him and the woman he loves so dearly. He chooses to share her fate and his choice, though equally wrong as Eves, is at least understandable in human terms as an act of sacrifice in the name of love. His courage though shaken at some point by feelings of remorse and fear of Gods punishment is nevertheless admirable in a sense, making him superior to his Biblical counterpart. His nobility of spirit, his intelligence and thirst for knowledge, the understanding and dignified acceptance of his fate and, perhaps most important of all, his ability to repent sincerely and humbly ask Gods forgiveness, accepting with dignity and trust in His judgement Gods punishment and the new life on earth make him emerge as the true hero of the poem, a Christian hero whose behaviour serves as a model to all Christians. Like him, Milton seems to suggest, we have to accept the paradoxes and the suffering of our existence, trusting that Mans Saviour will restore us to our blissful seat if only we are capable of following his example. Satan as a tragic hero figure One of the most important contributions of Milton to the literature of about a century later is most certainly his controversial portrayal of the character of Satan, through whom


the poet expressed his most revolutionary ideas and, as William Blake was to write more than 100 years after the publication of the poem, the poet seemed to speak more freely and unfettered when he spoke through the voice of Satan. Even without going so far as to claim that he was Miltons true hero in this poem (J. Dryden had remarked that as early as 1697, and other contemporary critics agreed that he did seem to be the essential figure of the poem), it is true that, at least in the first books of the poem, he appears as the character that most captures the readers attention. Particularly in his monologue in Book I and the soliloquy in Book IV, Satan appears as a misguided rebel, an angel driven by a desire to free himself and others from the tyranny of Heaven, luring the others with promises of a new order, more republican or democratic, if we are to use a parallel with earthly political systems. Constantly referring to God and his hierarchy in Heaven in terms of empyreal structures of power and even oppression, Satan indirectly describes himself and stands out with his republican rhetoric as a Cromwellian figure, motivated by a desire to destroy what he perceives as a tyrannical rule and give power to the many. His rhetoric proves effective even after the defeat of the fallen angels, and he is appointed by the others to rule Hell and represent them in the new battle against God. Book IV, however, allows the reader to see another aspect of Satan, his soliloquy the only genuinely honest admission of his true thoughts and feelings being a fine example of anagnorisis (recognition) whereby the tragic hero (for that is how Satan appears to us now) admits his hubris (excessive pride) and his error, taking responsibility for the consequences of his actions and finally accepting his fate. That is here Satan endowed with human features and presented like a man in agony certainly takes the reader by surprise, yet we soon realise that endowing Satan with human characteristics is merely a literary device allowing Milton the Christian poet to explore the working of evil, of corruption on the human soul, exploring thus the darkest recesses of the human soul and attempting to explain how moral corruption is possible and how even the apparently good and virtuous may fall prey to their pride and ambition to the point where a return is no longer possible. Satans fall is far more dramatic and interesting for a poet, which is why, by comparison, the language of remorse, fear, hatred, regret, and pain in Satans speech is richer and more cathartic than that of remorse a nd fear as voiced by Adam and Eve. Miltons style Miltons style is appropriate for a heroic poem, yet it also shows a certain flexibility depending on the nature of the situation or the action described or the character speaking. Milton is capable of alternating styles and adapting his tone with great ease, his characters coming to life in the most natural manner, their boasts, complaints, their fury or frustration, their serene ignorance or calm acceptance of their fate being most appropriately rendered through a persuasive language and a wide range of vocabulary that befits the discourse of ethereal or human beings. God Himself impresses the reader with His calm yet authoritarian rhetoric, making one feel, not only understand his power and supremacy. The language of hatred and spite is beautifully alternated with that of despair, remorse, regret, Satans soliloquy in Book IV being one of the most impressive literary exercises in the manner of Greek tragedy, so different from both the discourse Satan delivers to his defeated legion in Hell in Book I, or in his highly persuasive


language of temptation in Book IX, when he subtly bends Eves will and makes her believe that she needs to eat the forbidden fruit. Miltons syntax is oftentimes difficult to follow, his long sentences running over up to 16 lines (see the first 16 lines of the poem) and his word order being anything but English. Having a sound knowledge of Latin, he often imitates the style of Virgil and even uses Latin phrases and words (mostly with their original meaning), making the text difficult to follow without accompanying editorial notes. These, in fact, are most useful for todays readers because the text is filled with allusions to mythical characters and events, to places and worlds that Milton himself only knew from his reading of the Biblical texts or ancient Greek, Roman or even tales from the Far East, his descriptions of the planetary system or of the earth, most certainly of the Garden of Eden, relying mostly on things he knew from the Bible and from ancient and contemporary scientists and writers, all filtered through his own imagination in a desire to help the reader understand the beauty, the perfection of Divine creation, in Heaven or on earth. His similes are oftentimes extended an attempt at capturing the vastness, the sublime nature of the setting and his enumerations (long lists of characters, plants and animals, or toponyms) seem endless at times for very much the same reason. To Harold Bloom, John Milton was one of the greatest poets in the English language and a significant influence on the generations of poets to come. Lord Byrons heroes (the Byronic characters, as they are called) are partially modelled after Miltons fascinating Satan character, Shelleys Prometheusthe symbol of rebellion and defiance of the godsis clearly a poetic response to Miltons Archenemy, and William Blakes entire conception of the universe and its forces seems strongly influenced by Miltons explorations of the nature of Good and Evil, of Mans relationship to both in Paradise Lost, a poem that continues to fascinate and engage readers centuries after it was penned.

3. John Dryden as a major representative of Restoration poetry, drama and criticism seminar John Dryden Alexanders Feast (1697) John Dryden (1631-1700) One of the most important writers of the Restoration and of the last decades of the 17th century, John Dryden was a poet (Poet Laureate between 1668 and 1688), a playwright, translator and a critic, whose work displays some of the major elements of Neoclassicism, like: choice of topics from ancient history, concern for compositional rules and preference for regularity, for order in poetic construction and a polished style. He went to Westminster School like John Milton and then took his BA (1654) at Trinity College in Cambridge, where he studied the classics and had a very rigorous training in rhetoric, which proved most valuable in his future career as a dramatist and poet. His family (countryside gentry) had been involved in the Civil War on the side of the Puritans, so it is safe to say that the young boy (aged 11 when the war broke out) was a republican as well in his youth. In his youth he secured a job working for Oliver Cromwells Secretary of State John Thurloe and met John Milton and Andrew Marvell while working there. His political convictions seemed to change after the Restoration, when he wrote a poem, Astraea Redux, celebrating the restoration of monarchy and


apologising for his earlier support of Oliver Cromwell. He also wrote To His Sacred Majesty in 1661, a poem written for the coronation of Charles II. He was a member of the Royal Society and, in 1668, he was made Poet Laureate (the first to be awarded such a distinction) and Historiographer Royal, both being highly honourable positions at the court of Charles II. He continued to write poems for various events and celebrations until the ascension of William of Orange and Mary to the throne when, as he refused to swear allegiance to them, he was dismissed. He had converted to Catholicism in 1686 and remained loyal to James II, which is why he did not celebrate the Glorious Revolution and concentrated more on satires after he left his public office in 1688. As a poet, he started his career writing occasional poems (elegies, odes, epistles, complimentary addresses), and he also made translations from the classics. He believed quite strongly that the main purpose of poetry was delight. For Dryden it was the idea behind the word rather than poetic artifice (figures of speech) that mattered the most, which is why he used a common, not a poetic language in his poems, leaving his lines simple and without unnecessary adornments or sophisticated phrasings, his interest being in the clarity of expression. He wrote drama in verse as well, showing, like the French playwrights at the time (Moliere, Racine, Corneille) a preference for rhymed verse instead of the traditional blank verse used by most of his predecessors (Shakespeare, Beaumont and Fletcher, Ben Jonson), although in his Of Dramatick Poesie: An Essay (1668) he did defend the use of blank verse by referring to the achievements of earlier English dramatists. He was a very rational man, well balanced and hardworking, fully aware of the need for constant study, a good understanding of human nature and a sound judgement of the world, as well as a very good command of the English language. He wrote that [a] a man should be learned in various sciences, and should have a reasonable, philosophic, and in some measure mathematical head, to be a complete and excellent poet and besides this should have experience in sorts of humours and manners of man, should be thoroughly skilled in conversation, and should have a great knowledge of mankind in general. (Dryden Notes and observations on The Empress of Morocco, 1674, a pamphlet) Before 1688, Dryden focused mostly on writing poetry and drama. There were two main companies (of Drury Lane and of Covent Garden) that were licensed by Charles II when theatres reopened in 1660, after 18 years of no theatrical performance. Dryden quickly decided to join a small group of playwrights writing new plays for the revived English theatre. He was to become one of the most important playwrights of the Restoration, writing mostly heroic tragedies4 and comedies, and his dramatic talent was

The heroic tragedy was a new and soon-to-become very popular genre, something that Dryden

immediately understood. The genre was a development of tragedy (the first author of a heroic play being Roger Boyle, Earl of Orrery The General [1660]), dramatising conflicts between love and honour. The protagonists were lovely heroines who charmed the heroes- great men capable of amazing things- ready for any sacrifice in the name of love, very much like in the tradition of mediaeval romances. The public loved the bombast, the drama, the stage duels, the ranting, the extravagance in speech, behaviour and costumes, the dynamism of these plays.


matched only by that of William Congreve, the master of Restoration comedy of manners. Drydens main plays: The Wild Gallant (1663) a farcical comedy without much success The Indian Queen (1664) a heroic tragedy in rhymed couplets in which he had collaborated with Sir Robert Howard, his brother-in-law. The Indian Emperour (1665), was a sequel to The Indian Queen and his own first outstanding success. Secret Love, or the Maiden Queen(1667) a tragicomedy that was very successful with the king as the part of Florimel, a joyful and witty maid of honour, was played by the kings latest mistress, Nell Gwynn, to the delight of the audience. This play also marks the beginning of a new era in English comedy, displaying the kind of witty repartee that was to become a trademark of Restoration comedy of manners, whose master is William Congreve. Tyrannick Love (1669), and the two parts of The Conquest of Granada by the Spaniards (1670) were highly successful, but the heroic play as a genre was losing ground by now to a new type of play, the comedy of manners, which he experimented with in his 1672 Marriage A-la-Mode. Aureng Zebe Drydens last heroic play All for Love (1677) a tragedy modelled after Shakespeares Antony and Cleopatramarks Drydens abandonment of rhymed verse and return to a more traditional verse form for drama, blank verse, but also his entry into a new period, that of Neoclassicism. This is visible in the careful construction of the play, the natural development of plot and character, and in the avoidance of bombast or artifice. It was also in this first part of his career that he wrote most of his critical work, in the form of essays, pamphlets, or prefaces to plays. The best known example of his critical work is an essay he wrote during the plague of 1665 and the Great Fire of 1666, while he was in the countryside, waiting for theatres to reopen. In Of Dramatick Poesie: An Essay (1668), Dryden discusses all major aspects of drama that constituted topics for heated debates in the literary circles at the time. That is why Dryden chooses the form of a dialogue between four friends, each having a different opinion on the course to be taken by contemporary English dramatists, a very elegant manner of presenting different views without openly taking sides. The young men discussing English dramapast and presentare: - Crites (Sir Robert Howard) promoter of the ancients as true models of artistic achievement through the establishment of dramatic unities (action, space, time) and an imitation of life in their drama; the English playwright that comes closest to the ancients: Ben Jonson


Eugenius (Charles Sackville, Lord Buckhurst or Sir William Davenant)defender of the moderns as surpassing the ancients from whom they learned what was to be learned and whose art they perfected5 Lisideius (Charles Sedley) claims that French drama is superior to English drama and insists on the respect the French have for the dramatic unities and purity of genre, as well as their use of a polished, elegant style and of rhymed verse, bringing French drama closer to perfection Neander (Dryden himself) a defender of native tradition, he accepts that the French have reached a high level of artistic accomplishment through the careful construction of their plays, their concern for order and balance, their elegance of style, but defends the mixture of genres (tragicomedy, for instance) as a more realistic reflection of life and human nature, and he praises the great dramatists of the early 17th century, Beaumont and Fletcher, but above all he seems to most admire Shakespeare, whom he compares to Homer, suggesting that he was a true genius. Interestingly enough, though he seems to defend blank verse, Dryden continued to use rhyme for his own drama until 1672, when he wrote his tragedy All for Love, where the influence of Shakespeare seems most evident. (He had also rewritten Shakespeares two other plays for the Restoration stage, The Tempest in 1667 and Troilus and Cressida in 1679).

What is interesting about this essay on drama is the fact that Dryden attempts to keep a balance between opposing views, allowing his characters to present their views with arguments and providing examples from the works that they considered best illustrations of good drama, and although by giving Neander the last word he manipulates the reader into accepting his point of view as being more convincing, the text is remarkably balanced and denotes a good understanding of the Platonic model for the presentation of opposing views and, why not, perhaps Drydens own hesitation between these different ways of addressing key issues at the heart of an art that was trying to reinvent itself after almost two decades of absence from the English literary scene. Drydens satires Some of his best work, however, and the texts for which he is still appreciated as the greatest writer of his time came in the form of satirical poems, written in the early 1680s. before He wrote three political satires that showed not only his gift for irony and his wonderful sense of humour, but also a good understanding of human nature and the corrupting influence of power. His greatest achievements from this later period of his career are: Absalom and Achitophel (I, 1681; II, 1682), The Medall (1682), MacFlecknoe (1682). A Tory and a defender of James, Charles IIs brother, as a rightful heir to the throne, Dryden felt the need to get involved in politics in 1681, when the Earl of Shaftesbury and the Duke of Monmouth, Charles IIs illegitimate Protestant son, with the support of the Whigs, tried to plot against James. They invoked a Popish Plot and tried to

The Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns, a hot debate in the literary circles of Paris in the last decades of the 17th century, was immediately imported in England, some of the greatest literary minds at the time (including Swift) being interested in the topic.


destroy Jamess public image to ensure that he would not be accepted as Charles IIs successor. The king managed to outsmart the plotters and accused Shaftesbury of treason and imprisoned him. It was in this context that Dryden wrote the first part of his Absalom and Achitophel (1681, a week before Shaftesburys trial), which he continued with a second part the following year. This is considered to be the greatest political satire in verse in the English language. It is an allegorical treatment of the political events of that time, the main source of inspiration for the poet being the Old Testament story of King David (Charles II), Absalom, his favourite son (Monmouth) and the deceiving and conniving Achitophel (Shaftesbury), who persuaded Absalom to rise against his father, a story told in the second book of Samuel. The value of the poem lies not so much in its political impact, as in the appropriate use of heroic style, the brilliancy of diction6 and versification. The following political satire, The Medall (1682), was occasioned by a rather surprising turn of events at the trial of Saftesbury. Having the support of the Whigs the whole time, Shaftesbury was eventually released from prison as the accusation of treason was deemed unfounded by the grand jury, and a medal with the effigy of Shaftesbury was made on that occasion to mark the success of the Whigs. In response to that Dryden wrote a virulent attack against the Whig party in poetic form, preceded by Epistle to the Whigs, an explanatory prose text to clarify the aim of the poem. The following satire, MacFlecknoe (1682) was not political but literary in nature, and some literary historians claim it was published anonymously because it was a response to Thomas Shadwells literary attack on his The Medall earlier that year. It is not certain if that is the case, but it is well known that Drydens lampoon7 had been written some four years earlier, in 1678, and that Dryden did not take public responsibility for the text after it was published. Dryden and Shadwell had been friends in the early days but in time their political views and their opinions on literary matters made them become enemies, and this enmity was expressed in their writing in the form of direct or indirect attacks. Shadwell is here presented as a dunce (someone stupid or slow at learning things), incapable of making any judicious comment on drama (particularly Ben Jonson, considered by Dryden to lack wit, yet much admired by Shadwell). Here Dryden managed to criticise Shadwell with such literary mastery and so convincingly, that his career as a dramatist and literary critic was seriously affected by this satirical text, which is considered the first important mock-heroic poem in English, a model for Alexander Popes The Dunciad. Considered by some one of his greatest poetical achievements, The Hind and the Panther: A Poem, In Three Parts (1687) is most certainly the work of a great poet attempting to expose his religious views in allegorical form in a poem of impressive length (2,600 lines his longest), written in heroic verse. Controversial for many due to the use of a beast fable to talk about religious issues, the poem is divided into three parts: - Part I is a presentation of all major Christian denominations, where the Catholic Church is A milk-white Hind, immortal and unchanged, the

Diction is a term referring to the choice and use of words and phrases, in speech or writing; it was believed that each genre had an appropriate diction and it was a breech of the rules of good writing to use improper words or phrases in a certain type of text. 7 Public criticism by using irony, sarcasm or ridicule


Anglican Church appears as a panther, the Independents as a bear, the Presbyterians as a wolf, the Quakers as a hare, the Freethinkers as an ape. In Part II, Dryden speaks of church authority and the issue of transubstantiation (the church doctrine that says that the substance of the bread and the wine used during the sacrament of the Eucharist is changed into the Body and Blood of Christ, and this change is real, not just symbolic) Part III voices a call for unity between the Anglican and the Catholic Churches against all forms of Nonconformists

Some of his contemporaries and later literary historians accused him of inconstancy in political and religious views, however, as far as religion is concerned, his conversion to Catholicism seemed honest and survived the departure of James II from England, and he had more to lose than to gain by remaining a Catholic during the reign of William and Mary, so perhaps his critics were too harsh. After the publication of The Hind, Dryden tried to return to the theatre, yet his plays were no longer successful, so in the 1680s and 90s Dryden supervised poetical miscellanies and translated the works of Juvenal and Persius. In 1692 he published Eleonora, a long memorial poem by the husband of the Countess of Abingdon. But his great late work was his complete translation of Virgil, contracted by Tonson in 1694 and published in 1697. Dryden was a respected man of letters and was often seen at Wills Coffee-House in the company of younger writers. His last work for publisher John Tonson was Fables Ancient and Modern (1700), which were mainly verse adaptations from the works of Ovid, Geoffrey Chaucer, and Giovanni Boccaccio, with a critical preface. He died in 1700 and was buried in Westminster Abbey in the Poets Corner, next to Geoffrey Chaucer and Abraham Cowley. His legacy to the English poets were to be his eloquence, his skilful use of the rhymed couplet, especially the heroic couplet8 his ability to control tone, his dignified, unaffected, precise style and his use of poetic dictionall Neoclassical features that were to set an example to later poets, like Alexander Pope). 4. Restoration comedy see PowerPoint presentation seminar: Congreves The Way of the World (1700) and the conventions of Restoration comedy of manners; character types, clichs and innovations; the Proviso scene. 5. Restoration prose: types of prose (essays, diaries, religious writing, fiction) and some of the most interesting representatives. Focus on Samuel Pepys, John Evelyn, Aphra Behn and John Bunyan. Restoration prose is clearly influenced by the Scientific Revolution going on in Europe and in England, one of the consequences of which being the appearance of The Royal Society for Improving Natural Knowledge in 1664 sponsored by the King

The heroic couplet is a form of verse consisting of a rhyming couplet where each line is an iambic pentameter. This type of verse was to be perfected by Alexander Pope in the first decades of the 18 th century.


which gathered the greatest minds of the time and offered visibility to their research through its publication, the Philosophical Transactions (1665). The scholarly style of this publication and the general trend in Restoration thought to inquire and search for answers to a number of questions related to the laws of nature, of the universe, human existence and mans relationship to the surrounding world constitute a great departure from the earlier reliance on religion only for answers for all questions and a wide spread of superstitions especially among the less educated. This shift in thought led to the appearance of publications that testify a greater interest in a rational inquiry of all aspects of human existence and a relative freedom of expression (contrasting with the heavy moralising tone of Puritan writing during the Interregnum), and a preference for a prose style that is simple, direct and clear, in sharp contrast with the style preferred by the Metaphysical Poets just a few decades earlier. Autobiography and diary writers From the middle of the 17th century there is a rise in autobiographical writing which has been associated by some critics with a rise in bourgeois individualism (the middle class is clearly emerging as a major social class at this time) and an interest in self-exploration and personal experience, yet as Andrew Sanders points out (242), the trend in self-writing and individual consciousness is not confined to the middle class, being also visible in women writers like Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle (1623-73)[A True Relation of my Birth, Breeding and Life, 1656], a member of aristocracy. Contemporary diarists and autobiographers, Sanders points out, seek to catalogue examples of divine providence, to count personal blessings, and even to present their financial accounts for Gods scrutiny. Others recognize a pressing necessity to demonstrate the working-out of divine purpose in private and public history, either to prove the nature of new beginnings or to find some immanent end of time. (242) Two of the most important diarists of the Restoration period are Samuel Pepys (1633-1703) and John Evelyn (1620-1706). The former wrote a secret diary between 1660 and 1669, documenting not only his social evolution working in various offices for King Charles IIs government, but, more importantly, most of the important historical events (including the coronation of Charles II and the political changes the restoration of monarchy entailed, the Plague of 1665 and the Great Fire of 1666), the parliamentary intrigues and gossip, the changes in morals, manners and lifestyle that he and his family as well as the people he came in contact with underwent in the early years of Restoration, as well as giving detailed accounts of his marital life and extra-marital affairs, his expenses, food and clothing choices, study practices and interest in all new developments in science and philosophy. What is more, as an active theatre spectator, Pepys includes his personal opinions on the theatrical productions and actors performances, showing a clear preference for Ben Jonson and not Shakespeare (A Midsummer Nights Dream, performed in 1662, being described as the most insipid ridiculous play that I ever saw in my life), although both Macbeth and Hamlet seem to be very much to his taste. Pepys Diary was for the first time transcribed and published in 1825a censored version removing all material that was considered offensive or objectionablethe full version being published as late as 1970-83. Written in shorthand and clearly not meant for publication, it is an example of Restoration prose in that it is written in plain English and in a straightforward manner, and it clearly shows a zest for life and an intellectual


effervescence that are typically associated with the spirit of the time. It is also licentious, which makes it a reflection of a certain distancing from the kind of Puritan morality that had been dominant just a decade earlier. In contrast, John Evelyns diary (discovered in 1813 and published in 1818) is more pious and reserved, focusing on the recording of public events and comments on the high culture and scientific enterprise of the period (Sanders 245). Interestingly enough, his diary covers a period (1620-1706) which he could not possibly remember, the writer choosing to begin the record of his life from the year of his birth. The text is, therefore, a mixture of personal and national history for which he most likely relied on other historical records and on family stories. Only the period from 1684 onwards is a contemporary diary. On the whole, Evelyn appears as a great admirer of European Renaissance art, which he came to experience first-hand in his grand tour of Europe as a young man, during the Civil War, a preference for the ordered regularity of the classical style (Sanders 245)in that sense he seems attuned to a contemporary move towards the classical style in all arts, a feature of emerging Neo-classicismand he is an enthusiastic admirer of contemporary scientists whose discoveries and advances in fields like medicine, mathematics, physics, etc. are carefully documented and praised. Moreover, like many of his contemporaries, Evelyn is an admirer of Francis Bacon, the early 17th-century philosopher who is considered one of the predecessors of the philosophers of the Age of Reason or Enlightenment, displaying a similar interest in rational clarity and empiricist attitude to knowledge (noticeable in the writings of Isaac Newton and John Locke as well). Aphra Behn and the birth of the professional woman writer A very interesting aspect of the period is also the appearance of the first professional female writer, one of the first and most prolific being Aphra Behn, known particularly as a dramatist (not a very good one, unfortunately, but certainly a very active presence in the theatre world of the Restoration age), but also as a poet, translator and prose writer, her Oronooko, or the History of the Royal Slave (1688) being considered an important contribution to the development of the English novel. Although she wrote fiction mostly for easy domestic consumption (Sanders 267)novels and short storiesshe channelled much of her creative energy to write for the stage (18 plays) and she had considerable success particularly with her comedies. She was of uncertain origin, and had very little formal education, but she had life experience as a colonist in Surinam in the early 1660s and most certainly made use of that world knowledge in her writings and her survival in a literary world that was not particularly open to competition from women. She was a fierce attacker of strict puritan morality and, in her novel Oronooko, of the cruelty of white mens treatment of slaves in the colonies. Her novel may not display great literary qualities, being a rather clumsy, highly romanticized account of the betrayal of an African prince into slavery on the American continent, but it is a surprising defence of human dignity and a praise of the power of love, regardless of race. Andrew Sanders comments: As a writer who had acted out the roles of both coloniser and courtesan, Behn suggests that she possessed a proper insight into the meaning of oppression. (269) Religious prose


As far as religious writing is considered, there are many religious tracts written and published soon after the publication in 1662 of the Declaration of Breda (which Charles II had signed during the Civil War to secure help from the Scottish aristocracy, and which secured freedom of religion), most of the texts written at the time showing a rise in radicalism and mirroring the religious factions in Restoration England. There are voices calling for some degree of tolerance (including John Drydens The Hind and the Panther), yet complete tolerance of other Christian denominations seems too revolutionary an idea to be embraced by representatives of all such denominations. One of the most interesting contributions to religious writing in the Restoration period is that of John Bunyans The Pilgrims Progress from this World to That which is to come; Delivered under the Similitude of a Dream Wherein is Discovered The manner of his setting out, His Dangerous Journey; And safe Arrival at the Desired Country (1678, Part II, 1684), his greatest and most influential work that gives allegorical form to his own journey to spiritual awakening and conversion, already described in his autobiographical Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners: Or a Brief and Faithful Relation of the Exceeding Mercy of God in Christ, to his poor Servant (1666). Both texts are testimonies to Puritan thought and attitudes to life, the world (and its temptations) and to God, preaching a life of renunciation, of suffering in dignity and with faith in Gods mercy and divine help. In the first part of The Pilgrims Progress he tells the story of a man referred to as Christian throughout the book (although this is an acquired name, after his vision of an approaching destruction of his city, called The City of Destruction, because of the sinfulness of its inhabitants, and his encounter with Evangelist), who is advised and encouraged by Evangelist to start on a journey to the Celestial City atop Mt. Zion (Heaven), where he will find salvation, and who is tempted by the devil and his helperssome being monsters, others like Obstinate and Pliable, Worldly Wiseman, Mr. Legality and Civility, Mistrust, Timorous or the inhabitants of Vanity Fair city being men whose ties with this world or with the forces of evil make them enemies to Christian and his friend Faithful, who try to free themselves from a world of sin and find deliverance in Gods world. The text presents mans spiritual awakening allegorically as a journey with many obstacles and apparently insurmountable difficulties, as a process that takes time and requires great commitment. Most of Christians neighbours laugh at him for having decided to leave his wife and four childrenunconvinced of the truth of his dream and his faith in his salvation only in the Celestial Cityand some even try to prevent him from going. Yet the burden on his backundoubtedly the burden of his sinsproves too heavy to bear and Christian is convinced that only Christ can release him of his burden and offer him true salvation, so he decides to leave alone, hoping that he will have the strength to reach his destination. On his journey he goes through places with suggestive names: Slough of Despond (swamp of despair), the village of Morality (ironically a place that is ruled not by Gods but by mans law, and hence an obstacle that Christian must overcome), the Wicket Gate which allows entry on the Kings Highway (the road to Christ, who appears here as the gate-keeper Good Will), the House of the Interpreter, where, in the form of tableaux, Christian is shown various aspects of life meant to strengthen his determination to continue his journey, the cross of Calvarywhere he sees Christ on the cross and His sepulchre, being immediately relieved of his burden for correctly interpreting what he


sees, and then being greeted by three shining ones (angels) who rid him of his rags, clothe him in a beautiful white garment and offer him a scroll that will help him enter the Celestial City (Christian baptism), then he goes up the Hill of Difficulty, and then spends the night at the Palace Beautiful (where he meets Prudence, Piety and Charity, who will walk him through the Valley of Humiliation), then walks through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, where he manages to defeat a devilish creature, and then he is stopped in the town Vanity Fair where his friend and companion Faith is tried for condemning the inhabitants of the town for their evil ways and then he is killed, being immediately lifted to heaven, and finally Christian will make it to Delectable Mountains, right before reaching the Land of Beulah and the River of Death, the last obstacles to overcome, with the help of Hopeful, before reaching the Celestial City. Part Two of Pilgrims Progress describes the similar journey of Christiana, Christians wife, accompanied by their sons and Great-heart and Mercy, being inspired by the example offered by her husbands spiritual victory, which she now tries to achieve herself for her and her children. Both parts recommend an individual search for spiritual illumination and much inner strength and faith to allow this journey to be complete and end in salvation. The book was very popular for the next century or so, especially among those with little or no formal education, being, next to the Bible, one of the most influential books for puritan communities in England. The book is a pleasant reading, highly imaginative and even entertaining, although its moralising purpose is very clear. Compared to other of Bunyans texts, it is better written and more entertaining, having a stronger literary quality than his other writings. Other forms of prose were essays on literary topics (see, for instance Drydens Of Dramatick Poesie: An Essay, or the prefaces to his plays), scientific and philosophical tracts, written mostly in a clear, utilitarian style that was to influence the prose style of the early 18th-century writers (Defoe, Swift among others). The Restoration period also witnessed the rise of historiesboth private and publicshowing a clear interest in recording the amazing changes in the culture and society of Restoration England and displaying a certain trust in a great future to come as a result of all changes in politics, society and science, marking the spirit of the age as one of great inquisitiveness, thirst for knowledge, trust in reason and mans ability to progress and achieve great things. The spirit of Enlightenment is here. 6. The Augustan Age (1700-1745/50) as the height of Neoclassicism. The spirit of the age. Major genres and main aesthetic qualities of Augustan art. The rise of journalism and its impact on the cultural life and society of early 18th-century Britain: The Spectator and The Tatler (Joseph Addison and Richard Steele). Monarchs: Queen Anne: 1702-1714; George I: 1714-1727; George II: 1727-1760; 1st Prime Minister of Great Britain9 (Sir Robert Walpole, from 1721, when he was elected First Lord of the Treasury, although his office as PM began in 1730 and lasted until 1742. His greatest contribution was keeping Britain at peace and boosting the countrys economy, leading to greater prosperity for the people. Even so, the corruption

Great Britain is the name of the country uniting the two separate states (England and Scotland) with separate parliaments and legislations yet the same monarch, born in 1707, following the signing of the Acts of Union between England and Scotland.


he tolerated made writers like Swift attack him repeatedly, the most memorable being his satire of Walpole and his government in Gullivers Travels. The spirit of the age The spirit of Enlightenment10 is a consequence not only of the continental scientific revolution, but also of the contribution of several great thinkers of the 17th century, among whom Ren Descartes, Baruch Spinoza, and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (among the continental philosophers) and Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton and John Locke in Britain. All these great thinkers, though differing in their opinions on the best method of inquiry or their attitude to knowledge and the way in which it can be reached, share a common belief in the power of human reason to comprehend and explain the laws of nature, the working of the universe and mans place in the world and his relationship to it and to God. Isaac Newton (1642-1702), for instance, was a mathematician and physicist, to whom we owe not only the Law of Gravity, but also a new understanding of the laws of nature as being intelligible (and demonstrated through physics and mathematics), and of the fact that the universe manifests a certain symmetry and a mechanical certainty, the universe being the work of an intelligent, benevolent Creator, ideas presented in his Principia Mathematica (1687). Newtons theory of the intelligibility of Nature and its laws and his trust in the human mind to make sense of the surrounding universe was embraced by 18th-century thinkers, who believed that a careful assessment and understanding of the natural scheme of things was possible, which led to the rise of Deism. Deism was probably the most important development in religious thought of this century, a trend in religious thought that shifted emphasis from the Church and its teachings about the divinity of Christ or the unquestionable divine nature of the biblical texts to a rational and objective study of nature as divine creation and as being governed by a set of established laws, so the Creator has no reason to further intervene in our lives. Deism, whose basic principles were formulated much earlier (late 16th century), gained more supporters throughout the 17th century and became, next to Calvinism and Puritanism, one of the major forms of religion (though some argued that Deists were atheists) in late 17th century and the first half of the 18th century in Britain. However, there were so many theories circulated at the time that no unitary doctrine can be formulated. It is, however, one of the major influences of Enlightenment thought in Britain and in other European countries (France and Germany, for instance), putting forth the idea that man is not only endowed with reason, but capable of using this faculty to discover and comprehend the surrounding world, which is why instruction is essential. Another major contribution to Neoclassical thought is John Lockes philosophy, formulated in a series of texts, some focusing on politics and social relations, others on mans relationship to the surrounding world and on human knowledge. One of his most influential texts is Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690), which exerted a great influence on the intellectuals of that time, in good part through the epistemological rigor that it displays. Locke examined human understanding in order to determine the limits of human knowledge. For Locke the source of all our ideas, the ideas out of which

The term is used alternatively with that of Age of Reason to describe the intellectual movement of the long eighteenth century.


human knowledge is constructed, is in the senses; ideas, he claimed, are not innate. Lockes epistemology contributed greatly to the appearance of psychology in the period. He and Newton both continued the work of Francis Bacon in turning Empiricism into a respectable school of thought that was met with great enthusiasm in Britain, particularly as English culture was very much prepared to embrace the spirit of the age, of Enlightenment. The Augustan Age as the height of Neoclassicism The Augustan Age represents the period when the principles of British Neoclassicism were already visible in all arts. Its name is attributed to the writers of the time (among whom Jonathan Swift, Joseph Addison, Richard Stele and Alexander Pope) who liked to measure themselves to the Roman authors Virgil, Horace and Ovid, the most important writers during the reign of Emperor Augustus of Rome (27 BC 14 AD), a period remembered by historians as a glorious one for Roman culture. Although many of the writers of the time could hardly be considered men of genius, great writers to inspire future generations, they most certainly contributed to the development of satirical writing in English and to the rise of the novel as an increasingly popular prose genre, whose Augustan representatives (Daniel Defoe, Jonathan Swift and Oliver Goldsmith) demonstrated that literature could be intelligent, instructive and enjoyable without being sophisticated, obscure, artificially contrived and addressed only to educated readers. The rise of Neoclassicism is oftentimes associated with John Dryden, whose preoccupation for rules, order, moderation, decorum (literary or dramatic propriety, or fitness of style and language to the literary subject), civility and wit is generally considered to be characteristic of a Neoclassical writer. These qualities were to remain highly important throughout the first half of the 18th century, sometimes referred to as the Age of Pope.11 Regardless of the differences between one decade and another, the Augustan Age and most of the 18th century will remain known as a period of common sense, propriety, good taste and polish, whether in arts, manners or sensibility. This is also a period in which drama and poetrythough still popular with writers and the publicare most certainly replaced by prose in impact and degree of innovation. Much of the poetry of the time imitates the classical models, the forms preferred being the ode, the pastoral, the elegy and the ballad (the last being of medieval origin), and the mock-heroic or satirical poemmade extremely popular by Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift. The poets

As is often the case, the lines between intellectual movements are flexible and marked differently by literary historians. To some, it is Pope who represents the quintessential author of the Augustan Age, so it is his death in 1744 that marks the end of an era; other historians refer to 1745, the year of Swifts death, as the end of the Augustan Age, because he too represents a highly influential writer and thinker of the age. To others 1750 seems a more appropriate way of separating the two stages of British Neoclassicism. What is true, however, is that by 1746 Samuel Johnson, the man whose name will be associated with the third phase of Enlightenment in Britain, was already working on one of his greatest legacies to English culture, the Dictionary of the English Language (published in 1755). This was to be the most commonly used dictionarya genuine models for other dictionaries put together in the subsequent centuries and one of the reasons for that is that it did not simply provide definitions for words, but also examples of their use, taken from the works of some of the greatest writers in English, among whom the most quoted are Shakespeare, Milton and Dryden.


excelled in wit, clarity of expression and correctness of rhyming or rhythmic patterns, but their greatest quality was their craftsmanship, not their genius. Some of the most important features of Neoclassical literature are its didactic nature, its moralizing tone and entertaining yet reformative purpose. Whether in prose or verse essays, mock-heroic poems, pamphlets, lampoons, editorials or novels, writers take it upon themselves to instruct by exposing and ridiculing, by commenting on their contemporaries hypocrisy, ignorance, superficiality, affectation, moral or political corruption, pretentiousness, arrogance, while at the same time offering them the opportunity to be amused, entertained, challenged in a variety of literary genres now increasingly available to wide audiences owing to the appearance of weekly and daily news publications (periodicals and newspapers) and to the development of publishing houses ready to supply an increasing demand for instructive published materials to aristocrats and middle class readers alike. According to M.H. Abrams (A Glossary of Literary Terms, 1999), one of the texts where the features of Neoclassicism and, implicitly, Augustan literature, are best formulated is Popes An Essay on Criticism (1711). The key five features that are formulated there could be reformulated as follows: 1. Traditionalism and rejection of radical innovation, connected with the writers preference for the classical models of ancient Greek and Roman writers, classic being the word used to refer to a work that has set a standard of excellence and presents itself as a model to subsequent works, being part of the literary canon (hence the names neoclassic or neoclassical) 2. Art is craft and not the work of a natural genius (though geniuses are much appreciated as well, as both Dryden and Pope demonstrated) and as a craft it can be mastered through discipline and dedication. The craftsmans ideal, formulated by Horace in his Ars Poetica (c. 18 B.C.), is characterized by finish, correction and attention to detail, as well as the use of a set of compositional rules that have been tested and therefore ensure a particular effect on readers, e.g. using the three unities in drama, fixed forms in poetry, and the use of decorum. 3. Humanism the primary subject matter of literature and the arts is the human being, art being an imitation (mimesis) of human nature in its complexity and variety of manifestations. Mans existence, thoughts, concerns, feelings, tastes, experiences regarded as common to most humans (insistence on what is shared by most rather than what is special or exceptional, which is what the romantics will explore)constitute the major source of inspiration for writers of poetry, drama, essays, satires, pamphlets and, more recently, novels. It is, however, the ordinary, the common, the unexceptional aspects of human existence that constitute a source of inspiration for writers, the widely shared belief being that universal human agreement, everywhere and always, is the best test of moral and religious truths, as well as of aesthetic values. (Abrams 176) 4. Common sense should overrule any desire to transcend human limitations, in life or in art. Pope, like most philosophers of his time, believes in the flawed, limited nature of the human being, whose only hope for happiness is to understand his position within the chain of being correctly and to humbly accept that position and not strive to go beyond the natural limits of the human race. In literature this translated in the form of moderation, common sense and acceptance of limitations


of ones freedom of composition, the willingness to write within the conventions of a genre or literary form, and a preference for genres that allowed them to imitate their classic masters without directly competing with them in exactly the same genre (e.g. essays in verse or prose, comedies of manners, or satires and mock-heroic poems). These features continued to appear in the works of writers after the deaths of Pope or Swift, even though the literary sensibility and overall mood of the decades following the late 1740s, the Age of Johnson. In the eighteenth century more and more people had access to some form of education, and the spirit of the age encouraged instruction (and self-instruction), speculative reasoning and a great interest in commentary and dialogue. The essay, the editorial, pamphlet and lampoon, the satire (in verse, prose or dramatic form) were clearly preferred forms of expression and favourite types of texts consumed by readers in all walks of life. Philosophy was being made accessible to wider audiences, moral philosophy being integrated in all literary genres and made explicit and easier to follow for the purpose of educating the masses. A major role in that respect was to be played by the new publications in the form of periodicals or daily journals, the first decade of the 18th century marking the rise of journalism, which was to be highly influential not only socially and politically, but also in the prose style of the first major novels written during the Augustan Age and throughout the 18th and the 19th century, developing the readers interest in factual information, precision of detail and a faithful representation of reality. Moreover, Augustan Age readers were avid consumers of travel writings, history tracts, books on law, medicine, mathematics and all natural sciences (gradually separating from each other), but also books on more practical topics such as marriage, childrens education, trade, gardening, or architecture, topics that constituted favourite subjects for the editors of the major publications of the time as well. The rise of journalism Early history The first publications to print news in English were called Relations and they appeared in the 16th century; one of the earliest surviving examples (1513) gave an account of the battle of Flodden between the English (victorious) and the Scots. These 16th-century relations took the form of pamphlets and they appeared occasionally, until the early decades of the 17th century, when they started to appear more regularly, but not in England. The Star Chamber decree of 1586 forbade the publication of news in England, so the first news periodicals in English, called corantos, appeared in Amsterdam, one of the earliest surviving ones being from 1620 (on the Thirty Years War in Europe). During the Civil War, such news publications appeared for propaganda reasons and they were finally printed in England. They were small in format and had several pages (unlike the earlier corantos, which were usually printed on one page only). Later developments During the Restoration all publications were under strict control by the government. The Printing Act of 1662 specified that every work must be licensed before it could be


printed. The Oxford Gazette was established as a government newsbook in 1665, and it was followed by the London Gazette in 1666. In 1689 the Printing Act was not renewed, so a lot of unlicensed publications appeared, some issued three times a week, showing an increasing desire for the expression and sharing of opinions on various matters. The post-Restoration major periodicals were The Tatler (founded by Richard Steele and published between 1709-1711) and then The Spectator (1711-1712). Steeles initial desire was to make The Tatler a periodical dedicated to political comment, but Joseph Addison advised him instead to provide readers with comments on safer issues like accounts on Gallantry, Pleasure and Entertainment, introduced by the editors literary persona Isaac Bickerstaf, an advocate of ethical propriety and a constant critic of Rakes, Thoughtless Atheists and Illiterate Drunkards or the Men of Modern Wit. The Spectator, a collaboration between Steele and Addison, continued The Tatlers policy of offering social comment, and it also included a special drama review section, where most of the excesses of the early 18th-century stage were taxed. Also worthy of being mentioned here are two other publications, Daniel Defoes Review (1704-1714) and the Tory Examiner where Swift published many of his anti-Whig pamphlets prior to becoming Dean at St Patrick Cathedral in Dublin in 1713. Two other important developments of English journalism at this time need to be mentioned here: the first daily, The Daily Courant (11 March 1702), and the first evening paper, which initially appeared three times a week, The Evening Post (1709-1732), the first newspaper with the word evening in its title. Nathaniel Mists Weekly Journal, or, Saturdays Post (1716-1725) was one of the earliest titles to emulate The Tatler and the Spectator by including a leading essay. Another interesting publication was the Country Journal; or, the Craftsman (1727-1750) which, like Mists Weekly Journal, was an anti-government newspaper. In 1735, the prime minister Sir Robert Walpole contributed to closing down several governmentbacked newspapers, including the Daily Courant, and replacing them with the Daily Gazetteer (1735-1746). Throughout the eighteenth century a significant number of newspapers and periodicals appeared carrying not only social and political news, but also essays on various topics, books and theatre reviews, letters and other types of comment. They had a wide circulation by the end of the 18th century, which indicates that practically everyone in England had access to them and the population was clearly interested in being informed. The rise of journalism in England contributed to making English prose clearer, simpler, more easily intelligible and therefore more modern in the true sense of the word. In spite of attempts by government to exert some control over what was printed (mostly through the Stamp Act, imposing a significant tax on all publications, but also through various forms of censorship), anti-government essays and pamphlets continued to be published throughout the 18th century and, when criticism was considered too harsh to appear as political pamphlet, it took the form of fiction, as was the case with some of the more biting satires of Daniel Defoe or Jonathan Swift. 7. Alexander Pope and the refinement of Augustan poetry; Popes main works and literary concerns; the mock-heroic poem as a means for social and political comment in The Rape of the Lock.


seminar: Alexander Pope - The Rape of the Lock (1712-14): main themes and their literary treatment; the character of Belinda See PowerPoint presentation Alexander Pope (1688-1744) and Augustan poetry The son of a linen merchant of Plough Court, London, Alexander Pope was afflicted with Potts disease, a kind of tuberculosis which affected his bones, in his youth. This disease prevented from reaching a normal height (1.37 m) and gave him a crookedback. He attended several (illegal) Catholic schools until the age of 12 (which is also when his health problems worsened), when his family was forced to move out of London, into the countryside, as the law forbid Catholics to live within 10 miles of London. As a Catholic he was not allowed to attend university either, so most of his education as a teenager and as a young man was informal, Pope being a great autodidact, learning from the masters of Greek, Latin and English literature, some of his favourites being Homer (whose two epic poems The Iliad and The Odyssey he was to translate later), Horace, Juvenal, Virgil, Chaucer, Shakespeare and Dryden. He had a sound knowledge of ancient Greek, Latin, French and Italian, his (creative) translations of Homers and Horaces poems being quite appreciated at the time. Though living most of his life in relative isolation, he had several influential friends among whom Joseph Addison, with whom he collaborated on the latters play Cato and by writing texts for his The Spectator and The Guardian, the poet and dramatist John Gay, the satirist and poet Jonathan Swift, John Arbuthnot and Thomas Parnell (with whom he formed the Scriblerus Club,12 and he even had several female friends, though he never married. He was one of the most respected poets of his time and he managed to make a good living out of writing, his poetry and his essays (in prose or in verse) being quite influential during his lifetime. The first published work of Alexander Pope was a collection of poems entitled Pastorals, published in a volume entitled Poetical Miscellanies. In these pastoral poems the master of Augustan poetry already demonstrates his literary skill, his clarity and conciseness of expression, his mastery of rhyming patterns and ability to vary rhymes and create musical effects, but also his interest in classical poetry, which he seems eager to imitate. Popes Essay on Criticism (1711, but probably finished by 1709) is a remarkable text in that it continues the tradition of Restoration literary criticism (John Drydens work, in particular) and also shows a clear dependence on Horaces Ars Poetica (c. 18 BC). Like his predecessors, the young poets intention is to affirm and explain his position regarding the art of writing and the role of criticism, depicting himself as both poet and critic. This essay in verse is part of the contemporary debate between the defenders of the ancients and those of the moderns, Pope positing himself on the side of those praising the ancient poets as true models of excellence for contemporary poets. The poem has a clear personal aim, as Pope attempts to present and justify his position within the literary world of his time, to voice his opinions on matters of literary conventions, compositional norms and general critical principles (which he regards as essential to a

This was a satirical club whose role was to expose all forms of intellectual ignorance and pedantry. Originally Gullivers Travels was a common literary project which could never be completed as initially planned.


poet, aiding him in his work by providing guidance, rather than criticism), yet for todays reader it is also a very instructive reading, offering us a critical presentation of the state of literature in Popes time, the major concerns of Neoclassical poets, the relationship between the poet and the critic (the bad and the good), and the literary quarrels of his time, the most important being the one between the ancients and the moderns. Written in the heroic couple, a form of versification that was relatively new at the time and which Pope turned into a fashionable verse-form, perfected by him in subsequent poems, the poem is a good example of Augustan style, the language being rich and the style elegant and polished, without being obscure or unnecessarily sophisticated. It is a fine example of Neoclassical poetic style, the line of argumentation flowing smoothly, the topic being addressed from several perspectives with great ingenuity and wit, the speaker in the poem demonstrating the qualities he advocates a good poet and a good critic should have: common sense, clear-headedness, observance of rules, of conventions, ingenuity, wit, and moral propriety. His other very interesting essay in verse, An Essay on Man (1733-34, published anonymously), is a meditation on mans place in the chain of being, an audacious attempt to illuminate and explain the premises of contemporary moral philosophy in the form of popular and accessible verse (Sanders 292). The poem is structured in four epistles that aim to vindicate the ways of God to Man, a variation on Miltons thesis statement in Paradise Lost, although Popes philosophical poem cannot be seen strictly as a Christian poem, Newtonian philosophy being particularly influential in Popes understanding of the world as a divine creation functioning according to natural laws. Gods created world is described as a mighty maze! but not without a plan, and the human being is seen as a divided nature, placed between beasts and angels, under Gods power as an ordering agency. Pope insists on the idea of order, which links the human being with nature and with a benevolent Creator in a vast chain of being, and also demonstrates a faith in mans capacity to discipline himself, particularly as he regards man as a flawed creature, ruled by passions, frail, limited, contradictory in behaviour, attitudes and his very nature, [t]he glory, jest, and riddle of the world. The poem voices Popes main ideas regarding human existence and its limitations, yet it also displays his optimist take on the possibility for happiness and evolution which he believes to be possible only if human condition is accepted with humbleness and a constant desire to discipline oneself, to control ones passions. His philosophical ideas were to be further developed in a series of other essays published as Moral Essays (173135), where a more mature Pope is less optimistic about mans capacity to live in harmony and order, to overcome his self-destructive impulses and his passions. The earlier satirist of The Rape of the Lock or The Dunciad was by now a moral philosopher who could no longer see his social and political ideals reflected in the contemporary society ruled by economic individualism and opportunism. Apart from his moral essays, his pastorals and epistolary poems (Eloisa to Abelard of 1717 being among the best known), his translations of Homer or Horace, Alexander Pope built a solid reputation as a representative poet of his age owing to his verse satires in mock-heroic form, The Rape of the Lock (1712, 1714, and 1717) and The Dunciad (1728, 1729, 1743). The latter, a mock-heroic poem published anonymously in three different versions, is a response to John Drydens MacFlecknoe (1682), being a literary satire about the goddess Dullness and her representatives on earth (namely


ungifted writers and intellectuals) who corrupt British culture with their imbecility and lack of taste. The first version of the text appeared in 1728 in Dublin, and it consisted of only three books in which Pope attacked several untalented contemporary writers, one of them being the editor of a recent edition of Shakespeare, Shakespeare Restored, edited by Lewis Theobald, who had suggested that Popes own edition of 1725 was full of errors that needed correction, something that Pope admitted later on, in one of the prefatory materials included in his new edition of The Dunciad entitled The Dunciad Variorum. This was published in 1732, three years after his signed edition of The Dunciad (1729). As the publication of this satire led to a series of attacks on Pope and his work and a wrongful deciphering of the initials of bad writers in the first version, Pope accepted to take public responsibility for his work and also devised a series of texts signed under different names but generally attributed to him, included in the 1732 version as a prolegomenon (introduction which explains the purpose of the text), in which Pope also gives as main reason for not revealing the names of the writers he had exposed for their dullness and lack of literary talent the fact that he did not wish to make them famous this way. However, many of his references in the text were easily identified by his contemporaries, particularly Tibbald the King of Dunces, and this made Pope very unpopular with many of the wits posing as writers, editors and even politicians of the time. Not limited to literary discourse, the Dunciad exposes the dullness and lack of rhetorical qualities of political discourses as well, so the satire is more general in scope. The last version of the text, the four-book Dunciad appeared in 1743, after the fourth book had first appeared independently the year before. This time the hero of the text is no longer Lewis Theobald but Colley Cibber, a contemporary dramatist and Poet Laureate, known for his questionable taste and bad poetry yet made truly famous by Popes portrayal in this mock-heroic poem. The last version of the poem is even darker in mood and tone, showing Popes growing discontent with the literary scene of his time and his contemporaries inability to judge writers according to the criteria he had exposed in his Essay on Criticism and other essays, as well as a general discontentment with the society and its failure to cultivate common sense, good taste, reasonableness, order and balance, Neoclassical ideals that he and his friends in the Scriblerus Club had tried so hard to promote. Apart from Popes refinement of the heroic couplet and of Neoclassical decorum, he also contributed to the establishment of high standards in Augustan poetry, cultivating the readers taste for fine language, elegant phrasing, refined poetic diction and eloquence, exemplifying better than any of his contemporaries that Neoclassical ideals can be the guiding principles of poetry and the resulting work be instructive, ingenious and enjoyable, as the literary standards of the time required. 8. The Augustan Age and the rise of the novel: definition of the novel, major types, cultural context favouring the appearance of the novel. Daniel Defoes journey to becoming the Father of the English novela few clarifications. The Augustan Age or Period is the height of Neoclassicism, its most important features having been adopted not only in literature and philosophy, but also architecture (Palladianism) and, to some extent, in painting. Although it is not genius or surprising ingenuity that recommends Augustan authors, but rather craftsmanship and wit (in the


words of Pope, what oft was thought but neer so well expressedEssay on Criticism), they did contribute to the development of genres that had previously been marginal (particularly essays and satires in verse or prose), and to the rise of the novel as an increasingly popular prose genre, whose most important Augustan representative, Daniel Defoe, demonstrated that literature could be intelligent, instructive and enjoyable without being sophisticated, obscure, artificially contrived and addressed only to educated readers. The 18th century was readier for prose than for any major developments in poetry or drama. The most important change in readership was the inclusion of a growing middle-class audience desirous to learn and be entertained while being instructed. The rise of journalism and the widespread interest in facts of life, in private and social experience, as well as in accounts of travels and adventures of sailors and colonists also contributed to the appearance of a literary genre that could cater for all these needs while offering readers an enjoyable reading experience. As the daughters and wives of the tradesmen and manufacturers were seldom employed in any kind of business, they could start to enjoy the same literary privileges as their richer counterparts among the women part of the gentry and the upper class. The rise of the novel, therefore, needs to be seen as co-dependent on significant socio-economical changes and cultural developments that favoured the early experiments with the realist novel of adventures or the novel of incident (Defoes Robinson Crusoe), the comic novel (Fieldings comic romance), the first psychological novel (Richardsons Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded), or the epistolary novel (Richardsons Pamela and Clarissa), which also happened to be the first sentimental novels, like Goldsmiths The Vicar of Wakefield. All of these early examples of English novelthough not the first prose texts to be associated with this genreclearly indicate that, beginning with the 18th century, literature becomes increasingly more democratic in the sense that it is no longer restricted to the upper-class, educated readers capable of identifying all allusions to Greek and Roman mythology or all references to Renaissance philosophy or art, being thus open to readers from the higher and lower middle class, with some formal education and a great desire for self-improvement through reading and learning. Although Daniel Defoe is traditionally called the Father of the English novel, it should be pointed out that both he is not the first writer to experiment with this genre in the English language, and the origins of the novel go all the way back to the ancient literature of Rome and the medieval romances that were to constitute major sources of inspiration not only for the subsequent novels, but also most of the poetry and art of Western culture. Definitions The term novel is applied to a great variety of writings which share only the quality of being extended works of fiction written in prose. Due to the wide variety of forms, a single definition of the genre is impossible. As an extended narrative, the novel is generally distinguished from the short story and from the work of middle length called the novella (Italian for something new and the etymology of the English term). It is generally accepted that the novel differs from both the short story and the novella in length, variety of characters and complication of the plot, ampler development of the milieu, and more sustained development of character and motives (Abrams 190).


The earliest examples of novelsalthough the term only came into existence in the Middle Agesare Petronius's Satyricon (1st cent. A.D.), the Metamorphoses (2d cent. A.D.) of Lucius Apuleius, Daphnis and Chlo (3rd cent. A.D.) attributed to Longus, all of which tell real or imagined stories and more or less believable occurrences, already establishing the two main directions that were to emerge even more clearly in the Middle Ages and during the Renaissance, the realist and the fantastic. In other words, even from these early examples of prose fiction we can see a tendency to reflect facts of life and tell stories of real people (or at least people who may be seen as real), such as in Boccaccios Decameron (mid-14th c.) and, on the other hand, the tendency to write of fantastic characters or creatures, imaginary occurrences and highly idealised feelings or emotions (love, primarily), and of characters who are larger than life and have little in common in their readers, as in Amadis of Gaul (13th or 14th c.). Interestingly enough, in most European languages it is some form of the word roman (deriving from the medieval romance) that is used for novel, English being the only language to use a term associated with the Italian novella, although Italian romances were quite popular in the 15th and 16th century England. Two of the earliest examples of novels in the English language are Elizabethan continuations of the pastoral romance of the ancient Greeks: Thomas Lodges Rosalynde, the source for Shakespeares As You Like It, and Sir Philip Sidneys Arcadia; another Elizabethan extended prose text is John Lylys Euphues: The Anatomy of Wyt (1578) [from Greek euphues meaning graceful, witty], considered a didactic romance. The only writers of extended prose fiction in the 17th century are John Bunyan, whose Pilgrims Progress (1678) can be regarded as a precursor of the allegorical novel, and Aphra Behn, author of 4 novels, among which her best is Oronooko (1688). A surprising development of the English novel in its incipient form is William Congreves Incognita; or Love & Duty Reconcild (1692), which demonstrates that novelists at the end of the 17th century were ready to replace improbable, marvellous romances with more psychologically developed fiction better rooted in the realities of their time, as Aphra Behn had demonstrated in her novels. However, as M.H. Ambrams rightly points out, what is recognizably the novel as we now think of it appeared in England in the early eighteenth century, and the first English writer whose name is associated with first novel of incident is Daniel Defoe (191). Daniel Defoe (1660-1731) Ironically, in the half century after his death, Defoe was thought of as a pamphleteer and an economic thinker, when he was thought on at all. (Marshall 2010). The son of a tallow (animal fat, used for soap and candles) chandler named James Foe, Daniel Defoe grew up a Presbyterian dissenter and received a religious education at a dissenting academy in Newington Green, London, at a time when religious tolerance was still strong. He became a merchant and as a consequence he travelled through Europe (mostly France, Holland and Spain) between 1680 and 1683, but upon his return to England he became increasingly interested in politics and didnt always choose his allegiances carefully, but rather opportunistically. His character and moral integrity are often described as questionable, Defoe changing political sides according to what he seized as being more profitable to him. He started as a Whig, working for Robert Harley


as a political spy and confidential agent between 1688 and 1714, even though during the last 4 years of their collaboration Harley was a Tory minister. He did not hesitate to leave him when the Whigs came to power in 1714. Clearly an ungifted tradesman, Daniel Defoe became a pamphleteer and a journalist after a series of troubles with his creditors (he was arrested for debts in 1692, in spite of the very good dowry brought by his wife, Mary Tuffley) and several attempts to get back on his feet economically. His early career is filled with hundreds of texts on various issues, mostly political and social topics, some of which being quite bold in purpose and style, others confusing and missing their point, as is the case with his The Shortest Way with the Dissenters (1702), a pamphlet that made both Dissenters and Anglicans his enemies. Among his most representative early texts are: A Poor Mans Plea (1698) a pamphlet on the injustice of the laws and the manner in which law is enforced, insisting on social discrimination and corruption in the courts of justice; The True-born Englishman (1701), a very successful satire commenting on the appropriateness of a Dutch-born king (William of Orange) to rule England, in spite of some voices claiming that only an English king should be accepted as the monarch. Needless to say, this satire in verse won him the kings sympathy. The Shortest Way with the Dissenters (1702), an intriguing pamphlet published anonymously, occasioned by the rise to power of Queen Anne and the beginning of the persecution of all Nonconformists, including Presbyterian dissenters like Defoe. It is a satire of both High-Church Tories (i.e. Anglican Tories) and the Dissenters whom Defoe regarded as practitioners of occasional conformity. Though himself a dissenter, the author of the pamphlet ironically recommends dissenting preachers to be hanged and their congregation banished. His irony was not clear to most readers, and the result was that the intention of the text was misunderstood, many readers being unable to overcome the extremism of the writers opinions, which Defoe only intended to expose as grounded in the reality of his society, and not promote as acceptable. The authorship of the text was unveiled and Defoe was sent to prison in 1703 and sentenced to stand on the pillory three times. Hymn to the Pillory (1703), a virulent attack against his persecutors and all corrupt and intolerant politicians, claiming that it is they who should stand on the pillory, not him; the poem, written prior to the carrying out of his sentence, ironically turned his humiliation on the pillory into a triumph, people hailing him as a hero and not an offender. Some literary historians argue that it is his experience in Newgate Prison and on the pillory that accentuated his persecution mania and made him feel isolated from the world, abandoned by friends and the target of peoples scorn and mean attacks, which may have played a part in his decision to write about solitude and survival, not only on a desert island, but also in English society. The prison experience seemed to be a major turning point in his life. After his release from prison in 1704, Defoe began working on a publication that was to confirm his status as a great writer of his time, the Review, a weekly journal at first, then issued three times


a week, in which he expressed his views on political and social matters, also including historically significant information on domestic and foreign affairs, including the union between England and Scotland, British commerce, manners and customs of the time. One of the most remarkable features of these articles is the straightforward journalistic style that was to prove not only highly influential for later publications, but also a feature of his style in his prose fiction in the latter period of his literary career. Last but not least, Daniel Defoe also stands out as one of the earliest defenders of womens right to be educated. In his 1719 essay The Education of Women, Defoe puts forth a strong argument in favour of creating an Academy for women, deploring his nations ignorance of their mental capacity and ability to compete with men intellectually. He says,
I have often thought of it as one of the most barbarous customs in the world, considering us as a civilized and a Christian country, that we deny the advantages of learning to women. We reproach the sex every day with folly and impertinence; while I am confident, had they the advantages of education equal to us, they would be guilty of less than ourselves.

This faith in education is characteristic not only of the Age of Reason, but also of the social class to which he belonged, the bourgeoisie, Defoes opinions on the need for instruction being in fact shared by many fellow Englishmen belonging to the middle class, whose daughters and wives could now enjoy the pleasures of reading in their free time and on whom the major novelists of the 18th century (Defoe, Richardson, Fielding, Goldsmith) relied as an avid and stable readership. Defoes career as a novelist Having displaying disloyalty to the Whig party on more than one occasion while he was working as their secret agent in Scotland, as well as writing offensive political comments in the Review in 1713, the Whig government turned against him and sent him to prison. Upon his release he stopped issuing the Review and started a new publication, this time a trade journal that was meant to keep him out of trouble. It is perhaps his break with the world of politics and his financial difficulties that made him try make a living out by writing fiction, although this was considered unacceptable by dissenters. His novels were published anonymously and presented as memoirs of people that find themselves in extraordinary situations yet manage to survive and rise above all difficulties because they are intelligent, resourceful, dynamic and self-reliant human beings, whether they belong to the middle or to the lower class. Written in a relatively short period of time (1619-1624), his 9 novels (out of which 2 are sequels to Robinson Crusoe) are characterised by the writers fascination with life in its variety of human experience and its great dynamism, with peoples behaviour in various circumstances, oftentimes extreme situations. The characters are modelled after real people that someone like Defoea tradesman, journalist, prisoner and travellerwould have met in the first 59 years of his life, which is why his texts were immediately popular and some of his characters continue to fascinate writers and readers today, almost three centuries later. Though still far from the psychological realism of the 19th century, Defoe managed to create living and breathing, at times surprising characters of endless resourcefulness, determination and trust in their ability to survive and improve their condition, whether they are faced with perilous journeys, storms, the plague, complete


isolation on a desert island, or extreme poverty and all sorts of dangers in the streets of London. With their help, the modern reader can get a sense of the life and manners of people previously ignored by writers, members of the lower classes whose destinies, motivations, life-choices, personal experiences and private emotions are revealed to the reader straightforwardly, in their own words, letting the reader judge for himself or herself the character of the protagonist. The protagonists of his novels are usually announced by the titles, all promising great adventures and extraordinary occurrences that would fire up the readers imagination and insure e sale of the books: Robinson Crusoe (or rather The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, Of York, Mariner: Who lived Eight and Twenty Years, all alone in an un-inhabited Island on the Coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, wherein all the Men perished but himself. With An Account how he was at last as strangely deliver'd by Pyrates 1719), with its two sequels, The Farther [sic!]Adventures of Robinson Crusoe; Being the Second and Last Part of His Life, And of the Strange Surprising Accounts of his Travels Round three Parts of the Globe (1719); Serious reflections during the life and surprising adventures of Robinson Crusoe: with his Vision of the angelick world (1720), Memoirs of a Cavalier and Captain Singleton (both published in 1720), The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders, A Journal of the Plague Year, and Colonel Jack --all published in 1722-- and Roxana: The Fortunate Mistress (1724). In terms of style, these works are characterised by a plain, direct, matter-of-fact style and a vivid concreteness of factual detail, which contributes to the creation of an effect of verisimilitude and an investment of the fictional worlds he creates with reality value. Although in terms of form his novels can be seen as loosely constructed and episodic, the greatest strength of his novels lies in his ability to recreate life convincingly and to persuade readers of the actuality of the facts presented, his unreliable narrators being such convincing liars, that it is no surprise that he was capable of hiding the identity of the author of these texts during his lifetime, when he was famous only for his activity as a pamphleteer and editorialist. 9. Daniel Defoe Robinson Crusoe (1719). The realistic novel of adventures defining the realism of the novel; major themes and possible interpretations of the novel; Robinson Crusoe as a representative of the 18th-century English middle-class. A postcolonial reading of Robinson Crusoe. Focus on the possible interpretations of the nature of the relationship between Robinson and Friday (see Adrian Mitchells rewriting of Robinson Crusoe as Man Friday). Other important prose writings by Defoe: Moll Flanders (1722) The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, Of York, Mariner: Who lived Eight and Twenty Years, all alone in an un-inhabited Island on the Coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, wherein all the Men perished but himself. With An Account how he was at last as strangely deliver'd by Pyrates (1719) Sources for Robinson Crusoe


Traditionally, the major source of inspiration for Robinson Crusoe is considered to be the account of the Scottish sailor Alexander Selkirk on the Pacific island called "Ms a Tierra", close to the coast of todays Chile (between 1704 and 1709), but Tim Severin argues, in his 2003 book In Search of Robinson Crusoe, that the true source for Robinson Crusoe is the story of Henry Pitman, who also wrote about his escape from a Caribbean penal colony and subsequent shipwrecking and desert island life and adventures. Arthur Wellesley Secord in his Studies in the narrative method of Defoe (1963: 21-111) also offers alternative sources after analysing the novel and comparing it with other travel narratives published around the time Defoe must have written his novel. In other words, it may be argued that the novel was inspired by several accounts that readers of the novel may have known, which made Robinson Crusoe a credible memoir, although Defoes narrative only used documented reality as a starting point for one of the most memorable accounts of human survival and endurance under extreme conditions, a tale of colonialism and individualism meant to foreground the qualities of the members of the English bourgeoisie and their ability to build the nation at home and abroad, contributing to the growth and development of the British Empire. There are several readings to which this novel renders itself. Probably the most traditional is the view that it is a realistic novel of adventures (Jan Watt), a story about a common man whose fate is to end up a castaway on a Caribbean island for 28 years, more that 25 being years of complete solitude, finding comfort only in religion and the animals that keep him company. The novel introduces Robinson as a member of the middle class, a young man in search for adventure and desirous to improve his condition in the New World, from where news of instant success and easily obtainable fortunes came via accounts written and published at that time. Robinson is not special in any way, except perhaps in name Crusoe, we are told is an English version of the German Kreutznaer as both in English and in German his name echoes the word cross and seems to point to a special destiny for its bearer. Socially, the Crusoes are members of the middle class and, according to Robinsons father, this is the happiest state possible: which he had found, by long experience, was the best state in the world, the most suited to human happiness, not exposed to the miseries and hardships, the labour and sufferings of the mechanic part of mankind, and not embarrassed with the pride, luxury, ambition, and envy of the upper part of mankind. (Robinson Crusoe) What the father emphasises is not only the state of economic well being of fellow middle-class people, but also the moral aspects of this way of life. Dissenters like them (and like Defoe) are blessed with the possibility to lead an honest and virtuous life, working hard but also benefiting from the results of their diligence and wise investments. It is a blessed state to Gods liking, and any other lifestyle exposes the human being to either the dangers of a criminal lifestyle, or those of self-sufficiency, greed and laziness all leading to damnation. That Defoe should include this long discussion before father and son so early into the novel can only point to the moral lesson that this novel is supposed to convey. Like many others from the English middle-class, Defoe has no doubts that this increasingly strong social class is accountable for the progress of the nation, the economic growth and successful expansion of the British Empire, and he feels the need to put this conviction in narrative form to demonstrate how, through what individual and shared attributes, this


social class emerges as the most dynamic, resourceful, reliable and productive of all social classes in the final decades of the 17th and the first of the 18th century. The adventures that Robinson experiences before his arrival on the island reveal only some of his qualities: he is enterprising, courageous, intelligent and resourceful, and he has the great desire to succeed and the eye for profit that all successful merchants and colonists should have. He does not hesitate to sell the young Moor Xury to a Portuguese captain, although the former had helped him escape slavery, because he needs money to get to the New World and his disregard for the boy is perfectly justifiable in his world. As a white Christian he has very little consideration for non-whites and for heathens, seen as inferior human beings and possible enemies. As a Protestant he has little tolerance for Catholics, too at least before the solitary experience on the island let alone Muslims like Xury or black slaves working on his plantation in Brazil, slaves that he trades to increase his fortune. His adventures in the first part of the book are interesting and certainly draw the reader into Robinsons world, but the real adventure begins on the island, where Robinson is left all alone, with limited means of survival and a series of dangers that test his character and his faith: Much has been written on Robinsons sense of property and economic individualism. Even Karl Marx dedicated a section of his Capital. A Critique of Political Economy, vol. I (1867) to Defoes hero, commenting on the characters pragmatism and display of early capitalist mentality. Jan Watt takes Marxs argument further, arguing that by emphasising the individual, capitalism
tended to diminish the importance of personal as well as group relationships, and especially of those based on sex; for sex, as Weber pointed out, being one of the strongest non-rational factors in human life, is one of the strongest potential menaces to the individuals rational pursuit of economic ends... (Watt, 1957: 67)

As the embodiment of the typical middle-class Englishman of Defoes time, Robinson displays a series of qualities that the author presents as being characteristic of most people with a similar social background: economic individualism, understood as an accentuated self-interest, pragmatism and concern with material aspects of life, as well as with his religious upbringing, trust in his Presbyterian faith as the only source of Truth and superior path to redemption (Robinson dislikes all other Christian denominations particularly Catholicism and feels superior to Muslims and all other non-Christians, whom he treats as almost non-humans until he meets Friday), and belief in Predestination and confidence in his interpretation of Gods plan for him, which is vitally important for his survival on the island. It is these qualities that enable Robinson not only to survive year after year, but, more importantly, to build a world that mirrors that of his native country. When he leaves the island on that English ship, 28 years after his shipwreck, the Island of Despair has become a colony in the true sense of the word: the English sailors left behind are offered not only a running farm (with carefully planned crops and storage facilities, with cleverly bred goats), but also a defence system (the fortress), a set of laws and a state organization as English colony,13 as well as a religious system which he

The island is indirectly claimed in the name of the English monarch when Robinson introduces himself as the governor of the island, and his and Fridays civilising work there can be regarded as constituting the early stage of colonisation.


introduced from the early days of his being on the island and reinforced through the conversion of Friday later on. It is not surprising, therefore, that the novel has been considered as an allegory of the process of colonisation, with Robinson as the embodiment of colonial impulses driving young people like Robinson away from the security of their homes and the promise of a safe, yet slow, prosperity with the promise of great adventures at sea and the possibility to become successful men of property in the colonies. Robinson gets even more than he bargained for, as he is allowed to be a true civiliser, a man who masters an island and channels his energies into a long process of turning a desert island into a smooth-running colony, demonstrating that diligence, determination, intelligence, resourcefulness, self-confidence, pragmatism and optimism can have transformative powers and could be seen as the essential qualities of the empirebuilding English nation. It is therefore of little importance that Robinson has no inclination towards a family life or need for emotional ties until very late, and even then, his relationship with Friday is just as much pragmatic as it is emotional. Seen from a colonial perspective, Friday serves a metonymic function: he represents multitudes, the native tribes civilised by the English, the French, the Spanish or the Portuguese in the New World, nameless, obedient, nave people that proved useful as slaves or near-slaves for the European colonists. Moreover, in Robinsons case, Friday is instrumental in Robinsons performing the role of a genuine colonist, allowing him to impose his language, religion and culture, transforming him so completely, that he is unable to return to his tribe and chooses to accompany Robinson to his native England. By teaching Friday to speak English and many other things about his native country and European culture, Robinson returns to his pre-island self, so upon his return to Europe he is ready to pick up things from where he left off, having a most normal life in England, including a prosperous business and a family (wife and three children), which does not prevent him from desiring to travel once again and to revisit his island, which he does in the Further Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1719). His restlessness and refusal to let any family ties any emotional attachment to keep him in England can only be read as representing the manifestation of a certain state of mind, a middle-class dynamism that could be seen at home in the rapid development of a capitalist system, characterised by the enterprising and profit-driven spirit of the bourgeoisie, and in the world in the equally rapid growth and development of the British empire (which at the time included the 13 American colonies, some of the Caribbean islands and parts of India). The English enterprising spirit and economic individualism of Robinsons in England and the colonies were already regarded as inspirational and typical by most of Defoes readers, which is why his Robinson Crusoe narratives, and later his other pseudo-autobiographies were so immediately successful, especially since they were read as life writings (memoirs or autobiographies) and not as works of fiction. Perhaps one of the most important reasons for this novels success lies in its moralising character. As a tale of survival under the harshest of circumstances, Robinson Crusoe is also the story of the victory of the spirit over matter, not only of individualism and enterprising spirit as typical middle-class qualities. Read in an allegorical key, the novel teaches about the fifth commandment (Honour your father and mother) and tells a modern version of the Parable of the Prodigal Son, in which the lost son understands through a lesson of hardship and humiliation that he needs to turn his face to God as his parents taught him to, not only in times of need, but also to give Him thanks. The moral


reflections of Robinson reveal a strong Puritan education, grounded in the belief in Divine Providence and trust not only in Gods assistance, but also in his own powers to make a life for himself. Robinson is no theologian. When Friday asks him about the devil and the reasons why God tolerates evil in the world, Robinson is caught off guard and is unable to give the newly converted Friday a satisfactory answer. His religious practices have more to do with the necessity to keep his hope and give his experience on the island a spiritual interpretation than with a genuine search for meaning in faith. Soon after his shipwreck, Robinson tries to make sense of his being the only survivor and he chooses to interpret reality through the doctrine of Predestination, like a good Protestant. If God had planned for him to die any time soon, he would have allowed him to sink to the bottom of the sea together with the other slave-traders on the ship. By giving him the gift of life a second time, Robinson thinks, God wants him to understand the great chance he has just been offered to repent for his sins (disobeying his elderly father and trading human beings as slaves) and do penance on the island as long as it is necessary. Like any human being, however, Robinson is not constant in his beliefs or state of mind. His faith is strong enough to keep him going, to provide him with some acceptable interpretation of reality that allows him to hope in salvation, yet he also has moments of despair, of loss of confidence and fear that he will never be able to return to his native country. This does not make his faith weaker, but it simply shows Robinsons humanity and his rational faculties. Rather than allowing himself to remain passive, he interprets his new life as an opportunity to prove himself a good Christian, which to a dissenter means a hard-working, self-confident man who interprets the success of his actions in terms of what he considers divine acknowledgement of the judiciousness of his decisions and the appropriateness of his deeds. Back in England this would have meant a prosperous business and a good family, yet here it all comes down to little victories over nature: cultivating the land and ensuring food for a whole year and a new crop after the next rainy season, making earthen pots to store grains and making his own bread, taming goats and breeding them, making his cave a home and furnishing it appropriately, building a summer residence and a fortress to defend himself against the cannibals visiting the island, civilising a desert island and turning it into a paradise that eventually makes him think less and less about England. Not that he stops dreaming of returning to his homeland, but he finds a reason to want to stay, and that reason is his spiritual balance, his awareness that the island keeps him safe from temptation and allows him to lead a harmonious life, all by himself. The very thought of having to share his paradise with someone else turns into an obsession after he finds a single footprint in the sand in the 24th year on the island, his first impulse being to interpret it as the devils attempt to play with his mind and disturb his peace and quiet. The rational Robinson, however, finally thinks of a logical explanation for the footprint which, far from easing his mind, at least helps him have a mental image of the danger he is facing, the possible encounter with the cannibals. It is only after his mind gets accustomed to the idea of a human being with whom he could share all he has, in exchange for companionship, that Robinson is ready for Friday. Robinsons relationship with Friday


Traditionally, the relationship between Robinson and the cannibal he rescues less than two years before he leaves the island has been regarded as one between a master and a servant or a slave. If we consider Robinsons spiritual evolution on the island, as incomplete as it may be, and his deep need for human companionship suggested by the dreamt rescue of a cannibal not long before the actual rescue of Friday the relationship between the two can only be seen as one between master and servant. Interpreting Robinsons naming of Friday which Maximilian E. Novak argues, in Friday: or, the Power of Naming, stands for Crusoes assum[ing] possession of him in the same way that Columbus assumed possession of the land by his namings (1963: 117) and his imposition of his language, religion and culture as indicative of a slave-owners attitude would simply be wrong. That Friday offers himself to Robinson as his saviour and master of his life for having rescued him from immanent death is certainly true, and in Fridays culture the notion of slavery was certainly not foreign; however, Robinson is so happy to have a young man he obviously likes, physically and for his readiness to obey and learn, as well as his affectionate nature, that his treatment of Friday can only be interpreted as typical of a white European, convinced of his cultural and racial superiority, yet capable of tolerating difference as long as it can be reworked into some kind of sameness. His description of Fridays appearance betrays his appreciation of this young mans qualities and, in spite of a long tradition of misrepresentation, of his non-African racial features:
He was a comely, handsome fellow, perfectly well made, with straight, strong limbs, not too large; tall, and well-shaped; and, as I reckon, about twenty-six years of age. He had a very good countenance, not a fierce and surly aspect, but seemed to have something very manly in his face; and yet he had all the sweetness and softness of a European in his countenance, too, especially when he smiled. His hair was long and black, not curled like wool; his forehead very high and large; and a great vivacity and sparkling sharpness in his eyes. The colour of his skin was not quite black, but very tawny; and yet not an ugly, yellow, nauseous tawny, as the Brazilians and Virginians, and other natives of America are, but of a bright kind of a dun olive-colour, that had in it something very agreeable, though not very easy to describe. His face was round and plump; his nose small, not flat, like the negroes; a very good mouth, thin lips, and his fine teeth well set, and as white as ivory. (Robinson Crusoe)

The fact that he names him and shows very little regard for his real name or identity, for his culture and system of values needs to be put in the right cultural perspective. As an 18th- century white, Christian European, Robinson is no different from his fellow countrymen or anyone from Europe for that matter. He is convinced he belongs to a superior race and culture and displays perhaps more tolerance and kindness than many of the European colonists in the New World. It is perhaps the island that brings this transformation upon him. The younger Robinson, who distrusted the Spaniards or the Portuguese for being Catholic, and who was convinced that only a Puritan could hope for salvation, would not have hesitated to kill all cannibals that day, including poor Friday. It is his desperate need for companionship that brings about this kind of tolerance, doubled, perhaps, by years of practicing rational thought on the island, enabling Robinson to fear Otherness a little less and feel more confident in the power of instruction to civilise and enlighten even someone like Friday, a heathen and a savage. Even Fridays cannibalism is easily dismissed by Robinson as a sign of ignorance and lack of proper instruction, which is not his fault but a trait of his tribal culture. Displaying a humanist attitude, Robinson believes


that it is his duty as a Christian and as a man of reason to save Friday from ignorance and certain damnation, taking upon himself to direct Friday towards a path of spiritual selfimprovement (though Fridays conversion is far from being complete) that would serve as an aid for his own salvation, his missionary work being pleasing to God. That the text was written at the height of the expansion of British and European colonialism, when no one thought in terms of the right of the indigenous populations to keep their culture and tradition intact, to preserve their beliefs and have them respected by the others, can clearly be seen in Robinsons (and Defoes) account of how eager Friday is to learn everything that Robinson teaches him, as if he placed no value on his own culture. He is joyfully submissive and ready to absorb Robinsons superior culture, with little resistance to the Masters authority (perhaps one or two uncomfortable questions on religion, to be expected from an intelligent human being) and perhaps with gratitude for being instructed and civilised. Robinson clearly thinks that way. An alternative reading of the novel and of this relationship is offered by postcolonialist theory. One possible definition of Postcolonialism is offered by Leela Gandhi, who sees it as a disciplinary project devoted to the academic task of revisiting, remembering and crucially interrogating the colonial past. (Gandhi 1998: 4) Defoes novel can thus be revisited from a contemporary perspective, one that rejects the idea of cultural hegemony and subverts traditional, imperialist attitudes that place the white, European Christian at the centre of the cultural system, allowing the formerly marginal, the Other, to have a voice and to be empowered. An early example is offered by a rewriting of the Robinson Crusoe story in Man Friday, a 1972 novel and a play by British writer Adrian Mitchell, adapted for the screen by Jack Gold in 1975. Here the narrative voice is given to Friday and the perspective on the relationship between the two men is also his. Robinson is portrayed as an inflexible, ignorant, emotionally deficient Englishman, an interesting caricature of everything that Robinson Crusoe is traditionally seen to stand for: the enterprising, strong, pragmatic, cool-headed economic individualist. After demonstrating to him that he is capable of outsmarting him they have a bet and Friday gradually earns all of Robinsons money and possessions and of having more earnest emotions and a better grasp on the important things in life (enjoyment of lifes pleasures, optimism, communal), Friday takes Robinson to his tribe only to humiliate him, denying him the right to move there for fear he might spoil the childrens education and sends Robinson back to his island. Left alone and convinced that he has nothing to live for any more, Robinson takes his own life, a sad, desperate man. As long as it is his story, Robinson has complete control over it and the people and events presented in his narrative. The reader of Robinson Crusoe has no alternative but to embrace his perspective on things. Even so, a reader of Defoes novel today cannot help feeling that Robinsons imperialist attitudes are inadequate and unfair. The kind of empowerment given to him by his dominion over the island and his mentality is no longer justifiable and, as the 1997 adaptation of the novel (dir. Rod Hardy, George Miller) shows, or even the more radical adaptation The Castaway (2000, dir. Robert Zemeckis) demonstrates, can no longer be offered to audiences today. The realism of the novel


One of the most important literary features of Defoes novels is their formal realism. In his seminal work on the early English novel, The Rise of the Novel (1957), Jan Watt defines formal realism as exemplified by Defoes prose as:
the narrative method whereby the novel embodies [a] circumstantial view of life; its realism is formal because it does not refer to any special literary doctrine or purpose , but only to a set of narrative procedures which are so commonly found together in the novel, and so rarely in other literary genres, that they may be regarded as typical of the form itself (Watt, 1957: 32)

He sees this narrative method to be the result of a mentality and philosophical approach to life typical of the age (late 17th and most of the 18th century), creating in the readers a need to be informed of all particulars, all circumstantial details of an occurrence or life experience, with precision of detail and accuracy. Much of what Robinson experiences from the moment he leaves his parents home to the moment of his return to England is described with such precision and where imagination had to replace experience so convincingly, that Robinsons life acquires a truth value that only realist text could create. Defoes wide experience as traveller and journalist certainly contributed to the writers recreation of domestic and foreign realities, but equally important are his imaginative powers and his involvement in other literary forms, most notably the polemic pamphlet, the biography, the history and, latterly, the travel-book. His novels included elements of all these forms. () Defoe was merely mastering and exploiting a literary form of various and uncertain origins. (Sanders 307) Daniel Defoe may not be a master of characterisation, or a great narrative technician, or even a wizard of prose style, but his novels, Robinson Crusoe and Moll Flanders in particular, created memorable characters whose energy, self-confidence, resourcefulness, economic individualism and pragmatic attitude to others and to their world continue to surprise and inspire, or at least convince readers of their reality, of their ability to represent the universally human in an 18th century mode of being. Daniel Defoes later novels The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders, Etc. Who was born in Newgate, and during a life of continu'd Variety for Threescore Years, besides her Childhood, was Twelve Year a Whore, five times a Wife (whereof once to her own brother), Twelve Year a Thief, Eight Year a Transported Felon in Virginia, at last grew Rich, liv'd Honest and died a Penitent. Written from her own Memorandums (1722) Defoes other literary achievement though not as popular at the time of its publication as Robison Crusoe was Moll Flanders (1722), the pseudo-autobiography of an orphan born in the prison of Newgate to a mother imprisoned for theft and who was to be deported to America, and raised by a foster mother and then sent to a middle-class family as a servant, where she begins her life of questionable morality as a woman who learns that beauty and amiable nature can translate into money. In short, Moll Flanders, whose real name is never revealed, begins her adult life as a woman who sells herself to men as wife and later as a prostitute trying to survive in a hostile society that has no mercy for unprotected women like her, who have to find ways to achieve social and financial stability, which was only possible through marriage or the generosity of a


married man who was willing to provide for his mistress. When men are no longer dependable, Moll resorts to her own skills, shrewdness, intelligence and cunningness to survive (and thrive) as a thief, and like a character in a picaresque novel (after which Moll Flanders was modelled) she succeeds in thriving in her life of crime and eventually makes a better life for herself, even if this means leaving her native England and making a fresh start in America. Molls character is in many ways similar to Robinson. Like him, she is a true survivor and an economic individualist. Her greatest ambition from early youth is to improve her social condition, which is why she opts for a marriage to the brother of her first lover, love being a luxury she considers unnecessary in a marriage. Climbing the social and economic ladder seems to be a duty to herself, not simply something that happens to her. Like Robinson, she is a product of her environment and her strongest motivation is self-improvement for the sake of social and material well-being, her struggle being with poverty and the kind of humiliation that poverty entailed in early 18 th century. She could have easily stayed a servant in the two brothers house, content to occasionally receive money for her sexual favours to the older brother, but her ambitious nature makes her restless and desirous to become a gentlewoman, something that she achieves several times through marriages (she marries 5 times, and only once for love, ironically to a man as poor as herself), yet she only reaches the much desired economic and social stability at the end of her life. Looking back, however, the old Moll feels that what she has done has been justified and, though not always morally appropriate, at least socially appropriate as many of her decisions were motivated by her need to survive, to escape dire poverty or imprisonment and by her determination to reach that place in society which she always considered to be fit for her intelligence and skills. Her life can be seen as having two main phases: her life as a wife and her career as a thief. Her first husband is Robert (the younger brother of her first lover), in whose house young Moll was working as a servant. Soon widowed, Moll leaves her children with her mother in law and decides to go search for a rich husband, posing as a woman of means herself. Her second husband (the Draper) is a tradesman who manages to go bankrupt so he leaves her and flees to the Continent, giving her leave to do whatever she can to survive, which she interprets as an unofficial divorce and sets out to look for another husband. Her third husband a plantation owner from Virginia takes her to America where they have a pleasant life together and a son they both love, until Moll realises that her mother-in-law happens to be her natural mother as well, at which point she decides to leave her husband and return to England horrified by the thought of having married her own half-brother. Before meeting her fifth (and favourite) husband Jemy, Moll lives with two other men, both married, the Gentleman who has a revelation after six years and, torn by remorse, leaves her and the Banker, who dies soon after their marriage, leaving Moll unprotected and unprovided for once more. Jemy is the first man Moll truly loves. Unfortunately, each thinks the other is rich and they only discover the truth about the others poverty after getting married, so, with pain in their hearts, they decide to part and try their luck elsewhere. They will eventually be reunited in prison years later and they will start a new life together in America as deportees, but before that Moll will go through a series of adventures that will test her intelligence and resourcefulness.


Looking back at her marriages, Jan Watt notices an interesting narrative strategy that serves as a transitional device in a novel with an episodic structure, oftentimes not seeming a novel at all. Thus the first marriage, to the middle-class man, Robert, provides a prelude to the novel, announcing Molls social ambition and her determination to improve her condition. The third marriage, to her half-brother, is connected to the last phase of her life, when she returns to America and meets her brother and their son again, and her marriage to the highwayman Jemy anticipates her return to Newgate this time as a thief and her return to America with him, as deportees. The second phase of Molls life is equally dynamic and eventful, being clearly inspired by rogue narratives and picaresque novels, quite popular at the time. Unlike the typical picaresque novel protagonist, however, Moll is more than schematically presented, although the number of incidents and the exciting nature of her adventures betray the novels reliance on the picaresque narratives for plot content. What the latter phase of Molls life adds to the portrayal of the protagonist is her constant ability to adapt, her intelligent use of her skills and physical attributes, as well as her acting skills and her ability to pass for a gentlewoman, unlike other thieves Moll being able to deceive her victims by making them trust her as being one of their own, a respectable middle-class woman. What is more, she has the wisdom to think each attack through and quickly change her strategy if in danger of being exposed, her survival instincts being stronger than her conscience. She does not hesitate to steal from children or to send someone else to prison in her place, and each time she does something bad she immediately finds some excuse for her actions and quickly dismisses the pangs of remorse as being conterproductive. Thus, after having stolen a pearl necklace from a little girl (and even considering the possibility of killing her so as not to tell on her), Moll says to herself:
The thoughts of this booty put out all the thoughts of the first, and the reflections I had made wore quickly off; poverty, as I have said, hardened my heart, and my own necessities made me regardless of anything. The last affair left no great concern upon me, for as I did the poor child no harm, I only said to myself, I had given the parents a just reproof for their negligence in leaving the poor little lamb to come home by itself, and it would teach them to take more care of it another time. (MF 190)

Later on, when she allows another woman to go through trial for her theft, she feels sorry for her victim, yet does nothing to save her from deportation (after all, this was a mild sentence at the time), and defends herself by motivating her cowardice as a strategy of survival:
I must repeat it again, that the fate of this poor woman troubled me exceedingly, and I began to be very pensive, knowing that I was really the instrument of her disaster; but the preservation of my own life, which was so evidently in danger, took off all my tenderness; and seeing that she was not put to death, I was very easy at her transportation, because she was then out of the way of doing me any mischief, whatever should happen. (MF 218-19)

Like other vagrants, pirates, pickpockets and thieves populating Defoes novels, Moll is presented to the reader as a victim of circumstance and a hostile society. After all, like in the other novels, we read the protagonists own version of the story and, consequentl y, we are invited to accept her perspective on things as being a correct one, although Moll


constantly changes her mind and seems undecided as to the true purpose of her account. Although she often comments the evil nature of her deeds and seems aware of her sins as she commits them, throughout her account of her early life Moll seems more preoccupied to reveal to us the ingenious ways in which she found solutions to her problems and managed to get away with illicit love affairs, unwanted children by her husbands and lovers (most of her children either conveniently die or are immediately dispensed with, being sent to be raised by foster mothers), an incestuous marriage and bigamy, prostitution, lying, cheating, or stealing. In the second part of her life, however, and only when facing imprisonment or death, Moll has brief moments of repentance which she feels the need to share with us:
Them I repented heartily of all my life past, but that repentance yielded me no satisfaction, no peace, no, not in the least, because, as I said to myself, it was repenting after the power of further sinning was taken away. I seemed not to mourn that I had committed such crimes, and for the fact as it was an offence against God and my neighbour, but I mourned that I was to be punished for it. I was a penitent, as I thought, not that I had sinned, but that I was to suffer, and this took away all the comfort, and even the hope of my repentance in my own thoughts ( MF)

Like Robinson during the storms in his first voyages, Moll is too busy pursuing her plans to think of God and repentance as long as there is still hope to get what she wants. It will only be in prison, at Newgate, when she realises that her old life is over and her only hope for salvation from almost certain death is repentance that she thinks of God and her sins with greater commitment and honest repentance. What is more, she feels it her duty to offer her life as a moral lesson to the readers of her account:
The good man having made a very Christian exhortation to me, not to let the joy of my reprieve put the remembrance of my past sorrow out of my mind, and having told me that he must leave me, to go and enter the reprieve in the books, and show it to the sheriffs, stood up just before his going away, and in a very earnest manner prayed to God for me, that my repentance might be made unfeigned and sincere; and that my coming back, as it were, into life again, might not be a returning to the follies of life which I had made such solemn resolutions to forsake, and to repent of them. I joined heartily in the petition, and must needs say I had deeper impressions upon my mind all that night, of the mercy of God in sparing my life, and a greater detestation of my past sins, from a sense of the goodness which I had tasted in this case, than I had in all my sorrow before. This may be thought inconsistent in itself, and wide from the business of this book; particularly, I reflect that many of those who may be pleased and diverted with the relation of the wild and wicked part of my story may not relish this, which is really the best part of my life, the most advantageous to myself, and the most instructive to others. Such, however, will, I hope, allow me the liberty to make my story complete. It would be a severe satire on such to say they do not relish the repentance as much as they do the crime; and that they had rather the history were a complete tragedy, as it was very likely to have been. (MF)

At the same time, the reader cannot help but notice that there is a hint in the second part of her confession that the scope of the book is not to lecture readers in matters of Christian morality but rather to give a truthful (and entertaining, we may add) account of her eventful and exciting life, in spite of the authors claim in the preface that the story, retold and purged somewhat to spare the readers of some gory details though one wonders what could be worse than the things already included in the story is offered as a moral lesson, being chiefly recommended to those who know how to read it, and how


to make the good uses of it which the story all along recommends to them, so it is to be hoped that such readers will be more leased with the moral than the fable, with the application than with the relation, and with the end of the writer than with the life of the person written of. (Defoe, MF, Preface) The end of the book puts things in a slightly different perspective, however. Even after her repentance in jail and her determination to change her life, Moll is incapable of being honest even to the people she supposedly loves, like her son by her third husband (the half-brother). When she returns to America, she soon inherits her mother and becomes a plantation owner in Virginia. She meets her son once again and gives him a watch as a gift, forgetting to tell him that she stole that watch, or that she and his father are brother and sister, for that matter. When her brother/husband dies, she seizes the opportunity to remarry Jemy (whom she had never officially divorced, like she had never divorced her second or third husband) and this marks the end of her adventurous life though not the end of a life of lying. She has reached her goal, however, being now the respectable wife of a plantation owner, a woman with a new life and a new identity, her troubled past behind her. Most of Defoes characters end like this, content and well positioned in society, in spite of their rogueries and immoral character. They are not sentimental, nostalgic or even too apologetic for their deeds, for their outlook on life is typical of survivors. The readers fascination with these people springs from their ability to constantly adapt, to use all their skills and innate abilities to their advantage, their earnestness and unapologetic attitude, their energy and self-confidence, which turn them into victors in the end. Their desires, ideals , motivations are easy to understand and quite realistic. They never desire more than they feel they can achieve. Like Moll, Jack, the protagonist of Colonel Jack (The History and Remarkable Life of the truly Honourable Col. Jacque, commonly call'd Col. Jack, who was Born a Gentleman, put 'Prentice to a PickPocket, was Six and Twenty Years a Thief, and then Kidnapp'd to Virginia, Came back a Merchant; was Five times married to Four Whores; went into the Wars, behav'd bravely, got Preferment, was made Colonel of a Regiment, came over, and fled with the Chevalier, is still abroad compleating a Life of Wonders, and resolves to dye a General ) is also an orphan destined to become a pick-pocket and get into trouble in his early youth, yet he manages to overcome all obstacles and becomes a plantation owner in America. Captain Singleton, the protagonist of the eponymous novel, is of good origin, yet he is stolen by Gypsies as a child and thrown into a life of poverty, roguery and crime and ends up a pirate (possibly Henry Every, the most notorious pirate at the end of the 17th century, served as a model for Defoe), but a clever, business-driven pirate who sets out an example to merchants and pirates by carefully managing his ship, his crew and his assets. Last but not least, possibly the third in terms of character portrayal and complexity, Roxana, the protagonist of the romance novel The Fortunate Mistress: Or, A History of the Life and Vast Variety of Fortunes of Mademoiselle de Beleau, Afterwards Called the Countess de Wintselsheim, in Germany, Being the Person known by the Name of the Lady Roxana, in the Time of King Charles II (1724) provides readers with a similar account of a tumultuous, wicked life as Moll Flanders 2 years earlier, showing once more that a life of crime especially one in which crime is regarded as a means of survival and the sinner a victim of an ill-designed, unjust and cruel world. Victimised by her own husband, a London brewer who spends all her fortune and then deserts her and their five


children, Roxana as she comes to be called uses her beauty and her intelligence to become mistress to several influential people at the courts of England, France and Holland, managing to accumulate much wealth and to exert some influence on people she meets, obtaining thus a kind of freedom that she would never have dreamt of having in a patriarchal society like her own, where the only decent way of acquiring a financial and social stability was through marriage. Like Moll Flanders, Roxana is a feminist in action though without the feminist ideology that was to appear two centuries later demonstrating that a woman has the intellectual, psychological and physical power that only men were assumed to possess, that a woman can survive on her own, without the protection or guidance of a man and that she can even surpass men of some importance in intelligence, shrewdness and manipulative skills. It is also true that for both Moll and Roxana prostitution is not the only price they have to pay, the stigma of being bad mothers haunting them and making women readers wonder about the monstrosity of such mothers who abandon their children in the blink of an eye and hardly ever wonder about their fate. In that respect, of course, both novels betray a novelist not yet aware of the dramatic potential of narrative treatment of characters inner life. It will be the task of Richardson and Goldsmith a few decades later to compensate for this early clumsiness and superficiality of character portrayal. Let us not forget, however, that the novel is yet taking shape as a prose genre in its own right and that Defoes fascination seems to have been with the outwardly drama of adventures, near escapes, life-threatening situations and reversals of fate borrowed from the romance and picaresque novel traditions for these situations could allow him to explore a theme that remained dear to his heart in all novels: survival. The exploration of this theme allowed Daniel Defoe to offer his readers an unbellished perspective of the realities of his time, with the mercantilism and individualism that he saw thriving around him, making people leave their homes, the safety and security of the world they knew, to explore new environments and test their inner and their physical strength. Most of his novels have what may be regarded as a happy ending of some kind, his protagonists having overcome adversity and found some peace in their lives, and having achieved their social goals The only exception is Roxana, whose final years seem marked by misfortune and suffering. She takes it all with the dignity of a repentant woman who understands that the time for paying for her sins has come and she has no other choice but accept divine punishment:
Here, after some few years of flourishing and outwardly happy circumstances, I fell into a dreadful course of calamities, and Amy also; the very reverse of our former good days. The blast of Heaven seemed to follow the injury done the poor girl by us both, and I was brought so low again that my repentance seemed to be only the consequence of my misery, as my misery was of my crime. (Roxana)

Her repentance seems genuine and her words, which conclude her life narrative, are also the last words of a fictional character of Defoes invention, casting an interesting light upon all his protagonists and their amazing adventures, now called to judgment and found guilty of moral depravity and corruption. After Roxana the author published a three-volume travel book, A Tour Thro the Whole Island of Great Britain (172427), providing a first-hand account of the state of


the new country, followed by The Complete English Tradesman (1726) and London, the Most Flourishing City in the Universe (1728). In 1731 he died famous for his pamphlets, essays, travel accounts and for the Review, the journal he had founded and written for almost a decade. The irony is that if Daniel Defoes name continues to be known all over the world, this is not owing to his work as a journalist but as a fiction writer, something he never publicly acknowledged nor ever considered to be more than a temporary profession that could provide him with some financial security. 10. Jonathan Swift, or the power of wit and humour. Swifts involvement in matters of the soul and of the state: spiritual and political aspects of his writings. The uses of allegory, irony, sarcasm and humour in Swifts prose (focus on A Tale of a Tub, The Battle of the Books (1704), A Modest Proposal and Gullivers Travels). The use of allegory, irony, sarcasm and humour in Swifts Gullivers Travels (1726). Book IV of Gullivers Travels possible interpretations. seminar Swifts Gullivers Travels (1726), books I-III. Main targets for satire; Gulliver as an unreliable narrator Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) Jonathan Swift is one of the chief figures of the Augustan Age, remembered mostly for his satirical writings either in the form of essays, pamphlets, or in his best known work, Gullivers Travels (1726). Of Anglo-Irish ancestry, Swift was born on 30 November 1667 in Dublin, Ireland, his father, Jonathan Swift, an attorney at Kings Inn, dying just two months before his sons birth. As his mother struggled with poverty after her husbands death, he was raised by his uncle Godwin Swift, also an attorney, and studied first at Kilkenny Grammar School in South-East Ireland (where he met and befriended William Congreve) and then, at the age of 14, at Trinity College (Dublin), where he obtained a B.A. in 1686. After graduation he had to take a job as his uncle no longer supported him, so he obtained a position as Secretary to retired diplomat Sir William Temple (1628-1699), staying with him at his home in Moor Park, Surrey. There he became interested in politics and social issues, an interest that he was to express in his political and satirical writings later on. He also took full advantage of Temples vast library and his employers knowledge and manner, which he put to good use in his own writings. During his stay with Sir William Temple he took some time off to study at Oxford University and earned his M.A. in 1692; three years later he received a parish in Kilroot, in Ireland, having been ordained priest, but he returned to Moor Park a year and a half later and remained there in Temples employment until the latters death in 1699. By this time, the little girl Esther Johnson, whom he had met at Moor Park and tutored for a while, had turned into a beautiful girl and it is generally agreed that more than a mere friendship developed between the two, some even claiming that the two were secretly married. Whether this was true or not, Swift never publicly acknowledged a relationship with the much younger woman, yet after Temples death he persuaded Esther and her mother to move to his parish in Ireland when he moved there and he continued to write


poems and letters to her throughout his life, the letters being collected and published posthumously under the title Journal to Stella (1766). It was Temple who encouraged young Swift to write his own texts, so after finishing Temples memoirs he started publishing his essays anonymously. The first texts he published were A Tale of a Tub and The Battle of the Books, in 1704. The former, a satire of corruption in religion and in learning, although widely popular with the readers, was disapproved of by the Church of England because it also vaguely suggests that religion can be used inappropriately by absolute monarchs to divert peoples attention from social problems, the same way sailors divert the whales attention from the ship by throwing a tub in the water. The text is in fact a collection of essays taking the form of several sections (digressions, in fact, on matters such as criticism, ancient and modern literature, and madness) and an allegorical tale of the history of Christianity, referring to its three forms present in England at the time: Catholicism, Protestantism and Calvinistic Dissent. The tale, which has a central position within the collection, tells the story of a father, Christian, who before his death gave each of his three sons a coata metaphorical expression of the fundamental doctrines of the Church. The sons, Peter (standing for the Roman Catholic church), Martin (representing the Anglican church) and Jack (representing the Dissenters) are told to take good care of it and keep it unaltered as long as they live, but once they go out into the world they are tempted by all kinds of worldly things and they start making changes to the coat. In Swifts view, neither Peters alterations representing the Catholics additions nor Jacks changes, Calvinist detractions from the original Church doctrines are acceptable. The only brother whose alterations are but youthful mistakes with no serious consequences is Martin, by which Swift suggests the superiority of the Church of England to the other two denominations. This has generally been interpreted as an early attempt on his part to show his allegiance to the Church of England in the hope of a parish in England. Much to his disappointment, he only received positions within the Church of Ireland, for ever feeling marginalised and persecuted. However, A Tale of a Tub is still considered one of the finest examples of irony in prose in the long eighteenth century, being an immediate success with the readers, like the other text published in that same volume, known as The Battle of the Books. This mock-heroic in prose is a response to Sir William Temples 1690 text Of Ancient and Modern Learning, in its turn a response to Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelles disputed thesis that modern learning is superior to that of the ancients, the former having the advantage of modern progress in science and intellectual thought. This view was not shared by William Temple or Swift, yet the latters approach to the matter of the Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns is rather tongue-in-cheek and less passionate than that of his predecessors in this text. The full title of the essay is A Full and True Account of the Battel fought last Friday, Between the Antient and the Modern Books in St. Jamess Library and, like A Tale of a Tub, it was written while Swift was still under Temples employment between 1694 and 1697, yet published at a time when the debate itself could only be thought of with some ironic distance. The text echoes earlier mock-heroic poems


such as Samuel Butlers Hudibras, presenting an allegorical battle between the Classics and the Moderns, on the one hand, and also between authors and critics, in the form of a series of battles between books in the library. In a parallel allegory, the Moderns are compared to spiders, spinning their webs out of their own entrails, and the Ancients to bees, producing sweetness and light by going directly to nature, so it would be safe to say that Swift himself seems to favour the latter, as will become even more evident in his critical comments on some of his contemporaries in his later essays and also in Book III of Gullivers Travels, where some modern commentators of the Ancients works are made to look ridiculous by the spirits of the authors whom Lemuel Gulliver meets in one of his voyages. As the title suggests, the issue is treated allegorically and with humour, refraining from drawing a clear conclusion as the text ends rather abruptly, leaving the reader to draw his own conclusions on the matter. The emergence of the satirist Swift continued to publish essays on various social, political and religious matters, texts which are mostly satires showing a mind alert to current issues and a keen eye for social injustice, moral corruption, pretentiousness and hypocrisy, and a gift for words that enabled him to entertain as well as expose and criticise harshly. In his view, satire could be defined as
a sort of glass wherein beholders do generally discover everybodys face but their own; which is the chief reason for that kind reception it meets with in the world, and that so very few are offended with it. But, if it should happen otherwise, the danger is not great; and I have learned from long experience never to apprehend mischief from those understandings I have been able to provoke: for anger and fury, though they add strength to the sinews of the body, yet are found to relax those of the mild, and to render all its efforts feeble and impotent. .... Wit without knowledge being a sort of cream, which gathers in a night to the top, and by a skilful hand may be soon whipped into froth; but once scummed away, what appears underneath will be fit for nothing but to be thrown to the hogs. (Preface to The Battle of the Books)

Indeed, Swifts writing is never a mere display of wit without a strong argument underlying the humorous puns or ironic comments made by his narrators, oftentimes assuming a literary mask that misleads readers or ironically exposes the ridiculousness of the opinions or views of many of his contemporaries. His most interesting texts, consolidating his position as one of the most representative intellectuals of his age, surprise the reader not only through the force of the argument and the clear, logical manner of expressing ideas, but also through the masterful use of irony and sarcasm, peppered with humour, and defined by a certain playfulness that counterpointed the seriousness of the matters discussed. Swift was writing satires at a time when the genre was popular with writers and readers alike, whether in poetic, dramatic or prose form. M.H. Abrams defines satire as the literary art of diminishing or derogating a subject by making it ridiculous and evoking toward it attitudes of amusement, contempt, scorn, or indignation. It differs from the comic in that comedy evokes laughter mainly as an end in itself, while satire derides; that is, it uses laughter as a weapon, and against a butt that exists outside the work itself. (Abrams 275). This mode of writing was not new, however. The earliest known satirist in Western culture is the Cynic Menippus, whose criticism of fellow philosophers in ancient


Greece made people call him spoudogeloios (meaning the man who jokes about serious things), a name referring both to the subject matter and the style (jest was to become the central method of satire later on) of his writings. (Highet 233) Roman satire appeared later on, deriving in fact from a tradition of comic performances that could not be described as comedies proper yet consisted of several scenes, comic in nature and only loosely connected, providing audiences with a light form of entertainment imitating reality, much like the later revue or vaudeville shows, called saturae. (Highet 1972: 232). Saturae later took poetic form, and by early 2nd century BC this new literary species was characterized by a series of elements that were to remain essential to most subsequent satires, such as: variety, down-to-earth unsophistication, coarseness, an improvisatory tone, humour, mimicry, echoes of the speaking voice, abusive gibing, and a general feeling, real or assumed, of devil-may-care nonchalance. (233) Roman poet Lucilius added social criticism to satire and thus he became the father of Roman satire, best represented by two later poets, Horace and Juvenal. As to the purpose of satire, there are two main scopes that have been identified, each with its own satirical tradition: 1. Horatian satire is milder in its criticism of human folly, pretentiousness or absurdity, the speaker in the text posing as a man of the world who generally likes people yet finds some peoples failings laughable or even absurd and feels the need to expose them, with a smile and a certain ironic detachment, to correct and instruct (Cf. Abrams 276; Highet 235). In the early 18th century, two of the most important representatives of this form of satire were Richard Steele and Joseph Addison, whose texts in The Tatler (1709-1711) and The Spectator (1711-1712) advocated satire with a didactic purpose, voiced by a sympathetic speaker, whose role was less that of a judge and more that of a teacher; theirs was a reformative satire (Marshall, 2013: 170). 2. Juvenalian satire is harsh and sceptical of human goodness or ability to change, so that the scope of the speaker in this type of satire is to wound, to punish, to destroy (Highet 235). He is a serious moralist who undertakes to evoke from readers contempt, moral indignation, or an unillusioned sadness at the aberrations of humanity. (Abrams 276) Swift was most certainly a Juvenalian in his approach to the question of social, political, religious and moral criticism. He was a Cynic like Menippus and a ruthless, pessimistic critic of his age and of his contemporaries, yet he expressed his views only indirectly, thorough a literary persona and using allegory as a preferred literary technique, mostly for fear of censorship and persecution. In his ironic Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift (1739), Swift described himself as follows:
Yet malice never was his aim; He lashed the vice, but spared the name. . .. His satire points at no defect, But what all mortals may correct.... He spared a hump, or crooked nose


His targets for satire in texts written before and after Gullivers TravelsDrapiers Letters (1724), and A Modest Proposal (1729) being the best of themwere both topical, referring to easily recognizable monarchs (especially Queen Anne and King George I), politicians (Robert Walpole, for instance), political and social situations, the Royal Academy in London, but also more generalized aspects, regarded as common traits to most European nations, such as corruption in politics and the judicial system, religious factions and religious intolerance, with serious consequences in everyday life, social exploitation of the masses and of the Irish (his attitudes towards the Irish cause being often ambivalent in his personal life, yet never anything but supportive in his writings), or universal human traits such as hypocrisy, vanity, human folly, greed, envy, irrationality, thoughtlessness and pretentiousness, debauchery and all human vices in general. Though not universally accepted by critics, the contention that Swift was a misanthrope is difficult to contradict, especially since Swift himself admitted to being generally disgusted or disappointed by human race in general. In a letter to his friend Alexander Pope, dated September 29, 1725, he writes of his work on the final draft of Gullivers Travels and the prospect of not finding a publisher bold enough to undertake the publication of his text, and then he confesses:
I have ever hated all nations, professions, and communities, and all my love is toward individuals: for instance, I hate the tribe of lawyers, but I love Counsellor Such-a-one, and Judge Such-a-one: so with physiciansI will not speak of my own tradesoldiers, English, Scotch, French, and the rest. But principally I hate and detest that animal called man, although I heartily love John, Peter, Thomas, and so forth. (The Correspondence of Jonathan Swift)

It is in this private confession that the explanation for Swifts ambivalent attitude to Man in Gullivers Travels is to be found, with all the physical distortions of the human body in each of the four parts and the insistence on the flawed nature of Man, even in its most apparently tolerable form (the monarchs of Brobdingnag, for instance), though he was a man of the Church and should have preached and offered an example of love, tolerance and forgiveness. Like all Juvenalian satirists, however, Swifts pessimism and cynicism spring perhaps from a kind of idealism that affects most writers of satire. In his The Anatomy of Satire (1961), Gilbert Highet explains: satire does not compare two real societies: it compares a real and an ideal, or a noble dream with a debased reality. All reality was, for Swift, debased. He could not believe that human beings would ever make use of their capacities for kindness, reason and nobility; and, although outwardly a member of the Christian church, he believed so strongly in original sin and so little in the supernatural that he saw, neither in his own faith nor in its founder, any possibility of redemption. (Highet, 1972: 159-60) And the only way he could cope with this understanding of the human and the divine was through irony (including self-irony), sarcasm and humour, the most effective disguises for his shifting opinions and attitudes, as well as powerful tools and weapons of satirical writing. He seemed unable to reconcile his conflicting urges either in his life as a man (his amorous life and marital status still remain a question of debate though his emotional attachment to Esther his Stella from the letters and poems is unquestionable and the


rumours of their being lovers too strong to discard), or as an Irish-born, desperately trying to escape Ireland and remain in England, yet one of the greatest defenders of the Irish cause and a dedicated Dean at St. Patricks Cathedral in Dublin. Even as a man of the Church he was often suspected of lacking faith and empathy, although he was a highly conscientious Dean and a very dedicated servant of the Church as an institution (Cf.Mahoney, wift/2002/mahony.htm). In many ways we can say that he was a sad man with a hypersensitivity to all forms of sinfulness, human frailty and social injustice, to which he reacted by penning some of the most intriguing, interesting yet also highly entertaining satires in the English language. To many of the readers of his texts, one of their greatest literary qualities is the manner in which Swift constructs his narrators as personas that are entirely unreliable and purposely misleading, usually stating the opposite of what Swift believed or the reader knew to be the truth of the matter. The technique of employing masks for his narrators in his satires was doubly justified. On the one hand, this offered him some degree of protection from governmental censorship. Even though he did not publish his pamphlets or essays in his own name, most of his contemporaries knew who the real authors of his texts was and Swift feared persecution for his implicit criticism of government policies and various institutions. For instance, following the publication of the pamphlet Proposal for the Universal use of Irish Manufacture (1720), the printer, John Harding, was prosecuted by the British Government, infuriated by the texts claim that Irish industry could be better managed by the British authorities; a similar persecution of the printer was attempted after the publication of Drapiers Letters (1724), a series of letters written and published over a period of several months exposing British interference in the monetary policy of Ireland. Both texts consolidated Dean Swifts public persona as an Irish patriot although, ironically, Swift never felt very much at home in his native Ireland and it was his abhorrence of social injustice (rather than a patriotic zeal) that had prompted him to write against the British government. On the other hand, Swift the writer found the use of a persona more interesting from a narrative point of view, a good means to display his wit and toy with the reader. Readers naivety sometimes led to misreadings of his texts, which is why a text like Gullivers Travels could be regarded by some as a book for children, and A Modest Proposal infuriated both English and Irish readers, though its intention was to expose the cruelty and mercilessness of the English oppressors in Ireland and hopefully awaken the conscience of the English readers who could make a change, while making the Irish realise even more clearly the need to protest somehow. Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in Four Parts, by Lemuel Gulliver, first a surgeon, and then a captain of several ships (1726) The idea of a parody of the travel writing genre and of the human credulousness that was to be the driving idea behind Gullivers Travels was not Swifts own, originally. While still in London prior do 1713, Swift became good friends with Alexander Pope, Joseph Addison, John Arbuthnot, John Gay and Thomas Parnell, meeting them regularly as co-members of the Scriblerus Club. On such occasions they commented on the literary scene of their age, encouraged each other and offered useful advice for on-going projects,


but they also concocted a common project that never materialised as originally intended, namely a text written by all in which they would criticise the worst writers and philosophers, the most absurd theories and scientific experiments of the time, all in allegorical form as an adventure novel that would consist of several travels to imaginary worlds where the narrator, Dr. Martin Scriblerus, would go. Scribleruss travels were to be re-imagined by Dean Swift years later, in 1725, while he was living in Dublin, and it was only in 1726 that Swift found a publisher bold enough to print his text as it was, once again anonymously. Dr. Scriblerus was replaced by Lemuel Gulliver, surgeon and ship captain, whose name (from the English gullible, meaning easily deceived, or duped) signalled the unreliability of the narrator and subverted the authority of his narratorial comments and the judiciousness of his opinions on the systems of government, societies and lifestyles of the fantastic worlds he describes in minute detail in the four books of the Travels. The virulent attacks on Robert Walpoles Whig government and his tolerance of corruption, on King George Is inefficiency and even his risqu comments on the state of religious institutions in Britain made Swift choose an indirect form of satire, an allegorical one, and the use of distortion (in size, shape and basic features) of both recognizable geographical locations and of the physical body as a technique of disguise for the most sensitive targets of satire. Moreover, by subverting the authority of his own narratorpresented in the prefatory texts (a letter from Gulliver to his cousin Sympson, the publisher, and the latters preface) as not entirely sane and capable of distinguishing between reality and fiction, Swift simply teases the readers and plays upon their expectations, placing the entire account of the several voyages in the realm of the fantastic and apparently removed from the reality of his contemporaries. The claim of truthfulness that Gulliver constantly makes by providing his readers with a wealth of circumstantial detail is thus called into question before the first page of the text proper (although it may be argued that in this case the paratextual materialthe title, the letter from Gulliver, the prefaceare all part of the text being as fictional as it is) is therefore just a narratorial trick, a trap for the gullible reader, who should be able to read between the lines and understand that Gullivers opinions are never to be taken seriously, especially when his comments are unsupported by the reality readers know only too well. Jonathan Swift disguises his critical views on all aspects of human existence social, spiritual and privatewith allegorical means which allow him to change the manner in which his targets for satire are exposed and criticised. Though each book takes the reader on voyages to lands that seem more the creation of a rich imagination than actual parts of our world, most of the countries he visits are in fact distorting mirrorings of his native England, to which he constantly opposes a real Englandas described by Gulliver to the natives of each landso readers are constantly exposed to a double vision that they need to decipher and understand critically, peeling away all layers of fictional reality and intentional distortions of their reality, all playful deceptions that make Swifts satire a complex and entertaining reading. Gullivers Travels has mistakenly been regarded and is still marketed as a book for children (especially in its abridged form, containing only the first two books) because of its reliance on allegory and its detailed descriptions of imaginary lands where Lemuel Gulliver is placed in ridiculous situations and where he meets extraordinary humans (midgets in Lilliput and giants in Brobdingnag), the narrative apparently following the


logic of the tale though cast in the form of a travel narrative. Beyond the charming allegorical tale, however, lies one of the most caustic comment on English society and human nature ever written in English, for the appreciation of which the reader needs to be familiarised with the state of the country and of Europe in early 18th century, as well as have an ability to understand where Swifts cynical attitude to human nature springs from. Though sometimes labelled a satirical novel, the book displays very few novelistic features. Taken independently, each of the four books has a protagonist and some kind of plot, each voyage being an opportunity for adventure and problem solving for Gulliver, yet there is little connection between the books apart from the presence of the protagonist in each and the unifying narrative voice the reader hears from the first page to the last. The work should be described as a satire in prose that uses some elements of the 18th-century novel of adventures in the manner of Defoe, but nothing more. Its scope is not to present action and draw interesting characters but to expose, criticise and tax all forms of human frailty, social injustice and moral corruption with irony and humour, disguising a genuine concern and a sobriety and pessimism that characterised Swift in the later part of his life, in the good satiric tradition of his Roman models and in the spirit of the Scriblerians. In terms of construction, only Books I and II can be seen as being related, their connection being the use of proportions to caricaturize English society. In Lilliput there is an inverse proportion between the size of the inhabitants of the island (they are twelve times smaller than Gulliver) and the level of self-confidence, pride, greed, corruption and viciousness; the opposite can be seen in Brobdingnag where the giants (twelve times bigger than Gulliver) are mild and generous, instructed, rational and peaceful peopleparticularly the monarchsmaking Gulliver seem a Lilliputian by comparison. In the first book English society is described by exaggerating its evils and the high level of generalized corruption, and the lens through which readers are invited to look at England exaggerates the vices by diminishing the size of the inhabitants (the name of the country, Lilliput, being derived from little and the Latin putridus, meaning rotten, decayed). Robert Walpoles Whig government which Swift criticised constantly when he was writing for the Tory journal Examiner and later on as a Dean at St Patricksappears as ridiculously over-confident and corrupt, and the political scene is mercilessly painted in the worst possible colours yet with a wonderful sense of humour that makes the whole account very amusing and more lighthearted than the one in Book IV. It would be difficult to forget the story of the long enmity and history of war between Lilliput and Blefuscu, two neighbouring countries divided by an artificially created conflict (a law stipulating that eggs could only be broken at the smaller and no longer at the larger end driving many into exilea clear reference to Henry VIIIs reformation of the Church in England and his persecution of Catholics, leading to a series of wars and plottings involving France and Spain), or the manner in which the two political parties, Tramecksan (standing for the Tories) and Slamecksan (standing for the Whig party) differentiate themselves by wearing shoes with high and low heels, respectively, and how the emperor of Lilliput (a mock version of King George I, supporter of the Whigs) wears shoes with low heels, while the heir to the throne (a Tory at heart in Swifts time) wears shoes with different heels so as not to offend the king and endanger his position. Allegory is thus used as a form of critique as well as an entertaining tale, the criticism of early 18th century Britain being indirectly,


obliquely expressed, the deciphering of the allegorical elements being the task of the reader. The second book uses allegory differently and Swifts targets of satire are exposed both by Gulliver, who naively gives a full account of Britains long history of domestic and foreign conflict, of corruption in politics and the judicial system, of misgovernment and exploitation of the underprivileged, of intrigues and plots, inhumanity and injustice, presenting them in a matter-of-fact manner, as if this were the way of the world and the most natural things possible (a masterful example of how Swift can use subtle irony), and by the monarch of Brobdingnag, who comments that the English must be the most pernicious race of little odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth (GT, Book II, ch. 6). Brobdingnag must be seen as an idealised version of England, according to a utopian perspective that Swift could see emerge in early 18th century political thought. Brobdingnag is an agrarian enlightened monarchy ruled according to the principles of common sense, reason, justice and good will, education being held in high regard (though mostly by the aristocracy), just as the thinkers of the Age of Reason would have wished things to be. However Gulliver seems quite unimpressed by this country and his comments voice a barely disguised contempt for a nation that is, to his mind, quite simplistic and uninterested in achieving greatness, his offer to share with them the secret of gunpowder, which could make the country rule the world, being rejected with abhorrence by the king. Though this land seems an ideal society, the cynical Swift could not refrain from mocking the idealising tendency of his contemporaries, the implicit suggestion being that an educated aristocracy is not the answer to social improvement as long as the majority of the people remain uninterested in education and ruled by selfish interests, greed and ignorance, as exemplified by Glumdalclitchs father, the farmer who exploited Gulliver to near death prior to selling him to the Queen. For Swift societies are only as good as the people that make them and humans are flawed creatures that cannot be perfected simply through instruction, nor are all people willing or capable of working on their personal development, so believing that an ideal society as that envisioned by Enlightenment thinkers could become reality is in itself ridiculous, the author seems to suggest. Book III, the last one Swift completed, is the most difficult to analyse as a whole due to the variety of aspects that the author scrutinises: social inequality and exploitation, misgovernment, systems of government, human folly, pseudo-science and futile philosophical explorations, the state of contemporary critical thought, or a generalised obsession with immortality and the universal nature of human vices. Probably the part that most readers remember from this book is the account of Gullivers visit to the flying island of Laputathe residence of absent-minded philosophers, mathematicians and astrologers who are also the rulers of Balnibarbi, the country supporting life on the flying islandwhere Gulliver is amused to see that excessive learnedness and self-imposed isolation from reality result in economic disaster and, ironically, an acceptance on the part of the oppressed to be ruled by people who know so much about celestial bodies and yet so little about the life of their people. Interpreted as a double satire, exposing both the relationship between the ruling class and lower-class citizens, and that between England and Ireland, the tale of flying Laputa amuses and perplexes at the same time because it shows the power of authority imposed by force, preventing the many from rebelling against the few simply because they are not aware of their power.


Also part of this visit Gulliver travels to the Academy of Lagado in Balnibarbi, and the weird experiments he sees being conducted theremost of which are incredibly ridiculous because they defy the laws of physics and of common sensewere not only inspired, but also taken from the publication of the Royal Academy, Philosophical Transactions, which is not to be interpreted as an attack on the Academy itself, but on the waste of money and energy fostered by this institution where, according to Swift, pseudoscience has replaced proper scientific research with practical results to improve peoples lives. Like the scientists of Lagado, busy trying to extract sunbeams from cucumbers, building houses from the roof down, imposing linguistic reforms whereby words would be completely discarded, communication being reduced to the pointing to various objects (a prophetic anticipation of todays reduction of complex communication through the use of emoticons and chat acronyms, or the use of interjections and gestures instead of words)in the hope of protecting the vocal chords and prolonging life, to mention just some of the most absurd, English scientists were also sometimes accused of performing equally absurd experiments, to the amusement and frustration of the Scriblerians. Physical distortion is present in this book as well. The half-mad scholars of Laputa have heads that are too large for their bodies and are unable to keep them straight, so they constantly recline to one side and their eyes are one turned inwards, and the other directed towards the zenith; their hearing and their speech are affected by their selfabsorbed nature, and they need flappers to touch their ears when they need to listen or their mouths when they have to speak. More shocking, however, are the deformed, decayed bodies of the Struldbruggs, immortals who are condemned to an eternal life (yet not eternal youth) and are therefore spiteful, hateful frustrated human beings for whom life is a burden and not a joy. Needless to say, Dean Swift is here mocking peoples obsession with immortality, their desperate measures to prolong their earthly life when, in fact, they are also ensuring their prolonged misery as aged, decayed human beings unable to enjoy life. The human body and its bodily functions is something that Swift finds disgusting not only in the old, but also in the young and, surprisingly, in women. In Lilliput the peoples physical defects may be invisible to the gigantic Gulliver, yet it is his own body that our traveller finds repulsive, as he indirectly suggests every time he talks about getting rid of his own excreta, or when he describes his urinating on the palace to extinguish a fire. Gullivermuch like Swift himself, finds the human body a disgusting shell for the mind and soul of man. There seems to be a progression in the manner in which this disgust is revealed to us. In Book II, for instance, the tiny Gulliver has to cope with the sight of the female body with its flaws twelve times magnifiedas if observed at a microscopeand with the body odours, which he finds extremely disgusting. The decayed bodies of the Struldbruggs of Luggnagg are described with similar disgust as a mortifying sight, yet nowhere is Gullivers repulsion to the human body more violent and maddening than in Book IV, where the human being is divided between spirit (the Houyhnhnms) and body (the Yahoos), where the former dehumanise man by giving him the form of a horse, and the latter by turning man into an ape, or a Neanderthal humanoid, untouched by civilisation. Book IV is clearly the most troubling satire of all his works. It surpasses even his later A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People From Being a Burthen to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick


(1729), where Swift attacks British government of Ireland describing it as a form of cannibalism, the speaker in the text pretending to advise the English on how to better exploit their resources in Ireland by eating the babies of poor Irish people, offering a series of recipes and even suggesting that the childrens skin be used to make lovely gloves for ladies. What makes Book IV even more disturbing is because it reads like a generalised (rather than topical) satire, being a critique of the human race in general and not simply the English politicians, monarchs or corrupt officials. For the first time in his travels, Gulliver no longer feels normal or happy with his national and racial identity, wishing to rid himself of any feature that he might share with the beastly Yahoos and to become a Houyhnhnm, in whom he sees all the qualities that he holds in high esteem: reason, common sense, honesty, sociability, stoic morality. Because visually he is more like the Yahoossomething he immediately understands from the Houyhnhnms reaction of disgust and distrust towards him initiallyGulliver gradually begins to hate his own body and the entire human race, as he realises that the rational beings he aspires to emulate might not allow him to stay in their land, in spite of all his efforts to adapt and become like them. For the first time in his voyages, it is Gulliver himself who criticises his country and European culture, as if in the face of evidence that a perfect society does exist, his native land and the general moral decay of the human race appeared to him as undeniable reality for the first time. His accounts of British and European history, of state institutions and politics, of peoples behaviour in his native England and their ignorance shock the Houyhnhnms who do not even have words for evil things and whose society is so regulated that nothing can disturb its harmony and smooth running, at least as long as the base Yahoos are kept subdued. It is the fear that a rational Yahoo might endanger their society by leading a Yahoo rebellion that makes the Houhnhnms ask Gulliver to leave, which for Gulliver is the trigger of his insanity, as he no longer perceives humans as other than Yahoos (including his family) and even years later he prefers the company of horses to that of people, whom he considers the basest of creatures. This attack on the human race itself has made many of his readers and critics label Swift a hopeless misanthrope, something that he did not entirely disprove, especially since he had already confided in his friend Pope that he could like individuals, but not people as a whole, and that he did not agree with his contemporaries that man is animal rationale, but rather rationis capax. There are at least four lines of interpretation for this fourth book. One claim is that this book is an attack on the degradation of the human race, the Yahoos being the reflection of how Swift saw people around him: instinctual, rudimentary, uncivilised, brutish. Another line of interpretation places Swifts perspective in relation to the concept of natural man as defined by Hobbes in The Leviathan (1667), as being a naturally wicked being, and that of 18th century philosophers (particularly Jean Jacques Rousseau a few decades later), who presented the natural man as having uncorrupted morals and being naturally good, being superior to the decayed civilised modern man (See Rousseaus Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, 1754). Swift must have considered that an idealisation of the natural manthought of in terms of the Edenic couple most likelywas absurd, because it would also mean a denial of the positive effects of culture and civilisation and a glorification. It is more likely that the Yahoos and the Hoyhnhnms represent two states of man in spiritual terms. The former are representation of sinfulness, which Swift found


intolerable and disgusting; the latter would represent the rational, independent-thinking Deists. As an intellectual of the Augustan Age but also a man of the Church, Swift is an advocate of morality, self-discipline and reason, yet he is also a believer in divine grace and in the need for the Church as an institution, which is why his Houyhnhnms are most admirable, yet they are not embodiments of human perfection, their self-sufficiency and their inability to experience profound emotions being contrary to what Swift believed to be essential qualities in a man. (In this respect, Swifts perspective is similar to that expressed by Alexander Pope in his An Essay on Man, where mans faulty nature and the necessity for a humble worship of God are central to the argument.) Last but not least, from a Freudian perspective the Yahoos and the Houhnhnms appear as two of the aspects of the human psyche, the id (the irrational, subconscious aspect) and a benign super-ego (the conscious, regulatory, oppressive aspect of the psyche, appearing here in a more friendly aspect as ideal reason), respectively, whereas Gulliver is the embodiment of both, a perfectly balanced human being whose rejection of his id leads to a distorted perception of his self, of his identity; it leads to insanity. Regardless of the line of interpretation adopted, the text offers a disturbingly unflattering representation of human race meant to shake readers out of their selfindulging acceptance of what is primitive, instinctual, sinful, base in order to contemplate more seriously the possibility for self-improvement, spiritual development through discipline and hard work, evolution towards what Man could be if only he tried. What rescues his masterpiece from oblivion, however, is the writers ability to clothe even the harshest comments on human depravity and flaws in a humorous, witty attire, attenuating the force of his blows and strikes and making them tolerable as an enjoyable reading experience.


Bibliography (selective) Greenblat, Stephen (gen. ed.) The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Eighth Edition. Vol. 1. W.W. Norton & Company, New York/London, 2006 (1962). Abrams, M.H. Baker, Ernest A. Baker, Arthur E. Booth, Wayne C. Brown, J. R., Harris B. (eds.) Calin, Vera Calinescu, Matei Camden, Carroll (ed.) A Glossary of Literary Terms, Fort Worth, 1999. The History of the English Novel, vols. 3-6 Milton. Modern Essays in Criticism, New York, 1965 The Rhetoric of Fiction, Chicago UP, 1983. Restoration Theatre, Edward Arnold (Publishers), 1965. Omisiunea elocventa, Ed. Enciclopedica, Bucuresti, 1973. Clasicismul European, Ed. Enciclopedica romana, Bucuresti, 1971. Restoration and Eighteenth Century Literature, University of Chicago Press, 1963. (available online at: orationandei007279mbp.pdf) Church, Richard The Growth of the English Novel, Methuen, London, 1961. (available online at: rowthoftheengli002212mbp.pdf) Clark, Donald B. Alexander Pope, Twayne, New York, 1967. Clifford, James (ed.) Eighteenth-Century English Literature: Modern Essays in Criticism , Oxford UP, 1969 Danielson, Dennis (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Milton, Cambridge, 1999. Dobranski, S.B., Rumrich, J. (eds.) Milton and Heresy, Cambridge UP, 1998. Dobre, Bonamy John Dryden, Longmans Green& Co, London, 1966. Elliot, Robert C. (ed.) Twentieth Century Interpretations of Moll Flanders. Prentice Hall, New Jersey. 1970. Ellis, Frank (ed.) Twentieth Century Interpretations of Robinson Crusoe, Prentice Hall, New Jersey, 1969. Erskine-Hill, H. Jonathan Swift. Gullivers Travels, Cambridge UP. 1993. Forster, E.M. Aspects of the Novel, Edward Arnold, London. 1937. Highet, Gilbert The Anatomy of Satire. Princeton, New Jersey. 1972 (1961) Israel, Jonathan I. Enlightenment Contested. Philosophy, Modernity, and the Emancipation of Man 1670-1752. Oxford UP, 2006. Kelsall, M. M. Congreve, the Way of the World. London: Edward Arnold. 1981. Levitchi, Leon Istoria literaturii engleze si americane, Cluj-Napoca, vols. 1, 2 (1984, 1995, respectively) Macsiniuc, Cornelia The English Eighteenth Century. The Novel in Its Beginnings, Suceava, 2003 Munteanu, Romul Literatura europeana in epoca luminilor, Ed. Enciclopedica Romana, Bucuresti, 1971 ---. Clasicism si baroc in cultura europeana in secolul al XVII-lea, Ed. Univers, Bucuresti, 1981. Nicolescu, A. Istoria civilizatiei britanice, Institutul European, Iasi, 2001, vol. 2 Olteanu, Tudor Morfologia romanului european in secolul al XVIII-lea, Ed. Univers, Bucuresti, 1974. Plumb, J. H. England in the Eighteenth Century. (The Pelican History of England). Penguin Books, London, 1990 (1950). Preda, Ioan A. (coord.) English Life and Civilization. The Renaissance and the Restoration Period, Ed. didactica si pedagogica, Bucuresti, 1983 Sanders, Andrew The Short Oxford History of English Literature, Oxford UP, 1994 Sutherland, James The Oxford History of English Literature. Restoration Literature. 1660-1700. Dryden, Bunyan, and Pepys. Oxford UP, 1990 (1969).


Tillotson, Geoffrey Van Ghent, Dorothy Varey, Simon Ward, W. & Wallery, R. (eds.) Watt, Jan Weinbrot, H.D. Zamfirescu, I.

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Interesting websites: useful information on the authors, their work and some critical essays written by specialist or students (New Arts Library web page) the full poem (annotated) and additional information on Milton, the sources for his poem and various illustrations