3 It was the predominant movement in
European art and architecture during the
late 18th and early 19th centuries. It
reflected a desire to rekindle the spirit and
forms of classical art from ancient Greece
3.1 Neoclassicism was also a reaction against the
ostentation of Baroque art and the decadent frivololity
of the decorative Rococo school, championed by the
3.1.1 And also partly stimulated by the discovery of Roman
ruins at Herculaneum and Pompeii (1738-50)
18.104.22.168 All this led to...
22.214.171.124.1 A revival of neoclassical painting,
sculpture and architectural design
126.96.36.199.1.1 Neoclassical works (paintings and sculptures) were serious, unemotional, and sternly heroic.
Neoclassical painters depicted subjects from Classical literature and history, as used in earlier
Greek art and Republican Roman art, using sombre colours with occasional brilliant highlights,
to convey moral narratives of self-denial and self-sacrifice fully in keeping with the supposed
ethical superiority of Antiquity. Neoclassical architecture was more ordered and less grandiose
4 "NEO" (new) + CLASSICAL
5 Neoclassical literature is characterized
by order, accuracy, and structure.
Neoclassical literature is divided into
three stages: RESTORATION,
AUGUSTAN AND SENSIBILITY AGE
5.1 RESTORATION LITERATURE, 1600-1700
5.1.1 Dryden was the most influential writer of the Restoration, for he wrote in every form
important to the period (occasional verse, comedy, tragedy, heroic plays, odes, satires,
translations of classical works) and produced influential critical essays concerning how one
ought to write these forms. Restoration prose style grew more like witty, urbane
conversation and less like the intricate, rhetorical style of previous writers like John Milton
and John Donne.
188.8.131.52 Simultaneously, Restoration literature continued to appeal to heroic
ideals of love and honor, particularly on stage, in heroic tragedy. The
other major dramatic genre was the Restoration comedy of manners,
which emphasizes sexual intrigue and satirizes the elite's social
behavior with witty dialogue.
184.108.40.206.1 AUGUSTAN ERA 1700-1745
220.127.116.11.1.1 The Augustan era of writers like Swift, Defoe, Pope, Addison, and Steele
was rich in satire and new prose forms that blended fact and fiction, such
as news, criminal biographies, travelogues, political allegories, and romantic
tales. Early eighteenth-century drama saw the development of "sentimental
comedy" in which goodness and high moral sentiments are emphasized, and
the audience is moved not only to laughter, but also to sympathetic tears.
18.104.22.168.1.1.1 AGE OF JOHNSON 1740-1785
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 Novelists became better known than poets, and
intellectual prose forms such as the essay proliferated.
The mid-eighteenth century is often referred to as the
"Age of Johnson" after the renowned essayist Samuel
Johnson, who in 1755 wrote one of the first English
dictionaries to define word meanings by employing
quotations taken from the best English writers, past and
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.1 The late eighteenth century saw a medieval revival, in which writers
venerated and imitated archaic language and forms. One important
development of this movement was the Gothic novel, which typically
features such forbidden themes as incest, murder, necrophilia, atheism, and
sexual desire. Late eighteenth-century poetry tends to emphasize
melancholy, isolation, and reflection, in distinction to the intensely social,
often satirical verse of earlier in the period.