The 18th century is a period of great literary works. The styles are different throughout
the period, but the unity of the work is still present. Much of this period focused on public and
general themes, until the Pre-Romantic era when literary works began to focus upon personal
expression. 18th century literature can be broken down into three main parts: the Restoration,
the Age of Pope, and Pre-Romantics.
The literature of the Restoration period covers a time span from Charles's recovery of
the throne to the years until the expulsion of James II in 1688 or until the death of John Dryden
in 1700. The literature of the Restoration was characterized by wit and elegance influenced by
French classical taste. This period pertained to traditional values and 'wit'. The Diary of
Samuel Pepys written by Samuel Pepys and A Journel of the Plague Years by Daniel Defoe are
just a few examples of literary works from the Restoration Period.
The Diary of Samuel Pepys is
also an example of journalistic fiction. In the excerpts from Pepys' diary, he shows the historical
background and culture of the 18th century. The reader is able to understand the values and
ethics of the time through the description detailed by Samuel Pepys and the reader is also
exposed to the life a man in the 1660's. A Journal of the Plague Year is an example of historical
fiction. Defoe uses wide ranges of vivid descriptions including verisimilitudes and imagery, to
give the reader a realistic feel of what took place through the eyes of a witness. This literary
time period also included works from John Dryden, who used elegance and cleverness in his
writings. This period ended about 1700, and enabled a new age of literature.
In literary history, the first half of the...