Augustan to Gothic Period (18th century literature)

Essay by dev301College, UndergraduateA+, February 2008

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Augustan to Gothic period



The 18th century in English literature can be divided into two periods: The Augustan Age (The Age of Pope) - 1700-1745 and The Age of Sensibility (The Age of Johnson) - 1745-1785.

This was the period of heavy colonizations of the new world and the time when cities rise. Various inventions, as well as the Industrial and Agricultural Revolution, influenced manufacturing and the British trade with the rest of the world; both of which grew tremendously.

Some of the most important inventions of the time are: the fire extinguisher by Hoppfer,

mercury thermometer by Fahrenheit, lightening rod and bi-focal glasses by Franklin, an improved steam engine by James Watt, the submarine, circular saw, the parachute, etc. One of the greatest discoveries was Bering's discovery of Alaska in 1741.

18th century is the time when the middle class rises. Newspapers, magazines, grammar books and dictionaries gain popularity.

New professions are introduced, such as: fashion designers, hairdressers and dancing masters. Some scientific ways of explaining the world emerge and female writers become more and more common.


The writers of The Augustan Age considered the Age of Augustus in ancient Rome to be a very important cultural period and they wanted their own period to have similar importance. Therefore they called themselves Augustan poets, and the period: Augustan Age.

This period is the time when the novel rises and drama loses its importance. The most important writers of novels were Daniel Defoe who wrote Robinson Crusoe, Jonathan Swift with his famous work Gulliver's Travels, Samuel Richardson with his novels Pamela and Clarissa which is an epistolary novel and Henry Fielding whose most famous works are Joseph Andrews and Tom Jones. These authors used lots of humor and satire in their novels.

Some of the...