Review of the Neoclassic, Romantic, Transcendental, and Modern Periods of Writing

Essay by BrOxATL02A+, December 2004

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Literature as we know it today is completely different than that of 400 years ago. During the time when Moliere was being criticized by the church for writing Tartuffe, nobody would have ever thought that such grotesque stories such as O'Connor's A Good Man Is Hard To Find would ever be socially accepted. Not only do people and societal views change over time, but literature as well.

Moliere's satirical play Tartuffe is an excellent example of Neoclassicism at its best. In the play, written entirely in couplets, the young hypocrite Tartuffe takes advantage of the character Orgon and his family by posing as a highly religious saint-like figure in order to steal from them. During the time period there were many satirical plays being written in order to change the way society was acting. Moliere thought that people were so blinded by money, power, and religion, that the only way to change society was to show them how gullible they were.

Some of the characteristics of neoclassical writing are the references to honor and tradition, the patriarchal and aristocratic society, intellect, the use of couplets, and the strong emphasis on society more than the individual.

After Neoclassicism came Romanticism. During this time, writers were less formal. Couplets weren't as widely used, and verse was more experimental than traditional. Instead of focusing on society, writers focused more on the individual and the common man. Romantic literature dealt with things such as nature, the imagination, mysticism, and personal thoughts. William Blake is one of the best writers from the Romantic period. In The Songs Of Innocence and Experience, Blake focuses on the importance of the imagination in everyone's lives. Once imagination is lost, there is nothing left but sadness and despair. During the time when Blake wrote the poems that...