English Enlightenment and Early Romantic Criticism

Gary Day

in Literary Criticism

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2008 | ISBN: 9780748615636
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652099 | DOI:
English Enlightenment and Early Romantic Criticism

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This chapter explores literary imitation and imagination, which are themselves forms of criticism. The plain style was associated with imitation, the figurative with imagination. There is an association between imitation, imagination, and money based on the fact that they are all forms of representation. The central value of the imagination is the poet's vision. The rise of the imagination carries another consequence for criticism. Neoclassicism, taste, scholarship, and imagination are the four ways of grounding literary value. Some of the history and characteristics of neoclassicism are elaborated. During the course of the eighteenth century, the view of literature changes from a body of writing which teaches to a body of writing that is taught. The fact that Shakespeare and Milton have to be annotated, glossed, and referenced provides a justification for the study of imaginative writing, and enhances its status as an intellectual discipline.

Keywords: imitation; imagination; romantic criticism; English enlightenment; neoclassicism; taste; scholarship; Shakespeare; Milton

Chapter.  25563 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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