Poets During the 17th and 18th Centuries

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Poets during the 17th and 18th centuries, which were also referred to as the Neo-Classical period, focused on a revival of classical forms and restraints. Two well known Neo-Classical poets were John Dryden and Alexander Pope, who both used heroic couplets and stanzas, satire, and other epic tropes to create mock heroic poetry with strict form. By the turn of the 19th century, poets began to loosen the restraints on forms that were enforced during the Neo-Classical period. Mary Wollstonecraft and Elizabeth Barrett Browning were among the female authors during the years surrounding the romantic period that wrote in condemnation of the strict expectations English society had placed on women. Another female author, Joanna Baillie, was an influential source of admiration for well-known Romantic poets such as Lord Byron and William Wordsworth. In opposition to the formal regulations that the Neo-classical poets upheld, Romantic poets focused on experimenting with form as a way to express their radical ideas that explored freedom in politics, society, education, nature, and imagination. Romanticism was a literary movement in response to the Enlightenment ideals of the Neo-classic period. Rather than being in direct conflict, the authors of the two periods simply took different approaches to support a needed critical assessment of their society through their writing. Janko Lavrin’s book, Studies in European Literature, began with a chapter entitled “On Romantic Mentality” where Lavrin defined the Romantic period in relation to the Neo-classical period; “[a]fter an age of fermentation and chaos there follows a period of organizing discipline; and when this ‘conservative’ period threatens to become stale and stagnant, a new centrifugal or... ... middle of paper ... ...ra and De Monfort." Gothic Studies 3.2 (2001): 117. Academic Search Complete. Web. 14 Dec 2013. Horace. "Ars Poetica." The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. Ed. Vincent B. Leitch. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2001. 124. Print. Hubbell, J. Andrew. “A Question of Nature: Byron and Wordsworth.” Wordsworth Circle 41.1 (2010): 14-18. Literary Reference Center. 15-16. Web. 14 Dec. 2013. Lavrin, Janko. Studies in European Literature. Port Washington, NY: Kennikat, 1970. Print. McGann, Jerome J. The Romantic Ideology: A Critical Investigation. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago, 1983. 61. Print. Peyre, Henri. What Is Romanticism?. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1977. 59. Print. Wollstonecraft, Mary. A Vindication of the Rights of Women: By Mary Wollstonecraft. With an Introduction by Elizabeth Robins Pennell. London: Walter Scott, 1891. 37. Print

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