ENG202Y1 Week 21
-up until now, writing was mainly defined through political movements; eg. Tudors,
Enlightenment era, etc.
-> however, in late 1700s-early 1800s, sensibilities change
-Defoe: his politics look to individualism, modern capitalism, etc. -> forward-looking;
embodiment of Protestant work ethic
-Swift: residual ideology – backward looking; articulates ideas that were more popular
before his time (and are dwindling)
-modern conservatism -> Edmund Burke -> age of chivalry is gone; sophisters,
economists + calculators now dominate; defended traditions, private property, sceptical
of politics based on abstractions such as rights
-> Rousseau -> “man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains” -> society destroys
individual authenticity experienced in “state of nature” -> “noble savage” -> gov needs to
protet individual freedom.
-politics based on “general will”
-Romanticism looks to freedom of individual spirit (not politically conservatism) but also
has some of Burke’s ideas
-look to past for inspiration to wisdom (but not the same past as Pope or swift; Swift ->
church + ritual, Pope -> literary mov) -> but look to LOCAL PAST (history, folkore, or a
-travellers – going to Alps
-> travel to find more intense relationships to nature in wilderness
-transcendence – mind-altering drugs, culture of young children, nature
-revolutionaries – against ancient regime + alienating/explotive nature of modernity
House of Hanover
-parliament makes biggest decisions – succession, etc.
-British navy, England -> major part of slave trade
-literature (eg. Rape of the Lock) was originally written for aristocratic circles, but books
now cater to wider audience – Robinson Crusoe, Gulliver’s Travels, etc.
-prose fiction + novel are more accessible to ppl (don’t need insider knowledge of court,
-subject matter = society, bonds btwn ppl, difficulty of consensus, necessity of mutual
-> novels demonstrate exchange of ideas in public sphere -> use public language
-everyday world, nature – “The Cult of Sensibility”