18th Century Literature

Attesting to the paradoxes that comprise the era, the term paper you write should examine the very designation of what can rightfully be called “18th century literature”, which may be is contested terrain for some literary scholars. Because of the political and social upheavals that bookend the period from approximately 1660 to 1830, many critics referred to in the term paper revert to this extended time frame, known as “the long eighteenth century,” as a more pragmatic way of grouping together texts dating from this era, rather than relying on the artificially imposed guidelines of the years 1700-1800.

The debate over what period comprises 18th Century Literature is indicative of the deeply paradoxical nature of texts dating from this period. The social, political, and economic changes that occurred during this time were considerable, and they exerted significant influence upon the literature of the period.

However, the ways that various authors responded to the nature of the era differed drastically. This paper will explore the broad spectrum of responses to changes in the social, political, and economic conditions as manifested in poetry and prose dating from the period between roughly 1660 and 1830.

First, this term paper should provide an overview of the forces at work during this period and their impact upon the literature of the time will be presented. Then, one may want to include five representative texts from the era to be examined with an eye towards tracing the ways that these sweeping changes are revealed in the literature of the “18th Century.” Works that may serve as the focus of the analysis are as follows: