The gloomy and misanthropic vein was further mined in dramatic poems such as Manfred and Cain , which helped to secure his reputation in Europe, but he is now remembered best for witty, ironic , and less portentous writings, such as Beppo , in which he first used the ottava rima form. With Austen the comic brilliance and exquisite narrative construction of Fielding return to the English novel, in conjunction with a distinctive and deadly irony. Among the most vigorous writing is that of William Hazlitt , a forthright and subjective critic whose most characteristic work is seen in his collections of lectures On the English Poets and On the English Comic Writers and in The Spirit of the Age , a series of valuable portraits of his contemporaries. In The Essays of Elia and The Last Essays of Elia , Charles Lamb , an even more personal essayist, projects with apparent artlessness a carefully managed portrait of himself—charming, whimsical, witty, sentimental, and nostalgic. As his fine Letters show, however, he could on occasion produce mordant satire. He spent the later years of his life in an asylum in Northampton; the poetry he wrote there was rediscovered in the 20th century. Austen uses, essentially, two standard plots. Women novelists contributed extensively to this ideological debate. In the other an attractive but self-deceived heroine such as Emma Woodhouse in Emma or Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice belatedly recovers from her condition of error and is rewarded with the partner she had previously despised or overlooked. One was the invention of the Gothic novel. Jane Austen stands on the conservative side of this battle of ideas, though in novels that incorporate their anti-Jacobin and anti-Romantic views so subtly into love stories that many readers are unaware of them.
Discursive prose The French Revolution prompted a fierce debate about social and political principles, a debate conducted in impassioned and often eloquent polemical prose. He spent the later years of his life in an asylum in Northampton; the poetry he wrote there was rediscovered in the 20th century. With Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects. Even in its more-vulgar examples, however, Gothic fiction can symbolically address serious political and psychological issues. But the problem was always one of quality rather than quantity. His superb letters show the full range of the intelligence at work in his poetry. The gloomy and misanthropic vein was further mined in dramatic poems such as Manfred and Cain , which helped to secure his reputation in Europe, but he is now remembered best for witty, ironic , and less portentous writings, such as Beppo , in which he first used the ottava rima form. Thomas De Quincey appealed to the new interest in writing about the self, producing a colourful account of his early experiences in Confessions of an English Opium Eater , revised and enlarged in Fanny Burney carried the comic realist manner into the field of female experience with the novels Evelina , Cecilia , and Camilla His natural simplicity and lucidity of diction , his intent observation, his almost Classical poise, and the unassuming dignity of his attitude to life make him one of the most quietly moving of English poets. In that sense his material is transcendental and cosmic and his expression thoroughly appropriate. The comic realism of Fielding and Smollett continued in a more sporadic way. Percy Bysshe Shelley in particular was deeply interested in politics, coming early under the spell of the anarchist views of William Godwin , whose Enquiry Concerning Political Justice had appeared in Thomas Love Peacock is another witty novelist who combined an intimate knowledge of Romantic ideas with a satirical attitude toward them, though in comic debates rather than conventional narratives. By the s, sentimental plays were beginning to anticipate what would become the most important dramatic form of the early 19th century: In the other an attractive but self-deceived heroine such as Emma Woodhouse in Emma or Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice belatedly recovers from her condition of error and is rewarded with the partner she had previously despised or overlooked. It is possible to suggest practical reasons for this year partial eclipse. Scott combines a capacity for comic social observation with a Romantic sense of landscape and an epic grandeur, enlarging the scope of the novel in ways that equip it to become the dominant literary form of the later 19th century. Having thrown down the gauntlet in his early poem English Bards and Scotch Reviewers , in which he directed particular scorn at poets of sensibility and declared his own allegiance to Milton, Dryden, and Pope, he developed a poetry of dash and flair, in many cases with a striking hero. In one of these a right-minded but neglected heroine is gradually acknowledged to be correct by characters who have previously looked down on her such as Fanny Price in Mansfield Park and Anne Elliot in Persuasion. By the s, realistic fiction had acquired a polemical role, reflecting the ideas of the French Revolution, though sacrificing much of its comic power in the process. Though their attacks on contemporary writers could be savagely partisan, they set a notable standard of fearless and independent journalism. Both his reputation and his mental health collapsed in the late s. John Moore gave a cosmopolitan flavour to the worldly wisdom of his predecessors in Zeluco and Mordaunt Women novelists contributed extensively to this ideological debate. The classic repertoire continued to be played but in buildings that had grown too large for subtle staging, and, when commissioning new texts, legitimate theatres were torn between a wish to preserve the blank-verse manner of the great tradition of English tragedy and a need to reflect the more-popular modes of performance developed by their illegitimate rivals.
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