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Ch 5: 17th and 18th Century English Literature

About This Chapter

Watch lessons on the major authors and works of 17th and 18th century English literature. These lessons are just a portion of Study.com's English literature course.

Do you know the influential English literature authors from the 17th and 18th century? Have you heard of John Bunyan, Samuel Richardson or Alexander Pope? Even if you're familiar with these authors and their work, these video lessons will teach you about the influence of their work on the way people behaved, what they believed and how society functioned. You will take apart pieces, such as Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, to study the characters and plot. The videos will also allow you to study the major concepts of this time, such as religion, satire, romance and humor.

Have you wanted to know more about John Milton or his epic poem, Paradise Lost? Are you curious about the use of religion and religious views in literature of this time period? During the video lessons, you'll be able to look at Paradise Lost in a way that lets you dissect it and grasp the major points in the theme. You'll also be able to study why and how this poem has influenced religion.

Satirical works are also covered in the video lessons, including a focus on Alexander Pope. You'll learn more about Pope and study the emphasis on satire in his work. Lessons will also cover Samuel Richardson and his epistolary novel, Pamela. Learn why this novel was criticized for being so bold in a time when morals and religion were still very much in control of society.

As you continue to learn more about these century's major works and authors, lessons will touch on mock-heroic poetry and restoration comedy in the theater during the 1700s. You'll study novels by Daniel Defoe, Jonathan Swift and Ann Radcliffe. Works that you'll learn more about and conduct in-depth studies of will include Robinson Crusoe and Mysteries of Udolpho. Watch videos on the significance of story plots, a discussion of Gothic novels and the themes found in 1700s theater.

The 17th and 18th centuries were a chaotic time when society was struggling with being polite and following social expectations. The works of this period made people begin to question religion and everything they had been told was proper. Watch these lessons to discover the many sides to literature in the 17th and 18th centuries.

13 Lessons in Chapter 5: 17th and 18th Century English Literature
Introduction to 17th- and 18th-Century Literature: Major Authors and Works

1. Introduction to 17th- and 18th-Century Literature: Major Authors and Works

A lot can happen in 200 years, as you'll see on our lesson that introduces you to British literature of the 17th and 18th centuries. Go from Shakespeare to the invention of the novel to the introduction of a prominent dictionary in our video below!

John Bunyan and Pilgrim's Progress

2. John Bunyan and Pilgrim's Progress

Pilgrim's Progress is a Christian allegory by John Bunyan. It was published in 1678 and is a highly influential work of religious text in the English language. Follow along as you learn about some of the most memorable characters from this novel.

Introduction to John Milton: Life and Major Poems

3. Introduction to John Milton: Life and Major Poems

English poet, essayist and political figure John Milton ranks right up there with William Shakespeare in a list of literary greats. Check out this lesson for an overview of Milton's life and most important works.

Milton's Paradise Lost: Summary, Theme, and Quotes

4. Milton's Paradise Lost: Summary, Theme, and Quotes

John Milton's 1667 epic poem 'Paradise Lost' is often considered one of the greatest works in the English language. Watch this lesson to learn about the text and its complicated themes.

Introduction to Alexander Pope: Biography, Essays and Poems

5. Introduction to Alexander Pope: Biography, Essays and Poems

Alexander Pope is one of the most quoted writers in the English language, which means you've probably heard his stuff before - you just don't know it yet. Watch this lesson for an overview of Pope's life and key works!

The Rape of the Lock: Pope's Mock Heroic Poetry

6. The Rape of the Lock: Pope's Mock Heroic Poetry

Alexander Pope is one of the premiere satirists in the English language, and The Rape of the Lock is his crowning achievement. Here, Pope writes about an incredibly trivial event as though it's a war involving gods and epic heroes. Watch our lesson for more details on this classic!

Restoration Comedy: Theatre of the 1700s

7. Restoration Comedy: Theatre of the 1700s

Despite their name, Restoration comedies have nothing to do with fixing up a theater. Rather, these were shockingly explicit works that were created after almost two decades of live performances being outlawed in England. Watch our video lesson to learn about this surprising and hilarious time in English theatrical history.

Introduction to Daniel Defoe: Biography and Major Works

8. Introduction to Daniel Defoe: Biography and Major Works

Castaways, pirates, spies and political prisoners. Some of it is fiction and some of it is the author's real life. In this lesson, you'll learn more about Daniel Defoe, one of England's most prolific and exciting authors.

Robinson Crusoe: Summary and Themes

9. Robinson Crusoe: Summary and Themes

In this lesson, we'll explore Daniel Defoe's 'Robinson Crusoe' while examining themes present in the work. You may also learn some handy skills if you ever find yourself shipwrecked and having to survive on an island for 28 years.

Jonathan Swift and Satire: Examples and Analysis

10. Jonathan Swift and Satire: Examples and Analysis

When it comes to English-language satire, few authors can top the legendary Jonathan Swift. Watch this lesson to learn about his two most important works, ~'A Modest Proposal~' and ~'Gulliver's Travels~'.

Samuel Richardson: Biography, Pamela and the Epistolary Novel

11. Samuel Richardson: Biography, Pamela and the Epistolary Novel

Samuel Richardson was the first writer to produce a true bestseller in the modern sense. Watch our lesson to learn about 'Pamela,' his groundbreaking epistolary novel.

Ann Radcliffe and Gothic Literature

12. Ann Radcliffe and Gothic Literature

Meet the mysterious Ann Radcliffe, a pioneering author who helped create the genre we know today as Gothic literature. As you learn more about her works and style, we'll also look at what constitutes a Gothic novel.

The Restoration Period in English Literature: Timeline & Overview

13. The Restoration Period in English Literature: Timeline & Overview

This lesson explores what is known as the Restoration era of English literature, which lasted from 1660 to about 1688. We'll look at the context, themes, and styles that define this period of literature.

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