The aim of this book, originally published in 1978, is to make the reading of literary classics such as Gulliver's Travels, Robinson Crusoe, Tom Jones, The Beggar's Opera and Tristram Shandy an even richer experience by giving them an intelligible place in history. The 'context' is seen not as a vague backcloth, but as a living fabric of ideas and events which animate Augustan literature. The authors cover the achievements of men like Hume, Walpole, Chippendale, Newton and Reynolds, who are often merely names to the literary student, and show how writers were affected by exciting developments in psychology, aesthetics, medicine and other fields. As a whole the book shows this period to have been an active, questing and complex era, whose literary masterpieces emanate from a rich and diverse culture.
Illustrations. Table of Dates. 1. Introduction: The Writer and Society Pat Rogers 2. Politics W.A. Speck 3. Religion and Ideas John Valdimir Price 4. Science G.S. Rousseau 5. The Visual Arts Peter Willis. Index
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