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Studies in the Eighteenth Century

Studies in the Eighteenth Century

Edited by R. F. Brissenden
Series: Heritage
Copyright Date: 1968
Pages: 328
  • Book Info
    Studies in the Eighteenth Century
    Book Description:

    The papers brought together in this volume bear witness to the growing vigour and diversity of eighteenth-century studies.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-3243-1
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. D.N.S.: A Biographical Note
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  6. David Nichol Smith
    (pp. 1-16)
    Herbert Davis

    I first saw David Nichol Smith in the summer of 1912, when I attended his lectures which he gave three times a week. He was then thirty-seven, and had been since 1908 Goldsmiths’ Reader in the University.

    The impression that he gave was of a serious learned scholar, a literary historian who packed an immense amount of information into his lectures, who was concerned to extend the limits of our knowledge of the writers of the period; who was not afraid to mix biography and history and criticism, to give names and dates and details of the composition and publication...

  7. The Enlightenment: Towards a Useful Redefinition
    (pp. 17-30)
    Franklin L. Ford

    When I consider the titles of the other papers to be delivered during this seminar, each one expressive of deep and sharply focused erudition, my own topic seems ambitious to the point ofhubris.However, an effort to redefine the place of the early modern Enlightenment in our cultural history, drawing on old sources and new scholarship, has for some time tempted me, if only as an exercise in self-education. Rather more generously, I might add that a preliminary reconnaissance of eighteenth-century Europe’s intellectual terrain is perhaps a defensible opening for the David Nichol Smith Memorial Seminar and for the...

  8. The Development of Eighteenth-Century Studies in the British Commonwealth
    (pp. 31-48)
    W. J. Cameron

    The title of my paper may be misleading to some of you. I am addressing you in the Commonwealth of Australia, so the word ‘British’ is needed to define a larger area. But I come from a country, Canada, where that adjective is in some areas not very popular for defining the loose association of sovereign states to which most of us belong. And I was born and bred in another country, New Zealand, which is so British that it would be an insult not to use the adjective. Despite these dilemmas, the title of my paper is accurate. I...

  9. Middle-Class Literacy in Eighteenth-Century England: Fresh Evidence
    (pp. 49-66)
    R. M. Wiles

    Forty years ago A. S. Collins published in theReview of English Studiesan informative article on ‘The Growth of the Reading Public During the Eighteenth Century’.¹ Drawing upon material in John Nichols’sLiterary Anecdotesand citing the spread of education, the numerous editions of Garth’sDispensaryand other books, the increase in the production of novels, the extensive circulation of theCraftsmanand theGentleman’s Magazine,and the development of circulating libraries, Collins showed that in the period with which he was dealing—1726 to 1780—there had been a considerable expansion in the number of English people who...

  10. Two Historical Aspects of the Augustan Tradition
    (pp. 67-88)
    Ian Watt

    There can be few terms in English literary history which are used with such widely different chronological reference as ‘Augustan’. At one extreme it can mean only the literature of 1702 to 1714, of the reign of Queen Anne; at the other, it covers the whole period from the Restoration in 1660 to the end of the eighteenth century; and there are many other intermediate and conflicting ways in which the term is employed by scholars and critics. This situation seemed to call for investigation, and two possible historical approaches suggested themselves: firstly, a brief analysis of the parallel with...

  11. ‘Sentiment’: Some Uses of the Word in the Writings of David Hume
    (pp. 89-108)
    R. F. Brissenden

    ‘Sentiment’ has long been recognised as one of the most significant words in the language of the eighteenth century. Together with several associated terms, notably ‘sense’, ‘sensibility’, and ‘sentimental’, it occupied a key place in the philosophical, moral, and literary vocabularies of the age. It is not surprising, then, that ‘sentiment’, both in the singular and the plural form, should appear with great frequency in the writings of David Hume. It occurs in his earliest work and in his latest, and it emerges as a term of central importance in both his moral and his epistemological theory.

    In the Introduction...

  12. Johnson’s Neglected Muse: The Drama
    (pp. 109-118)
    Roy S. Wolper

    Owing to Johnson’s bruising language, his antipathies to the drama resound as forcefully today as they did some two hundred years ago. For example:

    On Garrick’s showing Johnson a magnificent library full of books in most elegant bindings, the Doctor began running over the volumes in his usual rough and negligent manner; which was, by opening the book so wide as almost to break the back of it, and then flung them down one by one on the floor with contempt. ‘Zounds,’ said Garrick, ‘why, what are you about? you'll spoil all my books.’ No, Sir,’replied Johnson, ‘I have done...

  13. The Muse of Mercantilism: Jago, Grainger, and Dyer
    (pp. 119-132)
    O. H. K. Spate

    Often enough I have begun a paper with an expression of diffidence; never with such desperate sincerity as I do now, feeling myself a minnow among the tritons. What I have to offer is perhaps not much more than comic relief, literary chat rather than literary criticism. By profession I am, in Tickell’s phrase, a mere geographer, and some part of my interest in the didactic poems of the century is as sources from which to reconstruct the historical and social geography of England. The other part is simply pleasure, either in good verse or the contortions of bad verse....

  14. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  15. The Birth of Tristram Shandy: Sterne and Dr Burton
    (pp. 133-154)
    Arthur H. Cash

    The citizens of York in 1759 recognised in this grotesque caricature Dr John Burton, founder and quondam surgeon of the York Public Hospital, man-midwife, antiquary, and rabid Tory partisan. Dr Slop waddles through the pages ofTristram Shandy,dealing out advice to the Widow Wadman about Uncle Toby’s groin, destruction to the nose of Tristram, and plastic surgery to either end of that diminutive character. His importance to the novel, however, is more profound than his ludicrous appearance suggests: Dr John Burton and his obstetrical writings underprop the first four volumes of the novel. The key ideas represent his actual...

  16. Some Eighteenth-Century Attempts to Use the Notion of Happiness
    (pp. 155-170)
    S. A. Grave

    The eighteenth century engaged in obsessional talk about happiness. This paper will consider three proposals, one or more of which are to be found in many eighteenth-century philosophical writers: firstly, to use the desire for happiness as a fundamental principle in explaining human conduct; secondly, to use this desire to mould conduct into virtue; thirdly, to use a tendency to promote the general happiness as the criterion of right conduct. Happiness was commonly thought of as the combination of contentment and pleasure,¹ the word ‘pleasure’ covering everything from the most spiritualised delight to the simple pleasures of sense. There was...

  17. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  18. The Augustan Mode in English Poetry
    (pp. 171-192)
    Ralph Cohen

    Since I wish to define the common features of the poetry written from 1660 to 1750, a period sometimes called Augustan, it will perhaps be best to proceed empirically towards a definition by examining varied poetic examples from the generally considered ‘neoclassical’ or ‘sublime’ periods, otherwise known as the Age of Dryden and the Age of Pope.¹ My procedure shall be to examine representative and valued works in genres that have quite different formal ends in order to inquire whether sufficient similarities exist to warrant generalisations that would distinguish this poetry from what might be considered the earlier Elizabethan ‘mode’...

  19. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  20. ‘From a Fable from a Truth’: A Consideration of the Fable in Swiff s Poetry
    (pp. 193-204)
    C. J. Horne

    Many collections of fables and related kinds of moral tales had been published in England by the end of the seventeenth century, often with a prefatory recommendation of their value in providing palatable instruction. The popularity of the fable spread throughout the eighteenth century and, following the example of La Fontaine, Gay and others exploited the mode as a minor literary form. Addison set his approval upon the genre. ‘Fables’, he wrote in theSpectator(No. 183, 29 Sept. 1711), Veré the first Pieces of Wit that made their Appearance in the World, and have been still highly valued, not...

  21. Milton and the German Mind in the Eighteenth Century
    (pp. 205-230)
    J. H. Tisch

    A section of Fritz Strich’sGoethe und die Weltliteratur¹ bears the characteristic title, ‘Empfangender Segen. Die weckende Machi der englischen Literatur’.The ‘English revolution’ in German letters had already been spoken of by Borinski.² It was a revolution that deeply affected the intellectual life of the German-speaking regions in the eighteenth century; and in it Milton rose to the position of an exemplary aesthetic program, an almost religious creed.

    And yet, in the sphere of literature in the German language the influence of Milton is widely regarded as having been eclipsed by that of Shakespeare. The question of what Shakespeare...

  22. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  23. The Grand Tour and the Rule of Taste
    (pp. 231-250)
    Joseph Burke

    In 1914 the first author of a serious history of the Grand Tour, the American scholar, W. E. Mead, defined its combined program of study and travel as ‘an indispensable form of education for young men in the higher ranks of society’.¹ A carefully planned outward journey through France and Italy, and a return journey through France and the Low Countries, it usually required three years. Its goal was Rome. There were two reasons for the choice of this destination. Firstly, it had been inherited from the Middle Ages and confirmed by the splendours of the Italian Renaissance. Secondly, Greece...

  24. Johnson’s London: The Country versus the city
    (pp. 251-268)
    John Hardy

    The Oxford edition of Johnson’sPoems,of which the late Professor David Nichol Smith was senior editor, stands as one of the greatest contributions to Johnson scholarship during the first half of this century¹ On this occasion, when we meet to honour the memory of David Nichol Smith and pay tribute to his scholarship, it is therefore appropriate that we turn once again to Johnson's poetry. The present paper will invite a reconsideration ofLondon,Johnson’s first great poem. Although published anonymously in May 1738, when Johnson was only twenty-eight, this work so caught the attention of the literary world...

  25. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  26. The Apocalypse of Christopher Smart (A preliminary sketch)
    (pp. 269-284)
    A. D. Hope

    The critical history of Christopher Smart’sJubilate AguoorRejoice in the Lambresembles that of his most famous poem,A Song to David.To the later eighteenth centuryA Song to Davidseemed an insane poem, demonstrating that though its author had been discharged from the asylum, he was as mad as ever. To the nineteenth century it seemed a glorious extravaganza displaying a wild and unusual imagination, but not insane. Only in the last forty or fifty years has it become apparent that it is in addition a highly organised poem, extremely complex in its design and as...

  27. The Classical Learning of Samuel Johnson
    (pp. 285-306)
    M. N. Austin

    The subject I propose to consider in this paper is but a facet of the massive and miscellaneous erudition of one who in the famous phrase was ‘a robust genius, born to grapple with whole libraries’. Nevertheless it constitutes an intelligible field of study and offers a significant view of Johnson’s unique intellectual and moral genius. For Johnson’s specifically classical learning—his mastery of Latin and his knowledge of Greek—is integral to his personality and to what he called his ‘literature and his wit’. Although he was interested in and had some acquaintance with other tongues and literatures, in...

  28. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
    (pp. 307-314)
  30. Subscribers
    (pp. 315-316)
  31. Index
    (pp. 317-327)
  32. Back Matter
    (pp. 328-328)