1. Historical facts

The Augustan Age or the Age of Reason/Enlightenment

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The Augustan Age or the Age of Reason/Enlightenment: sense of compromise, self-confidence, commercial and economic expansion. In religion: High, Low and Broad Church. Deism. 1760’s: agrarian and industrial revolution – enclosure, factories, growing cities, decline of the country.

London: 1665 Great Plague, 1666 Great Fire. Sir Christopher Wren – rebuilding. Two-faced city: clubs and coffee-houses, journalism (Tatler, Spectator) but poverty, no sanitary system, gin-drinking, gambling.
2. Periods in Literature


Age of Dryden Age of Pope Age of Johnson

Restoration period Augustan Age Age of sensibility/pre-Romantic

(1660-1700) (1700-1750) (1750-1798) ----- Romanticism


3. Philosophical ideas

  • deistic attitude and ’Intra te Deum’

  • ”Follow Nature” (Pope) that is follow Reason

  • Thomas Hobbes (rest. age): materialist, social contract, ”everybody against everybody”

  • 18th century: rationalists (Descartes, Leibniz) vs. empiricists (Locke, Berkeley, Hume) but shared search for the criteria of truth, true knowledge

4. 18th century art

-- French and Italian influence: baroque and classicist

-- painting: William Hogarth (Harlot’s Progress, Gin Lane); Joshua Reynolds; Thomas Gainsborough

-- architecture: Christopher Wren (St. Paul Cathedral)

-- music: Henry Purcell

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