Both the form and content of literature today owes much to the developments that took place in England between the Restoration and Romantic periods. The emergence of the novel triggered the creation of new genres and accompanied a rise in literacy throughout the country. This volume examines the English writers who helped shape the social, political, and religious climate of the age, and immerses students in the history of narratives that continue to enchant audiences today. ...
Both the form and content of literature today owes much to the developments that took place in England between the Restoration and Romantic periods. The emergence of the novel triggered the creation of new genres and accompanied a rise in literacy throughout the country. This volume examines the English writers who helped shape the social, political, and religious climate of the age, and immerses students in the history of narratives that continue to enchant audiences today.
This volume, from a seven-book series examining primarily English and American literature, views literature within its social context—how life around authors informed and shaped their writing. English Literature from the Restoration Through the Romanic Period discusses forms and genres introduced during this time period that remain popular today, such as satire, self-help, romance, horror, and memoir. The spread of literacy, new philosophical concepts, refinement of the mechanics of publishing, and changing social and economic conditions pushed authors to write about more diverse topics for a wider audience. Also included are short biographies and examinations of major works by such authors and poets as Alexander Pope, Daniel Defoe, Robert Burns, William Wordsworth, and Jane Austen. Special emphasis is given to the flourishing poetry of the Romantic period as well as the rise in popularity of the novel. The use of black-and-white illustrations and photographs does little to break up the large blocks of dense, dry text. The vast amounts of time and diverse genres covered tend to make the text read as an unending stream of names, dates, and titles of works. While it is unlikely any reader will want to slog through the whole volume at once, those looking to find information on a specific writer or genre will be well served here but will not find anything that a basic online search could not provide. (The Britannica Guide to World Literature) Reviewer: Amanda MacGregor
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—Both of these volumes include the backgrounds, impact, and legacy of the writers and how their craft developed as the demands of the reading public and literacy abilities changed. Labeled illustrations of authors and sometimes a depiction of their work appear along with a general chronological overview of literature throughout each period. Contributions of other cultures, politics, and religions and how they influenced the evolution of English as a vernacular language are documented throughout the surveys. Both books have sidebars or highlights taken from the New Encyclopedia Britannica that provide explanations of terms such as "epistolary novel," "patent theater," and "comedy of manners." The books are inclusive in scope and the length of a selection is in proportion to the subject's importance and influence; e.g., Caedmon is given one page, in contrast to the 50 pages devoted to Shakespeare, 30 to Milton, and 14 to Chaucer. As one would expect, the second title covers Keats, Shelley, and Byron; however, lesser-known writers like Charles Lamb, Thomas De Quincy, and Charlotte Smith are discussed as well. Each stage of the development of language, form, and writing is explained within its historical context or demonstrated with a particular piece of literature. Puritanism, Cromwell, religious upheaval, and the French Revolution are some of the topics considered. These are valuable additions to libraries looking for broad but clear overviews.—Joanne K. Cecere, Monroe-Woodbury High School, Central Valley, NY