Westward the course of empire
takes its way:
The four first acts already past,
A fifth shall close the drama with the day;
Time’s noblest offspring is the last.
THE RISE AND PROGRESS OF MODERN FICTION.
The New Age. Daniel Defoe.
Robinson Crusoe. Richardson. Pamela, and
Other Novels. Fielding. Joseph Andrews. Tom Jones. Its Moral. Smollett.
Roderick Random. Peregrine Pickle.
THE NEW AGE.
We have now reached a new topic in the course of English Literature—contemporaneous, indeed, with the subjects just named, but marked by new and distinct development. It was a period when numerous and distinctive forms appeared; when genius began to segregate into schools and divisions; when the progress of letters and the demands of popular curiosity gave rise to works which would have been impossible, because uncalled for, in any former period. English enterprise was extending commerce and scattering useful arts in all quarters of the globe, and thus giving new and rich materials to English letters. Clive was making himself a lord in India; Braddock was losing his army and his life in America. This spirit of English enterprise in foreign lands was evoking literary activity at home: there was no exploit of English valor, no extension of English dominion and influence, which did not find its literary reproduction. Thus, while it was an age of historical research, it was also that of actual delineations of curious novelties at home and abroad.