Classicism Essay

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In the following essay, Hytier explores how writers of the eighteenth century established the criteria for labeling seventeenth-century writers "classical."

We no longer know where we stand with regard to classicism. There was a time when everyone was more or less in agreement as to what was required for a French writer to deserve being called classical. But that time didn't last very long; in fact, I doubt that it went much beyond the end of the eighteenth century and the first third of the nineteenth. Voltaire, it would seem, used the expression "classical authors" only for the great writers of Greco-Latin antiquity, and he contrasted them with modern writers: "A man who has read nothing but classical authors scorns everything that is written in modern languages" (Essai sur la poésie épique). Yet Voltaire played a decisive role in singling out those writers of the...

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This section contains 4,675 words
(approx. 12 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Classicism Study Guide
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Literary Movements for Students
Classicism from Literary Movements for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.