Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard Historical Context

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When Thomas Gray was writing this poem, the world was going through a period of intellectual development that thinkers of the time dubbed the "Age of Enlightenment." The Enlightenment was a philosophical movement that grew out of the great advances made by scientists in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.  One  key  example which ended up having great influence on the Enlightenment was Sir Isaac Newton's theory of universal gravitation, which proposed laws that explained and predicted the behavior of matter in all circumstances everywhere. Newton published this theory in his book Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Math-ematica in 1687, and it marked a turning point in the history of science. At the same time, this idea of the power of rationalism was growing in the area of philosophy. Thinkers such as Rene Descartes (1596-1650) andBaruch Spinoza (1632-1677) took up the idea of rationalism, attempting to apply the methods...

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This section contains 795 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.