Literary Theory: An Introduction - Chapter 1, Rise of the English Summary & Analysis

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Chapter 1, Rise of the English Summary and Analysis

The concept of literature in eighteenth-century England was not identified as it is today with "imaginative" writing. Rather, literature was the collection of writing in the society that was considered valuable and fulfilled the standards of "polite letters". Thus, the concept of literature was determined wholly by the values of one social group. However, literature served a more important function than simply embodying the tastes of that social class; it also helped spread them throughout the rest of society. The political situation of England in that time was precarious, as revolutions were occurring in many parts of the world and the country had just come out of a bloody civil war in the seventeenth century. In order to maintain political stability, the upper-class needed to unite the country by inculcating their values in...

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This section contains 1,746 words
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Buy the Literary Theory: An Introduction Study Guide
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