Neoclassicism Essay

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In the following essay excerpt, Sitter considers what constituted "wit" during the neoclassicist period by examining philosophical writings of the times.

For thee explain a thing till all men doubt it,
And write about it, Goddess, and about it.
—Alexander Pope, Dunciad

Sooner or later in any discussion of neoclassical literature the word wit, if not the spaniel, splashes its way back to the hunter's side. That major authors of the Restoration and early eighteenth century prized and practiced wit is perhaps the one thing every succeeding generation has agreed on, although with widely differing evaluations of that achievement. Each retrospective estimate of Dryden or Pope seems, interestingly, to approach Dryden's view of one of his predecessors: "if we are not so great wits as Donne, yet certainly we are better poets." As Dryden's usage and the work of many modern scholars remind us, the value and definition...

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This section contains 781 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Neoclassicism Study Guide
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Literary Movements for Students
Neoclassicism from Literary Movements for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.