Neoclassicism Themes

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Intellectuals and Intellectualism

Devotion to the exercise or application of the intellect was important to the neoclassical writer. This tendency is a natural outgrowth of the classical tradition these writers sought to imitate. Writers like Dryden, Johnson, and Pope, not wanting to limit themselves to one genre, engaged in experimentation to broaden their own intellectual abilities, imitating the conventions of classical poetic verse, drama, and rhetoric. In addition, these writers commented on a wide range of topics—political, historical, and social—demonstrating a wealth of personal knowledge. Intellectual expression was of greater value to the neoclassicist than the expression of feelings, and out of this desire came the satire and various forms of didactic (instructional) literature.

Often the writings of these authors were a printed form of warfare, intellectual contests in print and journalism. Satirists would compete with one another, relying on a keen sense of wit to savagely...

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This section contains 624 words
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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.