Age of Johnson in genre of Prose, Novel and Drama | History of English Literature

 Major Figures and Works of the Age of Johnson in genre of Prose:

Prose of second half of 18th century was followed by the writings of Addison, Steele and Swift. In this way first of all Dr. Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) again wrote in this genre as well. His best prose was ‘Dictionary’ and ‘Lives of Poets’. Furthermore he wrote articles such as ‘The Rambler’, ‘The Idler’ and ‘Rasselas’. 

Edmund Burke (1729-1787) was another prominent figure of this age. He wrote speeches and writings such as ‘Thoughts on the Present Discontent’ in 1770, ‘On American Taxation’ in 1774, ‘On Conciliation with America’ and ‘The Reflection on the French Revolution’ in 1790 were all about revolution aspects. 

Similarly Edward Gibbon (1797-1794) wrote his famous prose writing such as, ‘The Decline and Fall of Roman Empire’ which was a historical work. 

Major Figures and Works of the Age of Johnson in genre of Novel:

Novel was the famous genre of second half of 18th century which was basically started with the fictional writings of John Bunyan and Daniel Defoe. Novel was actually the genre about the life of layman which is mostly appreciated and read by the lower class as well as elite class. 

In this way the originator of this form of literature was Daniel Defoe (1661-1731) who marked his renowned novel writing such as, ‘Robinson Crusoe’ which was a lifelike heroic and adventure story. After that he wrote some fictional work such as ‘The Memories of a Cavalier’, ‘Captain Singleton’ which is  ‘Moll Flanders’, ‘Colonel Jack’, ‘Roxana’ and Journal of the Plague Year’. These were the work of reality telling to the readers and mischievous kind of stories. 

Another prominent figure was Samuel Richardson (1689-1761) who wrote first modern novel ‘Pamela’ in 1940 giving importance to the corporal chastity. ‘Pamela’ was another famous novel of Richardson which is about truthful of a woman. Moreover his next novel was ‘Sir Charles Grandison’ was a story of an aristocratic man.

Henry Fielding (1707-1754) was also the part of Age of Johnson who wrote his famous novel ‘Joseph Andrews’ in 1742 was all about the vulgar kind of life of society, ‘Jonathan Wild’ which was a picaresque novel. Similarly ‘Foundling’ in 1749 and ‘Tom Jones’ in 1749 were epic novels. His last novel was ‘Amelia’ in 1751 which was about a good wife life with a bad husband. 

Tobias Smollett (1721-1771) was another figure who was founder of funny novels and also wrote picaresque novel as well as adventurous fiction such as ‘Roderick Random’ in 1748. Likewise, ‘Peregrine Pickle’ in 1751 and ‘Humphrey Clinker’ in 1771 were his famous novels.

Lawrence Sterne (1713-1768) wrote the different kind of novels as compared to other novel writers. His well-known novels were ‘Tristram Shandy’ and ‘A Sentimental Journey through France to Italy’ a mixture of strange fiction. 

In the last Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774) was also prominent figure of the age who wrote the only novel ‘Vicar of Wakefield’ a new style of novel in the way of romanticism.

Major Figures and Works of the Age of Johnson in genre of Drama:

Drama of second half of 18th century was not of the high standard that is why most of dramatists turned to novel due to limitations in the field of drama. 

Thomas Otway (1652-1685) was the drama writer of the age who wrote traditional English dramas like, ‘Venice Preserved’. 

Joseph Addison (1672-1719) also wrote classical traditions in his drama ‘Cato’ which is written in 1713.

Dr. Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) alongside poetry and prose writing also wrote drama like ‘Irene’ in 1749.

Sir Richard Steele (1672-1719) wrote sentimental comedy ‘The Funeral’, ‘The Laying Lover’, ‘The Tender Husband’ and ‘The Conscious Lovers’

James Thomson (1700-1748) wrote his famous drama ‘Sophonisba’.

Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774) also wrote dramas such as ‘Good Natured Man’ and ‘She Stoops to Conquer’ in 1773, the second one is masterpiece of Goldsmith.

Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1861) wrote comedy such as ‘The Rivals’ in 1775 and ‘The School for Scandal’ in 1777 were famous comedies.

Additionally there were more dramatists like Colley Cibber (1671-1757), Hugh Kelley (16?-17?) and Richard Cumberland (1732-1811) wrote comedy dramas in which sentiments of the human beings in true picture.

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