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Eighteenth-century English literature (1700 to 1785): drama and the novel.

1702

First daily newspaper, The Daily Courant, published

1702-1714

Reign of Queen Anne

1703

Defoe jailed for political pamphleteering

1704-1711

Defoe, editor and founder of the Weekly Review, with the patronage of Harley, leader of the moderate Tories

1706

Defoe, The Apparition of Mrs. Veal

1707

The Act of Union unites England and Scotland; the union is called Great Britain

1710-1714

Swift aligns himself with Tories; writes political articles defending Tory ministry

1713

Swift made dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin

1714

Addison and Steele, The Spectator revived

1714-1727

George I, first of the Hanoverians, becomes monarch

1717

Last witchcraft trial in England

1719

Defoe, Robinson Crusoe

1721-1742

Robert Walpole serves as Britain's first real prime minister

1722

Defoe, Journal of the Plague Year and Moll Flanders

1724

Defoe, Roxana and Jack Sheppard

1724-1726

Defoe, Tour Thro' the Whole Island of Great Britain in three volumes

1726

Swift, Gulliver's Travels

1727

Defoe, The History of Apparitions

1727-1760

Reign of George II

1729

Swift, A Modest Proposal

1730

Fielding, Tom Thumb, dramatic burlesque play

1731

Gentleman's Magazine established

1736-1737

Fielding, Pasquin and The Historical Register for the Year 1736

1737

Theatre Licensing Act; confirms monopoly of patent theaters and censorship

c.1739

Richardson writes books of specimen letters

1740

Richardson writes novel Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded

1741

Fielding, Joseph Andrews

1743

Fielding, Miscellanies

1747-1748

Richardson, Clarissa

1747-1755

Johnson working on Dictionary of the English Language

1749

Fielding, Tom Jones

1751

Gray, Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard; Vol. 1 of French Encyclopedie

1753-1754

Richardson, Sir Charles Grandison

1759

Johnson, Rasselas; Voltaire, Candide

1760-1767

Sterne, Tristram Shandy; Books One and Two were published first in New York Colony

1760-1820

Reign of George III

1764

Walpole, The Castle of Otranto

1765

Watt invents steam engine

1768

Sterne, A Sentimental Journey

1770

Goldsmith, Deserted Village

1775

Sheridan, The Rivals

1776

Sheridan buys Garrick's share of Drury Lane Theatre and assumes managership

1777

Sheridan, The School for Scandal

1779

Sheridan, The Critic

Popular literature aimed at a middle-class audience burgeoned during the eighteenth century. The middle class had always enjoyed literature that was exciting and sensational but ultimately reassuring to their own image of the world. Villains are corrupt aristocrats; heroes are men and women of feeling who submit to the restraints of society. The most successful popular writers were those who could provide novelty and excitement without violating middle-class expectations. Thus the plays became more bland while the acting and productions became more elaborate and impressive. In prose, the lengthy novels depicting a series of surprising adventures and near-disasters tended to end with the hero's discovery that he is a gentleman after all, not an outcast from society. These popular forms reassured the middle class that its values were correct and that they would lead to success and proper rewards. At the same time, the comforting message was delivered in an entertaining way, through the media of theater and fictional narrative. Examples of correct manners provided models for the audience's behavior.
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Author:McCoy, Kathleen; Harlan, Judith A.V.
Publication:English Literature to 1785
Article Type:Reference Source
Date:Jan 1, 1992
Words:497
Previous Article:Oliver Goldsmith (1730-1774).
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