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The Norton Anthology of English Literature

The Norton Anthology of English Literature

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Published by: Loana Mitu on Feb 16, 2013
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The Norton Anthology of English Literature
1.
Tthe restoration and the 18
th
century
The period between 1660 and 1785 was a time of amazing expansion for England — or for "Great Britain,"as the nation came to be called after an Act of Union in 1707 joined Scotland to England and Wales. Britain became a world power, an empire on which the sun never set. But it also changed internally. The worldseemed different in 1785. A sense of new, expanding possibilities — as well as modern problems — transformed the daily life of the British people, and offered them fresh ways of thinking about their relations to nature and to each other. Hence literature had to adapt to circumstances for which there was no precedent. The topics in this Restoration and Eighteenth Century section of Norton Topics Online reviewcrucial departures from the past — alterations that have helped to shape our own world.One lasting change was a shift in population from the country to the town."A Day in Eighteenth-Century London" shows the variety of diversionsavailable to city-dwellers. At the same time, it reveals how far the life of thecity, where every daily newspaper brought new sources of interest, hadmoved from traditional values. Formerly the tastes of the court haddominated the arts. In the film
Shakespeare in Love
, when QueenElizabeth's nod decides by itself the issue of what can be allowed on thestage, the exaggeration reflects an underlying truth: the monarch stands for the nation. But the eighteenth century witnessed a turn from palaces to pleasure gardens that were open to anyone with the price of admission. Newstandards of taste were set by what the people of London wanted, and art joined with commerce to satisfythose desires. Artist William Hogarth made his living not, as earlier painters had done, through portraits of royal and noble patrons, but by selling his prints to a large and appreciative public. London itself — its beauty and horror, its ever-changing moods — became a favorite subject of writers.The sense that everything was changing was also sparked by a revolution in science. In earlier periods, theuniverse had often seemed a small place, less than six thousand years old, where a single sun moved aboutthe earth, the center of the cosmos. Now time and space exploded, the microscope and telescope openednew fields of vision, and the "plurality of worlds," as this topic is called, became a doctrine endlesslyrepeated. The authority of Aristotle and Ptolemy was broken; their systems could not explain what Galileoand Kepler saw in the heavens or what Hooke and Leeuwenhoek saw in the eye of a fly. As discoveriesmultiplied, it became clear that the moderns knew things of which the ancients had been ignorant. Thischallenge to received opinion was thrilling as well as disturbing. In
 Paradise Lost 
, Book 8, the angelRaphael warns Adam to think about what concerns him, not to dream about other worlds. Yet, despite thewarning voiced by Milton through Raphael, many later writers found the new science inspiring. It gavethem new images to conjure with and new possibilities of fact and fiction to explore.Meanwhile, other explorers roamed the earth, where they discovered hithertounknown countries and ways of life. These encounters with other peoples often proved vicious. The trade and conquests that made European powers like Spainand Portugal immensely rich also brought the scourge of racism and colonialexploitation. In the eighteenth century, Britain's expansion into an empire wasfueled by slavery and the slave trade, a source of profit that belied the nationalself-image as a haven of liberty and turned British people against one another.Rising prosperity at home had been built on inhumanity across the seas. Thistopic, "Slavery and the Slave Trade in Britain," looks at the experiences of African slaves as well as at British reactions to their suffering and cries for freedom. At the end of the eighteenth century, as many writers joined theabolitionist campaign, a new humanitarian ideal was forged. The modern worldinvented by the eighteenth century brought suffering along with progress. Westill live with its legacies today.
 
MorningRobert Dodsley, "The Footman. An Epistle to my Friend Mr. Wright"In his poem, "The Footman," Robert Dodsley writes of what he knows. Dodsley (1703–1764) grew up inrural England, and ran from an unhappy apprenticeship in stocking weaving to London, where he quicklyfound work as a footman. He describes a footman's usual tasks in this poem, and, like its narrator, Dodsleywatched and learned from his employers. In Dodsley's case, one of his employer's dinner guests helped himto begin a new career. Alexander Pope, impressed by this poem and by Dodsley's play,
The Toy-Shop
(1735), gave Dodsley a hundred pounds to set himself up in the publishing business.Dodsley's progress from that point on was meteoric. From his early job as a "fart-catcher" >>note 1 (eighteenth-century slang for a footman, who would customarily walk behind his master or mistress),Dodsley grew to be one of the most prolific and influential publishers in the history of British literature. Hislist of authors included not only Alexander Pope, but Samuel Johnson, Daniel Defoe, David Garrick,Thomas Gray, Laurence Sterne, Samuel Richardson, Edward Young, Oliver Goldsmith, and EdmundBurke. His anthology,
 A Collection of Poems. By Several Hands
(1748–1758), popularly known as"Dodsley's Collection," effectively created the canon of eighteenth-century English poetry.A Servant's Day in LondonDear FRIEND,Since I am now at leisure,And in the Country taking Pleasure,If it be worth your while to hear A silly Footman's Business there,I'll try to tell, in easy Rhyme,How I in
 London
spend my Time.And first,As soon as Laziness will let me,To cleaning Glasses, Knives, and Plate,And such-like dirty Work as that,Which (by the bye) is what I hate.This done; with expeditious Care,To dress myself I strait prepare;I clean my Buckles, black my Shoes;Powder my Wig, and brush my Cloaths;Take off my Beard, and wash my Face,And then I'm ready for the Chace.Down comes my Lady's
Woman
strait:Where's
 Robin
? Here. Pray take your Hat,And go—and go—and go—and go—;And this—and that desire to know.The Charge receiv'd, away run I, And here, and there, and yonder fly,With Services, and How-d'ye'does,Then Home return full fraught with News.Here some short Time does interpose,'Till warm Efflucia's greet my Nose,Which from the Spits and Kettles fly,Declaring Dinner-time is nigh.To lay the Cloth I now prepare,With Uniformity and Care;
 
In Order Knives and Forks are laid,With folded Napkins, Salt, and Bread:The Side-boards glittering too appear,With Plate, and Glass, and China-ware.Then Ale, and Beer, and Wine decanted,And all Things ready which are wanted,The smoaking Dishes enter inTo Stomachs sharp a grateful Scene;Which on the Table being plac'd,And some few Ceremonies past,They all sit down, and fall to eating,Whilst I behind stand silent waiting.This is the only pleasant Hour Which I have in the Twenty-four;For whilst I unregarded stand,With ready Salver in my Hand,And seem to understand no moreThan just what's call'd for, out to pour;I hear, and mark the courtly Phrases,And all the elegance that passes;Disputes maintain'd without Digression,With ready Wit, and fine Expression;The Laws of true Politeness stated,And what Good-breeding is, debated:Where all unanimously excludeThe vain Coquet, the formal Prude,The Ceremonious, and the Rude.The flattering, fawning, praising Train;The fluttering, empty, noisy, vain;Detraction, Smut, and what's prophane.This happy Hour elaps'd and gone,The Time of drinking Tea comes on.The Kettle fill'd, the Water boil'd,The Cream provided, Biscuits pil'd,And Lamp prepar'd; I strait engageThe Lilliputian EquipageOf Dishes, Saucers, Spoons, and Tongs,And all th'
 Et cetera
which thereto belongs.Which rang'd in order and Decorum,I carry in, and set before 'em;Then pour or Green, or Bohea out,And, as commanded, hand about.This Business over, presentlyThe Hour of visiting draws nigh;The Chairman strait prepare the Chair,A lighted Flambeau I prepare;And Orders given where to go,We march along, and bustle thro'The parting Crouds, who all stand off To give us Room. O how you'd laugh!To see me strut before a Chair,And with a stirdy Voice, and Air,Crying—By your Leave, Sir! have a Care!

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