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17 and 18 Century British Literature

17 and 18 Century British Literature

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Published by italia69

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Published by: italia69 on Dec 08, 2010
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05/20/2013

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The suitable doctrine for the Age of Reason, Neoclassicism
cultivated an ideal of style characterised in the first place by
intellectual clarity and expressive restraint.
Ostentation, unnecessary ornament, affectation were rejected,
and the measure of the writer’s skill was his ability to convey an
impression of “natural easiness and unaffected grace, where nothing
seems to be studied, yet everything is extraordinary” (Thomas Sprat*).
This ideal of style is best summed up by the Augustan notion of
wit. Wit described a style which combined elegance with profundity,
refinement with wisdom, eloquence with restraint. It displayed
flexibility skilfully controlled, or, as Oliver Goldsmith defined it, “grace
and strength united.”

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