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date: 08 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

No era witnessed the writing of more reflexive poems than the long eighteenth century. Predominant from 1660 to 1740 were instructional poems on the theory, practice, and history of poetry; reputation, ranking, and score-settling poems; and poems tracing literary genealogies, all reflecting the Augustan mode of writing in response to the earlier Baroque mode. The versified rhetorical treatise emphasized concision, correctness, clarity, restraint, because to the Augustans, elaborate rhetorical conceits and religious enthusiasm were complementary manifestations of the same pathology. The 1730s to the end of the era saw the growing popularity of a variety of poems on poetry’s evocative powers; on the progress of poetry; on the challenges of finding the right invocational fiction; and on discovering and maintaining one’s poetic vocation. These poems expressed fears that as civilized refinement grew, poetry’s power diminished. The era closed as the Romantics replaced studied rhetorical arrangement with more modest forms of expression.

Keywords: poetry, education, imitation, classics, sentiment, Romanticism

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