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Pope, Swift And Voltaire Essay

953 words - 4 pages

The eighteenth century is the century of Chaotic and Revolution rather than “the age of Enlightenment” as many cultural historians described. The Revolution in France, the Rococo style as well as the intellectual developments at this time marked the astounding point in human’s history. Lawrence in his book Culture and Values A Survey of the Humanities, said that "the literature of the eighteenth century was generally serious” (439) ; we talk about Pope with the trust in the human’s experience; we talk about Swift with his “savage indignation” toward men and we talk about Voltaire with his famous “freedom of thought”.First, we talk about Pope with his belief in the human’s nature. He was an Augustans and his writing brought out many developing magnificent idea differed from those writers at that time. At that time, “The appeal of Neo-Classical literature was particularly strong in England” (430) and thus many writers at that time followed that Classical learning blindly. But not for Pope since “his awareness that the dry bones of the Classical learning needed to have life breathed into them” (431). Theory is theory since it is always difficult for the practical use. Theory is necessary for it is the frame of bone for us to live but it does not mean we are just be humans by the “theory”. Human being, as Pope said, need the nature: “not in the sense of the natural world but in the sense of that which is universal and unchanging in human experience” (431). He wanted to breath the life to the “dry bones” – the Old Learning. Time is changing, the society as well as the human’s value change also. The old Roman Nation is good, the ancient teaching is good, Classical learning is good but none of them are not as good as the present value of human being. The revolution of human is not only the biological factors but also the psychological ones. It is the eighteenth century not tenth nor nine century ago. People should not imitate the old people’s values anymore because those values were dead already, like a dry bone. We need to use the human nature to bring life to that, the “human experience given form and meaning by rules first devised in the ancient past represents eighteenth-century thought as its most constructive” (431)Second, It is Swift we will discuss. “The eighteenth century was an age of optimism” (413) but Swift , differ from his books, was an pessimist as Lawrence described in his book “perhaps the darkest of all vision of human nature in the eighteenth century was that of Jonathan Swift” (432). His best known books, the Gulliver’s Travels, represent his whole hatred toward the human race. Using the Satire, he showed us that living on earth is in indignation for sharing the world with “animal capable of...

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