Critical and curious learning: new science, neoclassicism, and new criticism in the Long Restoration

Bergstrom, C ORCID: 2007, 'Critical and curious learning: new science, neoclassicism, and new criticism in the Long Restoration' , Prose Studies, 29 (1) , pp. 86-103.

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During the Long Restoration a new type of literary criticism emerged out of an intellectual milieu in which both neoclassicism and the new science were becoming dominant discourses. Both were profoundly influential in this development because of their intense interest in the issue of how the mind produced words and the language that they generated. In this light, the paper argues that the new scientists were not hostile to rhetoric or eloquence, seeing these as vital to their attempts to formulate a code of scientific language, and illustrations of the new-science attitude to rhetoric and eloquence are drawn from Bacon, Sprat, and Wilkins. The neoclassical concern that literature both instruct and delight, that it be lively and just, leads critical theorists during the Restoration to consider how a writer can produce writings which fulfil these two aims, and in doing so they rely on new-science insights into mental processes and language to investigate the operations of dispositio and inventio in the production of literary works. Analysis of the anonymous 'An Apology for Poetry, in an Essay directed to Walter Moil Esq.' and Thomas Rymer's An Essay, Concerning Critical and Curious Learning illustrates how new theorizing that was motivated by a desire to understand the role of imagination in the writing process created a new criticism.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Subjects / Themes > P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Memory, Text and Place
Schools: Schools > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences > Centre for English Literature and Language
Schools > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences
Journal or Publication Title: Prose Studies
Publisher: Cass/Routledge
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 01440357
Depositing User: H Kenna
Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2009 13:38
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 22:06

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