Ancients and Moderns

Ancients and Moderns

▪ literary dispute
      subject of a celebrated literary dispute that raged in France and England in the 17th century. The “Ancients” maintained that Classical literature of Greece and Rome offered the only models for literary excellence; the “Moderns” challenged the supremacy of the Classical writers. The rise of modern science tempted some French intellectuals to assume that, if René Descartes (Descartes, René) had surpassed ancient science, it might be possible to surpass other ancient arts. The first attacks on the Ancients came from Cartesian circles in defense of some heroic poems by Jean Desmarets de Saint-Sorlin (Desmarets de Saint-Sorlin, Jean) that were based on Christian rather than Classical mythology. The dispute broke into a storm with the publication of Nicolas Boileau (Boileau, Nicolas)'s L'Art poétique (1674), which defined the case for the Ancients and upheld the Classical traditions of poetry. From then on, the quarrel became personal and vehement. Among the chief supporters of the Moderns were Charles Perrault (Perrault, Charles) and Bernard de Fontenelle (Fontenelle, Bernard Le Bovier, sieur de). Supporters of the Ancients were Jean de La Fontaine (La Fontaine, Jean de) and Jean de La Bruyère (La Bruyère, Jean de).

      In England the quarrel continued until well into the first decade of the 18th century. In 1690 Sir William Temple (Temple, Sir William, Baronet), in his Essay upon Ancient and Modern Learning attacking the members of the Royal Society, rejected the doctrine of progress and supported the virtuosity and excellence of ancient learning. William Wotton (Wotton, Sir Henry) responded to Temple's charges in his Reflections upon Ancient and Modern Learning (1694). He praised the Moderns in most but not all branches of learning, conceding the superiority of the Ancients in poetry, art, and oratory. The primary points of contention were then quickly clouded and confused, but eventually two main issues emerged: whether literature progressed from antiquity to the present as science did, and whether, if there was progress, it was linear or cyclical. These matters were seriously and vehemently discussed. Jonathan Swift (Swift, Jonathan), defending his patron Temple, satirized the conflict in his Tale of a Tub (1704) and, more importantly, in The Battle of the Books (1704). At a later date Swift was to make an even more devastating attack on the Royal Society in Gulliver's Travels, Book III, “The Voyage to Laputa.”

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужен реферат?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns — The quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns (French: querelle des Anciens et des Modernes) was a literary and artistic debate that heated up in the early 1690s and shook the Académie française. Contents 1 Description 2 See also 3 Notes …   Wikipedia

  • Bacon (Francis) and man’s two-faced kingdom — Francis Bacon and man’s two faced kingdom Antonio Pérez Ramos Two closely related but distinct tenets about Bacon’s philosophy have been all but rejected by contemporary historiography. The first is Bacon’s attachment to the so called British… …   History of philosophy

  • Science and mathematics from the Renaissance to Descartes — George Molland Early in the nineteenth century John Playfair wrote for the Encyclopaedia Britannica a long article entitled ‘Dissertation; exhibiting a General View of the Progress of Mathematics and Physical Science, since the Revival of Letters …   History of philosophy

  • Sweetness and light — is an English idiom that indicates a person’s friendliness and ease. Today, it is generally used ironically to describe insincere courtesy. For example: The two had been fighting for a month, but around others it was all sweetness and light.… …   Wikipedia

  • Walter Burley, Peter Aureoli and Gregory of Rimini — Stephen Brown THE END OF THE GREAT ERA Immediately after the glorious age of Bonaventure and Thomas Aquinas, the University of Paris, as we have seen, had a number of outstanding teachers. Henry of Ghent, following in the path of Bonaventure, was …   History of philosophy

  • Council of Ancients — Ancient An cient, n. 1. pl. Those who lived in former ages, as opposed to the {moderns}. [1913 Webster] 2. An aged man; a patriarch. Hence: A governor; a ruler; a person of influence. [1913 Webster] The Lord will enter into judgment with the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Seventeenth-century materialism: Gassendi and Hobbes — T.Sorell In the English speaking world Pierre Gassendi is probably best known as the author of a set of Objections to Descartes’s Meditations. These Objections, the fifth of seven sets collected by Mersenne, are relatively long and full, and… …   History of philosophy

  • History of Freemasonry — The history of Freemasonry studies the development, evolution and events of the fraternal organization known as Freemasonry. This history is generally separated into two time periods: before and after the formation of the Grand Lodge of England… …   Wikipedia

  • A Tale of a Tub — was the first major work written by Jonathan Swift, composed between 1694 and 1697 and published in 1704. It is arguably his most difficult satire, and perhaps his most masterly. The Tale is a prose parody which is divided into sections of… …   Wikipedia

  • The Battle of the Books — is the name of a short satire written by Jonathan Swift and published as part of the prolegomena to his A Tale of a Tub in 1704. It depicts a literal battle between books in the King s Library (housed in St. James s Palace at the time of the… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”