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8 - England: literature and culture

from II - National developments in literary criticism

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 February 2013

M. A. R. Habib
Affiliation:
Rutgers University, New Jersey
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Summary

This chapter describes the authors of England, who were all literary critics. Some of them include: Thomas Carlyle, John Ruskin, Walter Pater, William Morris and George Bernard Shaw. Carlyle started as a literary critic and translator, but became a social critic and historian. German literature was little read in England, with the one exception of Goethe's Werther. Ruskin was the most highly theoretical of Victorian critics, as shown in his masterwork, Modern Painters, which established a theory of Beauty. Its appeal and influence continued well into the twentieth century. In his social and cultural criticism Ruskin emphasized the social and personal costs of industrial production, on the labourer or artisan turned into a machine, and also on the middle-class consumer. The second group of nineteenth-century critics might be seen as a second generation: Pater, Morris and Shaw were all exposed to the earlier writers in their youths.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2013

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