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English Literature and Society in the Eighteenth Century

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Author: Leslie Stephen
Published: 1904
Language: English
Wordcount: 46,443 / 144 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 38.2
LoC Category: PN
Downloads: 917
Added to site: 2007.04.18
mnybks.net#: 16643
Genre: Essays
Excerpt

f the great ecclesiastical and political struggles of the day, we should turn, not to the men in whose minds beliefs lie inert and instinctive, nor to the ostensible dialectics of the ostensible apologists and assailants, but to the great poet who shows how they were associated with the strongest passions and the most vehement convictions.

We may hold that the historian should confine himself to giving a record of the objective facts, which can be fully given in dates, statistics, and phenomena seen from outside. But if we allow ourselves to contemplate a philosophical history, which shall deal with the causes of events and aim at exhibiting the evolution of human society--and perhaps I ought to apologise for even suggesting that such an ideal could ever be realised--we should also see that the history of literature would be a subordinate element of the whole structure. The political, social, ecclesiastical, and economical factors, and their complex actions and reactions, would all have to be taken int

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