Eighteenth-Century Literature

Essay on the sublime in The Spectator (23 June 1712)

1701-1702: first daily newspapers published in England

1707: The Act of Union is passed, merging the Scottish and English Parliaments, creating the Kingdom of Great Britain

1708: Great Britain consolidates trading power and political influence in India

1710: The world’s first copyright legislation, Britain’s Statute of Anne, becomes law

1714: Death of Queen Anne and the accession of George I

1715: The first Jacobite rising; an attempt by the Catholic Stuarts to take back the crown from the Protestant Hanovers

1727:  Accession of George II, like his father, born in Germany

1729-1735: The Wesleys establish Methodism in England

Jonathan Swift, “The Lady’s Dressing Room” (1732)
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, “The Reasons that Induced Dr. S. to Write a Poem Called The Lady’s Dressing Room” (1734)
Alexander Pope, Essay on Man (1733-1734)

1742: the first water-powered cotton mill begins operation in England

Translation of Longinus, On the Sublime, by William Smith (1743)
William Collins, “Ode to Fear” (1746)
Samuel Johnson, Vanity of Human Wishes (1749)
Samuel Johnson, “On Fiction” (1750)
Samuel Johnson, “On being acquainted with our real characters” (1751)
Samuel Johnson, A Dictionary of the English Language (1755)
1754-1763: The French and Indian Wars, the North American chapter of the Seven Year’s war, which was a “world war” from 1756 until 1763, is fought in colonial North America mostly by the French and their allies against the English and their allies
Edumund Burke, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful (1757)

1757:  Beginning of formal British rule in India

1760: George III becomes King; he is on the throne until 1820 but declared unfit in 1810, when his son became Prince Regent

Kant, from Observations on Feeling of the Sublime and the Beautiful (published in the German in 1764; translated into English in 1799)
 Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto (1764)

1765: British Parliament passes The Stamp Act

1770: James Cook claims the East Coast of Australia for Great Britain

1770: Boston Massacre

1773: Boston Tea Party

Phyllis Wheatley, “To the Right Honorable William, Earl of Dartmouth” (1773)

1775-1783: American Revolutionary War

1776: Declaration of Independence signed in Philadelphia

1780: Beginning of the Romantic Era in British Literature?

         1780: Founding of Constitutional Societies in Great Britain

1787: The United States Constitution written in Philadelphia

1789: Beginning of the Romantic Era in British Literature?

1789: George Washington becomes President of the United States

1789: The Fall of the Bastille

1789-1799: French Revolution

1789-93: The Revolutionary Controversy in England

William Blake’s Songs of Innocence (1789)
Richard Price, A Discourse on the Love of Our Country (Delivered on November 4, 1789; published immediately as a pamphlet)
Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France (November 1, 1790)
Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man (February 1791)
Mary Wollstonecraft, Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792)

1792-1802: Wars begun during the French Revolution lead into the Napoleonic Wars, which last from 1803 to 1815

1793: France’s King Louis XVI is executed by guillotine in January

William Godwin, Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (February 1793)

1793: France’s Queen Marie Antoinette is executed by guillotine in October

William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience (1794)

1796: Napoleon Bonaparte’s first victories as an army commander

1798: Beginning of the Romantic Era in British Literature?
William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads (1798)
 Kant, from Observations on Feeling of the Sublime and the Beautiful (translated into English in 1799)

1799: Napoleon stages a coup and declares himself the First Consul of France