Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The 1700s: Highlights

Thomas Jefferson helped put
America on the board

The 1700s section of the Chronology starts here. The links there will lead you to the Listings.


"America" is at last on the board, and we'll start there, both to preserve our generally west-to-east flow and... well, you know... <sniff>...

In the early days, we're dealing mainly with preachers (Jonathan Edwards, John Woolman) and statesmen (Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Thomas Paine, et al); then, after an interesting detour through the life of an African-born slave who ends up in London (Olaudah Equiano) and the man who single-handedly invented the American language (Noah Webster), late in the century a true literati class is born: storytellers Washington Irving and James Fenimore Cooper; poet William Cullen Bryant; and historian William H. Prescott. Rounding out the century in America is the art of John James Audubon, the creation of "Negro" Spirituals, and the rantings-and-brilliance of Samuel F. B. Morse. (NOTE again that many of these things will happen in the next century, especially accomplishments of those born late in this one.)

Hopping over to the British Isles, things are so busy that I won't even try to list out the nearly-50 players. Here's an overview: The Wesleys create Methodism; Austen, Fielding, and others create novels; Mary Shelley creates a monster; Samuel Johnson creates a dictionary; Reynolds, Gainsborough, and Turner create painted masterpieces; Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, Keats et al create poetry; William Blake creates things never seen before; and modern science finds it feet.

Not to be outdone, the Irish produce Edmund Burke, Laurence Sterne, and Richard Sheridan; and Scotland give us (hold on!) Walter Scott, David Hume, Adam Smith, Thomas Carlyle, and Robert Burns, among others.

On the Continent: Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, and Beethoven; Kant, Hegel, and Schopenhauer; Goethe and the Grimms (German-sprechers all); in France, we see the scientists Lavoisier, Laplace, and Fourier; and the writers Stendhal and Balzac. Goya paints in Spain, and in Italy there are musicians like Paganini and Rossini, while Casanova makes his own kind of music.

China bangs out more poetry, but also ghost stories by Yuan Mei, and the Dream of the Red Chamber, one of the "Four Great Classical Novels." Japan is also long on poetry (and monks), including the rise of the haiku, as represented by Yosa Buson and Kobayashi Issa; but we also get the exquisite ghost stories of Ueda Akinari (Tales of Rain and the Moon); the puppet play Chushingura, kicking off the popularity of stories of the "47 loyal retainers"; and brilliant satire from the pens of Jippensha Ikku(Shank's Mare along the Tokaido) and Takizawa Bakin (The Eight Dog Heroes of the Satomi Clan of Nanso).

No comments:

Post a Comment