Politeness In British Literature

776 Words4 Pages
Focusing on taste, which was at core of a nexus of politeness, a point on which many historians of eighteenth century British culture and literature virtually converge, the role of the literary culture and the printed press in educating the general reading public in the matters of taste, refinement and informing the character is explored. Moreover, such pillars of the public sphere as the Tatler and the Spectator increasingly sought to educate the emergent bourgeois classes in the matters of refined taste, polite manners and opinion, since in Robert Jones’ words: “taste served as a qualification for participating in eighteenth century cultural discourse”. With significant expansion of the middle classes, with newly found wealth fuelling…show more content…
Consequently, in John Brewer’s view, it was politeness that ‘placed the arts and imaginative literature at the centre of its aim to produce people of taste and morality because they were considered the means of achieving a polite and virtuous character,’ thus the delicate balance between “inner refinement” and its outward signs such as “worldly goods and luxury items” is explored in the context of the moral theories of eighteenth century. The concluding part of the section attempts to assess overall influence of the Spectator, which famously inspired numerous emulations, on the European and Russian print cultures and discourses in the context of “the Republic of Letters”, cultures of translation and the spread of the major themes and ideas, intrinsic to…show more content…
The triangle between folk-culture, written sources and antiquarian collection is explored in the context of British printing culture. Commencing with Montesquieu’s “The Spirit of the Laws”, the link between the climates, the customs and the forms of the government acquired popularity, gained common currency in Britain, on the continent and in the Russian Empire, spawning numerous “climatologist” theories. The profound impact of Montesquieu’s ideas and his influence on the subsequent speculation on “a national character” is explored in the context of French and British public discussions in printed sources as well as reception of his ideas in the Russian
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