A Rebellious Offspring of the Age of Reason
Understanding the Gothic novel can be accomplished by obtaining a familiarity of the Augustan point of view, which helps to develop a reference point for comparing and contrasting the origin of Gothic literature. The thinking that was being questioned by the Gothic novel was Augustanism; and without some understanding of Augustan principles and their role in eighteenth-century thought it is difficult to understand the purposes of the Gothic revival, either in terms of history or in terms of the way in which it offered a new conception of the relations between man, nature and a supreme being. David punter describes the political relationship of the Augustan thinker to the literary world, ? It is tempting to see in Augustanism the doctrine of a small cultural elite holding on to power and status under increasing pressure, and that pressure as precisely that exerted by the new reading public on the homogeneity of the old literary establishment (p 31 Punter). This small number of elite would have included, but not limited to, Fielding, Johnson and especially Pope. However, Fielding and Johnson were slowly stepping outside of the realm of the Augustan limitations.
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