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Page 189

CHAPTER X
EIGHTEENTH CENTURY - LITERATURE UNDER THE GEORGES

Last Years of Queen Anne. The novel. Taking a general view of the Age of Queen Anne, we see that it was marked, first, by the development of literary criticism ; and, second, by the excellence of its prose and the beginning of the periodical. In poetry especially certain principles were tacitly adopted as producing the correctness which the age demanded. The five-beat line of Dryden and Pope, with the thought neatly enclosed within a well-polished rhymed couplet, became the generally accepted ideal of perfection. This did not tend to a free manifestation of poetical ability ; but it did tend to produce prose so accurate, graceful, and agreeable as to become the glory of the Age of Anne. Its best manifestation was in the periodicals whose establishment was the second distinguishing mark of the age. They had been preceded by newspapers ; but the Taller and the Spectator were not bare chronicles of events, they were not the controversial weeklies of the Civil War, they were real literature, and their prose had not only usefulness but beauty.
Prose was soon to discover a new field, the novel. There had been Elizabethan romances, The Pilgrim's Progress, Dryden's translations, and the slender thread of narrative fiction in the Spectator. Then had come

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