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The 18th century was rich in historical, political, and cultural events. Of course, they had a direct impact on the literature of that time. The creative and enlightened minds of outstanding thinkers reacted sharply to social changes, forcing them to contribute to the shutting down of society, creating immortal literary and philosophical works. In this article, we will give a brief overview of the writers who are rightfully the most famous literary figures of the 18th century. 

Jonathan Swift

Jonathan Swift gained worldwide fame after writing the book "Gulliver's Travels". Today, most readers associate this book with fabulous fiction. But J. Swift wrote his book for an adult and conscious audience, not pursuing the goal of delighting readers with humor and satire. Under the guise of innocent stories of the ship's doctor Lemuel Gulliver, the writer outlined his own considerations regarding the social and political life of England and the development of mankind in general. The allegorical content of the plot of Gulliver's Travels was a satirical depiction of contemporary reality. The book is still popular today and is part of literary education in many schools and colleges around the world.

Daniel Defoe

Daniel Defoe (1661-1731) is an English writer who is best known as the author of Robinson Crusoe. In the fifty-eighth year of his life, he wrote this book as an experiment in a literary genre that was new to him. Despite this, the literary legacy left by him is enormous. Together with journalism, the author has over 250 works. Currently, his numerous books are known only to a narrow circle of specialists, but "Robinson Crusoe" is still popular in Europe, America, and in the most remote corners of the globe.

Walter Scott

For fifteen years, from 1815 to 1830, Walter Scott was the most famous and highest-paid writer in the world. His poems are timeless classics of English literature. In addition, he managed to inspire arrogant British respect for the "wild" Scotland, his beloved homeland, and to recognize the cultural identity of this country. But his main contribution to world culture is that he was the first in the world to be able to place historical characters in a real environment, where the "background" was no less important than the heroes. In his works, he also equated the gentlemen and the lower classes, that is, he was the first "democrat" in literature.

Voltaire (François Marie Arouet)

Voltaire influenced society, literature, and science in a variety of ways. In the context of world literature, he took the position of a poet and novelist, philosopher and popularizer of historical knowledge, moralist and publicist, literary critic and historian, leaving behind a huge number of poems, tragedies, novels, stories, serious treatises, magazine articles, polemical pamphlets, historical works, etc.

Voltaire also had a huge impact on other 18th century writers who were younger than him and continued his literary traditions. Rousseau, for example, said that the first book that forced him to seriously engage in literature and philosophy, and aroused the desire for mental labor, were Voltaire's English Letters.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is a world-famous poet, writer, philosopher, literary critic, naturalist, lawyer, and statesman of all times and peoples. Goethe's influence extends far beyond the 18th century. A variety of creative activities made him one of the most influential figures in German history. The first novel "The Suffering of Young Werther" and the drama "Goetz von Berlichingen" became a real literary breakthrough for the young Goethe. The tragedy "Faust", on which the writer worked until his death, is one of the most cited works of literature in the world.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a French-speaking Geneva philosopher and writer whose conceptual representations of the social contract, natural goodness of man theory, and educational work have greatly influenced the political, philosophical, and social Western tradition. Jean-Jacques Rousseau is, first of all, a philosopher. The books "The Social Contract", "New Eloise" and "Emile" are still being studied by representatives of science. In his works, the author tried to explain why social inequality exists in society. Rousseau was the first to try to determine whether there was a contractual way of creating statehood.

John Locke

John Locke was an outstanding English thinker, the creator of the liberal idea, a famous educator of the Enlightenment. His ideas became the prerequisites for the creation of the ideas of J.-J. Rousseau, F. Voltaire, as well as the ideology of the American Revolution of the late 18th century. He achieved his fame thanks to his Philosophical Essays, which served as the basis for liberal political thought and the inspiration for the United States Constitution. He was also very critical of the education system at a time when there was a lot of corporal punishment.

Conclusion

In the 18th century, philosophical and social phenomena were reflected in the literature, which to this day is an important part of educational programs in universities and colleges. The writers of that time were deeply concerned about the reformation process that the world community was going through. This century was marked by the beginning of the formation of human self-consciousness, it determined the inviolability of rights and freedoms, and for this reason, most of the famous literary works of the 18th century are on the verge of literature, philosophy, sociology, politics and at the same time art.

About the Author

Nancy P. Howard has been working as online essay writer reviews. She is also webmaster at best essay writing service reviews. She loves traveling, photography and is always welcome to meet new people.