The Augustan Age Study Questions Millennium I p. 153 STUDY QUESTIONS 1. What does the term “Augustan Age” imply ? • It implies nostalgia for the old virtues of ancient Rome and the attempt of British people to model their lives on those of ancient Romans under the emperor Augustus. 2. Was the first part of the century characterized only by a return to classicism? • No, it wasn’t. Although Neoclassicism became a style of life, the age was also characterized by such modern phenomena as the diffusion of newspapers and magazines and the rise of the novels, as well as by a new sensibility, which was marked by a tendency to be easily and strongly affected by emotions. 3. Explain in which way Neoclassicism could be considered a style of life? • The British ruling class saw themselves as the true heirs of the Roman Empire and typically Roman virtues like fortitude, perseverance, and self-control were considered the prerequisites of the true British gentleman. Neoclassicism was reflected in architecture, painting, sculpture, and even in gardening and town planning. 4. What did the great Augustan writers share. • They shared a strong belief in reason and in the superiority of intelligence and good sense over fancy and impulse. 5. What became their favourite form of expression in literature? • Satire became a means to attack abuses and to promote good sense and correct behaviour in social life. Augustan writers criticized by means of satire both the new social order introduced by the rise of the middle class with its bad taste and cult of money and the corruption of the aristocracy and the political parties. 6. What position did rational thinkers take? • Locke’s empiricism developed into Hume’s scepticism; orthodox religion was rejected by the Deists who favoured natural “religion” instead of the “revealed” religion and by Berkley who combined religious faith with reason. 7. What role did upper-class women acquire in the 18th century? • The literary saloons of upper-class women became meeting points where politics, literature and the new ideas of freedom for the individual could be discussed. 8. Why were newspapers and magazines important? • Because they became a means of education for the middle class. 9. What was the role of clubs and coffee-houses? • They became a place to meet and discuss current events.