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Word Count: 1,428
At first sight his address is certainly not striking and his person can hardly be called handsome till the expression of his eyes which are uncommonly good and the general sweetness of his countenance perceived This passage in which Elinor describes the qualities of Edward Ferrars illustrates the fine line that Jane Austen walks between Neo-classicism and Romanticism Her subject to whom much emotion is devoted is an archetypal Romantic subject yet Austens syntax choice of words and manner in which it is written embraces the Neo-classical method of writing The Neoclassical movement embodied a group of attitudes toward art and human existence--ideals of order logic restraint correctness decorum and so on which would enable the practitioners of various arts to imitate or reproduce the structures and themes of Greek or Roman origin Neoclassicism dominated English literature from the Restoration in 1660 until the end of the eighteenth century when the publication of Lyrical Ballads 1798 by Wordsworth and Coleridge marked the full emergence of Romanticism Up to a point Neoclassicism rejected the views of optimism enthusiasm and exuberance of the Renaissance Neoclassicism also represented a reaction the Renaissance view that fundamentally man was good with and abundance of potential for spiritual and intellectual development By contrast Neoclassicism theorists saw man as an imperfect being inherently sinful whose potential was limited They replaced the Renaissance emphasis on the imagination on invention and experimentation and on mysticism with an emphasis on order and reason on restraint on common sense and on religious political economic and philosophical conservatism They maintained that man himself was the most appropriate subject of art and saw art itself as essentially pragmatic--as valuable because it was somehow useful--and as something which was properly intellectual rather than emotional The period which held a marked reaction against Neoclassicism was a movement in the late eighteenth to nineteenth century known as Romanticism Friedrich Schlegel a German poet describes Romanticism as literature
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