By Hans-Peter Wagner
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In England, where the middle class and the aristocracy set the tone in culture and philosophy, nature and reason were essential terms based on the belief in man's benevolence and common sense. In his Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690) John Locke had established a psychological and empirical theory of cognition which focused on the individual and demanded religious and political freedom. And David Hume's Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748) carried further into skepticism the theory of impression and association.
As the outstanding political figure of the first half of the century he was followed by William Pitt the Elder in James Gillray, The Zenith of French Glory. whose time as Foreign Secretary (1756-1761) 1793 Great Britain became the leading power in Europe and the colonies. Between 1783-1801 William Pitt the Younger guided Britain as Prime Minister through a much more difficult time into the nineteenth century. Throughout the century, France remained England's archenemy and both countries were engaged in a series of wars.
11 Paul Scarron (1610-1660), French writer who wrote satirical verse epics, comedies, and an outstanding novel, Le Roman comique (1651 and 1657), with convincing realistic descriptions. 28 BRITISH AND IRISH LITERATURE tried to enforce during their rule. The erotic and libertine poetry of the Restoration rakes was naturally welcome in court circles, though the London middle class condemned both the poets and their lyrics. Donne and Milton were the outstanding figures in the first half of the century.
A History of British Irish and American Literature by Hans-Peter Wagner