Jonathan Swift

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) Video Lesson

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) is the second of the three writers of the Augustan Age discussed in the English Course addressed to 4th year Secondary School Italian Students. The video lesson discusses Swift’s writing techniques and the strong criticism towards political, social and religious controversies of his time through a mastery of satire largely used in his works. The two main works discussed are his masterpiece, “Gulliver’s Travels”, published in 1726 and “A Modest Proposal” a pamphlet of political satire, published in 1729.

Jonathan Swift

Excerpt from “A Modest Proposal” by J. Swift

A satirical pamphlet in which Jonathan Swift denounces the incompetence and inadequacy of the English government regarding the Irish issue and its people’s despairing situation during his time.

Daniel Defoe (The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders) Video Lesson n. 2

Daniel Defoe (1660-1731) is the author of “The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders” (1722) one of his two most renowned novels, the other one is “Robinson Crusoe” which is also generally considered the first modern novel of English literature. In this novel the protagonist, Moll Flanders, can be said to be the female counterpart of the other novel’s protagonist, Robinson. In “Moll Flanders”, Defoe, unlike in his previous novel, highlights the negative aspects of the emerging industrial English society and points out at women’s poor life-conditions during this time emphasising how their struggle is much more incessant, bitter than that that the rising middle class man faces, thus causing at times mental and emotional distress. Therefore, in this case, Defoe even if he still celebrates the individual’s will power and inner strength as qualities needed to succeed, he also points out the downsides of the Augustan Age (1714-1760).

Daniel Defoe (Robinson Crusoe) Video Lesson n. 1

Daniel Defoe (1660-1731) is the author of “Robinson Crusoe” (1719) which is generally considered the first modern novel of English literature. This novel celebrates the rising middle class individual and it belongs to the Augustan Age which is an historical and literary current (1714-1760).

Gulliver in Brobdingnag

Gulliver’s Travels (1726) is a peculiar travel novel,  books about journeys were quite popular at the time as they were often used by their authors to convey their philosophical theories, … Continue reading Gulliver in Brobdingnag

The Augustan Age – Outline

A quick overview of the main points regarding the historical background of “The Augustan Age”.


BRITISH GOLDEN AGE The 18th century, in Britain, is generally considered a golden age, it is a time of surprising broad views and growing freedoms, an age of greater individual … Continue reading THE RISE OF THE MIDDLE CLASS AND THE NOVEL

JANE AUSTEN (1775-1817)

The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid. Jane Austen BIOGRAPHY Jane Austen, one of the best known English … Continue reading JANE AUSTEN (1775-1817)