Defining Classicism and its important Features
Classicism can be defined as the particular genre of philosophy reflected in classical traditions of the art, literature and architecture of ancient Greece and Rome, especially their aspects of simplicity, grace and proportion. In English literature the characteristics of classicism got very well expressed in the Neoclassicism of the age of enlightenment.
In literature classicism can be defined as way of writing and presenting the work inspired and drawn on the styles of ancient Greece and Rome. For example, the translation of various works of Homer by English author Alexander Pope. Pope also experimented in his own poetry by using the styles of the masters of classicism. Gradual development of the use of classicism can be seen in each century of the development of the English literature.
Classicism in theatre also got very well reflected brilliantly by the major playwrights of the French theatre in the seventeenth century and the manifestation of the classicism can be seen through various artistic disciplines seen in the works of playwrights like Pierre Corneille, Moliere and Jean Racine.
Some other major features of classicism are-
1) It puts more emphasis on rationality and objectivity than imagination.
2) It puts emphasis on the idea that the nature and humankind can be rationally analyzed and better understood by the reason.
3) It uses logical diction and themes.
4) It follows the three unities of time, place and action as stated by Aristotle in his classics work poetics.
• Here unity of time signifies that the complete action of the play must take place within 24 hours of time.
• Unity of place says that the all the action should take place on a particular single location.
• Unity of action refers that the whole story of the play should be woven around the single plot-line and theme.
5) Following the footprints of major traditional archaic and classic works and writers by imitating and getting inspired by the writing style of these classical authors is a very significant characteristic of classicism.
6) Emphasized on using a harmoniously balanced and refined tone with highly polished style.
7) Talked about the perfectibility and universality of humanity.
8) Majorly dealt with highly heroic topics and themes.
9) Talks about literature which mainly takes its inspiration from antiquity.
10) Mainly characterized by structure, accuracy and order.