AN ANALYSIS OF LITERARY REPRESENTATIONS OF REVOLUTION FROM 17TH TO 19TH CENTURY ENGLAND USING THE REVOLUTIONARY SCRIPT
Any time period can represent the common consensus of its contemporary population, and a literary analysis of 17th to 19th century English works can allow for a systematic approach to understanding revolutionary acts. A systematic approach to how society reacts to societal elements such as religious persecution and tyrannical governing requires Baker and Edelstein’s framework of the ‘’Revolutionary Script’’. This framework allows for what is essentially a close reading of literary texts; it does so by separating societal elements into “core factors” and “revolving factors”. Changes to the revolving factors that are represented in literature are key to this analysis. Core factors consist of universal problems within the human condition, such as hunger, discrimination and pain leading to societal instability. The revolving factors are what allow us to differentiate one time period from another, as each revolution targets the script’s revolving factors: While religious persecution and censorship were prevalent during the Civil War, the Restoration to the Industrial Revolution sees more contrasting opinions as a result of decreasing censorship but harsh industrial labour conditions. These revolving factors are represented by the literary works of authors, allowing modern readers to understand the common sentiment to societal values at the time. This separation ultimately defines what ‘revolution’ means in the scope of this paper: Societal instabilities leading a population to change revolving factors symptomatic of core factors.
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