London in the Poetic Imagination of the Long Eighteenth Century
Babeș-Bolyai University, Faculty of Letters
Keywords: London, urban space, poetic representation of urbanity, poetry and the city, English poetry, the long eighteenth century.
Abstract. This paper explores the changes in the representation of the urban space in poems written during the long eighteenth century. After analysing and comparing poems written in the last decades of the seventeenth century with poems by eighteenth-century authors, the contention of this paper is that there was a clear movement away from idealization and mystified representations, which often served political agendas, and towards quotidian and familiar versions of urban experience, which would comment on urban mores and social values. This shift was mainly caused by the dissolution of the traditional system of patronage and is attuned to the period’s dominant literary tendency of favouring daily life and the presumption of plausibility over abstract descriptions and idealised projections.