Augustus Caesar in Augustan England
The Decline of a Classical Norm
Howard D. Weinbrot

Editions

Howard D. Weinbrot challenges the view that the period 1660-1800 is correctly regarded as the "Augustan" age of English literature, a time in which classical Augustan ideals provided a main source of inspiration. Scholars have held that British writers of the Restoration and eighteenth century considered Augustus Caesar to be the model of the wise ruler who enabled political, literary, and moral wisdom to flourish. This book shows on the contrary that classical standards, though often invoked, were often rejected by many informed citizens and writers of the day.

Anti-Augustan sentiment consolidated by the 1730s, when both Whig and Tory, court and country, viewed Augustus as the enemy of the mixed and balanced constitution that was responsible for British liberty. Professor Weinbrot focuses in particular on literature and its classical backgrounds, reinterpreting major works by Pope and Gibbon.

Originally published in 1978.

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