The Age of Johnson

What are the Chief Characteristics of the Age of Johnson in Literature?

The age of Ben Johnson in literature is the subject of a lot of manuscripts and studies. It is one of the most debated periods in English literary history. It was during the 18th century that literature in English, outside of drama, became a realistic art form. There were many great novelists, poets and essayists during this time, but one figure towers over the others.

Major characteristics of the Age of Johnson

The major characteristics of the Age of Johnson are varied. It has been considered revolutionary because it was the first time that poets were seen to be an integral part of society, something that had not taken place before in England. The literature also showed a break from the traditional neoclassical, or Augustan Period in literature, with its use of satire and humor. The age saw a flourishing of satire, which was conveyed through poems and novels. Satire was used as a vehicle to convey criticism of the attitudes and politics of the day. Poets and playwrights derided the French Revolution.

The “age of Johnson” is a term coined by Virginia Woolf to describe the literary period in eighteenth-century English literature that she saw as dominated by Samuel Johnson’s imprint. The age of Johnson was marked by a nationalistic spirit and preoccupation with the past, and it functioned as a bridge between enlightenment and romanticism. This age is usually dated from 1765 to 1837, so it coincides with the second half of Johnson’s life.

The era is characterized by a progressive social awareness that set it apart from earlier periods.  The Age of Johnson is characterized by an emphasis on rhetoric and an overall ease with which prose was written, rather than a concern for poetic form or coherence. The period was also one of the first times in which literature became very accessible to the masses due to an increase in literacy rates.

The people of this time, who were not necessarily wealthy, were still able to obtain works that would have been unaffordable in earlier times. This is shown by the ” Tomson” publishing firm and the proliferation of literary works available to the public.

Impact of the Age of Johnson on literature

The age of Johnson in literature is largely defined by its emphasis on reason and sentiment. This era paved the way for sentimentalism to become the dominant school of thought in the 19th century. It was an era that saw the rise of rationality (or science) that led to calls for a more educated society, rejection of what was seen as old-fashioned ideas, and an elevation of sentimentality over morality. This idea of revolution is what captivates most people of Johnson’s age. The literature of this time is concerned with the exploration of the past and the future, as well as change. This focus on changing perspectives is one of the chief characteristics of this literary era.

What separates the Age of Johnson from other periods in literature?

Ben Johnson’s age is often considered the pinnacle of English literature because it became a time when writers and poets were no longer constrained by their feelings of inferiority to their Italian and French counterparts. The writers and poets felt liberated in this era and were able to express themselves more freely through their works.

Read About: Chief Characteristics of the Age of Milton in Literature

The Age of Johnson is characterized by the increased ability of poets to write in any form that they please, be it heroic couplets, blank verse, or heroic couplets with vernacular interludes. This age stretched from about 1730 to 1800. The chief characteristics are the use of vernacular, the use of local dialects in addition to standard English, and an increase in satire.

The Age of Johnson is characterized by a literary movement called Augustinism. This movement places emphasis on patriotism, nationalism, and an acceptance of the social order. It also includes the idea that literature should be respected as an art form.

Similarities between authors of the Age of Johnson

The time period surrounding the birth of the English author Ben Johnson is often referred to as the Age of Johnson. This age is quite different from other periods and can be characterized by a few distinctive features. Firstly, Johnson’s work is characterized by a heavy reliance on satire and sarcasm. Secondly, this period is known for its fascination with word play and puns.

Thirdly, this era was one of increased literary experimentation because people were exploring new techniques such as stream-of-consciousness narration and multiple points of view The Age of Johnson is a time period in literature that specifically refers to the period of 1798-1827. The time coincides with Ben Johnson’s life span. Authors during this time period usually write about social issues, philosophy, and politics; or they are focused on decadence and debauchery.


Johnson’s theories and ideas on the evolution of language, and the import of words and letters, were revolutionary. He had a mastery of many languages and is credited as being one of the first to recognize Shakespeare as a dramatist. The chief characteristics of the age of Ben Johnson in literature are a satirical and realistic approach to society, a comedy that ridicules everyday life, and a light-hearted wit.

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