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Read Me What to read 1601-1700

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\/ 17th Century

One star: CHILD Ballads Etext: The Online Books Page Reference: Leslie Nelson fan site | KWIC Concordance Criticism: Kenneth Rexroth essay
Note: a collection of 305 traditional ballads from England and Scotland and their American variants, collected by Francis James Child [1825-1896] during the second half of the 19th century. ... The majority of the ballads, however, date to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. --Wikipedia

Antoine Francois PREVOST (1697-1763, Abbe Prevost) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a French author and novelist. --Wikipedia
One star: Manon Lescaut (1731)
Comment: Manon Lescaut is perhaps the first love story to be told not as a tragedy of fate but a tragedy of human failings. --Arnold Weinstein

VOLTAIRE (1694-1778) Etext: The Online Books Page Criticism: post
Note: Francois-Marie Arouet ... known by his nom de plume Voltaire ... was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher --Wikipedia
Two stars: Philosophic Letters on the English (Lettres philosophiques sur les Anglais, 1734)
Comment: Voltaire was the first publicly passionate Anglophile; unlike the snobbish variety, he did not admire English manners so much as English political moderation. --Brooke Allen
Comment: The anti-Shakespearean values that Voltaire came to symbolise are, roughly speaking, those of the Enlightenment, to which the English imagination has never been very hospitable. --Seamus Perry
One star: Zadig (Memnon, 1747)
Comment: deals with a youth who practices all the virtues but still meets with misfortune. An angel finally explains that some good comes out of all evil, and that everything is predestined. --Philip Ward
One star: The Age of Louis XIV (Siecle de Louis XIV, 1751)
One star: Micromegas (1752)
The Lisbon Earthquake (Poeme sur le desastre de Lisbonne, 1756)
Four stars: Candide (1759) Humor: Pangloss Wisdom
Comment: satirizes what Voltaire condidered to be the irrational optimism of Leibnitz in the person of Dr. Pangloss, whose perennial view is that 'everything is for the best in this best of all possible worlds'. --Philip Ward
Letter to Cardinal de Bernis (April 23, 1761)
Letter to Countess de Barcewitz (Dec. 24, 1761)
A Treatise on Toleration (Traite sur la tolerance, 1763)
One star: Philosophical Dictionary (Dictionnaire philosophique, 1764)
Comment: The form of the 'Philosophical Dictionary' was ideal for Voltaire's purpose, an alphabetical medley covering a vast range of topics, on each of which the author could exercise his sharp wit. --Robert B. Downs
L'Ingenu (1767)
Comment: about a youth, born in Canada of French parents, who spends twenty years among the Huron indians and, arriving in France, finds much to wonder at in Roman Catholic tenets and much to attach in the bureaucracy of Louis XV. --Philip Ward
Letter to James Marriott (Feb. 26, 1767)
Letter to Frederick the Great (April 6, 1767)
The Age of Louis XV (Siecle de Louis XV, 1768)
Letter to M. Le Riche (Feb. 6, 1770)
Epitre a l'Auteur du Livres des Trois Imposteurs (Nov. 10, 1770)
Select Letters (anthology 1963)

Joseph BUTLER (1692-1752) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an English bishop, theologian, apologist, and philosopher. ... He is known, among other things, for his critique of Thomas Hobbes's egoism and John Locke's theory of personal identity. --Wikipedia
The Analogy of Religion (1736)

Takeda IZUMO (1691-1756) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: A theatre manager and writer... collaborated with several other authors on all-day history plays, the so-called "Three Great Masterpieces" of puppet drama --Encyclopaedia Britannica
Miyoshi SHORAKU (1696-1772)
Namiki SOSUKE (1695-c. 1751)
Note: also known as Namiki Senryu, was a prominent Japanese playwright who wrote for both kabuki and bunraku (puppet theater). --Wikipedia
One star: The Treasury of Loyal Retainers (Kanadehon Chushingura, 1748) Reference: Study: Paul Kennelly introduction Criticism: post
Note: an 11-act bunraku puppet play ... It is one of the most popular Japanese plays --Wikipedia
Comment: A lord is provoked to kill a court official and is subsequently ordered to commit suicide. His retainers band together to avenge his death. The play is interspersed with love scenes, thus combining the two most popular plots of the puppet stage. --Philip Ward

MONTESQUIEU (1689-1755) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a French social commentator and political thinker who lived during the Age of Enlightenment. He is famous for his articulation of the theory of separation of powers --Wikipedia
Persian Letters (Lettres persanes, 1722)
Two stars: The Spirit of Laws (De l'esprit des lois, 1748)
Comment: Montesquieu's work, therefore, is not a treatise on law as such (as, for instance, Aquinas' Treatise on Law is). Instead, we might call it a treatise on how laws ought to be adapted to particular circumstances and situations. ... it is true that The Spirit of Laws was not well received by the rationalists dominating the eighteeth-century French intellectual scene. ... The Spirit of Laws was more congenial to British and American thought. --Peter Wolff
The Motives That Ought to Encourage Us to the Sciences (November 15, 1725) Etext: The New Atlantis (Winter 2008)

Samuel RICHARDSON (1689-1767) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an 18th-century English writer and printer. He is best known for his three epistolary novels --Wikipedia
Comment: Why, Sir, if you were to read Richardson for the story, your impatience would be so much fretted that you would hang yourself. But you must read him for the sentiment, and consider the story as only giving occasion to the sentiment. --Samuel Johnson
Pamela (1740) Criticism: John Mullan essay
Clarissa (1748)
Comment: Clarissa's solemn moralizing marked the English novel, led to a thousand works in which men confidently depicted female characters--and so helped, consciously or not, to alienate women from their own feelings and 'truth'. --Raphael and McLeish
Sir Charles Grandison (1753)

Comment: 1688: The First Modern Revolution, by Steve Pincus, review by The Economist, October 15, 2009

Alexander POPE (1688-1744) Etext: The Online Books Page Criticism: Samuel Johnson biography | post
Note: an 18th-century English poet, best known for his satirical verse and for his translation of Homer. --Wikipedia
Comment: In Pope I cannot read a Line, / But with a Sigh, I wish it mine. --Jonathan Swift
Ode on Solitude (c. 1700)
Letter to William Wycherley (June 23, 1705)
Essay on Criticism (1711)
Comment: sympathetic yet divergent re-creation of Horace ... . a monument of Neo-classicism in England. --Raphael and McLeish
One star: The Rape of the Lock (1712)
Comment: the anthology favorite ... which, for all its beauties and such delicious phrases as 'the cosmetic powers', has long seemed to me an exceptionally campy work, an epic in drag. --Michael Dirda
Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady (1717)
Comment: he can be as delicate and lovely as A. E. Housman. --Michael Dirda
Eloisa to Abelard (1717)
Comment: Years have passed since the doomed love affair of the famous couple, and Eloisa has become a nun. But her ardor for her lost Abelard burns even in the convent... . --Michael Dirda
Intended for Sir Isaac Newton (1727)
Letter to John Gay (October 16, 1727)
Thoughts on Various Subjects (1727)
The Dunciad (1728)
Comment: Even The Dunciad--aptly described as a series of versified political cartoons--concludes with a magnificent vision of the triumph of Dullness. --Michael Dirda
One star: An Essay on Man (1733-34)
One star: An Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot (1734)
Comment: Listen, in the opening of the 'Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot', to the harried voice of the famous literary man beset by would-be authors and fans... . --Michael Dirda
Moral Essays or Epistles to Several Persons (1731-1735)
Note: Epistle to Burlington (1731), Epistle to Bathurst (1733), Epistle to Cobham (1734), Epistle to a Lady (1735)
Epistle to Augustus (1737)

Pierre de MARIVAUX (1688-1763) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a French novelist and dramatist. He is considered one of the most important French playwrights of the 18th century --Wikipedia
One star: Up from the Country (Paysan parvenu, 1735-36)

Emanuel SWEDENBORG (1688-1772) Etext: The Online Books Page Criticism: post
Note: a Swedish scientist, philosopher, theologian, revelator, and, in the eyes of some, Christian mystic. --Wikipedia
Heaven and Hell (De Caelo et Ejus Mirabilibus et de inferno: Ex Auditis et Visis, 1758)
Comment: The most imaginative of men, yet writing with the precision of a mathematician, he endeavored to engraft a purely philosophical Ethics on the popular Christianity of his time. --Ralph Waldo Emerson

HAKUIN Ekaku (1686-1768) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: one of the most influential figures in Japanese Zen Buddhism. --Wikipedia
Comment: ...greatest of the Tokugawa perion Zen Masters, restored Rinzai Zen to the purity of its T'ang and Sung traditions. --A Guide to Oriental Classics
My Old Tea Kettle (Orategama, 1748)
Wild Ivy (Itsumadegusa, 1765-1766)

George BERKELEY (1685-1753) Etext: The Online Books Page | David R. Wilkins fan site Reference: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Note: an Anglo-Irish philosopher whose primary achievement was the advancement of a theory he called "immaterialism" (later referred to as "subjective idealism" by others). --Wikipedia
A New Theory of Vision (1709)
Two stars: The Principles of Human Knowledge (1710)
Comment: The one of Ireland who attacks the reality of bodies does not seem to bring forward suitable reasons, nor does he explain himself sufficiently. --Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz
Comment: Berkeley's effort, in the Principles--as well as in his other writings--is directed to recasting the picture of the world and the account of knowledge in such a fashion that knowledge will assuredly be real. --Seymour Cain
Comment: A favorite target for professional philosophers, Berkeley's arguments are popularly associated with the view that 'everything exists in the mind'. -- Raphael and McLeish
Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous (1713) Etext: Jonathan Bennett | Jaimar Conte | Daniel Kern

John GAY (1685-1732) Etext: The Online Books Page | Poem Hunter Reference: Luminarium
Note: an English poet and dramatist and member of the Scriblerus Club. He is best remembered for The Beggar's Opera (1728), a ballad opera. The characters, including Captain Macheath and Polly Peachum, became household names. --Wikipedia
The Beggar's Opera (1728)

Marguerite DE LAUNAY (1684-1750, baronne de Staal) Etext: The Online Books Page Reference:
Note: a French author. --Wikipedia
Memoirs (Memoires, c. 1755)
Comment: They are extremely amusing, and although their historical accuracy has been challenged her portraits of persons are vivid and convincing and her style won the commendation of the best French literary critics. --J. A. Hammerton

George FARQUHAR (1677-1707) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an Irish dramatist. He is noted for his contributions to late Restoration comedy --Wikipedia
The Recruiting Officer (1706)
The Beaux' Strategem (1707)
Comment: One of the most revived of 18th-century plays, this marks the end of Restoration drama and the beginning of modern dramatic sensibility. --Raphael and McLeish

Joseph ADDISON (1672–1719) Etext: The Online Books Page Criticism: post
Note: an English essayist, poet, playwright, and politician. --Wikipedia
The Vision of Mirza (September 1, 1711)
The Spectator (1711-1712, 1714; with Richard Steele, 1672–1729)
- The Spectator: Etext: The Spectator Project Criticism: Jamie Pratt essay
Note: One of its functions was to provide readers with educated, topical talking points, and advice in how to carry on conversations and social interactions in a polite manner. --Wikipedia
- Richard Steele: Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an Irish writer and politician --Wikipedia

William CONGREVE (1670-1729) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an English playwright and poet. --Wikipedia
The Old Bachelor (1693)
Love for Love (1695)
The Mourning Bride (1697)
One star: The Way of the World (1700)
Comment: Superb comedy, in which plot is to wit (in words of play) 'as a dead whiting's eye to a pearl of orient'. --Raphael and McLeish

Giambattista VICO (Giovanni Battista Vico 1668-1744) Etext: The Online Books Page Criticism: Robert Miner review | Randall E. Auxier essay
Note: an Italian political philosopher, rhetorician, historian, and jurist. He criticised the expansion and development of rationalism and was an apologist of classical antiquity. --Wikipedia
Two stars: New Science (Scienza Nuova, 1725)
Comment: His revolutionary move is to have denied the doctrine of a timeless natural law the truths of which could have been known in principle to any man, at any time, anywhere. --Isaiah Berlin
Autobiography (Autobiografia, 1725-28)
Comment: One learns by reading it how a man deprived of skills that could help him to become prominent in a competitive society can bravely construct an image of the self in which all the deep thoughts, all the world's dreams, are mirrored. --Dante Della-Terza

Jonathan SWIFT (1667-1745) Etext: The Online Books Page | Great Books and Classics Reference: Kenneth Muir fan site Criticism: post
Note: an Anglo-Irish satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer (first for the Whigs, then for the Tories), poet and cleric who became Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin. --Wikipedia
Resolutions When I Come to Be Old (1699)
Meditations Upon a Broomstick (1703-1710)
Battle of the Books (1704)
One star: A Tale of a Tub (1704)
Thoughts on Various Subjects (1706)
Argument against Abolishing Christianity (1708-1711)
Critical Essay upon the Faculties of Mind (1709)
Letter to Alexander Pope (Sept. 29, 1725)
Four stars: Gulliver's Travels (1726)
Comment: The prevalent view is strange because there are few books which are more adult in their meaning or more devoid of the qualities of simple entertainment that are usually associated with children's literature. --Peter Wolff
Comment: The book is an account of four imaginary voyages and was inspired by the immense popularity of travel narratives, real and fictitious, during Swift's age... --Robert B. Downs
On Time (1727)
Note: Ever eating, never cloying, / All-devouring, all-destroying / Never finding full repast, / Till I eat the world at last.
Essay on Modern Education (1728)
One star: A Modest Proposal (1729)
Comment: Swift's starting point is that common humanity is lost, and he makes it follow logically from this that it would be a good idea for the poor to sell, and the rich to buy, their children for food --Andre Gushurst-Moore
On Poetry: A Rhapsody (1733)
On the Death of Dr. Swift (1739)
Thoughts on Religion (1765)
One star: Journal to Stella (1766, 1768)

Guru GOBIND Singh (1666–1708) Reference: The Online Books Page
Note: the tenth of the ten Sikh Gurus, the eleventh guru being the living perpetual Guru, Guru Granth Sahib (the sacred text of Sikhism). --Wikipedia
Dasam Granth Etext: Sri Dasam | Kawaldeep Singh fan site
Note: a scripture of Sikhism, containing much of the texts attributed to tenth Sikh guru, Guru Gobind Singh. Dasam Granth is separate granth and should not be confused with the Guru Granth Sahib. --Wikipedia

Daniel DEFOE (1661-1731) Etext: The Online Books Page Criticism: post
Note: an English trader, writer, journalist, pamphleteer, and spy, now most famous for his novel Robinson Crusoe. Defoe is notable for being one of the earliest proponents of the novel... He was also a pioneer of economic journalism. --Wikipedia
Four stars: Robinson Crusoe (1719)
Comment: Virtues of forthright style are seldom virtuous in critical circles, but Defoe's capacity for creating suspension of disbelief bypasses aesthetics. --Raphael and McLeish
Comment: Such a book as Robinson Crusoe never was written, and never will be written again. I have tried that book for years--generally in combination with a pipe of tobacco--and I have found it my friend in need in all the necessities of this mortal life. --Gabriel Betteredge, The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins
One star: Journal of the Plague Year (1722)
Comment: brilliantly impersonates an eye-witness account. --Raphael and McLeish
One star: Moll Flanders (1722)
A tour thro' the whole island of Great Britain (1724–27)
Comment: what makes the book so much fun for the ordinary reader are its anecdotes, its odd bits of social history, its glimpses of Defoe's personality, and its sturdy plain prose. --Michael Dirda

CHIKAMATSU Monzaemon (1653-1725) Etext: The Online Books Page | Japanese Text Initiative
Note: a Japanese dramatist of joruri, the form of puppet theater that later came to be known as bunraku, and the live-actor drama, kabuki. --Wikipedia
One star: Plays (1683-1721)
Comment: Plays written by Japan's leading dramatist for the popular puppet theater, performed as well in the Kubuki theater, which are mainly concerned with conflict between love and duty in the lives of city-dwelling commoners and low-ranking samurai. --A Guide to Oriental Classics

Thomas OTWAY (1652-1685) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an English dramatist of the Restoration period --Wikipedia
Venice Preserv'd (1682)

William DAMPIER (1651-1715) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: the first Englishman to explore parts of what is today Australia, and the first person to circumnavigate the world three times. --Wikipedia
A New Voyage Round the World (1697)

Francois FENELON (1651-1715) Etext: The Online Books Page Criticism: post
Note: a French Roman Catholic archbishop, theologian, poet and writer. He today is remembered mostly as the author of The Adventures of Telemachus --Wikipedia
The Existence of God (Traité de l'existence de Dieu)
Note: the first part of which had been published in 1712 without Fénelon's knowledge. The second part appeared only in 1718, after its author's death. --Catholic Encyclopedia (1917)

Madame D'AULNOY (1650/1651–1705) Etext: Etext: The Online Books Page | Sur La Lune
Note: a French writer known for her fairy tales. When she termed her works contes de fees (fairy tales), she originated the term that is now generally used for the genre. --Wikipedia
Fairy Tales (Les Contes des Fees, 1697)
Comment: if only for her unforgettable and erotically charged 'The Yellow Dwarf'... --Michael Dirda
New Tales, or Fairies in Fashion (Contes Nouveaux ou Les Fees a la Mode, 1698)

KONG Shangren (1648-1718) [K'ung Shang-jen] Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a Qing Dynasty dramatist and poet --Wikipedia
The Peach Blossom Fan (Taohua shan, 1699)
Comment: ...an important Ming k'un-ch'u drama. --A Guide to Oriental Classics

John WILMOT (1647-1680, 2nd Earl of Rochester) Etext: The Online Books Page | Poetry Foundation
Note: an English poet and courtier of King Charles II's Restoration court.... Rochester was the embodiment of the new era, and he is as well known for his rakish lifestyle as his poetry --Wikipedia
Selected Works (2004)

Pierre BAYLE (1647-1706) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a French philosopher and writer... As a forerunner of the Encyclopedists and an advocate of the principle of the toleration of divergent beliefs, his works subsequently influenced the development of the Enlightenment. --Wikipedia
Historical and Critical Dictionary ( Dictionaire historique et critique, 1695-1697; enlarged 1702)

HONG Sheng (1646-1704)
The Palace of Eternal Life or The Palace of Eternal Youth (Ch'ang-sheng tian, c. 1688)
Note: The performance is focused on the everlasting love story of Emperor Ming of the Tang Dynasty ... and his favorite consort Lady Yang --Wikipedia

Gottfried Wilhelm LEIBNIZ (1646-1716) Etext: The Online Books Page Reference: Jan Cover fan site | Markku Roinila fan site | Donald Rutherford fan site Criticism: The Leibniz Review
Note: a German mathematician and philosopher. He occupies a prominent place in the history of mathematics and the history of philosophy. --Wikipedia
Thoughts on Knowledge, Truth and Ideas (1684)
Discourse on Metaphysics (Discours de metaphysique, 1686)
Animadversions on Descartes' Principles of Philosophy (1692)
On the Ultimate Origination of Things (1697)
New Essays Concerning Human Understanding (Nouveaux essais sur l'entendement humain, 1704)
Theodicy (Theodicee, 1710)
Comment: It appears that the combination of infinite plenitude and intelligible laws lies at the heart of Leibniz's system, for it was part of the justification of his famous claim that the actual world is the best possible world. --Laurence Carlin
Monadology (Monadologie, 1714)
Comment: Each of us has a place in the marvellous metaphysical system of the mathematical genius of 17th-century rationalism... . --Raphael and McLeish
Principles of Nature and Grace (1714)
On the Universal Science: Characteristics (Die Philosophischen Schriften von Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, VII, 205, 1875-1890)
Letters to Samuel Clarke (in The Leibniz-Clarke Correspondence 1956)

Jean de LA BRUYERE (1645-1696) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a French philosopher and moralist. --Wikipedia
Characters (Caracteres, 1688)

Matsuo BASHO (1644-1694) Etext: The Online Books Page Reference: Gary Barnes fan site
Note: the most famous poet of the Edo period in Japan. During his lifetime, Basho was recognized for his works in the collaborative haikai no renga form; today, after centuries of commentary, he is recognized as the greatest master of haiku --Wikipedia
Comment: New genres of poetry by the master of haiku, and one of the greatest of all Japanese poets. --A Guide to Oriental Classics
Two stars: The Narrow Road to the Interior (Oku no Hosomichi, 1694) Etext: Nine Translations of the Opening Paragraph
Comment: he deliberately visited places that had been hallowed by other poets. In Japanese, these special poetic nodes are called utamakura; the point in visiting them is to relive the experiences of one’s literary predecessors and hope to be moved to write poetry on the same sites. --Grant L. Voth
Haiku Etext: Frog Haiku, Thirty Translations
Comment: ...a haiku by Matuso Basho is worth all of the long didactic poems from the European baroque. --Philip Ward

William PENN (1644-1718) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an English real estate entrepreneur, philosopher, early Quaker and founder of the Province of Pennsylvania, the English North American colony and the future Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He was an early champion of democracy and religious freedom --Wikipedia
Some Fruits of Solitude In Reflections And Maxims (1682)

Ihara SAIKAKU (1642-1693) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a Japanese poet and creator of the "floating world" genre of Japanese prose --Wikipedia
Comment: Fiction, chiefly about love and money in the new culture of townspeople in seventeenth-century Japan, by the greatest prose writer of the premodern period. --A Guide to Oriental Classics
The Life of an Amorous Woman (Koshoku ichidai onna, 1686)

Isaac NEWTON (1642-1727) Etext: The Online Books Page Reference: William Newman fan site | Stephen David Snobelen fan site Criticism: post
Note: an English physicist and mathematician who is widely regarded as one of the most influential scientists of all time and as a key figure in the scientific revolution. --Wikipedia
Comment: Nature and Nature's laws lay hid from sight; / God said: 'Let Newton be', and all was light. --Alexander Pope
Two stars: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy (Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, 1687)
Comment: It is the combination       Law of Motion plus Law of Attraction       which constitutes that marvelous edifice of thought which makes it possible to calculate the past and future states of a system from the state obtaining at one particular moment, in so far as the events take place under the influence of the forces of gravity alone. --Albert Einstein
One star: Opticks (1704)
Comment: Newton's method in this book is strictly experimental. --Peter Wolff

PU Songling (1640-1715) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a Qing Dynasty Chinese writer --Wikipedia
Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio (Liaozhai Zhiyi, 1766)
Comment: An enormously popular collection of tales ... which combines moral sayings with fantasies of devils, ghosts and magic. --Philip Ward

William WYCHERLEY (1640-1716) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an English dramatist of the Restoration period --Wikipedia
The Country Wife (1675)
Comment: Savage but nonetheless comic satire of Restoration--and human foibles. ... Important for brilliant comic dialogue, unheard of on the English stage before. --Raphael and McLeish
The Plain Dealer (1676)

Jean RACINE (1639-1699) Etext: The Online Books Page Criticism: post
Note: a French dramatist, one of the three great playwrights of 17th-century France (along with Moliere and Corneille), and an important literary figure in the Western tradition. Racine was primarily a tragedian --Wikipedia
One star: Andromache (1668)
Comment: Love, revenge, motherhood and the aftermath of the Trojan War, in the poetic mix of passion and formality that is Racine's genius. --Stanley Hoffman
Britannicus (1669)
One star: Phaedra (1677)
Comment: what drives the action forward ineluctably is her inner state, nothing more than her desire for the crime, a state which horrifies her but which she can do nothing about, and which also drags down all the other characters with her, who are similarly impotent before forces they can do nothing about. --Anthony O'Hear
Athalie (1691)

Thomas TRAHERNE (1636/7-1674) Etext: The Online Books Page | Poetry Foundation | Academy of American Poets
Note: an English poet, clergyman, theologian, and religious writer. --Wikipedia
Thanksgivings (in A Serious and Patheticall Contemplation of the Mercies of God, 1699)
The Poetical Works of Thomas Traherne 1636?–1674 (1903)
Centuries of Meditations (1908)
Traherne's Poems of Felicity (1910)

Nicolas BOILEAU-Despreaux (1636-1711) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a French poet and critic. Boileau did much to reform the prevailing form of French poetry --Wikipedia
The Art of Poetry (L'Art poetique, 1694)
Lutrin (Le Lutrin, 1694)

George ETHEREGE (1635-1691) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an English dramatist. ...Etherege holds a distinguished place in English literature as one of the "big five" of Restoration comedy, inventing the comedy of manners... Etherege's portraits of fops and beaux are considered to be the best of their kind --Wikipedia
The Man of Mode, or, Sir Fopling Flutter (1676)

Robert HOOKE (1635-1703) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an English natural philosopher, architect and polymath. ... he inspired the use of microscopes for scientific exploration with his book, Micrographia. --Wikipedia
Micrographia (1665)

Madame de LA FAYETTE (1634-1693) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a French writer, the author of La Princesse de Cleves, France's first historical novel and one of the earliest novels in literature. --Wikipedia
The Princess of Cleves (La Princesse de Cleves 1678)
Comment: a work of the most finely considered literary art, dominated by its leading character's severe emotional reserve, her scrupulous honesty, and an inner torment that is all the more lacerating for being set in an elegant balletlike world of the most complete immorality. --Michael Dirda

Samuel PEPYS (1633-1703) Etext: The Online Books Page | Phil Gyford searchable etext | Twitter feed Criticism: post
Comment: an English naval administrator and Member of Parliament who is now most famous for the diary he kept for a decade while still a relatively young man. --Wikipedia
Comment: 'And so to bed,' wrote Samuel Pepys, / And under blankets slowly crepys; / His wife, poor wretch, stays up and wepys, / While wayward Sam snores on and slepys. / And that is how a source book kepys / Pronouncing Mr. Samuel Pepys. // The Pepyses of modern day / Insist that this is not the way: / 'Us cats prefer to call it Pepp-iss; / It's real cool, man, and like the heppes!' / The outcome of the book's misstep is / A bunch of angry, red hot Pepys. --Gerald Kloss
One star: The Diary of Samuel Pepys (1659-69)
Comment: Splendid historical document covering the years 1660-69 but even more compelling for the self-portrait of Pepys: an engaging, hard-working, sensuous man. --Raphael and McLeish

Baruch SPINOZA (1632-1677) Etext: The Online Books Page Reference: Joseph B. Yesselman fan site Criticism: Alan Mittleman essay | post
Note: later Benedict de Spinoza — was a Dutch philosopher.... By laying the groundwork for the 18th century Enlightenment and modern biblical criticism, including modern conceptions of the self and, arguably, the universe, he came to be considered one of the great rationalists of 17th-century philosophy. --Wikipedia
Comment: a God-intoxicated man. --Novalis
Letter to William de Blyenbergh (January 5, 1665)
Theologico-Political Treatise (Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, 1670)
Comment: Unfortunately, as long as men are swayed by passions, we require the state to insure our security. Spinoza imagines a kind of social contract, a la Hobbes, as the start of government, but proves that a democratic republic best maintains the rights of all its citizens. --Michael Dirda
Letter to Henry Oldenburg (November 1675)
Political Treatise (Tractatus Politicus, 1675-76)
Three stars: Ethics (Ethica Ordine Geometrico Demonstrata, 1677)
Comment: Spinoza still defines for me 'ethics' in its fullest and most proper sense. --Richard R. Niebuhr
Comment: aims to discover a way of life that would provide just such 'continuous, supreme, and unending happiness'. Alas, many people have been put off this inquiry because it is organized like Euclid's Elements. --Michael Dirda

Anton van LEEUWENHOEK (1632-1723) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a Dutch tradesman and scientist. ... He is best known for his work on the improvement of the microscope and for his contributions towards the establishment of microbiology. --Wikipedia
Letters to the Royal Society of England (Epistolae ad Societatem Regiam Anglicam 1719)
Comment: Of the original discoveries credited to Leeuwenhoek, the most celebrated is that of the existence of bacteria and of protozoan life in the mouth and in water--his demonstration that the world is filled with a vast teeming universe of 'little animals'. --Robert B. Downs

John LOCKE (1631-1704) Etext: The Online Books Page Criticism: post
Note: an English philosopher and physician regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers --Wikipedia
One star: A Letter Concerning Toleration (1689) Etext: Constitution Society
Comment: Locke not only says that the use of state power to enforce religious uniformity is morally and religiously wrong. He also says that it is a danger to the security of civil society. --Seymour Cain
Two stars: An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690)
Comment: ...Locke vigorously opposes exclusive reliance on an 'inner light' as warrant for religious belief. He acknowledges the existence and validity of revelation--direct communication from God to man--but he insists that revelation cannot be contrary to reason. Indeed, reason and revelation are closely bound together. --Seymour Cain
Comment: cast doubt upon the possibility of achieving universally valid knowledge --William H. McNeill
Comment: Locke's forthright 'Essay' pioneered the tradition of exploring, by empirical observation and analysis, the supposed limits of our understanding. --Raphael and McLeish
Two stars: Two Essays Concerning Civil Government (1690)
Comment: Such power and the government that wields it comes into being, Locke maintains, as the result of a compact made by persons who previously lived in a non-political condition. --Peter Wolff
Comment: Government came into being by common consent, created by the people through a social contract for the purpose of protecting and preserving life, liberty, and property against internal and external dangers. --Robert B. Downs
Some Thoughts Concerning Education (1693) Etext: Nijmegen University
Letter to Samuel Bold (May 16, 1699)

John DRYDEN (1631-1700) Etext: The Online Books Page | Poetry Foundation | Academy of American Poets Criticism: Matthew Reynolds review
Note: an English poet, literary critic, translator, and playwright who was made Poet Laureate in 1668. --Wikipedia
Comment: Between the organ roar of Milton and the Mozartian subtlety of Pope, Dryden's verse at its best can hardly be bettered in English; it has the qualities of perfect prose, and so does his prose. --Raphael and McLeish
Annus Mirabilis (1667)
One star: Essay of Dramatic Poesy (1668)
One star: Song for St. Cecilia's Day (1677)
All for Love (1678)
Absalom and Achitophel (1681)
Religio Laici (1682)
To the Memory of Mr. John Oldham (1684)
The Hind and the Panther (1687)
Alexander's Feast (1687)
Epigrams on Milton (1688)
Preface to the Fables (of Chaucer) (1700)
One star: The Secular Masque (1700)

Christiaan HUYGENS (1629-1695) Etext: The Online Books Page Reference: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive
Note: a prominent Dutch mathematician and natural philosopher. He is known particularly as an astronomer, physicist, probabilist and horologist. --Wikipedia
One star: Treatise on Light (Traite de la lumiere, 1690)
Comment: ...Huygens' wave theory won acceptance over Newton's corpuscular [particle] theory during the 19th century. --Peter Wolff
Saturn's Ring (1928 J. H. Walden translation) Etext: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive (from Systema Saturnium, 1659) Etext: Smithsonian Institution Libraries

Charles PERRAULT (1628-1703) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a French author and member of the Académie française. He laid the foundations for a new literary genre, the fairy tale, with his works derived from pre-existing folk tales. --Wikipedia
Tales and Stories of the Past with Morals: Tales of Mother Goose (Histoires ou Contes du Temps passe: Les Contes de ma Mère l'Oye, 1697)
Comment: gave us, among others, 'Puss in Boots' and 'Beauty and the Beast'... --Michael Dirda

John BUNYAN (1628-1688) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an English Christian writer and preacher --Wikipedia
Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners (1666) Humor: Jaffe-Notier satire
Four stars: The Pilgrim's Progress (1678)
Comment: No refinement could surpass the tinker who, writing in his prison cell, earned the applause of a believing world, in expressing the emotions of the faithful Puritan, thinking only of his own salvation. --Max Weber
Comment: The man in rags is the hero, Christian; his pilgrimage represents the Christian life; and the road he travels, straight and narrow, leads him through mud, through green fields, over rocks and up and down hills--all indicative of the complicated moral life of man. --Robert B. Downs
Life and Death of Mr. Badman (1681)

Robert BOYLE (1627-1691) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an Irish 17th-century natural philosopher, chemist, physicist, and inventor. ... He is best known for Boyle's law, which describes the inversely proportional relationship between the absolute pressure and volume of a gas, if the temperature is kept constant within a closed system. --Wikipedia
The Sceptical Chymist (1661)

Jacques-Benigne BOSSUET (1627-1704) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a French bishop and theologian, renowned for his sermons and other addresses. ... widely considered to be one of the most influential homiliticians of all time. --Wikipedia
One star: Funeral Orations (1689)

John AUBREY (1626-1697) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an English antiquary, natural philosopher and writer. --Wikipedia
Brief Lives (1696)
Comment: In his pages the gods of Renaissance poetry, philosophy, and science reveal themselves as sweet and silly human beings much like ourselves. --Michael Dirda

Hans Jakob Chrisoffel von GRIMMELSHAUSEN (c. 1625-1676) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a German author. ... Grimmelshausen's work is greatly influenced by previous utopian and travel literature --Wikipedia
Simplicius Simplicissimus (Der Abenteuerlich Simplicissimus teutsch, 1669)
Comment: an absorbing adventure novel of the picaresque genre, the first Robinson Crusoe story in German, an ironic commentary on human failings and foibles set against the Thirty Years' War, and finally a mature and good-humoured statement of the vanity of earthly goods and aspirations... --Philip Ward
- (H. Weissenborn and L. Macdonald translation 1964)

George FOX (1624-1691) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an English Dissenter and a founder of the Religious Society of Friends, commonly known as the Quakers or Friends. --Wikipedia
George Fox's Journal (1694)

Blaise PASCAL (1623-1662) Etext: The Online Books Page Reference: Notable Names Database | MacTutor History of Mathematics Criticism: post
Note: a French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and Christian philosopher. --Wikipedia
New Experiments Concerning the Vacuum (Nouvelles experiences touchant le Vide, 1647)
Account of the Great Experiment Concerning the Equilibrium of Fluids (Recit de la grande experience de l'equilibre des liqueurs, 1648)
Comment: He rejects any explanation in terms of ultimate ends or purposes, or any notion that nature had desires or aversions. --Peter Wolff
Treatise on the Vacuum (Traite du vide, 1651)
Letter to Fermat on the Theory of Probabilities (July 29, 1654)
One star: Letters to a Provincial (Lettres provinciales, 1656-57)
Of the Geometrical Spirit (De l'Esprit geometrique et de l'Art de persuader, 1658)
Treatise on the Weight of the Mass of Air (Traite de la pesanteur de la masse de l'air, 1663)
Four stars: Thoughts (Pensees, 1670)
Comment: belong to that class of religious writings called 'apologetics'. Indeed, the Pensees comprise notes for a work which Pascal intended to call an Apology for the Christian Religion. --Seymour Cain
Comment: But the power of Pascal's writing derives not from intellectual analysis, but from the depth of his psychological insights into our moral and intellectual infirmities, and also from his conviction of the living reality of God and of Jesus Christ: "The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of". --Anthony O'Hear

MOLIERE (Jean Baptiste Poquelin, 1622-1673) Etext: The Online Books Page Criticism: post
Note: a French playwright and actor who is considered to be one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature. --Wikipedia
Comment: When I desire to read a play of Moliere I first look to see if [Richard] Wilbur has translated it... . --Charles Van Doren
One star: The Affected Ladies (Ridiculous Precieuses 1659)
One star: The School for Husbands (L'Ecole des Maris 1661)
Two stars: The School for Wives (L'Ecole des Femmes 1662)
Three stars: Tartuffe (Le Tartuffe 1664)
One star: Love Doctor (L'Amour Medecin 1664)
Two stars: Don Juan (Dom Juan 1665)
Three stars: The Misanthrope (Le Misanthrope 1666)
Comment: Rhymed verse not being too popular on the English-speaking stage, Moliere is often represented by shoddy translations which capture plot but nothing of style or atmosphere. This may account for his relative neglect. --Raphael and McLeish
Two stars: The Doctor in Spite of Himself (Le Medecin malgre lui 1666)
One star: The Sicilian (Le Sicilien 1667)
One star: The Miser (L'Avare 1668)
Two stars: The Would-Be Gentleman (Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme 1670)
Comment: Redescription can be intriguing and useful, and succeeding generations must, like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, rename their beasts. Moliere revealed the comic possibilities of this when M. Jourdain discovered that all his life he had been speaking prose. --Saul Bellow
Comment: the favourite with modern audiences, for it shows a social climber in all his absurdity but does not suggest that he is evil or at all reprehensible, merely a lasting figure of fun, or perhaps even to be pitied... --Philip Ward
One star: Scapin's Schemings (Les Fourberies de Scapin 1671)
One star: The Learned Ladies (Les Femmes Savantes 1672)
Two stars: The Imaginary Invalid (Le Malade Imaginaire 1673)

Henry VAUGHAN (1622-1695) Etext: The Online Books Page | Poetry Foundation | Luminarium
Note: a Welsh author, physician and metaphysical poet. --Wikipedia
Silex Scintillans (1655 "Sparkling Flint")

Andrew MARVELL (1621-1678) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an English metaphysical poet and politician... As a metaphysical poet, he is associated with John Donne and George Herbert. --Wikipedia
One star: Miscellaneous Poems (1681)
Comment: verbal fireworks have perfect phrasing, intense visual resonance; he freshens and sharpens the senses. --Raphael and McLeish

Jean de LA FONTAINE (1621-1695) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: the most famous French fabulist and one of the most widely read French poets of the 17th century. --Wikipedia
One star: Fables (Fable choisies mises en vers, 1668-1694)
Comment: Human failings and foibles are criticized gently, and the Epicurean wit of La Fontaine is at odds with the solemn morality of his time. --Philip Ward

John EVELYN (1620-1706) Etext: The Online Books Page Criticism: Keith Thomas review
Note: an English writer, gardener and diarist. --Wikipedia
John Evelyn's Diary (Memoirs Illustrative of the Life and Writings of John Evelyn, 1818)
Comment: Posterity-conscious diary contains brillian portraits of Restoration figures. --Raphael and McLeish

Lucy HUTCHINSON (1620-1681) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an English biographer as well as probably the first translator into English of the complete text of Lucretius's De Rerum Natura --Wikipedia
Memoirs of the Life of Colonel Hutchinson (1806)

Comment: October 23, 1619 John Donne visits Johannes Kepler in Linz, Austria --Jeremy Bernstein

One star: The Golden Lotus or The Plum in the Golden Vase (Jin Ping Mei, 1618) [Chin P'ing Mei] Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a Chinese naturalistic novel composed in vernacular Chinese during the late Ming Dynasty. --Wikipedia
Comment: The first Chinese novel to depict urban domestic life in naturalistic terms ... --A Guide to Oriental Classics

Richard LOVELACE (1618-1658) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an English poet in the seventeenth century. He was a cavalier poet who fought on behalf of the king during the Civil War. His best known works are "To Althea, from Prison," and "To Lucasta, Going to the Warres." --Wikipedia
Lucasta (1649)
Lucasta: Postume Poems (1659-1660)

Richard BAXTER (1615-1691) Etext: The Online Books Page | Christian Classics Ethereal Library
Note: an English Puritan church leader, poet, hymn-writer, theologian, and controversialist. --Wikipedia
Reliquiæ Baxterianae: or, Mr. Richard Baxter's Narrative of the Most Memorable Passages of His Life and Times (1696)

Richard CRASHAW (1613-1649) Etext: The Online Books Page | Luminarium | Poetry Foundation
Note: an English poet, styled "the divine," and known as one of the central figures associated with the Metaphysical poets in 17th Century English literature. --Wikipedia
Steps To The Temple Delights of The Muses And Other Poems (1904)

Jeremy TAYLOR (1613-1667) Etext: The Online Books Page Reference: Charles Wohlers fan site
Note: a cleric in the Church of England who achieved fame as an author during the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell. --Wikipedia
The Rule and Exercises of Holy Living (1650)
One star: The Rule and Exercises of Holy Dying (1651)

Francois de LA ROCHEFOUCAULD (1613-1680) Etext: The Online Books Page Criticism: post
Note: a noted French author of maxims and memoirs. --Wikipedia
Memoirs (1662)
Comment: exhibit La Rochefoucauld as a master of terse and incisive phrase. --J. A. Hammerton
One star: Maxims (Reflexions ou sentences et maximes morales, 1665)
Comment: shocking to persons who live in a state of illusion about themselves. --Edmund Gosse

KHUSHAL Khan Khattak (1613-1689) Etext: Afghanistan Online
Note: a Pashtun poet, warrior and scholar, and chief of the Khattak tribe of the Pashtuns. ... Khushal is considered the "father of Pashto literature" and the national poet of Afghanistan. --Wikipedia
Poems from the Diwan of Khushhal Khan Khattak (1965)

Samuel BUTLER (1612-1680) Etext: The Online Books Page Criticism: Samuel Johnson biography
Note: a poet and satirist. --Wikipedia
One star: Hudibras (1663, 1664, and 1678)

Evliya CELEBI (1611-1682) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an Ottoman Turk who travelled through the territory of the Ottoman Empire and neighboring lands over a period of forty years. --Wikipedia
Seyahatname (10 volumes, 1630-1672, "book of travels")
Comment: observed life in the Middle East and Eastern Europe (as far as Vienna), starting in 1631-7... --Philip Ward

Edward HYDE (1609-1674, 1st Earl of Clarendon) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an English statesman, historian, and maternal grandfather of two English monarchs, Queen Mary II and Queen Anne --Wikipedia
History of the Rebellion in England (1717)

John MILTON (1608-1674) Etext: The Online Books Page | Luminarium | Poetry Foundation | Academy of American Poets Reference: Kevin J. T. Creamer fan site | Kenneth Muir fan site Criticism: Samuel Johnson life | post
Note: an English poet, polemicist, man of letters, and a civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under Oliver Cromwell. --Wikipedia
Comment: Once the optical ability to read passes, the lucky ones have had others read to them. Milton, blind at forty, had his daughters. --Steve Leveen
To the Lord Generall Cromwell (May 1632)
Arcades (1632)
On Shakespeare (1632)
Comus (1634)
At a Solemn Musick (1634)
Three stars: Areopagitica (1644)
Comment: Censorship, he asserted, is the worst possible indignity to a free and knowing spirit, an insult to the nation, and an act hostile and detrimental to the survival of truth. --Robert B. Downs
Apology for Smectymnuus (1642)
Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce (1643)
Of Education (1644)
One star: L'Allegro (Poems, 1645)
One star: Il'Penseroso (Poems, 1645)
Two stars: Lycidas (Poems, 1645)
On the Morning of Christ's Nativity (Poems, 1645)
On Time (Poems, 1645)
The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates (1649)
The Ready and Easy Way to Establish a Free Commonwealth (1660)
Four stars: Paradise Lost (1667)
Comment: So Milton had to make Satan attractive at first, or neither we nor the devils would ever be tempted by him. --Anthony O'Hear
Paradise Regained (1671)
One star: Samson Agonistes (1671)
One star: Sonnets (Poems, 2nd Ed. 1673)

Thomas BROWNE (1605-1682) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an English author of varied works which reveal his wide learning in diverse fields including science and medicine, religion and the esoteric. --Wikipedia
Religio Medici (1643)
Comment: it is his status as a learned doctor, an expert in the practical application of reason, which lends authority to the move he makes again and again in Religio Medici: the subordination of reason to faith. --Tobias Gregory
On Dreams (c. 1650)
Hydriotaphia, Urn Burial (1658)
Comment: Examining the urns and their human ashes leads him to consider how past civilisations buried their dead, to assess the relative virtues of burning and burying, to note the variety of funerary monuments, to compare the beliefs about the afterlife on which these various burial practices were based. --Tobias Gregory
The Garden of Cyrus (1658)
Christian Morals (1716)

Pierre CORNEILLE (1606-1684) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a French tragedian who was one of the three great seventeenth-century French dramatists, along with Molière and Racine. He has been called "the founder of French tragedy" --Wikipedia
Comment: ... Corneille was educated at a Jesuit school, and the Latin-based training shaped the young dramatist in many ways, from the discipline of verse composition at an early age, to concepts of order, and plots from Roman history and legend. --Philip Ward
One star: The Cid (Le Cid, 1636-37)
Comment: The famous riposte 'Je ne dois qu'a moi seul toute ma renommee' was ill-judged and untrue, for he had indeed taken the course, normal then and earlier, of deriving the structure of a play from a predecessor, in this case Guillen de Castro's Las Mocedades del Cid (1618). --Philip Ward
One star: Cinna (1639)
Comment: ...a play in praise of generosity. --Philip Ward
One star: Horace (1640)
Comment: ...the triumph of patriotism... --Philip Ward
One star: Polyeucte (1642)
Comment: ...a tragedy of Christian martrydom... --Philip Ward
One star: Rodogune (1645)
One star: Nicomede (1651)

Comment: It is often said that modern times began in 1600. --Peter Wolff

/\ 17th Century

\/ 1401-1600 | 1701-1750 /\

Revised July 2, 2014.