All terms

What is Classicism?

An artistic and literary movement characterized by principles of order, balance, simplicity, and adherence to classical values and forms.

Balancing Simplicity and Tradition: The Essence of Classicism in Creative Writing

Classicism is an artistic and literary movement that emphasizes the principles of order, balance, simplicity, and adherence to classical values and forms. This approach involves a deep appreciation for the accomplishments of ancient civilizations, particularly those of Greece and Rome.

In creative writing, classicism can be traced back to the works of Homer and Virgil, whose epics The Iliad and The Aeneid respectively, are considered among the cornerstones of Western literature.

Classical writers believed that good writing should adhere to certain principles of structure and composition, including the use of concise language, clear and logical organization, and adherence to established forms and techniques. This often involved the use of strict rules for meter, rhyme, and other technical aspects of poetry and prose.

Despite the strict adherence to these traditions, classicism represents a celebration of the universal human experience and a desire to capture the essence of shared human values through timeless literary works. As such, classicism continues to influence modern literature by encouraging writers to balance simplicity and tradition to create works that are both aesthetically pleasing and meaningful.

From Ancient Myths to Modern Classics: Two Examples of Classicism in Literature

Classicism has played a significant role in literature throughout history, and its influence can be seen in works both old and new.

John Milton's Paradise Lost

Published in 1667, Paradise Lost is a classic example of how classicism influenced post-Renaissance literature. Milton's epic poem draws heavily on classical themes, particularly the notion of the hero's journey, in which the protagonist undergoes various trials and tribulations before ultimately achieving enlightenment. The work also makes use of strict meter and rhyme, another hallmark of classical poetry.

Percy Bysshe Shelley's Ozymandias

Written in 1818, Shelley's sonnet Ozymandias is a prime example of how classicism can inspire writers to address timeless themes and ideas. The poem portrays the ruins of a once-great civilization, and serves as a warning that all empires, no matter how powerful, are ultimately doomed to fall. The simple, yet eloquent language used in the poem, and the emotional impact it conveys, serve as a testament to the enduring power of classicism in modern literature.