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Sage Writing

Below is an article that talks all about the concept of Sage Writing that was a genre of writing in the Victorian Era.

What is Sage Writing?

Sage Writing is the genre that is categorized under non-fiction. It is the development of ancient wisdom literature into norms for social living and instructions on social issues using sources of philosophy in an artistic way.

Sage Writing
Wisdom Literature

It was inspired by the style of writings of Old Testament Prophets such as Jeremiah and Isaiah. One of the most read Sage Writing is that of Thomas Carlyle – Signs of the Times that was published in the year 1829.

Sources of Sage Writing

The main source of sage writing was the Bible, especially the Old Testament prophecies that followed a four-part pattern.

Sage Writing

The techniques of sage writing were given by neoclassical satires. Victorian sermon traditions in the church were also a great source of sage writing.

Sage Writers of the Victorian Era

Thomas Carlyle published the ‘Signs of the Times’ in 1829 that spoke about the disasters and destruction that would occur in the final days.

He has interpreted it and shown how people have abandoned God and nature which is the reason for the final time to occur. Finally, he offers a vision of hope and prosperity given that people improve.

A portrait of Thomas Carlyle
A portrait of Thomas Carlyle

In 1843, he published the ‘Past and Present’ which combines the medieval British History in criticism to 19th century Britain.

Later, in 1850 he published a pamphlet called the ‘Latter Day Pamphlet; which concentrated on the injustices caused in the society.

A portrait of Mathew Arnold
A portrait of Mathew Arnold

Mathew Arnold, a cultural critic, and English poet published a series of essays called ‘Culture and Anarchy’ in 1869.

John Ruskin's portrait
A portrait of John Ruskin

John Ruskin was also a Sage Writer. His ‘The Stones of Venice’ and “Unto his Last’ in 1860 were two well known Sage Writings of the Victorian Era.

Sage Writing
A portrait of Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau – an American essayist, poet, philosopher, and naturalist published his ‘Life Without Principle’ in 1854. In the same year, he also published ‘Slavery in Massachusetts’ and finally ‘A Plea for Captain John Brown’ in the year 1859.

Among some more Victorian Sage writers were Max Beerbohm, Gertrude Jekyll, Florence Nightingale, and Oscar Wilde.

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