Literature isn't personal?
"Literature was not a matter of felt experience, personal response, or imaginative uniqueness" (Eagleton 16)
I know that there isn't always person feelings involved in poetry but when it comes to prose I have always been told to write what you know. Yeah you might not always have a personal connections to whatever you are writing. I know that in the 18th century people did not always write, but I would think that when they did that they would have written from some kind of experience or wrote about what they knew. Yeah there was censorship but people were writing about their opinions or at least trying too. I also find it hard to belive that there was a lack of imagination. Look at Chaucer and Shakespeare and their work, I think that shows a lot of imagination right there.