History of Restoration Age

History of Restoration age historical background of restoration age historical overview of restoration age historical and political background of restoration age discuss the historical and political background of restoration age  historical background of restoration age historical overview of restoration age

This period is called the Restoration Period because in this period, with the Restoration of monarchy, the English literary tradition was restored. In the Commonwealth Period Charles Il , the son of Charles I , escaped to France. After the death of Richard Cromwell the people of England brought him back and made him King of England no May 29, 1660. He remained in power till his death in 1685 when James II , another son of Charles I , ascended the Thorne. He was a Catholic and most of the people who were Protestants wanted to dethorne him. In 1688 there was the Glorious Revolution (Bloodless Revolution) against him. He fled to France. William III of France , the husband of Mary, the daughter of James II, came to power. William ruled England till his death in 1702.

The important facts which influenced the Literature of This Period are:

1. A general reaction against the puritanical restraints became very strong.
2. Two political parties – the Wing and Tory – were formed. The Wings were against the King for the Protestants. The Tories supported the King and the Catholics.
3. In 1690 there was Jacobite Raising. The Catholics of Ireland , who were lead by James II , fought against William’s soldiers and were defeated.
4. In 1662 the Royal Society was founded to promote scientific research. Sir Isaac Newton was a member of it.
5. In 1695 the press was made free. Everyone was given liberty to express his or her views.
6. The Bill of Rights was adopted in 1689. It curtailed  the monarch ‘s power  and increased Parliament 's power.

Major Writers of the Period and Their Major Works:

John Milton (1608-74)
He started writing in the previous age, wrote his famous epics in this period. He remained almost unaffected by the looseness of the Restoration Period.
“Paradise Lost” (1667) , the great epic in English.
“Paradise Regained” (1671)
“Samson Agonistes” (1671)
Samuel Butler (1612-1680)
“Hudibras” (1663) , a satiric in verse.
John Bunyan (1628-88)
“The Pligrim ‘s Progress” (1678), the famous allegory in prose.
John Dryden (1631-1700)
“All for Love” (1778)
“The Indian Emperor” (1665)
“Aureng-Zebe” (1675)
“Absalom and Achitophel” (1681)
“MacFlecknoe” (1682)
“The Essay of Dramatic Poesy” (1668)
John Locke (1632-1704)
“An Essay Concerning Human Understanding” (1690)
William Wycherley (1640-1715)
“The Country Wife” (1675)
“The Plain Dealer” (1676)
Aphra Behn (1640-1689)
“The Rover” (1677), a Restoration Comedy
“Oroonoko” (1688) , a prose fiction
William Congreve (1670-1729)
“The Double Dealer” (1693)
“Love for Love” (1695)
“The Way of the World” (1700)
George Farquhar (1678-1707)
“The Recruiting Officer” (1706)
“The Beaux's Stratagem” (1707)

Main literary features of the Age:

1. Imitation of the Ancient Greek and Roman writers gives rise to Neo-Classicism
2. Puritan controls loosen and a wave of foppery and vulgarity sweeps the creative works.
3. Great English epics are written with proper elegance and grandeur.
4. Drama returns with the then France licentiousness and gaiety; it loses Elizabethan seriousness and splendour.
5. Comedy of Manners and heroic tragedy become major dramatic genres.
6. Translation of Great Classic texts starts appearing.
7. Satirical verse becomes popular.
8. Literature of two extremes co-exists : Great epics , like “Paradise Lost”  and the moral wisdom, like “The Pligrim 's Progress” are written. At the same time sensual comedies , like “The Country Wife” are also written.

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