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Restoration Era Literature

What Is Restoration Period In British Literature?

English literature that is written during the English Restoration period (1660-1689) is known as the Restoration Literature. This period refers to the last years of the Stuart reign in Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and England.

The literature written during this period was very homogenous that aimed at the celebration and the reaction to the restored court of Charles II. The literature of this period tries to sum up the political events that happened in previous decades.

Restoration Literature
Restoration Literature

The writings of the restoration period were filled with variety and also innovation. The style and subject varied from religion to satire and risqué. When Charles II, the brother of James II was dethroned, Scholar marked it as the end of the Restoration literature.

What Caused the Change of Literature in The Restoration Period?

During the Interregnum period(1649-1660), Puritan Literature was highly dominant in England with the intermittent presence of official censorship. The writing style of Puritan was very plain. Very simple sentences were used. There was no ornamented language and very less use of metaphors and similes in the literary work. Symbols were used for religious elements.

Restoration Era Literature
Restoration Era Literature

The poetry written in Puritan literature were elaborate and carnal but were not published anywhere. However, the puritan love poetry was based on love and realism. Poems were mostly concerned with the nature of thing instead of physicality. Women were seen as humans with blood and flesh and not a Goddess.

Sonnets that were popular in the Elizabethan Era were still used by the poets in the Puritan literature. Puritans only aim was to have purity in life. The church and court were highly criticized which lead to civil were and beheading of Charles I.

When Charles II ascended the throne in 1660, the nobles of literature sensed its novelty by participating in the European literature in a way that England had never experienced before. Charles II granted the permission to reopen theatres giving them letter patents. Authors also moved in two different directions.

One side made efforts to retrieve back the English literature of the Jacobean period and the other side was approaching the Gallic models of literature and elevated the literature of Satire and Parody. Thus began the Neoclassicism into writing, criticism, and English.

What Is The Literary Style Of The Restoration Period?

English Literature got popular during the reign of King Charles II and his brother. The writers of the restoration period were not too serious and lacked a moral sense. The English literature was influenced by French literature. The main inspiration that writer got was from Boileau’s essay and the comedy of Moliere.

There was a sudden change of literature in this era which can be witnessed from the change to fancy to wit, from poetry to prose, from love to satire. The main reason behind this change was the political atmosphere of that time.

One more form of literature called the pamphlet literature became too popular. Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn were the famous diarists of the restoration age. The drama got very famous in this age out of which Heroic play and the restoration of the comedy of manners became too popular.

Jacobean To Restoration Period In English Literature

The Jacobean to Restoration Era is a long period of about 100 years from 1603 to 1700 in England’s history. This was the period which witnessed the greatest reforms in the Socio-political and religious fields in England. Historically this long period can be divided into major periods as below:

  1. The Jacobean Age (1603-1625)
  2. The Caroline Age or The Age of Charles(1625-1649)
  3. The Interim Period of Commonwealth(1649-1660)
  4. The Period of Restoration of Charles 2 (1660-1685)
  5. James 2(1685-1688)
  6. The Socio-cultural Aftermath of the Restoration (up to 1700)

The Jacobean Era is the period in the Scottish and English history that coincides with the reign of King James VI of Scotland. Elizabethan Era was the precedent era of the Jacobean Era.

List Of Restoration Period Authors

Some of the important writers of the restoration period are as below:

  • Charles II of England(1630-1685)
  • John Dryden (1631-1700)
  • Aphra Behn(1640-1689)
  • William Wycherley(1641-1716)
  • William Congreve(1670-1729)
  • John Vanbrugh(1664-1726)
  • John Wilmot(1647-1680)
  • Thomas Otway(1652-1685)
  • William Davenant(1606-1668)
  • Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon ( 1609-1674)
  • George Farquhar(1677-1707)
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