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The Restoration Shaped Literature From 1660 To 1700

1011 words - 4 pages

The Restoration period is also known as the Age of Dryden, because Dryden was the dominating and most representative literary figure of the Age. During the restoration, King Charles II was restored to the throne, which marked the beginning of a new epoch in English literature.
The Restoration of King Charles II brought about a revolutionary change in life and literature. During this period gravity, moral earnestness and decorum in all things, which distinguished the Puritan period, were forgotten; cheerfulness and gaiety were the new moods and morality was waning (Chavan). Charles II and his nobles, who had enjoyed a gay life in France during their exile, tried their best to introduce that type of lifestyle in England. Instead of having Shakespeare and the Elizabethans as their models, the poets and dramatists of the Restoration period began to imitate French writers and especially their vices (Naeem). The Plague was regarded to be a suitable punishment for the sins of the Kine and his nobles.
There was an increase of science during this era that spurred the “rational inquiry and scientific and objective outlook.” The literature of the Restoration era pronounced the ending of the Renaissance literature. Realism in literature began to arise during the Restoration period. In the beginning, the realism of the new era took on an ugly picture. The picture of corruption and moral laxity, which were predominant in the social life of the restoration, were reflected in its literature (Chavan). Much of its literature involved life in London, fashion, manners, etc. and aimed to show the realisticism of their corrupt courts and societies. This produced low plays without interest or moral significance. Only once writers tried to portray humanity as more than just the bad the more evolved version of literature form. The Restoration writers eschewed all extravagances of thought and language and aimed at achieving directness and simplicity of expression.
.The Restoration poetry was mostly satirical, realistic and written in the heroic couplet, of which John Dryden was the supreme master (Naeem). Dryden made his mark in not just poetry but in drama and prose. In his younger ages, his works had the characteristics of the false and artificial style of metaphysical writers, but in his later years, during the age of restoration, he freed himself of such restrictions and began to write with a clear and realistic style that laid the foundations of classical poetry which dominated english literature for more than a century afterwards. Dryden's poems could be divided into three main categories, political satires, doctrinal poems, and fables, that were considered to have formalism, intellectual precision, and argumentative skills and realism that his era thrived in (Naeem). It can be said that the works of Dryden had all of the characteristic of the restoration period, which is why they are believed to be fine representations of that era.
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