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Age of Enlightenment and English Restoration

Page history last edited by Ayşegül Yeşilbursa 14 years, 11 months ago


The Age of Enlightenment is usedto explain the Western philosophy and cultural life which dominate the eighteenth century, in which reason was advocated as the primary source and legitimacy for authority. Enlightment was developed simultaneously in Germany, France, Britain, the Netherlands, and Italy, and the movement spread through much of Europe, including the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Russia and Scandinavia.

The English Restoration Period started when Anglican Church was restored as the official Church of England and King Charles II came to the throne. In this period people were changing their ways of viewing themselves and the world and natural phenomenas were increasingly explained by scientific observation as people began to ask how things happened in the natural world. The intellectual and philosophical developments of The Enlighment Age (and their impact in moral, social, and political reform) canalized the society more freedom for common people based on self-governance, natural rights, natural law, central emphasis on liberty, individual rights, reason, common sense, and the principles of deism. This changes inevitably affected the literature of English. The literature of  The English Restoration Period comprises of work which was written by head no the heart. When we compare this period’s work we see that literature of past was passionete, based on feeling and imigination. However in this period, due to the effects of The Age of Enlightenment the writers turned to town themes, politics, polite society, and intellectual topics and satires which criticize society severely. For example, Alexander Pope and Jonathon Swift (of aristocratic values) both used satire to expose the moral corruption and crass commercialism of the eighteenth-century England. Lets glance other renovations:

  • Writers drew on “New Classical” style of Roman, Greek, and Latin models Thinkers of this Age of Reason emphasized logic, scientific observation, factual explanation. These rational explanations affected some people’s religious views. Literary tastes turned to wit and satire to expose excesses and moral corruption.

  • In journalism, the periodical essay developed, commenting on public manners and values (Defoe, Joseph Addison, and Richard Steele were the prominets of journalists).

  • To satisfy the reading tastes of a developing middle class, writers began to experiment with long fictional narratives called novels. Novel is something which is new Robinson Cruose by daniel Defeo is a good example of novel.

  • Poetry of the period was not private, intimate, or spontaneous; rather it was highly artificial and carefully crafted for public occasions. The poetry forms which is included: elegies for grand people, satire, odes.

  • Theaters closed by the Puritans reopened, and female actors were now included on the stage; drama during the Restoration period was witty, bawdy, and cynical.Moreover, women were allowed to act for the first time in Restoration Comedy theatre.

      By the end of the period, the excesses of the rich and the onset of industrialization turned people’s tastes to an appreciation for nature and simplicity, so writers returned to nature and folk themes for inspiration.



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