The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century *Overall explanation 1660 to 1800 In 1660, England was utterly exhausted by nearly twenty years of civil war. By 1700, it had lived through a devastating plague and a fire that left more than two thirds of Londoners homeless. But by the end of the eighteenth century, England had transformed itself and had settled into a period of calm and order. This period has been given several names: the Augustan Age, the Neoclassical period, the Enlightenment, and the Age of Reason. *Augustan and Neoclassical: Comparisons with Rome This period is called the Augustan Age because there are many similarities between England in this period and ancient Rome, especially during the reign of the emperor Octavian, who was called Augustus. Augustus restored peace and order to Rome after Julius Caesar’s assassination and the Stuart monarchs of England after the civil wars did, too. Many English writers modeled their works on the old Latin classics, which was called neoclassical-“new classical”-. *Religion and Politics: Repression of Minority Sects Religion determined people’s politics in this period. Charles II reestablished the Anglican Church as the official Church of England and outlawed all the various Puritan and Independent sects. *The Bloodless Revolution: Protestants from Now on “Glorious Revolution”: After Charles II died, his brother James II, who followed Roman Catholic, became the king. Most English people were utterly opposed to James so that he fled to France. His protestant daughter, Mary, and her Dutch husband, William of Orange, became the rulers of England. *The Age of Satire: Attacks on Immorality and Bad Taste “Age of Pope”: Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift deplored the corrupt politics of the time and the growing commercialism and materialism of the English people. *Public Poetry: Conceived in Wit The poets of this period thought of poetry as having a public rather than a private function. The best poems are like things artfully made for a particular purpose, usually a public purpose. Regardless of its kind, every poem had to be carefully and artificially constructed; every poem had to be dressed in exact meter and rhyme. Ex) Elegies: the poets celebrate the dead person. / Satire: a kind of writing that says the worst things about people that the poet can think of saying. / Ode: an ambitious, pompous poetic utterance expressing a public emotion. *The Commanding Figure of Johnson The last part of the eighteenth century is often referred as the “age of Johnson”. Samuel Johnson: his views of humanity were conservative and traditional. He criticized the popular belief in progress (the belief that things are getting better and better) and the assumption that men and women are naturally good. *Searching for a Simpler Life After Johnson’s death, the Industrial Revolution was turning English cities and towns into filthy, smoky slums and people knew that the age of elegance, taste, philosophy, and reason was over. Writers were turning to external nature and writing about the effect of the natural landscape on the human psyche. Disgusted with the excessive focus on the upper classes and “good taste”, they were searching out the simple poems by nameless poets. Reasons and Enlightenment Before, the Age of Reason people always thought that disasters or bad happenings meant something. They always asked why and in the enlightenment people stopped asking why and started asking how. o Edmund Halley ( 1656-1742) : Halley’s Comet The Birth of Modern English Prose King Charles II charted a group of philosophers to answers questions about the universe. o The Royal Society of London for the Promotion of Natural Knowledge (1662) Members wanted their readings to be exact and precise, creating English Modern Prose. Founder of English Modern Prose : John Dryden(1631-1700) o Age of Dryden Changes in Religion: More Questions In the age of Enlightenment, people begin questioning religion. If everything that happened didn’t have reason than how did God send warnings? Many people began to question if God had ever given warnings at all. Christian Rationalists and Materialists: Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727), John Locke (1632-1704) Addicted to the Theater When Puritans ran England, the theaters in England were closed King Charles was obsessed with theater and reopened them as soon as he regained the throne.(1642) o Theater now had real actresses o Displayed sexual, unromantic relationships with men and women o Plays were about the British upper class and their servants. Journalism: A New Profession Daniel Defoe (1660-1731) had middle class values: thrift, prudence, industry, and responsibility. He did not care about polished manners and social pose. o “Defoe has written a vast many things” Pope once said, “and none bad though none excellent” o New Form of writing: Journalism Joseph Addison Sir Richard Steele Saw themselves as reformers of public manners and morals The First English Novels By the mid 18th century, people were writing novels ( “something new”) Novels: long fictional narratives Developed by the middle class Tom Jones (1707-1754) - include rough incidents, manages to make his characters seem good, never soft or sentimental. Samuel Richardson (1689-1761) - explored the emotional lives of his characters. Laurence Sterne ( 1713-1768)- wrote novels that were experimental and whimsical.