File - ENGLISH 102 Fall 15

José Medina
Professor Yegoryan
English 102
18 October 2015
Restoration Period and Age of Enlightenment
To start off, the Restoration period was during the seventeenth century which is the
1600s and the Age of Enlightenment period was during the eighteenth century which was the
1700s. This period of English literature can be broken up into three small eras all within the
seventeenth to eighteenth centuries. Starting with the Renaissance era, then the Restoration
period, and lastly the Age of the Enlightenment. Each era had many iconic names in literature
that influenced the way we learn about it today. During the Renaissance era the most
announced name in English literature was William Shakespeare. To this day he is known for
many of his literary works that students in all grades hear or learn about. During this era he
wrote many plays and poems that became popular throughout history. A couple of the most
important pieces he wrote were Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet. He’s typically the main figure
that is compared to in all classes dealing with literature. However, he wasn’t the only person in
this era to be known for his work. There was Ben Jonson and metaphysical poets. Jonson was
known for his satirical stage productions that showed human flaws within dark comedic plots.
The metaphysical poets were poets that were very clever and crafty with their words, but they
would also focus on various heavy subjects like religion and love. Next came the Restoration
Restoration literature was also known as Restoration comedy. Many forms of literature
were around now. Many such as: occasional verse, comedy, tragedy, heroic plays, odes, satires,
translations of classical work, and essays. There were three major writers during this time.
They’re John Milton, John Dryden, and John Bunyan. Out of these three, Dryden was most likely
José Medina
Professor Yegoryan
English 102
18 October 2015
the most influential writer for the Restoration period. He was able to write in every form that
was important to the period. He wrote in occasional verse, comedy, tragedy, heroic plays, odes,
satires, essays, and translations of classical work. His essays were made to help others learn
how to write in each of these forms. Dryden also was the person who established the heroic
couplet as the dominant form of English verse. Heroic couplets are basically pairs of rhyming
lines in iambic pentameter. Another writer from this era was John Milton. He also had a big
impact on literature and made some much known poem in 1667 called Paradise Lost. It’s a
Homeric-style epic story that dramatizes the story of Satan’s rebellion from God and the fall of
Man. At this time Restoration literature continued to appeal to heroic ideals of love and honor,
mainly on stages in a heroic tragedy.
Last is the eighteenth century during the Age of Enlightenment. This was a period that
was dominated by a rational and scientific approach to religious, social, political, and economic
issues that promoted a secular view of the world and a general sense of progress and
perfectibility. The most important poet of this time was Alexander Pope with his mock-heroic
poem The Rape of the Lock. During this time, prose was a literary form during this period that
was very important. Prose style grew more like witty, urbane conversation. It wasn’t as very
intricate or rhetorical like John Milton and John Donne’s style of writing. Writers of this era such
as Swift, Defoe, Pope, Addison, and Steele were rich in satire and this new prose form that
blended fact and fiction, such as news, criminal biographies, travelogues, political allegories,
and romantic tales. Sadly, authors of plays started to become less important and there was
more of a focus on the actors. However, the most significant development within the
José Medina
Professor Yegoryan
English 102
18 October 2015
eighteenth century was the phenomenon called The Rise of the Novel. Novelists started to now
become more known than the poets of that time. In 1755, the essayist Samuel Johnson wrote
one of the first English dictionaries to define word meanings by employing quotations taken
from the best English writers, past and present. By the 1740’s, the novel rose up and took over
the marketplace. During the late eighteenth century writers started to revive medieval writing.
This writing appreciated and imitated archaic language and forms. During which time the Gothic
Novel was developed. This type of novel typically had forbidden themes like incest, murder,
necrophilia, atheism, and sexual desire. The late eighteenth century poetry tends to emphasize
melancholy, isolation, and reflection as compared to the social and satirical verse earlier in the
period. There’s debate on when the two centuries ended however, a lot of people feel it ended
in !789 at the beginning of the French Revolution.