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 period. 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.