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ENG 400: British Literature Unit 3 – Rise of an Empire.

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1 ENG 400: British Literature Unit 3 – Rise of an Empire



4 Charles I (crowned in 1625) Clashed with Parliament Needed money for wars, but Parliament refused funding Turned to other means Extorted loans from wealthy Pressed poor into service Dissolved Parliament for 11 years Exacerbated religious controversy Insisted that clergymen conform Persecuted and tortured dissenters

5 Scottish rebellion caused by insistence on religious conformity Hostile Parliament summoned by desperate king; passed numerous reform laws King tried to outmaneuver Parliament; condemned as a tyrant in 1642 Civil war broke out

6 1645: Parliaments forces, led by Oliver Cromwell, defeated the royalist army 1647: King Charles I taken as prisoner 1649: Radical Puritans dominate Parliament King Charles I tried and convicted of treason; beheaded on January 30 th

7 After Charles Is beheading, England without king Oliver Cromwell led new government, called English Commonwealth 1653: dissolved Parliament and named himself Lord Protector Ruled as virtual dictator until death in 1658

8 Civil war did not lead to the free society many hoped for Disappointed hopes + economic hardship civil unrest Commonwealth fueled discontent with restrictive policies, outlawing Gambling Horse racing Newspapers Fancy clothes Public dancing Theater

9 1658: At time of Cromwells death, England tired of taxation, violence, and disorder 1660: Parliament offered crown to exiled son of Charles I, restoring the monarchy Charles II had spent his exile in France Copied fashions and lifestyle of Paris Was an avid patron of the arts and sciences

10 1685: Charles II died, succeeded by his brother James James II, a devout Catholic, had religious differences with Puritan Parliament Parliament invited James IIs daughter, Mary, to rule jointly with her husband, William of Orange Rather than fight, James escaped to France Known as the Glorious Revolution because it was accomplished without bloodshed


12 1689: William and Mary agreed to respect a Bill of Rights passed by Parliament Guaranteed Parliament right to approve all taxes Forbade monarch to suspend the law Established a limited, or constitutional monarchy Balance of power shifted away from monarch and over to Parliament Eventually, Parliament became the ruling force of the country Today, monarch is largely ceremonial

13 By late 1600s, new farm tools made it possible for farms to produce much more food More food population surge New tools reduced need for farmhands many people left the countryside Former farmhands became factory hands who ran machines in growing towns (early Industrial Revolution)

14 British inventions after 1750 made the spinning and weaving of cloth more efficient Steam engine perfected and adapted to run power loom Factories built to produce large quantities of cotton cloth Merchants sold textile goods all over world

15 Scientific revolution Enlightenment thinking Enlightenment beliefs: through reason and observation of nature, human beings could discover the order underlying all things 1687: Sir Isaac Newton published study of gravity By 1750, realities of industrialization eclipsed social theories of Enlightenment Progress had led to misery for millions of people. Writers and intellectuals began to lose faith in the ability of human reason to solve every problem.


17 Ben Jonson (1572 – 1637) Strove for perfection and harmony of classical authors Turned away from ornate style of Elizabethan times Created own modern, strong voice Wrote poems, plays, masques, and critical opinion John Donne (1572 – 1631) Pioneered witty, cerebral style (metaphysical poetry) Characterized by unusual degree of intellectualism Love poems often structured as reasoned arguments

18 Puritan movement produced important writers. John Milton (1608 – 1674) Disciple of classical Greek and Latin authors Profound Calvinist, studied Old Testament Wrote political pamphlets for Puritan cause during 1640s After Cromwell dissolved Parliament, lost faith in possibility of forming a just society on earth Had gone completely blind by 1652 Most famous work is the epic poem Paradise Lost, an exploration of why God allows suffering in this world

19 John Bunyan (1628 – 1688) Had little education beyond reading the Bible Wandered between rural towns, preaching wherever people would listen Imprisoned after restoration of Charles II During time in prison, wrote Pilgrims Progress Allegory that relates how a man flees sin to lead a holy life One of the most famous prose works of the time

20 Enlightenment writers turned to classical Greek and Roman writers for qualities they admired most: harmony, restraint, and clarity Neoclassical writers English writers who imitated the styles of classical writers Often referred to ancient myths, gods, and heroes Favored generalities rather than individuals view Displayed fondness for satires that poked fun at societys follies Often expressed thoughts in aphorisms (short, quotable sentences)

21 John Dryden (1631 – 1700): Named Englands poet laureate for life; wrote plays, satirical poems, and celebratory poems, as well as essays and other prose Restoration Theater: theaters reopened during the reign of Charles II (after being closed by Puritan parliament) Alexander Pope (1688 – 1744): neoclassical writer who exhibited wit, elegance, and moderation; also had influence as a critic

22 Jonathan Swift (1667 – 1745): scornful critic of Englands rising merchant class; wrote two great satires, Gullivers Travels and A Modest Proposal Daniel Defoe (1660 – 1731): wrote Robinson Crusoe, considered first English novel Addison and Steele: wrote Englands first literary periodicals Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784): influenced through writings, conversations, and acquaintanceships; wrote first standard and authoritative dictionary

23 By late 1700s, progress celebrated by the Enlightenment thinkers seemed to be causing millions to suffer As they lost faith in the power of human reason, writers turned away from the standards of neoclassicism

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