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EL 102 Restoration and the 18th Century 1.Historical Background

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1 EL 102 Restoration and the 18th Century 1.Historical Background
2.Social and Intellectual Developments 3.Literature


3 Historical Background (Course Reader, p.1-5)
The Glorious Revolution ( ): The deposition of James II and accession of William of Orange & Mary. James II was sent to exile in France. Bill of Rights (1689): limited the powers of the Crown, reaffirmed the supremacy of the Parliament and guaranteed important legal rights to individuals. Inspired the American and French Revolution. 1707: Act of Union (1707): unites Scotland and England which thus became ‘Great Britain.’ The emergence of two political parties: The Whigs (the king’s opponents) merchants, financiers, dissenters, low church clergymen The Tories (supported the king):landed gentry and country clergy, conservatives. Hostile to the new moneyed interests whether among the nobility or the middle-class, opposed to toleration to dissenters.

4 Social and Intellectual Developments (Course Reader, p. 5-9)
Plague (1665): killed people in London The Great Fire (1666): raged for 4 days, leaving about two thirds of the population homeless. The famous architect Christopher Wren re-built the whole city as a modern metropolis. The emergence of coffee-houses

5 Detail of the Great Fire of London by an unknown painter, depicting the fire as it would have appeared at the time


7 Coffee-houses The first coffeehouse in London was opened in 1652.
Used for sharing news and ideas. For just a penny, customers could visit to read the newspapers, socialize, debate and smoke tobacco as they sipped their dish of coffee.

8 Coffee-houses In fact, they became so popular a place for men to congregate and debate that Charles II declared them “seminaries of sedition” and shut all three thousand down. And turned right around and reopened them within days due to the public outcry.

9 Coffee-houses Each coffee-house attracted a particular clientele divided by occupation or attitude. (clergy, merchants, artists, Whigs and Tories).

10 Social and Intellectual Developments (Course Reader, p. 5-9)
Scientific Revolution in Europe (late 16th-late 18th century) Emphasizes rationalism, logical thought, reason, knowledge Against doctrine and scholastic thinking Isaac Newton ( ) Concerned to find evidence of universal and immutable law and order in the universe Search for mathemetical exactness and scientific investigation to explain human activity. The belief in the human potential

11 Social and Intellectual Developments (Course Reader, p. 5-9)
The Age of Enlightenment [Age of Reason – 18th century] The establisment of the Royal Society of London for the Improving of Natural Knowledge (1662)

12 What is Enlightenment? “The Enlightenment rested upon the belief that life could best be understood and lived through the power of reason –that is, through the empirical process that allowed an understanding of how nature worked. Such an understanding eventually led to a system of laws that explained nature and was suited to the commercial and later an industrial exploitation that created new forms of wealth.” (Richard Lehan)

13 What is Enlightenment? “The Enlightenment was a revolutionary movement, taking us from an agrarian to an urban world, from the realm of the estate to a new-moneyed order, from a belief in birthrights to an insistence upon natural rights, from the authority of the divine right of kings to parliamentary and democratic government, from landed wealth to commercial and later industrial wealth processed through such new institutions as the national bank and stock exchange. … man now had the means to understand his physical and social world, to create a social equality through new forms of government, and to live more securely through new technology.” (Richard Lehan)

14 What is Enlightenment? “In shifting emphasis from birth rights to natural rights, the Enlightenment gave a new importance to the individual and the right to create oneself. Yet it was not inconsistent with a belief in religion, because the priority of reason did not preempt a belief in a Maker whose rational universe was unfolding before us. (…) Behind the Enlightenment was an encyclopedic movement and an encyclopedic mentality –the belief that knowledge could be catalogued and accessed in a mechanical way.” (The City in Literature by Richard Lehan)



17 Literature (Course Reader, p. 9-22)
importance of order, balance, rationality, reason Followed certain rules (mainly based on the classics). Learned from the ancients how to practice their craft. If a poem is an object to be made, the poet (‘maker’ in Greek) must follow some sound principles. For instance: each of the literary kinds is distinct and has its own proper material, characters, language, style... Writers should plan their works in one of the literary genres (epic, tragedy, comedy, pastoral, satire, ode) Principle of appropriateness, decorum. Aristocratic

18 Literature (Course Reader, p. 9-22)
In favour of greater simplicity, clarity, restraint, regularity, good sense. Emphasis on reason rather than emotions. Wrote in (closed) heroic couplet (aa, bb, cc) Developed a poetic diction Satire is a popular form.

19 What poets tried to see and represent was ‘Nature’
Literature (Course Reader, p. 9-22) “First follow Nature,” Alexander Pope What poets tried to see and represent was ‘Nature’ Nature as the universal, permanent, and representative elements in human experience. Nature is truth in the sense that it includes the enduring, general truths that have been, are, and will be true for everyone in all times, everywhere.

20 “Learn for ancient rules a just esteem; To copy nature is to copy them” (A. Pope)
To study nature is to study the ancients since they had expressed the enduring forms of life.

21 Literature (Course Reader, p. 9-22) (Restoration and the 18th Century)
Restoration period/literature ( ) also known as neoclassical or Augustan 18th Century Literature

22 Why is this period called Augustan? (reference to the Roman Emperor)
Restoration period/literature ( ) (also known as neoclassical or Augustan) Why is this period called Augustan? (reference to the Roman Emperor) “The age of John Dryden” Dryden wrote comedy, tragedy, heroic play, ode, satire, translation, critical essay. Restoration drama: theaters are re-opened. Heroic plays Comedy of manners

23 Pictures of neoclassical garden designs


25 Eighteenth Century Literature
Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, Samuel Johnson Comedy of manners is replaced by ‘sentimental’ Mock-heroic (e.g. The Rape of the Lock)

26 Towards the end of the Century:
The beginning of the novel (CR, p. 20) Transition to the Romantic period, Gothic literature (CR, p. 19)

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