Essay: Restoration and the age of enlightenment

This period began in 1660 and ended in 1798. It started in 1660 when Charles ll was restored as king, by reason of the end of the civil war by puritan (protestants, they were very religious, they banned theatres etc.) dictatorship. After his comeback the theatres re-opened and the Church of England became the national church. To characterize the Restoration: the people became more individual and have to be more responsible of themselves. Another thing was, that the economy went well, because of the indistrualization, there became more products which could be sold. King Charles ll was against the Catholic. There was a problem, because when Charles ll died, his brother should became king James l, but he was Catholic. So, there started a ‘Exclusion Crisis’ this crisis was seperated in 2 parties: the Tories (conservatism) who supported the king and the Whig (liberalism) who opposed the king. The birth of James l son changed something, because they should’nt want that James ll (James l son) became king, he was catholic. They wanted a new protestant ruler, so they asked Mary (James ll daughter) whom was married with William of Orange to be the queen of England. William invited an army of 15.000 soldiers. This was known as the Glorious or Bloodless Revolution. Since Mary were in England, the Parliament became more powerful. Since 1689 the Bill of Rights were performed. England, Scotland and Wales were united as Great Britain (Act of Union) in 1707. The Parliament of Great Britain was based on the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland.


In this period of time, the literature changed in different ways. First, more and more higher classe burghers were allowed to read things like newspapers. Newspapers were available since the printing press during the Renaissance. Also, because of the printing press there was more journalism. The literature during the Restoration was more for the upper classes, they could understand what was written etc. but the poor people couldn’t. The most succesful form of literature was drama. But there were also more works with satires in it and more comedy plays with witty (humor) dialogues which were intended for upper classes. The literature was also influenced by French classical ideas (for example. a sonnet). Since the 18th century there was more

The mid-18th century is also called the ‘Age of Johnson’, because he wrote in 1755 one of the first English dictionaries. Since 1740 there opened libraries and they began to use a capital by the first lettre of a sentence.

Neoclassism is

Social context

There was a social order: 1. King 2. Nobility 3. Burghers: merchants, trade and colonies 4. Poor city folk 5. Peasants. If you were a burghers, you can’t get through the top of the class system (social order). There was also another big thing during this time, 74% of the children didn’t reach their fifth birthday. Before this time and during this time, the poor lived in slums and the children had to work. But during the industrialization there was a huge problem, because their was no place to work for the poor and the slums got overcrowded.

But there was also an advantage, the return of theatres. The theatre business was raised, the celebrity performance became succesful, while the actors became less important than the plays. The most plays were drama, but they act it like comedy. They wanted that people laugh, but also tears of being compessionate. They wanted to show goodness, but also morals. The plays were based on faction and facts.

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