In this article we are going to give a detailed analysis of Restoration Period or Age of Dryden and discuss on the progress of English Literature during this period.
Restoration Period or Age of Dryden
The period from 1660 to 1700 is known as the Restoration Period or the Age of Dryden. The English people were fed up with the restraints of the Puritan regime which denied to them all entertainments even of the most innocent kind. Prince Charles who had sought shelter in France, was invited to occupy the throne of his father. He was restored to the English throne in 1660 and became king Charles II of England. The Restoration of Charles II marked the beginning of a new era both in life send literature. Charles II brought with him refinement and Culture of the French, as well as the immortality and profligacy of the French Court. He also brought with him French literary influence. It marked the beginning of that Neo-Classicism or Pseudo-Classicism which was to dominate English Literature for next one hundred and fifty years.
Restoration Period or Age of Dryden: English Literature
The literature of the period reflected the spirit of the Age. Corruption, Moral Laxity, Rampant during this period are reflected in literature. The following tendencies distinguish the literature of the period :
1. Rise of the Neo-Classicism: Restoration Period
The Restoration marked a complete break with the past. The people believed in the present, the real and the material. Ideas of conduct were set up in accordance with reason and common sense.
Rules and literary conventions became more important than the depth and seriousness of subject matter to the writers of this period. They expressed superficial manners and customs of the urban aristocratic life and did not delve deep into the mysteries of human mind and hearts. They turned to the ancient writers for guidance and inspiration. Thus, grew up the Neo-Classical school of poetry. The Neo-Classicist could not sear to great heights of imagination, instead directed attention to slavish imitation.
2. Imitation of France : Restoration Period
The Restoration era was an era of France influence both in literature and social life. The famous French Writers – Corneille, Racine, and Boileau were imitated. Boileau’s ‘Good Sense’ ideal became very popular. English writers learned to look for guidance of the French writers and their styles like – lucidity, veracity.
3. Correctness: Restoration Period
The literary works of the Restoration Period were imitative and of limited quality. They lacked creativity and fight of imagination. They abandoned freedom of expression and slavishly followed the rules which can be summarized as ‘Be Correct’. Correctness means avoidance of enthusiasm, moderate opinions, strict care and accuracy in poetic techniques.
4. Realism and Formalism: Restoration Period
Restoration literature is realistic and urban. It was mainly concerned with life in London and details of dress, fashion and manners. The Restoration writers sought to point realistic pictures of corrupt court and society, and emphasized vices rather than virtues.
5. Directness and Simplicity of Expression : Restoration Period
The Restoration writers eschewed all extravagances of thought and language and aimed at achieving directness and simplicity of expression. To reform English prose, the Royal Society get rid of ‘Swellings of style’ and adopted the use of naked, natural way of speaking.
Conclusion: Restoration Period
In Conclusion, imitation of the ancient, imitation of the French, the correct school, Realism, directness and simplicity of expression marked the salient features of the Restoration Literature.