Restoration drama

Categoria:Inglese Letteratura


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During the Restoration in literature imagination was slowly replaced by reason and Elizabethan drama’s passion and stravagance gave way to self-control and balance. So writers began to look for new models to follow → classics of the past.
The foundation of the Royal Society in 1662 caused a great improvement of English prose, also because the new sperimental science needed a clearer and more concise language. Than english prose abandoned its old conceits and obscurities (metaphisical poetry/elizab. drama) and become simpler and more precise.
Restoration prose writers can be divided into two groups:
THOMAS HOBBES (1588-1679)
He was son of a clergyman and after studies, become a fervent royalist who left England during the period of the civil war and the Commonwealth. Returned in England and than died at the age of 91.
His most important works are:
- Leviathan
- De corpore, de homine, de cive (philosophical treatises)
- Vita carmine expressa (autobiography).
- his philosophy was materialistic, ‘cause he mantained that “all is real, is material”
- he didn’t believe in the existance of a supernatural power, in opposition to religion thought and the existance of the soul, so he denied free will
- he thought that our passions are produced by external causes, and man is moved by natural appetites for power and for survival which lead to a continue war (negative connotation of war→ produce only fear/destruction and prevent the development of arts) with each other. The only solution is to be giuded by a man, the king, who would assicurate order and stability (→ absolutism’s defender, only absolute monarchy can save people from anarchy and chaos).
- his style is concited, sharp, clear, easy to be understood → reaction to the elaborated language of Milton).
JOHN LOCKE (1632 – 1704)
He’s representative of the empirical method in literature. He used to discuss moral and political questions in reunions with men of culture at Earl of Shafterbury’s residence and during one of these he found the basis of his philosophical thought.
He realized that man’s abilities and his capacity of understanding weren’t unlimited → An essay concerning human understanding.
His works:
- Essay concerning human understanding
- Epistola de tolerantia
- Treatises of government
- Thoughts concerning education
- he mantained that knowledge of the world can be reached only through experience and reflection on this.
- Knowledge of the world → sense perceptions
Knowledge of ourselves → introspection/reflection
- he refused supernatural knowledge, only experience.
- he considered monarchy as a good political system but not her extreme, absolutism. The king has to respect some conditions and to defend public property. Through a social contract he’s subject to the civil law.
- Locke was against any form of fanaticism, an act of persecution in the name of religion had to be condamned.
- he thought that man must have a phisical education through a constant exercise but also a mental education with learning and with virtues.
He wrote mainly about places and events, was very discreet person.
His tone in impersonal and the style simple but accurate.
His book is full of scientific observations and informations which makes it a very important document of the time.
He wrote his diary in a secret code of his invention for 9 years. This book is more intimate than Evelyn’s one, he speak about people and himself.
His style is frank, natural, rich in details and humor or pathos, according to the moment.
He narrates also historical events as for exemple the great fire of London in 1666.