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Restoration literature

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  1. Read the text and find the answers to the following questions:

· What was the cause of the gap in literary tradition?

· What was the predominant poetic form in Restoration literature?

· Which genres appeared during the Restoration?

· What was the target audience of the Restoration playwrights?


The official break in literary culture caused by censorship and radically moralist standards under Cromwell's Puritan regime created a gap in literary tradition, allowing a seemingly fresh start for all forms of literature after the Restoration.

The largest and most important poetic form of that era was satire. In general, publication of satire was done anonymously. Wealthy individuals would respond to satire by having the suspected poet physically attacked by ruffians. John Dryden was set upon for being merely suspected of having written the Satire on Mankind. A consequence of this anonymity is that a great many poems, some of them of merit, are unpublished and largely unknown.

Prose in the Restoration period is dominated by Christian religious writing, but the Restoration also saw the beginnings of two genres that would dominate later periods: fiction and journalism. John Bunyan stands out beyond other religious authors of the period. Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress is an allegory of personal salvation and a guide to the Christian life. Instead of any focus on eschatology or divine retribution, Bunyan instead writes about how the individual saint can prevail against the temptations of mind and body that threaten damnation. The book is written in a straightforward narrative and shows influence from both drama and biography, and yet it also shows an awareness of the grand allegorical tradition found in Edmund Spenser. During the Restoration period, the most common manner of getting news would have been a broadsheet publication. A single, large sheet of paper might have a written, usually partisan, account of an event. However, the period saw the beginnings of the first professional and periodical journalism in England.

Long fiction and fictional biographies began to distinguish themselves from other forms in England during the Restoration period, though an existing tradition of Romance fiction in France and Spain was popular in England.

The playwrights of the 1690s set out to appeal to more socially mixed audiences with a strong middle-class element, and to female spectators, for instance by moving the war between the sexes from the arena of intrigue into that of marriage. The focus in comedy is less on young lovers outwitting the older generation, more on marital relations after the wedding bells.



ruffian – бандит, головорез

retribution – возмездие, кара

temptation – соблазн

damnation – проклятие, осуждение на вечные муки

outwit – перехитрить

John Bunyan – Джон Буньян (Баньян) английский писатель, баптистский проповедник

“The Pilgrim's Progress” – «Путешествие пилигрима в Небесную Страну»


  1. Look through the text again and find words and constructions you may use in your professional discourse (scientific terms etc.). Translate and memorize them.
  2. Find the transcription of the following words and practise pronouncing them: anonymously, eschatology, straightforward, intrigue.
  3. Make up a plan of the text.
  4. Decide whether the following statements are true or false according to the text:

· During the Restoration period literature was mostly secular.

· At the time ofthe Restoration there were no professional journalists in England.

· In Restoration plays the problems of marriage and family life were very common.



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