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          Some factfiles about England in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries:                            history, religion, society and literature. 

  

THE RESTORATION - THE AUGUSTAN AGE  - THE ENLIGHTENMENT - THE ROMANTICISM

 

MODULE 1 

THE RISE OF PURITANISM (1625-1660)

HISTORY

1625 James I Charles I= the king’s absolute power BUT from nobility to gentry + Catholics vs Protestants                                                                                                                                                                                       Puritans

                   Petition of Right (clash between the king and the parliament) dissolution of parliament

1640 the short parliament – 1642 the long parliament O. Cromwell Rump Parliament

                                                                                                                                                    1649 Charles I’s  execution

                                                                                    

                                                                                                      Commomwealth (1653-1658)  

                                  the king (Royalists or Cavaliers) vs the parliament (Roundheads)  

 

THE PURITANS: The Bible, no official church authorities, calvinist theory of predestination, North American colonies, Quakers.

austerity= closing of theatres in 1642.   English novel D. Defoe

LITERATURE

Philosophical essays, chronicles (J. Bunyan: The Pilgrim’s Progress)

Poetry: Milton (Paradise Lost: allegory of failure of English Revolution)


MODULE 2   

THE RESTORATION  or the Age of Reason (1660-1714)

HISTORY

Cromwell’s death1660 Charles II Tories (Cavaliers – landed gentry) vs Whigs (Roundheads – urban middle                                                                                                                                                                                              class)

1662      Act of Uniformity against puritan opinions + Royal Society (king’s patronage): scientific concern (I.Newton)  = rationalism+empiricism = prose writing  (T. Hobbes, J. Locke)

1665      The Plague

1666      The Great Fire (Sir C. Wren)→ S. Pepys, J. Evelyn

James II catholic Parliament’s reaction= W. of Orange=  1688: king’s abdication Glorious Revolution

1689: Bill of Rights ( a contract between the monarch and the Parliament)

                     

        constitutional monarchy

1689: Toleration Act ( religious freedom)

1707: Act of Union ( Scotland represented in the English Parliament)

LITERATURE

1660 reopening of theatres (changes in setting, light, stage design + women actors + roofing)

Restoration Comedy against Puritanism and from The Comedy of Manners ( Molière  and La Commedia dell’                                       Arte);   wit, fashion and refinement = upper classes W. Congreve: The Way of the World


MODULE 3

THE AUGUSTAN AGE  Roman Emperor Augustus= political stability (1714-1760)

HISTORY

George I + George II of Hannover not so familiar with English language, culture and traditions

Walpole 1721: corrupted and financially influencing personality J. Swift political disagreement

                         

Theatres Licensing Act : 1737 censorship against political attacks The Beggar’s Opera by J. Gay (The Three penny Opera by B. Brecht)

England’s colonial expansion Seven Years’ War: 1756 England’s victory 

 

 

LITERATURE

Middle classes, coffee houses, journalism ENLIGHTEMENT = rational spirit, against superstition, scepticism, pragmatism, realism essays, pamphlets the novel:  order+ harmony, restraint+ sobriety+ criticism

                                                                                                                                                  

         Mock heroic poems: A. Pope’s The Rape of the Lock

S. Johnson: Preface, The Lives of Poets, A Dictionary of…

Reading newspapers widespread (Addison and Steele), country vs urban areas, costs and prices.

The Novel

16th century : F. Rabelais (Pantagruel and Gargantua) + 17th century:  M. de Cervantes (Don Quixote) =                                                                                                                                                                                        fantasy or reality?

18th century : philosophical rationalism (Locke, Descartes) individual experience

                      puritanism and methodism daily hard work

                      larger reading public middle classes and women

                      Don Quixote

Aphra Behn: Woolf’s quotation

D. Defoe: fictional autobiography, chronological criterium, realism (C. Bronte, C. Dickens)

J. Swift: political satire, surrealistic approach, philosophical issues (L. Carrol, J. Verne, I. Calvino)

S. Richardson: sentimental epistolary novel, ordinary middle-class in domestic setting, passions and feelings (J. Austen, C. Bronte, H. James, G. Flaubert)

H. Fielding: comic novel, ironic critical omniscent narrator, complex plot, real  life (C. Dickens, W. M. Thackeray)

L. Sterne: non-conventional novel, manipulation of time, subverting realism, erudition (J. Joyce, V. Woolf, I. Calvino, M. Kundera)

 


MODULE 4   

 ROMANTICISM  

 HISTORY  

 

 Revolutions 
towards new societies 

America 1776  Jefferson Declaration of Independence Washington 1st President  (1775-1783: war for colonies)

France 1789-1791→  modern democratic nation (Wordsworth and Coleridge)  1793 Robespierre                                         Napoleonic wars

         Britain 1776 technological improvements  1851 Great Exhibition  

                                      

Land vs factories pauperisation  (Blake); enclosures: commercial  farming, no more rights for poor commoners (not nobles)

                                                         

                              contradiction between the poor conditions and the increasing national agricultural wealth

          CONGRESS OF VIENNA 1815  New Europe 

         GEORGE III 1760-1820 + W. PITT (Tory) against Parliament in favour of aristocratic land                                                                      owners: repression of protests = Act of Union (Ireland)

                                                                                  

Demand for political, social and economic reforms + unemployment + hard working conditions=public demonstrations Peterloo Massacre (The Whigs move towards the Reform of Parliament 1832 )                     

                                                                             Trade Unions (Manchester 1819) 

        REGENCY:     1811-1820     George III’s son.

         FIRST REFORM ACT 1832 vote for middle class male citizens

         SLAVERY ABOLITION 1833

         LITERATURE

GERMANY Sturm und Drang (Goethe, Friedrich, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann)

         FRANCE     J. J. Rousseau (Emile: Le Bon Sauvage), Mme de Stael (De l’Allemagne)

         ITALY           G. Berchet, G. Leopardi

 BRITAIN      E. Burke: the sublime, the picturesque landscape, the gothic novel

           (The Alps, The Welsh Mountains,The Lake District    Mary Shelley ’s Frankenstein)    

                                                    T. Gray’s melancholic attitude                                

         The Preface to The Lyrical Ballads: poetic manifesto for the Romantic Movement

                                                     

                    Wordsworth + Coleridge = political implications Shelley

Byron + Keats single individuals

 

FRANKENSTEIN or The Modern Prometheus by M. Shelley

 

 

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