British Literature has many different elements that have been analyzed for thousands of years and seen throughout this semester. Feeling, thoughts, and manners are a few elements that will be analyzed in this paper.
Charles II may have been King of England, but John Dryden was King of Restoration literature. He is, by far, the most important literary figure of the period. Not only was he a prolific writer who worked in a bunch of different genres including poetry, drama, and prose, but also he set the bar in terms of literary standards for the period.He also played a big part in establishing satire as an important literary mode during this period.By the late 1670s Dryden was famed as publicist for the Crown, and his theatrical work had come to dominate the stage; but he had hardly begun his career as satirist by which he is now best known(Damrosch and Dettmar, 2075).
Mac Flecknoeis a classic work of the Restoration period. In it, Dryden makes fun of his literary rival: a poet by the name of Thomas Shadwell. The poem is so important because it was written as a “mock epic,” a satirical work that used the conventions of theepic genreto talk about trivial things. The poem not only influenced Dryden’s contemporaries, but those who came after him.
Aphra Behn throughout her career transmitted such “samelessness” into a positive point of pride and a source of literary substance (Damrosch and Dettmar, 21225). Many of her plays,poems,and fictions focus on the difficulties with which intelligent women pursue their desires againstthe current of social convention (Damrosch and Dettmar, 2125).Aphra Behn’s novel is one of the earliest examples of “the novel.” It tells the tale of an African prince, Oroonoko, who is captured as a slave and taken to Surinam in South America. At the center of the novel is Oroonoko’s love for a beautiful woman.
On a lighter note, William Wycherley’s The Country Wifeis Restoration comedy at its most scandalous. It’s a play full of sexual intrigue and sex jokes and, well, just a whole bunch of people being very naughty.William Wycherley’sThe Country Wifeis one of the most famous comedies of the Restoration period.
As one may see, there are many elements to the writings found in this time period. Each writer has their own unique style that may be more noticeable than others.
Damrosch, David, and Kevin J. H Dettmar.The Longman Anthology Of British Literature. 4thed. New York: Longman, 2010. Print.