This volume challenges a traditional period divide of 1660, exploring continuities with the decades of civil war, the Republic and Restoration and shedding new light on religious, political and cultural conditions before and after the restoration of church and monarchy. The volume marks a significant development in transdisciplinary studies, including, as it does, chapters on political theory, religion, poetry, pamphlets, theatre, opera, portraiture, scientific experiment and philosophy. Chapters show how unresolved issues at national and local level, residual republicanism and religious dissent, were evident in many areas of Restoration life, and recorded in plots against the regime, memoirs, diaries, historical writing, pamphlets and poems. An active promotion of forgetting, the erasing of memories of the Republic and the reconstruction of the old order did not mend the political, religious and cultural divisions that had opened up during the civil wars. In examining such diverse genres as women’s writing, the prayer book, prophetic writings, the publications of the Royal Society, histories of the civil wars by Clarendon and Hobbes, the poetry and prose of Milton and Marvell, plays and opera, court portraiture and political cartoons the volume substantiates its central claim that the Restoration was conditioned by continuity and adaptation of linguistic and artistic discourses.
This chapter challenges conventional and critically resilient scholarly periodization of theatre in which 1660 is seen as inaugurating innovative theatre practice. It demonstrates that the reframing of the drama by William Davenant and Richard Flecknoe during the 1650s left a legacy to the Restoration, a legacy that in texts of the 1660s Davenant and Flecknoe attempted to obviate. Theatre historians have been subsequently reluctant to acknowledge continuities in dramatic practice and theatre production. This chapter argues that the influence of the drama of the 1650s was wide-ranging. Reformed aesthetics, the scenic stage, the female performer, political satire and the representation of love and honour in new world contexts, all aspects of the production of Commonwealth drama, are variously reconstituted in plays of the Restoration stage.