The Oxford English Literary History: Volume V: 1645–1714: The Later Seventeenth Century: Companion Volume
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This volume in the Oxford English Literary History series covering 1645–1714 removes the traditional literary period labels and boundaries used in earlier studies to categorize the literary culture of late seventeenth-century England, from the Interregnum, through the Commonwealth, the Restoration, and the first decades of the eighteenth century. It explores the continuities and literary innovations occurring as English readers and writers lived through turbulent, unprecedented events, including a King tried and executed by Parliament and another exiled, the creation of the national entity ‘Great Britain’, and an expanding English awareness of New World, and the cultures of Asia and the subcontinent. The period saw the continuation of manuscript cultures and the establishment of new concepts of authorship; it saw a dramatic increase of women working as professional, commercial writers. London theatres closed by law in 1642 reopened with new forms of entertainment. Emerging literary forms such as epistolary fictions and topical essays were circulated and promoted by new media including newspapers, periodical publications, and advertising. Laws governing censorship were changing and initial steps were taken in the development of copyright. The period produced some of the most profound and influential literary expressions of religious faith, from John Milton’s Paradise Lost to John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, while simultaneously giving rise to a culture of libertinism and savage polemical satire, as well as fostering the new dispassionate discourses of experimental sciences and the conventions of popular romance.
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