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The Way of the World Historical Context

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Historical Context

The period in English history from 1670 to 1729, when Congreve lived and worked, was marked by a dramatic political event, which gave its name to the literary tradition known as Restoration drama. In 1660, Charles II came to the throne, and the monarchy, which had been in exile, once again ruled England. Although that restoration period was short-lived (Parliament regained power in 1688), it was important to western culture in that it provided a perfect milieu for the comedy of manners.

The English comedies of this time, Congreve's included, take the manners of high society and the aristocracy as material for satire, focusing their attention, as Henry T. E. Perry writes in The Comic Spirit in Restoration Drama "upon the surface of a highly polished and fundamentally insecure civilization." The merry licentiousness that characterized the new court was itself a reaction against the civil war of the 1640s, which resulted in...

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This section contains 590 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Way of the World Study Guide
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The Way of the World from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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