Timeline of English Literature - The Age of John Dryden (1660-1700)



The Age of Dryden (1660-1700)

The Age of John Dryden roughly spans the period from the Restoration of Charles II in 1660 to the year 1700. Truly speaking John Dryden best represents the English mindset of his time. He publishes an astonishing variety of work, including poetry, prose, drama, criticism, translation, and satire. He becomes the leading literary figure of Restoration England.Such an influential English poet, literary critic, translator, and playwright mounds the glory of English Literature

Major Historical and Literary Events

1668. Dryden Made poet Laureate
1668. Dryden's "Essay of Dramatic Poesy."
 1671 Paradise Regained, Samson Agonistes by Milton.
 1670. Dryden's"Conquest ofGranada."

1671. The " Rehearsal."

1672. Wycherley's" Love in aWood."

1675. Wycherley's"Country Wife."

1677. Dryden's "All for Love."

1677. Wycherley's "Plain Dealer."
1678. The Pilgrim’s Progress by Bunyan.
1678. All for Love by Dryden.
1678. Third part of " Hudibras."

1680. Gilbert Burnet's " Account ofthe Life and Death of the Earl of Rochester."


1681. Dryden's "Absalom and Achitophel."

1682. Dryden's "The Medal,""Mac Flecknoe," and" Religio Laici."

1686. Dryden joined the Church of Rome.

1686. Dryden's poem "To the Memory of Miss Anne Killegrew."

1687. Dryden's" Hind and Panther."

1687. Sir Isaac Newton's " Principia."
1688. James II flees
1688. Glorious Revolution
1689. Thomas Shadwell, made poet Laureate.
1689. Dryden's" Don Sebastian."

1689. Burnet appointed Bishop of  Salisbury.


John Dryden
1690. Locke's "Essay on the Human Understanding." British philosopher John Locke argues that the only way to apprehend reality is through the experience of the senses. In his major work entitled An Essay Concerning Human Understanding published in 1690, Locke states that the mind of an individual is a tabula rasa, or blank slate, upon which experience imprints knowledge. This theory forms the basis of empiricism. Locke’s political theories, which place sovereignty in the hands of the people, underpin a good portion of the U.S. Constitution.Read More History of English Literature (Short questions)


1691. Tillotson appointed Archbishopof Canterbury.

1692. Locke made Secretary ofProsecutions.

1693. Congreve's" Old Bachelor."

1694. Dryden's" Love Triumphant."

1694. Congreve's" Double Dealer."

1695. Congreve's" Love for Love."

1697. Dryden's translation of " Virgil-"

1697. Congreve's "Mourning Bride."


1698. Jeremy Collier's " Short View."

1699. Dryden's" Fables."

1700. Congreve's "Way of the World."

1706. Farquhar's"Recruiting Officer."

1707. Farquhar's "Beaux Stratagem."

1759. Butler's " Genuine Prose Remains" published.

1775. Sheridan's " The Rivals," " St. Patrick's Day,: and" The Duenna."

1777. Sheridan's " School for Scandal."

1779. Sheridan's "The Critic."

1780. Sheridan became a Member of Parliament.


English Rulers

1660-1685 Charles II
1685-1688 James II
1688-1702 William & Mary

Major Authors

1631-1700 John Dryden
1628-88 John Bunyan
1664-1721 Matthew Prior
1633-1703 Samuel Pepys
1664-1726 Sir John Vanbragh

1.Why are the years 1649 and 1688 important?

Ans.Read More History of English Literature (Short questions) The year 1649 is important for the beheading of Charles I by the puritans and 1688 is important for the Glorious Revolution in England. In that connection to the incident, James II was dethroned and the revolution was succeeded without bloodshed. James fled from the capital and William and Mary took the throne.

2.How are these two years related to each other 1658 and 1660?

Ans. In 1658 the death of Cromwell was actuated and then in 1660 the Restoration Period was started.

3.Name two Diarists of the 17th century?

Ans. Samuel Pepys (1633-1703)
John Evelyn (1620-1706)

4.Which work of Dryden celebrates Charles II's return to power?

Ans. Astrea Redux (1660) of Dryden celebrates the restoration of Charles II to the throne. It shows the progress of Dryden's poetical artisan ship. It presents Dryden’s change of political affiliations too.

5.Who originated the genre Heroic Tragedy and when?

Ans. Read More History of English Literature (Short questions) In this type of tragedy, which became prominent after the Restoration, a great heroic figure is chosen as a central personage and subsequent heroic incidents are introduced.
Although it owes its origin to the dramatic romances popularized by Beaumont and Fletcher and written by Shakespeare, Dryden is the most versatile between 1664-77.

6.Give two example of Dryden's political writing.

Ans. Dryden's Astraea Redux (1660) celebrates Charles II's return to the English throne. Annus Mirabilis (1667) gives a spirited account of the great fire in London.

7.Mention the European dramatist who influenced the Restoration comedy?

Ans. Restoration comedy was popular and artistically superior genre. Here, the great French model was Moliere. Although he built his plays around central characters with marked eccentricities, he also combined the exposure of the characters with probing social criticism. The Restoration comedy of manners likewise provided critique of the manners and morals of the contemporary society.

8.What is called Glorious Revolution? Why it is called so?

Ans. Read More History of English Literature (Short questions) Glorious Revolution is the events of 1689. After the death of Charles II in 1685, Jame II, his brother was succeeded. James II was more popish than even the pope of Rome. His stubborn and cruel desire of establishing Catholicism in England enraged revolt. Ultimately, he fled from the capital and the parliament conferred the crown on William III and Mary in 1689. The revolution was bloodless, thus it is called Glorious Revolution.

9.Who wrote The Medal? Why is it famous?

Ans. It is a shorter serious satire by Dryden. It is partly bitter invective against Shaftsbury. It also argues about the unfitness of Republican institutions of England.

    Ardhendu De  

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