This revisionist study of Restoration literature and culture demonstrates how important the decades between 1660 and 1700 were in transforming, enlarging and diversifying English-language poetry. Wright challenges the longstanding narrative of Restoration poetry as a male, urban, London-centric form obsessed with the contemporary, arguing persuasively that this schema omits crucial literary works and relationships. Framed around three detailed case studies of neglected aspects of Restoration poetry, the book explores the depth of Spenser's influence, the importance of poetry flourishing in Ireland, the significance of natural landscapes and the vital role of women: both as readers, and writers. This book presents a diverse literary Restoration steeped in historical self-awareness and anxieties, engaged with the world outside England's capital, and open to new voices. Its impressive scope encompasses myriad little-known writers, while extensive historical research underpins its fresh perspectives on poets such as Dryden, Rochester, Cowley, Milton, Marvell and Behn.
Introduction; 1. The Spenser problem; 2. Poetry and restoration Ireland; 3. Poetical plants and leafy landscapes; Conclusion: transposing the restoration.
Gillian Wright is Reader in English and Irish Literature at the University of Birmingham. She is the author of Producing Women's Poetry, 1600–1730 (Cambridge, 2013) and is a General Editor of the AHRC-funded Cambridge edition of The Works of Aphra Behn, for which she is editing Behn's poetry.
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