17TH CENTURY PROSEDuring the 17th century grew the importance of english prose as a literary medium to express ideas which were central to the cultural and political life. The main issues debated in prose works were religion, philosophy and science; in addition to this english prose shows a strong interest in introspection, psycological analysis and personal experience with a wide range of problems and subjects. The new style of prose was simpler and more concise.
PHILOSOPHYDuring the 17th century developed a new philosophy and science whose best representative were Francis Bacon and Thomas Hobbes; thier prose style was characterized by clear thoughts expressed in clear short senteces, and direct statements instead of metaphors. Other great philosopher was John Locke who laid the bases of philosophical empiricism.
THE SCIENTIFIC IDEALThe new science and philosophy was a vast cultural movement infact in this period a scientific academy was founded; it was called the royal society.
The most scientific figure of the time was Isaac Newton, the founder of modern physics and mathematics. Even though his greatest works were in latin ( the internation language of science) his prose was a model of clarity and directness and reached an audiece no made up of scientists alone.
THE PURITAN IDEALThe renewal of english prose is also due to the Puritans whose literature was connected to their religious beliefs. The works are allegories of religious problems and took the form of sermons or didactic works. The puritan prose was of a popular nature, sermon-like in form and allegorical in method. Its language was plein and direct. The best writer was John Bunyan.
DIARIES, BIOGRAPHIES AND LETTERSWith the restoration the daily life of men begins to take on a specific literary interest, previously unknown. People record their impressions of everyday events in diaries and biographies. The writers weren’t professional writers and their works weren’t for pubblication.The two most famous diarists of the time were sir Pepys and sir Evelyn. Both had been to university and occupied important pubblic positions. Evelyn’s diary is concerned with the history of his own time and the places he had seen; Pepys’diary, instead, treats some very personal matters and great historical events such as the great fire of london of 1666 descrived in vivid details. The same impulse was also responsible for the many biographical and autobiographical works that came out in the restoration and the role of women writers was important.