Culture in 17th century
The struggle between Anglicans and puritans influenced the literature of the 17th century that also continued the tradition of renaissance.
In poetry there were two main groups. The cavaliers poets and the puritans poets. The first were classicist in art and royalists in politics; the second supported the puritans. However the two tendencies are mixed in the two main poets of the age Marvell and Milton.
Drama suffered because of closing of the theatres during the puritan period, but flourished again after the restoration changing significantly: audiences were made up of higher classes and plays showed a deep influence of French models.The best author is Congreve.
As for prose, the 17th century saw the rise of a modern prose style: the essay, the letter and the diary. Here again we distinguish the puritan prose and scientific and journalistic prose.
The rebuilding of the city of London after the great fire was the work of sir Wren the greatest English baroque architect. He was strongly influenced by Italian and French architecture.
MUSIC AND OPERA.
In this period also there was the emergence of operas. The first one was by sir Davenant. Some of the most popular were adapted from Shakespeare plays and were set to music by the best composer of the day sir Purcell.
Music was one of the Londoners’ favourite forms of entertainment.
A NEW SCIENTIFIC AND PHILOSOPHICAL OUTLOOK.
The bases of the scientific revolution of the 18th century were laid during the last period of the renaissance.There was a break with the old aristotelian idea of the universe and a parallel development of scientific instruments. This new rational outlook was at the centre of the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes.
SCIENCE AND THE ROYAL SOCIETY.
Science and philosophy went together in those day and influenced society and literature; so an exclusively scientific academy was founded called Royal society. It had several members like the astronomer Halley (now remembered for the comet that has its name), the mathematician and physicist Newton , the philosopher Locke.