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Resources for Restoration England

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oldhousejunkie
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Resources for Restoration England

Post by oldhousejunkie » Wed September 28th, 2011, 8:23 pm

Hi all--

I'm looking for some good resources for Restoration England. I'm vaguely familiar with the time period, so naturally that means that I need to launch my next project in that era!

So yes, now I am terribly overwhelmed by the concept of tackling a period of that I'm not well versed in...and need some direction. I'm looking for the dynamics of Charles II's court mostly, as my project is going to be revolving around the courtiers serving Charles during the first ten years of his reign. I know the Catholic question continued to steal the political spotlight, but a concise description of other topics would be helpful.

Honestly, I have a hard time with very serious, very detailed histories, so something that is either fast paced or somewhat humorous would be nice.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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SGM
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Post by SGM » Wed September 28th, 2011, 9:33 pm

IMHO the absolutely very best source for the Restoration is Pepys' Diary. I think it is wonderful. It is available free online and on Kindle but it is very hard to follow the footnotes in that format and as the footnotes are invaluable, it is best to read as a "real book".

You won't find anything more authentic.

Many of the Restoration plays are very useful too because the dialogue is a great resource.

But for me everything else seems insignificant in relation to Pepys. There is also John Evelyns's Diary but it is by no means as good.

If you can get your hands on the BBC's "The First Churchills" which dates back to the late 1960s or early 70s you might find that handy as well. It used to be on YouTube but I am not sure if it is anymore. It is available on DVD.

I could list a number of books, if you want but it sounds like you don't. But you can try Barry Coward's "The Stuart Age" which gives a fairly good overview of the Restoration and has a good bibliography.

I am not sure I would have said that the Catholic issue dominated the period although it was obviously fairly important. I would have said that Crown finance was pretty high on the list.
Last edited by SGM on Wed September 28th, 2011, 9:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Wed September 28th, 2011, 9:50 pm

For a general feel of the era, you can read Daniel Defoe's Diary of the Plague Year. A more modern take on the same era is Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks, and the movie/book Restoration by Rose Tremain.

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Post by annis » Thu September 29th, 2011, 2:21 am

Antonia Fraser's Royal Charles: Charles II and the Restoration is an entertaining and painless history of the period.

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Post by oldhousejunkie » Thu September 29th, 2011, 5:14 pm

Thanks for the recommendations, everyone!

Sadly, I discovered yesterday that the subject of my new project has been recently done by another historical fiction author.

I know that doesn't necessarily preclude me from writing another account, but I generally prefer to venture into subjects not tackled by other authors. So no, I won't be writing about Marie Antoinette or Anne Boleyn any time soon! :rolleyes:

I'm looking into another person, but this will take me out of Stuart England and into Georgian England. Ah, now that's a period I'm little more comfortable with!

But I could use suggestions there as well. I did find a book by Amanda Vickery called "Behind Closed Doors: the Secret Life of Georgians" that I hoping to procure in the near future. Any other suggestions would be appreciated!

Thanks so much!
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Post by boswellbaxter » Thu September 29th, 2011, 5:35 pm

[quote=""oldhousejunkie""]Thanks for the recommendations, everyone!

Sadly, I discovered yesterday that the subject of my new project has been recently done by another historical fiction author.

I know that doesn't necessarily preclude me from writing another account, but I generally prefer to venture into subjects not tackled by other authors. So no, I won't be writing about Marie Antoinette or Anne Boleyn any time soon! :rolleyes:

I'm looking into another person, but this will take me out of Stuart England and into Georgian England. Ah, now that's a period I'm little more comfortable with!

But I could use suggestions there as well. I did find a book by Amanda Vickery called "Behind Closed Doors: the Secret Life of Georgians" that I hoping to procure in the near future. Any other suggestions would be appreciated!

Thanks so much![/quote]

You might try Lucy Worsley's Courtiers: The Secret History of Kensington Palace (there's a review here).
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Post by SGM » Thu September 29th, 2011, 6:05 pm

[quote=""MLE""]For a general feel of the era, you can read Daniel Defoe's Diary of the Plague Year. A more modern take on the same era is Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks, and the movie/book Restoration by Rose Tremain.[/quote]

Much though I adore Defoe, I find the feel of his work is very definitely 18th century even if those reading him at the time thought the Journal was written at the time of the plague. The style of written English changed markedly at the end of the 17th century and Defoe was one of the finest examples of the new style but it definitely wasn't 17th century.
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