Macquarie University
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Enthusiasm and restoration in the rhetoric of 17th century British Royalist poetics

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posted on 2022-03-28, 14:31 authored by Daniel Moye
The aim of this paper is to give a critical account of the early modern tropes of enthusiasm and restoration within four Royalist voices of Seventeenth-century British literature. The centre of the critical examination is the intersection between these two tropes and the ideas of Francis Bacon and his adherents in the Restoration period. The trope of enthusiasm was used by Royalist thinkers to stigmatise political opposition and was commonly applied to Puritans throughout the 17th century. Due to the fact that enthusiasts sometimes used nature as a basis for their knowledge enquiries, Francis Bacon’s own natural philosophy was often tainted with the stigma of this trope. As a consequence, the challenge of legitimation for natural philosophers and its champions like Francis Bacon, Abraham Cowley and Bishop Thomas Sprat, was to answer this trope and distance their own ideas from enthusiasts. As the evidence presented will illustrate, the arguments Bacon used toward his Jacobean audience in New Atlantis and the ideas of Bacon used by his Restoration adherents repositioned Baconianism as a remedy against the rise of enthusiasm using tropes of restoration. The key finding of this research is that the role of Francis Bacon’s theories of social psychology and language were crucial within Bacon and his adherents’ response to the problem of enthusiasm as well as their program for the “Restoration” of Royalism. This paper also examines Samuel Butler’s response to the claims of Bacon and Baconianism with respect to the tropes of enthusiasm and restoration. The purpose of contrasting Butler’s view of the Baconians and their claims of “Restoration” is to illustrate how and why enthusiasm was an important battleground in the Restoration era. Butler’s different interpretation of “Restoration” highlight some fracture points within Royalist ideology that related to the Baconian inheritance. One prime conclusion drawn from these contrasting views was the central contention between Butler and Baconianism involving their different theories of language and what conclusions we ought to make about the capacity for human restoration.


Table of Contents

Introduction -- Chapter 1. Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis : the problem of enthusiasm -- Chapter 2. The Baconian inheritance in the apologetics of Bishop Spratand Abraham Cowley -- Chapter 3. Samuel Butler and Royalist scepticism toward the “Restoration”project -- Conclusion -- Bibliography.


Bibliography: pages 55-57 Theoretical thesis.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of English

Department, Centre or School

Department of English

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

A. D. Cousins


Copyright Daniel Moye 2017. Copyright disclaimer:




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