Charles II: Phoenix of Restoration London -- Discussions & Concert
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The last date listed for Charles II: Phoenix of Restoration London was Saturday February 23, 2013 / 10:00am - 4:00pm.
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*Friday, February 22, 2013, 7:30pm to 10:00pm: *
Power, Pomp and Pleasure in the Restoration Court
Robert Bucholz (History, Loyola University, Chicago)
We might be tempted to think of the Restoration Court as the equivalent of the White House or Buckingham Palace, but it was much more than that. Charles II’s household was not merely the seat of government, but the social and cultural center of England, its Bloomsbury and Carnegie Hall, the corner of Hollywood and Vine, People magazine and American Idol, the round table of the Algonquin Hotel and the greatest frat party in history. This lecture addresses the personality and predilections of the Merrie Monarch, his cultural and social patronage, and why the Restoration Court became synonymous with scandal and fun: in the words of Walter Bagehot, “the focus where everything fascinating gathered and where everything exciting centred.”
*Performance: Music of Henry Purcell (c. 1659-1695) *— Gilbert Martinez (Artistic Director, MusicSources) on the harpsichord, with Rita Lilly (soprano) and Joshua Lee (viola da gamba), introduced by Clifford (Kip) Cranna (SF Opera).
Saturday, February 23, 2012, 10:00am to Noon:
London in the Reign of Charles II
Tim Harris (History, Brown University)
The reign of Charles II was a period of recovery and resurgence for London. But it was also a period of coming to terms with the past, of dealing with the legacy of the mid-century revolution. London had led the resistance to the Stuart monarchy and been a hotbed of Puritan radicalism. As the Good Old Cause died an inglorious death, Londoners welcomed back their king in 1660 amidst widespread jubilation, but what sort of monarchy did they want and what would they do if they felt that Charles II was going down the same road as his father Charles I? Professor Harris explores the political and religious divisions that were to tear Restoration London apart, divisions that were to crystallize around the formation of the first political parties in the modern world.
How I Learned to Love Restoration Theater
Blair Hoxby (English, Stanford)
The Restoration stage is a bundle of contradictions. Plays written by Shakespeare’s generation were now performed in modern, indoor theaters with actresses (rather than boys) playing the female roles. A new age demanded new theater. Shakespeare’s romantic comedies gave place to the libertine sex comedies of authors such as Aphra Behn. His tragedies were overshadowed by heroic plays written according to the rules of Aristotle. What these brutal comedies and high-flown tragedies have in common is their commitment to the passions: their belief that the experience of desire and aversion, joy and despair define us as humans. Restoration theater lays bare human motivation with an objectivity that we still find bracing. But after fifteen years of trying to improve on Shakespeare, some authors began to suspect that he would not again be equaled. Thus the Restoration also prepared the ground for the cult of Shakespeare that would soon sweep the world.
*Saturday, February 23, 2012, 1:30pm to 4:00pm:
_Mistresses, Maidens, and Noble Pictures in Restoration England, 1660-1685 _
Julia Marciari-Alexander (Deputy Director, San Diego Museum of Art)
This lecture examines some of the spectacular portraits of the most famous women at the court of Charles II of England. These paintings were highly significant within the cultural production at the Restoration court, and, as objects, they reflect both the spirit of the age as well as the individual characters of the women portrayed. These works range from sumptuous full-length oil paintings to intimate, jewel-like miniatures and are among the most beautiful images produced in England between 1660 and 1685. They were – and have since been – collected and displayed with pride in important houses in Great Britain and abroad. By considering the life stories of these remarkable women, Dr. Marciari-Alexander assesses the ways in which these women and their portraits can inform our 21st-century understanding of Restoration culture and the role visual art played in the shaping of this early modern society.
How Strong Coffee and Free Conversation Restored London after Plague and Fire
Robert Bucholz (History, Loyola U Chicago)
As the Restoration Court began to decline into insolvency and political isolation, Restoration London saw the rise of new forms of sociability and patronage. Coffee houses, clubs and pleasure-gardens offered all that the Court could (food, drink, entertainment, conversation and networking) without the formality or constraint of a court. These venues promoted free conversation abetted by the rise of the newspaper and essay magazine. The government’s failure to control these new media enabled the dissemination of new ideas in politics and science. Puritan preachers argued that the Great Plague of 1665 and the Great Fire of 1666 were punishments for Restoration London’s obsession with pleasure and freedom of speech. But rather than repent, the men who forged these ideas in clubs and coffee houses rebuilt London as a rational and imperial capital. Its symbol was Sir Christopher Wren’s new St. Paul’s Cathedral: baroque yet neo-classical, imposing yet welcoming, everything the new, modern city needed in its parish church.
Panel Discussion with Written Questions from the Audience *