Increasingly critics are beginning to reappraise the traditional division between English Renaissance literature and that of the Restoration, hitherto the former seen as reaching its apogee with Milton and Marvell and in sharp contrast with Dryden et al. In the political sphere, however, 1660 is as significant a date as 1649 or 1688 as a marker of significant movement in power, and thus the Restoration stands as a decisive moment in English, and British, history. In May 1660 Charles II returned to England from exile on the Continent to reclaim the throne for the Stuart dynasty, decisively bringing an end to the Protectorate regime.

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