Culture and Politics at the Court of Charles II, 1660-1685

November 2010
10 black and white illustrations
310 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Studies in Early Modern Cultural, Political and Social History
ISBN: 9781843835905
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Boydell Press

Culture and Politics at the Court of Charles II, 1660-1685

Matthew Jenkinson

A study of how representations and images of Charles II and his kingship were formed and presented by those in and around the court.
The reconstitution of the royal court in 1660 brought with it the restoration of fears that had been associated with earlier Stuart courts: disorder, sexual liberty, popery and arbitrary government. This book - the first full examination of its subject - illustrates the ways in which court culture was informed by the heady politics of Britain between 1660 and 1685. In political theory and practice the decades that preceded and included Charles II's reign witnessed profound interrogation of British kingship. Individuals at the heart of royal government - court preachers, poets, playwrights, courtesans, diplomats, and politicians - were assertive participants in this scrutiny. This book looks beyond the prurient interest in the sexual antics of Restoration courtiers that has characterised previous works. It engages in a genuine and sophisticated attempt to show how the complex dynamics of Charles II's court culture ran beneath the surface of show and ceremony. Ultimately it shows that the attempts to stabilise and strengthen the Stuart monarchy after the Restoration of Charles II were undercut by the cultural materials emanating from the royal court itself.

MATTHEW JENKINSON completed his PhD at Merton College, Oxford.

An e-book version of this title is available (9781846159077), to libraries through a number of trusted suppliers. See here for a full list of our partners.

Table of Contents

Court, City and Restoration
Sermons at Court
The 'Understanding' of Calisto
The Court Wits and their King
John Dryden and his King
Court Culture and the Tory Reaction


An excellent addition to our understanding of the Restoration court. [It] will be essential reading for any student of Restoration politics, political culture, and the court of Charles II. HISTORIAN

A highly original and penetrating argument which discerns in the culture of the Carolean court both a reflection and a source of many of the tensions and insecurities that characterized Restoration politics. [The] study is rich and stimulating, and it sheds much new light both on Charles II's court and on Restoration politics and culture in general. HISTORY

[A] serious and genuinely weighty work of history. [...] It is a rich and finely detailed mix for the reader to interrogate and gives us a good understanding of the cultural ambience and the cultural ambivalences of the court. REVIEWS IN HISTORY

To be welcomed not only because it studies the politics of Restoration court culture (and the culture of Restoration politics) but because it ranges widely over trials and executions, poems and plays, sermons and songs. [It] demonstrates beyond doubt that future political history that dismisses court culture will no longer constitute a satisfactory performance. HISTORY TODAY

Also in Series