The term “restoration” in Restoration drama refers to the return of the monarchy to England after something more than a decade of Puritan rule. Yet the term might with equal justice be applied to the stage itself, for during the Commonwealth interregnum, Puritan authorities repeatedly endeavored, though with limited success, to banish public performances of plays. From September 2, 1642, when Parliament proclaimed that “while these sad causes and set times of humiliation do continue, public stage-plays shall cease, and be forborne,” until August 21, 1660, when...
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