‘The Wits’ Garden’ — Court Forms and Libertine Philosophies

  • Edward Burns


Carolean myth-making is a much more improvised and ironically shaded business than its Caroline antecedents. The history of court entertainments under Charles II is patchy and irregular, characterized by false starts and half-hearted ambition. There is no equivalent of the coherent and idealistic enthusiasms of the court of Henrietta Maria. The hierarchical platonism of the Caroline court gave place to a materialist philosophy associated with Lucretius and the new science. Epicureanism in this sceptical ‘libertine’ form could scarcely provide a framework of ideas for court propaganda to match the elaborate constructions of neo-platonism. Instead, the patronage games of courtiers as intent on furthering their own careers as those of their protégés produced an ambiguous, often ironic, set of mirrorings between playhouse and court.


Musical Statement Paradise Lost Materialist Philosophy Kind Lover Court Form 
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Copyright information

© Edward Burns 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward Burns
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LiverpoolUK

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