N. H. Keeble's essay, 'The Literary Culture Of Nonconformity In Later Seventeenth-Century England' is a definitive discourse on the powerful influences on Seventeenth Century English authors. Keeble paints a picture of an "alternative Restoration period" of religious persecution, state censorship and the development of print, where poets and authors turned their rebellion into an art form.
Nonconformity, states Keeble, was born under the auspices of oppression and danger. In the disciplined Restoration era, nonconformist literature thrived on the rich creativity of authors such as Milton and John Bunyan who, Keeble concludes, "are not inexplicable anomalies" but part of the movement itself.
'The Literary Culture of Nonconformity' is a pretentious title for a formidable work: sometimes a diatribe, sometimes equivocal, often piquantly nostalgic. While it presents remarkably insightful observations on the era and its literature, it is often an arduous obstacle course to the fainthearted reader. Readers with a prior understanding of the Restoration will find the work more accessible than those without.
This work is presented in a grand hardcover edition by the University of Georgia Press and at 359 pages, carries enough weight to be used for self-defence.
N. H. Keeble, 'The Literary Culture Of Nonconformity In Later Seventeenth-Century England', 1987;
University of Georgia Press, Athens (ISBN 0-8203-0951-6)
See Defending Yourself With A Hardcover Book for more uses of this stately work.