The Restoration period was marked by an advance in colonization and overseas trade, by the Dutch Wars, by the great plague (1665) and the great fire of London (1666), by the birth of the Whig and Tory parties, and by the Popish Plot and other manifestations of anti-Catholicism. In literature perhaps the most outstanding result of the Restoration was the reopening of the theaters, which had been closed since 1642, and a consequent great revival of the drama (see English literature). The drama of the period was marked by brilliance of wit and by licentiousness, which may have been a reflection of the freeness of court manners. The last and greatest works of John Milton fall within the period but are not typical of it; the same is true of John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress (1678). The age is vividly brought to life in the diaries of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn, and in poetry the Restoration is distinguished by the work of John Dryden and a number of other poets.
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