The Renaissance Period is considered to be a cultural movement. The term Renaissance means “Rebirth”. Renaissance literature refers to European literature that was influenced by the intellectual and cultural tendencies of the Renaissance. Geoffrey Chaucer’s popularizing of English as a medium of literary composition rather than Latin occurred only 50 years after Dante had started using Italian for serious poetry, and Chaucer translated works by both Boccaccio and Petrarch into Middle English. Renaissance literature is literature that was created in Europe, during the Renaissance. Johnson’s was an age when tragic dignity implied politeness, when it was below the dignity of tragedy to mention so lowly an object as a blanket. Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII's wife at the time, didn't give Henry a male heir. The third complicating factor was the race to catch up with Continental developments in arts and philosophy. The position of the crown, politically dominant yet financially insecure, had always been potentially unstable, and, when Charles I lost the confidence of his greater subjects in the 1640s, his authority crumbled. Know Different Ages in History of English Literature by Somnath Sarkar — July 09, 2016 0 Literary study involves not only the reading of books and the consideration of them on abstract aesthetic grounds, but also a study of the outward manifestations of the spirit of the ages. The barely disguised social ferment was accompanied by an intellectual revolution, as the medieval synthesis collapsed before the new science, new religion, and new humanism. In the fifteenth century, Thomas Malory, author of Le Morte D’Arthur, was a notable figure. Yet, from another point of view, this was a time of unusually traumatic strain, in which English society underwent massive disruptions that transformed it on every front and decisively affected the life of every individual. The language of the Book of Common Prayer, first published in 1549, and at the end of the period the Authorised Version (“King James Version” to Americans) of the Bible (1611) had enduring impacts on the English consciousness. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. The Renaissance Period injected English literature with a new and innovative life; it was a time for rediscovering classical texts, coining new words, and both translating and imitating classical forms. The English theatre scene, which performed both for the court and nobility in private performances, and a very wide public in the theatres, was the most crowded in Europe, with a host of other playwrights as well as the giant figures of Christopher Marlowe, Shakespeare and Ben Jonson. Cambridge is a superb place to study for a PhD in early modern literature. By the time of Elizabethan literature a vigorous literary culture in both drama and poetry included poets such as Edmund Spenser, whose verse epic The Faerie Queene had a strong influence on English literature but was eventually overshadowed by the lyrics of William Shakespeare, Thomas Wyatt and others. The English Renaissance was a cultural and artistic movement in England from the early 16th century to the early 17th century. first period covers the end of the 15th and the first half of the 16th centuries. He desired to annul his first marriage as he had no heir from his wife. Both writers and readers of the Renaissance marveled at the world, which seemed to be designed by a master artist or craftsman. Repeatedly, crucial innovations in English letters developed resources originating from Italy—such as the sonnet of Petrarch, the epic of Ludovico Ariosto, the pastoral of Jacopo Sannazzaro, the canzone, and blank verse—and values imported with these forms were in competition with the humanists’ ethical preoccupations. Henry VIII was the ruler of English from 1509-1547. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Philosophers and intellectuals included Thomas More and Francis Bacon. Equally significant was the welcome afforded to Niccolò Machiavelli, whose lessons were vilified publicly and absorbed in private. Social ideals of wit, many-sidedness, and sprezzatura (accomplishment mixed with unaffectedness) were imbibed from Baldassare Castiglione’s Il cortegiano, translated as The Courtyer by Sir Thomas Hoby in 1561, and Elizabethan court poetry is steeped in Castiglione’s aristocratic Neoplatonism, his notions of universal proportion, and the love of beauty as the path to virtue. Generally described as taking place from the 14th century to the 17th century, the Renaissance promoted the rediscovery of classical philosophy, literature and art. An introduction to women who contributed to English literature in the 16th and 17th centuries. The Renaissance was a period beginning in the later 14th century and lasting until the 17th century. Never mind the religious Reformation that created Protestantism, England's religious Renaissance was really sparked by a racy love affair between Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. An allusion in Shakespeare’s Macbeth (1606–07) to heaven peeping “through the blanket of the dark” would become a “problem” only later, when, for instance, Samuel Johnson complained in 1751 that such words provoked laughter rather than awe. Many scholars of English literature concede that English poetry had not seen and has yet to see another period like that which lasted roughly from the mid 16th to the late 17th century. Renaissance style and ideas, however, were slow to penetrate England, and the Elizabethan era in the second half of the 16th century is usually regarded as the height of the English Renaissance. Elizabeth herself was a product of Renaissance humanism trained by Roger Ascham, and wrote occasional poems such as On Monsieur’s Departure at critical moments of her life. Civil unrest associated with the War of the Roses may have helped to spur changes in popular thinking and cultural standards during this time. For this reason, scholars find the singularity of the period called the English Renaissance questionable; C. S. Lewis, a professor of Medieval and Renaissance literature at Oxford and Cambridge, famously remarked to a colleague that he had “discovered” that there was no English Renaissance, and that if there had been one, it had “no effect whatsoever.”. During the Old English Period, written literature began to develop from oral An English Renaissance Although the Renaissance arrived in England in the mid-1500s, almost two centuries after it began in Italy, some of its greatest achievements … We can distinguish three periods of literature of English Renaissance. Other cultural historians have countered that, regardless of whether the name “renaissance” is apt, there was undeniably an artistic flowering in England under the Tudor monarchs, culminating in Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Real wages hit an all-time low in the 1620s, and social relations were plunged into a state of fluidity from which the merchant and the ambitious lesser gentleman profited at the expense of the aristocrat and the labourer, as satires and comedies current from the 1590s complain. Literary periods are spans of time for literature that shares intellectual, linguistic, religious, and artistic influences. The Renaissance was a revival of classical learning and a flowering of arts and culture starting in Italy and spreading throughout Europe in the 14th through early 17th centuries. In England the first scholars and humanists appeared, … Queen Elizabeth I standing on a map of England. The movement had its origin in Italy and it gradually spread throughout Europe. The Prince, written in 1513, was unavailable in English until 1640, but as early as the 1580s Gabriel Harvey, a friend of the poet Edmund Spenser, can be found enthusiastically hailing its author as the apostle of modern pragmatism. So the literary revival occurred in a society rife with tensions, uncertainties, and competing versions of order and authority, religion and status, sex and the self. A large and lively faculty with a wide range of interests means that we can consider and support research proposals in a very wide range of aspects of the field. In this period England’s population doubled; prices rocketed, rents followed, old social loyalties dissolved, and new industrial, agricultural, and commercial veins were first tapped. Several of his plays had enjoyed great success, setting the stage for the English Renaissance and opening the door for other poets and playwrights, most notably William Shakespeare. This doubleness, of new possibilities and new doubts simultaneously apprehended, gives the literature its unrivaled intensity. This period is home to the likes of Chaucer, Thomas Malory, and Robert Henryson. Meanwhile, the huge body of poor fell ever further behind the rich; the pamphlets of Thomas Harman (1566) and Robert Greene (1591–92), as well as Shakespeare’s King Lear (1605–06), provide glimpses of a horrific world of vagabondage and crime, the Elizabethans’ biggest, unsolvable social problem. As with the Old English period, much of the Middle English writings were religious in nature; however, from about 1350 onward, secular literature began to rise. Simultaneously apprehended, gives the literature its unrivaled intensity followed by the intellectual and cultural during! Day in 15th-to-17th-century Europe longer accepting new applications, and continued until perhaps 1620 as in most of northern,! 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