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About the English Renaissance Period

Queen Elizabeth I ranks as the most important authority of the English

Renaissance period.
The English Renaissance Period, which took place during the 16th and 17th
centuries, has become well-known for its influential literature. Queen
Elizabeth stood at the helm of the movement and sponsored many of its
greatest artists. William Shakespeare also created his inestimable oeuvre
during this epoch.


Queen Elizabeth I
Queen Elizabeth, alongside Shakespeare, was the principal figure
of the Renaissance epoch. She was born in September 1533 as
the daughter of Henry VII. She took to the throne at the age of
25, yet never took a husband. Arts flourished under her rule and
patronage. She was the first English royal to grant permission for
professional theaters to be erected, paving the way for the Bard.
Poet Edmund Spenser paid tribute to Elizabeth in "The Faerie
Queene" (1590, 1596).

William Shakespeare stands out as the seminal writer of the

English Renaissance and the greatest playwright of any era. Born
in April 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon, his first play is reputed to
have been "The Comedy of Errors," performed in 1592. He began

leadership of the acting troupe Lord Chamberlain's men in 1594,

whose celebrated Globe Theater was built five years later. The
company performed many plays considered to be classic today,
including "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (1595) and "Hamlet"
Other Notable Playwrights

Shakespeare's reign did not prevent other excellent dramatists

from producing work. Christopher Marlowe, for instance, became
regarded as the father of tragedy for his plays such as "Doctor
Faustus" (1588) and "The Jew of Malta" (1589). Another of
Shakespeare's contemporaries and friends, Ben Jonson, released
plays that have endured to the present, including "Every Man in
his Honour" (1598) and "The Alchemist" (1610). Francis
Beaumont, John Fletcher, Thomas Kyd and John Webster are
among the other significant figures of the day.

Major Renaissance Poets


Besides "Faerie Queene" writer Spenser, the Renaissance

welcomed a sizable assemblage of praised poets. Sir Thomas
Wyatt was credited with introducing the sonnet form -- previously
most associated with Italian writing -- into the literature of the
English language. The era is also known for two individual
movements of poetry: metaphysical and cavalier. John Donne,
George Herbert and John Milton have come to represent the
complex metaphysical form; the more ornate cavalier style was
embodied best by writers such as Richard Lovelace.

Renaissance Period Overview

"Renaissance", French for "rebirth", utterly describes the intellectual and

economic changes that occurred in Europe and also England. When referring
to England, the Renaissance made its biggest impact between the years of
1500 and 1600. The Renaissance in England can be categorized in three
sections: the growth of the Renaissance under early Tudor monarchs (15001558), climax of the Renaissance under Elizabeth I (1558-1603), and
weakening of Renaissance by Stuart monarchs (1603-1649). During this
period known by this name, Europe arised from the economic depression of
the Middle Ages and experienced a time of financial astronomical growth.
Also importantly, the Renaissance was a period that became the turning
point for artistic, social, scientific, and political thought. Many people share
the view that a renaissance like this one seemed radiant, optimistic, and
forward-looking. Likewise, others have viewed the Renaissance as a time of
uncommonly dire strain that disrupted the English society and affected every
one. The awakening of new possibilities and new doubts somehow gave the
literature of England its unmatched vigor.

Literature and the Renaissance

Elizabeth I of

Stuart King James VI of Scotland

(James I of England)

The Elizabethan and early Stuart periods have been recognized as being one
of the greatest century of all in human history because of the period's
brilliant achievements. Elizabeth I ruled from 1588 until her death in 1603.
Her successor was the Stuart King James VI of Scotland, who took the title
James I of England in addition to his other remarkable titles. English literature
of his reign as James I from 1603 to 1625 is befittingly dubbed Jacobean. The
time of his rule produced a multitude of authors of genius, some of whom
have never been surpassed. Other authors that were not well-known still had
the same ability to write with eloquence, imagination, and enthusiasm.
The Renaissance made a big impact on English Literature. This was
manifested in the poetry of Wyatt and Surrey, who instituted and Anglicized,
an italian verse form that has been very popular in English. Intricate
Renaissance standards of love poetry were adopted.

Idea(s) of the Renaissance

The word renaissance in itself means "rebirth", which originated from a
French word. The idea of rebirth came about when Europeans thought that
they had figured out what made the Greek and Roman culture so superior to
to other just after centuries of scholastic and cultural decline. The supreme
intellectual movement during the Renaissance both in England and Italy, was
humanism. Humanism was based on the idea that human are levelheaded
beings. It stressed the respectability and importance of individuals, a force
crucial to the development of the Renaissance in many areas. Humanism
came about from classical culture. The name itself originated because one of

the period's major concerns for an educational curriculum aimed toward

subjects of studia humanitatis, or humanities.

Renaissance Authors & their Works

Lyric poetry and song were one of the things that succeeded during
Elizabethan England. One of the most famous songwriters was Thomas
Campion. His five collections of songs alongside "lute" accompaniment was
made available to all social groups. Undoubtedly, the Elizabethan period was
the pinnacle of drama. Some of the greatest dramatists at the time were
Christopher Marlowe, William Shakespeare, and Ben Jonson. In addition to
these writers, there were dozens of other fine writers including ones that
were knighted, including Sir Thomas Wyatt, and Sir Walter Raleigh.. Blank
verse became the standard by which these dramatists used to construct
their literary works, especially in the areas of tragedy and comedy. Several of
Shakespeare's tragedies such as Hamlet, and Macbeth were written using
blank verse as was his comedies.



Ben Johnson

Major Events of the Renaissance

Sir Thomas

Sir Walter

Under the reign of Henry VIII (1509-1547), the population

of England increased, feudalism was "dead", and a counntrywide movement
of the people to large cities and towns. The enclosure at the time provided
impetus for the movement. The expansion of knowledge was facilitated by
the invention of the printing press and better methods of manufacturing
paper. Among the most earliest events taking place in England was the
introduction of humanism into Oxford universities during the 1490s and
1500s. Not only did the higher education level gain importance, the lower
educational levels also did too. Private schools were built to teach the "New
Learning". While the Renaissance was gaining ground in virtually all of
England, two incidents occurred that lessen the power of the Church. The
first event took place in 1517 when Martin Luther posted his Ninety-five
Theses on a church dor in Wittenberg, Germany, an action that ushered in
the Reformation. The second event was a result of Henry VIII's desire to
divorce Catherine of Aragon because she had borne him a female child, Mary.
The Pope refused but Henry VIII somehow managed to overturn papal
jurisdiction, marry Anne Boleyn, and became the head of the Church of