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The basic features of Elizabethan Poetry

During the Elizabethan age England felt the complete effect of the Renaissance. There occurred a revival of the old and classical literature of Greece and Rome and this was manifested in the poetry of the age. The Elizabethan age was characterized by an extreme spirit of adventure, aestheticism and materialism which became the characteristic features of Elizabethan poetry. Many poets displayed their skill in versification during this time and England came to be called `The Nest Of Singing Birds.'

Several general characteristics of Elizabethan Poetry and literature were 1. The period has the great variety of almost unlimited creative force; it includes works of many kinds in both verse and prose, and ranges in spirit from the loftiest Platonic idealism or the most delightful romance to the level of very repulsive realism. 2. It was mainly dominated, however, by the spirit of romance. 3. It was full also of the spirit of dramatic action, as befitted an age whose restless enterprise was eagerly extending itself to every quarter of the globe. 4. In style it often exhibits romantic luxuriance, which sometimes takes the form of elaborate affectations of which the favorite 'conceit' is only the most apparent. 5. It was in part a period of experimentation, when the proper material and limits of literary forms were being determined, oftentimes by means of false starts and grandiose failures. 6. It continued to be largely influenced by the literature of Italy, and to a less degree by those of France and Spain. 7. The literary spirit was all-pervasive, and the authors were men (not yet women) of almost every class, from distinguished courtiers, like Raleigh and Sidney, to the company of hack writers, who starved in garrets and hung about the outskirts of the bustling taverns. The Elizabethan period (1558 to 1603) in poetry is characterized by a number of frequently overlapping developments. The introduction and...
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