The English Renaissance- Its Philosophy, Literature and Art, the European Context, Major Characteristics and Representatives

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The English Renaissance-
its philosophy, literature and art, the European context, major characteristics and representatives

Periods of English Renaissance

1500-1660 The Renaissance

While the English Renaissnace began with the ascent of the House of Tudor to the English throne in 1485, the English Literary Renaissance began with English humanists such as Sir Thomas More and Sir Thomas Wyatt.

In addition, the English Literary Renaissance consists of four subsets: The Elizabethan Age, the Jacobean Age, the Caroline Age, and the Commonwealth Period (which is also known as the Puritan Interregnum).

1558-1603 Elizabethan Age
The Elizabethan Age of English Literature coincides with the reign of Elizabeth I, 1558 - 1603. During this time, medieval tradition was blended with Renaissance optimism. Lyric poetry, prose, and drama were the major styles of literature that flowered during the Elizabethan Age. Some important writers of the Elizabethan Age include William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Edmund Spenser, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Ben Jonson.

1603-1625 Jacobean Age
The Jacobean Age of English Literature coincides with the reign of James I, 1603 - 1625. During this time the literature became sophisticated, sombre, and conscious of social abuse and rivalry. The Jacobean Age produced rich prose and drama as well as the King James translation of the Bible. Shakespeare and Jonson wrote during the Jacobean Age, as well as John Donne, Francis Bacon, and Thomas Middleton.

1625-1649 Caroline Age
The Caroline Age of English Literature coincides with the reign of Charles I, 1625 - 1649. The writers of this age wrote with refinement and elegance. This era produced a circle of poets known as the "Cavalier Poets" and the dramatists of this age were the last to write in the Elizabethan tradition.

1649-1660 Commonwealth Period (or Puritan Interregnum)

The Commonwealth Period, also known as the Puritan Interregnum, of English Literature includes the literature produced during the time of Puritan leader Oliver Cromwell. This period produced the political writings of John Milton, Thomas Hobbes' political treatise Leviathan, and the prose of Andrew Marvell. In September of 1642, the Puritans closed theatres on moral and religious grounds. For the next eighteen years the theatres remained closed, accounting for the lack of drama produced during this time period. The Renaissance

The Renaissance is a complex West-European cultural movement which began in Italy in the 14th century and spread across Europe over the 15th and the 16th centuries. Renaissance is a term to describe the development of civilization in Europe. Everywhere is produced profound changes in art, literature and above all, in man’s attitude towards life. This new culture served as a bridge between the Middle Ages and the Modern world. The word ‘renaissance’ (rebirth) is to be related to the re-discovery of ancient Greece and Rome, their culture, philosophy, literature and arts, in their original forms. This re-discovery of Antiquity coincided with the economic assertion of the individual that accompanies the development of capitalist society, and led to the liberation of individual thought from the authority of the Church. The Renaissance was thus marked by a craving for knowledge and discovery. In the field of learning there was a freer and more ‘critical’ approach to the classics, their philosophy and literature: this was called New Learning or Humanism, a term which indicates that ‘Man’ was again, as was the case with the Ancients, the main focus of interest. Humanism is the intellectual movement of the Renaissance. Humanism was a revolt against the religious orientation of medieval philosophy and literature. The humanists are followers of Greek and Latin culture. They saw in the ancient classics a more “modern’ and more desirable world than the one they lived in. The masterpiece of English humanism was Thomas More’s Utopia- Томас Мор- „Утопия”...
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