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LITERARY HISTORY. The Renaissance. Renaissance literature. Renaissance 1485 – 1603:

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LITERARY HISTORY

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Literary history

LITERARY HISTORY

The Renaissance


Renaissance literature

Renaissance literature

Renaissance 1485 – 1603:

Nowadays the Renaissance is seen as a very complex period that started long before the 16th century (esp. in Italy, 1350). The transition period mainly comprised the change from faith to secularism and from faith to reason.


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Renaissance literature

Renaissance 1485 – 1603:

The Renaissance was caused by a growing interest in religion, economics and greed/expansionism. In Italy the Renaissance started in 1450, in England only in 1500 (after the Reformation).


Renaissance literature2

Renaissance literature

Renaissance 1485 – 1603:

Renaissance = rebirth

1453 - Fall of Constantinople

scientists and artists emigrated to the West, mainly to Rome and Italy. There is a transition from Medieval thinking towards modern thinking. Greek and Roman thinkers became examples for the arts and therefore a new way of thinking arose.


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Renaissance literature

1453 - Fall of Constantinople


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Renaissance literature

The Renaissance was a

rebirth both of Man and of Classical Learning and Culture


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Renaissance literature

The Rebirth of Man

in the Middle Ages, man was valued for being like others, whereas in the Renaissance man was valued for the way in which he differed from others.

Therefore, the Renaissance attempted to develop all man’s potentialities.


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Renaissance literature

The Rebirth of Classical learning and culture

is shown in Renaissance Humanism:

  • A preference for original classical scholarship

  • A critical mind

  • Emphasis on life on earth

  • A taste for the ethics of ancient

    Greece and Rome mixed with

    Christian principles

  • Acceptance of Plato’s theories

  • Science: change from deductive

    methods to the inductive method

    of Francis Bacon


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Renaissance literature

William Caxton (ca. 1415~1422 – ca. March 1492) was an English merchant, diplomat, writer and printer. He is thought to be the first English person to work as a printer and the first to introduce a printing press into England. He was also the first English retailer of printed books (his London contemporaries in the same trade were all Flemish, German or French).

Ideas could now be spread because of the art of printing.


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Renaissance literature

Caxton Showing the First Specimen of His Printing to King Edward IV at the Almonry, Westminster, Daniel Maclise, 1851


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Renaissance literature

Renaissance Changes

Religion:

  • memento mori became carpe diem

  • Decline of the influence of the Catholic church

  • Man’s broadened horizons

  • Spread of learning

  • bookprinting


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Renaissance literature

Renaissance Changes

Politics:The break-up of the Feudal system (based on a two-class society and the RC Church) had 3 main causes:

  • men are not of equal talent, ambition or imagination

  • the Church lost its influence over society

  • economic changes (brought about by the Crusades)


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Renaissance literature

Renaissance Changes

Society:

  • important to investigate life on earth (reaction on medieval times)

  • New attitude towards women (Middle Ages: despised (Eve) or worshipped)

  • society expanded rapidly


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Renaissance literature

Renaissance Changes

Economics:

  • Columbus & Vasco da Gama discovered that the world was not flat

  • Foreign trade – money – knowledge

  • Spirit of adventure


Renaissance literature13

Renaissance literature

Renaissance Changes

Art:

  • Art for art’s sake

  • Rise of individualism, men are not of equal talent, ambition, imagination

  • focus on feelings: e.g. love

  • New interest in the Classics

  • sonnet (classical form derived from Italian Latin poetry)

  • travel stories


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Renaissance literature

The Vitruvian Man

Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) was one of the era’s leading polymaths, making important contributions to the arts, sciences and humanities. We can call him a Homo Universalis, which is typical for the Renaissance.


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Renaissance literature

The English Reformation (1509-1547)

  • Henry VIII broke free from the Catholic church

    and founded the Anglican church. The Monarch

    became the head of the church.

  • Main shift: viewpoint from other-worldly

    to the here and now. England occupied

    a position in between, with neither

    Reformation (like in Germany), nor

    Renaissance (like in Italy). Something

    new was added in the Renaissance

    (19th century view).


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Renaissance literature

Henry VIII (1491-1547)

Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France. Henry was the second monarch of the House of Tudor, succeeding his father, Henry VII.


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Renaissance literature

Henry VIII (1491-1547)

Besides his six marriages, Henry VIII is known

for his role in the separation of the Church of

England from the Roman Catholic Church.

Henry's struggles with Rome led to the

separation of the Church of England

from papal authority, the Dissolution of

the Monasteries, and establishing

himself as the Supreme Head of the

Church of England.

Yet he remained a believer in core

Catholic theological teachings, even

after his excommunication from the

Catholic Church.


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Renaissance literature

The Six Wives of Henry VIII


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Renaissance literature

The Elizabethan Worldpicture (1558-1603)

The Elizabethan age is of a piece with what went before and

what came after it. The Elizabethans could afford to indulge

in drama precisely because the moral standards were so

powerful. Order, sin and redemption were fused in practice.

At the same time the

Elizabethans could combine

extremes of optimism and

pessimism, there was no

tyranny of general opinion

one way or the other.

This one of the things that

seperates the Elizabethans

from the Victorian world

(doctrine of progress).


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Renaissance literature

The Elizabethan Worldpicture (1558-1603)

The Elizabethans pictured the universal order under 3 main forms:

  • a chain

  • a series of correspondences

    or planes

  • a dance


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Renaissance literature

The Elizabethan Worldpicture (1558-1603)

The Chain of Being:

The chain stretched from the

foot of God’s throne to the

meanest of inanimate objects.

The idea began with Plato’s

Timaeus, was developed by

Aristotle, was adopted by the Alexandrian Jews, was spread

by the neo-Platonists and from

the Middle Ages till the 18th

century was a commonplace,

more taken for granted than

set forth.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_chain_of_being


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Renaissance literature

The Elizabethan Worldpicture (1558-1603)

mere existence: animate class      

existence/life/feeling

+ understanding = man      

existence+life+feeling: sensitive class    

existence+life: vegetative class      


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Renaissance literature

The Elizabethan Worldpicture (1558-1603)

The Chain of Being:Shakespeare, though always concerned with man’s position in the chain, only in The Tempest considers the chain itself.


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Renaissance literature

Petrarca

Francesco Petrarca (20 July

1304 – 19 July 1374), known in

English as Petrarch, was an

Italian scholar and poet, and

one of the earliest humanists.

Petrarch is often called the

“Father of Humanism”.


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Renaissance literature

The Petrarcan Sonnet

A Petrarcan sonnet is almost always about an impossible, hopeless and cleansing love for an unattainable lover who has this almost heavenly beauty.


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Renaissance literature

The Petrarcan Sonnet

A Petrarcan sonnet contains 14 lines:

  • 1 octave (= 2 quatrains = 2 stanzas

    of 4 lines

  • 1 sextet (= 2 terzets = 2 stanzas of 3

    lines

  • a maximum of 5 rhymewords

  • possible rhymeschemes:

    abba abba cdd cdd

    abba abba cdd cee

    abba abba cde cde


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Renaissance literature

Sir Thomas Wyatt

Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503–1542)

was a 16th-century English

ambassador and lyrical poet,

who lived at Henry VIII’s court.

He is credited with introducing

the sonnet into English.


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Renaissance literature

Whoso List to Hunt

Whoso list to hunt, I know where is an hind,

But as for me, alas, I may no more - The vain travail hath worried me so sore, I am of them that farthest come behind.

Yet may I, by no means, my wearied mind Draw from the deer, but as she fleeth afore, Fainting I follow. I leave off therefore, Since in a net I seek to hold the wind.

Who list her hunt, I put him out of doubt, As well as I, may spend his time in vain. And graven with diamonds in letters plain

There is written her fair neck round about: “Noli me tangere”, for Caesar's I am, And wild FOR to hold, though I seem tame.


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Renaissance literature

Whoso List to Hunt - rhymescheme

Whoso list to hunt, I know where is an hind,

But as for me, alas, I may no more - The vain travail hath worried me so sore, I am of them that farthest come behind.

Yet may I, by no means, my wearied mind Draw from the deer, but as she fleeth afore, Fainting I follow. I leave off therefore, Since in a net I seek to hold the wind.

Who list her hunt, I put him out of doubt, As well as I, may spend his time in vain. And graven with diamonds in letters plain

There is written her fair neck round about: “Noli me tangere”, for Caesar's I am, And wild FOR to hold, though I seem tame.


Literary history

Whoso List to Hunt

Whoso list to hunt, I know where is an hind,

But as for me, alas, I may no more - The vain travail hath worried me so sore, I am of them that farthest come behind.

Yet may I, by no means, my wearied mind Draw from the deer, but as she fleeth afore, Fainting I follow. I leave off therefore, Since in a net I seek to hold the wind.

Who list her hunt, I put him out of doubt, As well as I, may spend his time in vain. And graven with diamonds in letters plain

There is written her fair neck round about:

“Noli me tangere”, for Caesar's I am,

And wild FOR to hold, though I seem tame.

o

c

t

a

v

e

quatrain

quatrain

chute

s

e

x

t

e

t

terzet

terzet


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Renaissance literature

The Shakespearean Sonnet

Later poets, like William Shakespeare, were deeply inspired by Wyatt but developed the much freer English or Shakespearean sonnet.


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Renaissance literature

The Shakespearean Sonnet

A Shakespearean sonnet also contains 14 lines but uses a different format:

  • 3 quatrains = 3 stanzas

    of 4 lines

  • 1 couplet/duplet = 1 stanza of 2 lines

  • a maximum of 7 rhymewords

  • rhymescheme:

    abab cdcd efef gg


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Renaissance literature

WS: Sonnet 130

My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;

Coral is far more red than her lips' red;

If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;

If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.

I have seen roses damasked, red and white,

But no such roses see I in her cheeks;

And in some perfumes is there more delight

Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.

I love to hear her speak, yet well I know

That music hath a far more pleasing sound;

I grant I never saw a goddess go;

My mistress when she walks treads on the ground’.

And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare

As any she belied with false compare.


Literary history

Sting: Sister Moon

Sister moon will be my guideIn your blue blue shadows I would hideAll good people asleep tonightI'm all by myself in your silver lightI would gaze at your face the whole night throughI'd go out of my mind, but for youLying in a mother's armsThe primal root of a woman's charmsI'm a stranger to the sunMy eyes are too weakHow cold is a heartWhen it's warmth that he seeks?You watch every night, you don't care what I doI'd go out of my mind, but for youI'd go out of my mind, but for youMy mistress' eyes are nothing like the sunMy hunger for her explains everything I've doneTo howl at the moon the whole night throughAnd they really don't care if I doI'd go out of my mind, but for you


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Renaissance literature

The development of the English Language

Short history:

Ca.400 – 1066 AD: Old English

(1066: Battle of Hastings)

1066 – ca.1500 AD:Middle English

Ca.1500 AD – NOW:Modern English

 1450 – 1700: Great Vowel Shift


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Renaissance literature

The development of the English Language

Ca.400 – 1066 AD: Old English

Hwæt! We Gardena         in geardagum, þeodcyninga,         þrym gefrunon, hu ða æþelingas         ellen fremedon. Oft Scyld Scefing         sceaþena þreatum,


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Renaissance literature

The development of the English Language

1066 – ca.1500 AD: Middle English

Middle English does not really exist. The period can be marked as a transition period between old and modern English.


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Renaissance literature

The development of the English Language


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Renaissance literature

The development of the English Language

 1450 – 1700: Great Vowel Shift

Vowels tended to become closer or become diphthongs. This took place between 1400 and 1600. The Early Middle English Vowel Shortening resulted in the difference in pronunciation between for example sane and sanity. Generally speaking long vowels were raised, becoming closer vowels.


Literary history

 1450 – 1700: Great Vowel Shift

  • In earlier days the pronunciation corresponded to the spelling (like in modern Italian).

  • William Caxton (bookprinting!) decided to use the written language of the area with the greatest influence.

  • A lot of words though had already undergone a change in pronunciation and that is one of the reasons that there are so many differences in English between writing and speaking.


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Renaissance literature

William Shakespeare (lower middle class)

(26 April 1564 (baptised) – 23 April 1616)

English poet and playwright, widely

regarded as the greatest writer in the

English language and the world's pre-

eminent dramatist. He is often called

England's national poet and the "Bard

of Avon". His surviving works, including

some collaborations, consist of about

38 plays, 154 sonnets, 2 long

narrative poems, and several other

poems. His plays have been translated

into every major living language and are

performed more often than those of any

other playwright.


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Renaissance literature

William Shakespeare: A Language Magician

Examples of insults used in Shakespeare’s plays:

  • Thou surly open-arsed infection!

  • Thou lumpish shag-haired gudgeon!

  • Thou arrogant prick-eared whore-master!

  • Thou tongueless toad-spotted hag-seed!

  • Thou mangled flap-mouthed joithead!

  • Thou abominable decayed plebian!

  • Thou pestilent plume-plucked

    hugger-mugger!


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Renaissance literature

William Shakespeare’s Plays

Shakespeare wrote:

  • Histories, e.g. Richard III, Henry VI

  • Comedies, e.g. Midsummer Night’s Dream

  • Tragedies, e.g. Macbeth, Hamlet, The Tempest

  • Romances, e.g. Cymbeline


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Renaissance literature

William Shakespeare’s Plays

Shakespeare’s work can be divided

into 4 periods:

First period (1590-1596)

  • Comedy, only entertainment, no instructions, influenced by Plautus (classical tradition)

  • Recurring theme: mistaken identity

  • only 1 tragedy: Titus Andronicus


Literary history

Lavinia (from Titus Andronicus)


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Renaissance literature

William Shakespeare’s Works

In his second period Shakespeare

experimented and there were lots of

technical innovations. He also

became more philosophical.

Second period (1596-1600)

  • Great comedies (MSND, The Merchant of Venice, Twelfth Night

  • The Great History plays: Richard II, Henry IV (parts I + II)

  • Tragedies: Romeo & Juliet


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Renaissance literature

William Shakespeare’s Works

In 1596 his son Hamnet died. In the

1600s he gave up acting.

Third period (1600-1608)

  • Bitter Comedies: the comedies are no longer funny and don’t end harmoniously (Measure for Measure, All’s Well that Ends Well)


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Renaissance literature

William Shakespeare’s Works

Fourth period (1608-1616)

  • Famous Tragedies: Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear

  • Romances: The Tempest, Pericles, The Winter’s Tale, Cymbeline


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Renaissance literature

Richard III

(2 October 1452 – 22 August 1485)

King of England for two years, from

1483 until his death in 1485 during the

Battle of Bosworth Field. He was the

last king of the House of York and the

last of the Plantagenet dynasty. His

defeat at the Battle of Bosworth Field

was the decisive battle of the Wars of

the Roses and is sometimes regarded

as the end of the Middle Ages in

England. He is the subject of an

eponymous play by Shakespeare.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9zIw84dD_Y


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Renaissance literature

Christopher Marlowe (upper class)

(baptised 26 February 1564 – 30 May 1593)

English dramatist, poet and translator of

the Elizabethan era. Marlowe was the

foremost Elizabethan tragedian of his day.

He greatly influenced Shakespeare, who

was born in the same year as

Marlowe and who rose to become the

pre-eminent Elizabethan playwright

after Marlowe's mysterious early

death. Marlowe's plays are known for

the use of blank verse, and their

overreaching protagonists.


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Renaissance literature

Christopher Marlowe’s Plays

Marlowe’s main themes are the

search/struggle for power and good

versus evil.

  • Tamburlaine (1587): gaining power through sheer force

  • Jew of Malta (1588): gaining power through money/wealth

  • Dr Faustus (1588): gaining power through knowledge


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Renaissance literature

Christopher Marlowe’s Plays

TAMBURLAINE THE GREAT

is a play in two parts, loosely based on the life

of the Central Asian emperor Timur “the lame“

and was written in 1587/1588. The play is a

milestone in Elizabethan public drama;

it marks a turning away from the clumsy

language and loose plotting of the earlier

Tudor dramatists, and a new interest in

fresh and vivid language, memorable

action, and intellectual complexity.

Along with Thomas Kyd's The Spanish

Tragedy, it may be considered the first

popular success of London's public stage.


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Renaissance literature

Christopher Marlowe’s Plays

THE JEW OF MALTA

was probably written in 1589 or 1590.

Its plot is an original story of religious

conflict, intrigue, and revenge, set

against a backdrop of the struggle for

supremacy between Spain and the

Ottoman Empire in the Mediterranean

that takes place on the island of

Malta. The Jew of Malta is considered

to have been a major influence on

Shakespeare's The Merchant of

Venice.


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Renaissance literature

Christopher Marlowe’s Plays

THE TRAGICAL HISTORY OF THE LIFE AND

DEATH OF DOCTOR FAUSTUS

is a play based on the Faust story, in which a

man sells his soul to the devil for power and

knowledge. Doctor Faustus was first published

in 1604, 11 years after Marlowe's death and at

least 12 years after the first performance of the

play.

“No Elizabethan play outside the Shakespeare

canon has raised more controversy than Doctor

Faustus. There is no agreement concerning the

nature of the text and the date of composition...

and the centrality of the Faust legend in the history

of the Western world precludes any definitive

agreement on the interpretation of the play...”


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Renaissance literature

Christopher Marlowe’s Plays

In these three plays, the main characters (Tamburlaine, the Jew of Malta, Dr Faustus) are all so-called “overreachers” or “Marlovian Heroes”. They are all destroyed by their own passion and ambition.

Other examples of overreachers:

Macbeth, Icarus, and…?


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Renaissance literature

DR FAUSTUS

(overreacher)

GOD

MONARCH

NOBILITY

MERCHANTS

LOWER WORKING CLASS

SLAVES


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Renaissance literature

THE TRAGICAL HISTORY OF THE LIFE AND

DEATH OF DOCTOR FAUSTUS

  • This play is about a lower class man who has studied

    everything he is legally allowed to, yet still wants to know

    more.

  • Initially, he wants to know as much as God

    does so that he can help mankind, but his

    human weakness causes him to use all his

    knowledge for his own benefit.

  • He “buys” this knowledge from the devil,

    Mephistophilis, in exchange for his soul (cf.

    Everyman or the movie Crossroads).

  • The devil tells him he will come for him

    in 24 years’ time.


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Renaissance literature

THE TRAGICAL HISTORY OF THE LIFE AND

DEATH OF DOCTOR FAUSTUS

In a medieval play the writer would allow

God to have mercy and save Faustus’

soul. The fact that Marlowe makes

Faustus suffer the consequences of his

own actions and decisions is a very

Renaissance thing: in the new,

individualist way of thinking you can

make your own choices, but the

consequences are also for you.


Literary history

THE TRAGICAL HISTORY OF THE LIFE AND

DEATH OF DOCTOR FAUSTUS

The fragment in the book on pages 38-40 deals with Faustus’ last hour on earth, right before the devil comes to take him away to hell (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUGq5yMUKMI)

  • Lines 55-66: The clock strikes 24:00 Faustus’ time is up. The devil comes into his house and takes him away. His screams are heard around town.

  • Lines 1-25: The clock strikes 23:00

    Faustus talks to himself; he wonders if he can repent and ask God for forgiveness and maybe not go to hell.

  • Lines 35-45: The clock strikes 23.30

    Faustus says in line 41 that he wants to make a deal with God. His deals become more and more desperate.


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Renaissance literature

The English Middle Ages

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkLPxrteX3g&feature=relmfu

The English Renaissance

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SL50pc7C3o


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