1485-1660 The English renaissance
Renaissance = rebirth • Began in Italy in the 14th Century (1300s) • Complete role reversal: What is renaissance? • Medieval World View: • Religion and the Afterlife • Feudalism (Serfs, barons, kings) • Chivalry (Code of Honor for knights) • Universities begin to gain hold • Men protect women by going on Crusades • Renaissance World View: • Human Life on Earth • Arts and literature • Beauty of nature • Celebrate human impulses • New interest in master/exploration of the world. • Focus on Greek and Roman Philosophers • Focus on individual; questioning of medieval truths • “Renaissance Man”
Henry VII (Henry Tudor), 1485-1509: good with commercial treaties, new world exploration, relationship with Spain Henry VIII, 1509-1547: true renaissance man; obsessed with having a son. Kept killing his wives. Broke with church; he became head of Anglican Church. Edward VI, 1547-1553: Sickly, focus on Protestantism Who was in charge?
Mary (Bloody Mary), 1553-1558: Unpopular return to Catholicism, persecuted Protestants • Elizabeth I, 1558-1603: Prosperity and international prestige. Excellent politician – both in respect to public opinion and political alliances. Calmed fight between Protestants and Catholics. Never married, encouraged overseas exploration. Well-loved and respected. Who was in charge? (continued)
1400s – Great Vowel Shift • Final “e” on words no longer pronounced • Use of thou, thine, thee, thy (familiar) and you, your, yours (formal) • Second person singular verb ending “est” • “Thou leadest” • Third person singular verb ending “eth” • “She looketh” • Fewer helping verbs than today • “Saw you the stars?” • Printing press helped somewhat stabilize pronunciation • Use of Greek and Latin roots emerged • Borrowing and creating new words (from other languages; Shakespeare coined over 2000) Literature in the Renaissance
Height of British Renaissance • Sonnet gained popularity as love poem • Renaissance Drama: Concerned with the human condition (movement away from religious tones of medieval drama) • Plays accessible to all (think The Globe) • Plays written in verse • Most plays either tragedies (end with hero’s downfall) or comedies (happy ending; usually in regards to love/marriage) Elizabeth’s Reign and Literature