The English Renaissance 1485-1625
What is a Renaissance? • “The humanistic revival of classical art, architecture, literature, and learning that originated in Italy in the 14th Century” – The American Heritage College Dictionary
Renaissance Characteristics • Question: What is the human being’s place on earth? • Humanities Curriculum (history, geography, poetry, modern languages) • Moveable type made books available to the masses • The vernacular (English) becomes more standardized
Renaissance Ambassadors • Dante, Author of The Divine Comedy • Petrarch – sonneteer • Leonardo da Vinci – painter, sculptor, architect, engineer, scientist – a true renaissance man!
Age of Exploration • Thirst for Knowledge yields… • Invention of the compass • European exploration • Columbus 1492 • Cabot discovered Newfoundland for England in 1497
The Protestant Reformation • Nationalism led to a questioning of the Church of Rome’s authority • Erasmus – New Testament interpretation questioned old teaching • Martin Luther – German monk created the “Ninety Five Theses” to reform the RC Church. The Result was division and “Protestantism.” • Denominations formed based on followers and political support. • Persecution was widespread of both Catholics and Protestants.
The Tudors • Henry VII – Ended the War of the Roses and rebuilt trust in Monarchy • Succeeded by Henry VIII
Henry VIII • Born a Catholic • Ironically called “Defender of the Faith” by the Pope for writing a book against Luther • Broke from the church after he was refused an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. • Act of Supremacy (1534) King claimed all of the Church’s property selling and giving it away.
More Henry • Became head of the New Church of England (Anglican) • Executed Thomas More of not renouncing Catholicism • Married 6 times • 1st produced 2 daughters – Mary and Elizabeth • 2nd Frail son Edward
More Tudors • Edward VI took throne at age of nine • Died at 15 – • Mary I (Bloody Mary) • Catholic who married a Spaniard and killed at least 200 protestants thereby strengthening anti-catholic feelings
Elizabethan Age • Elizabeth I • England’s ablest leader since William of Normandy • Well educated • Saved Anglican church • Tried to save her cousin, Mary Queen of Scots • Defeated the Spanish Armada • Died 1603 • “Elizabethan” signifies the English Renaissance at it’s height.
Stuarts and Puritans • James I - selected by Elizabeth as successor • Strong supporter of the arts • Sponsored England’s first American colony, Jamestown • Involved in power struggle over “divine right”
Literature and Early Tudor Times • Thomas More – Utopia – vision of a perfect society • Many writers now using English rather than Latin
Elizabethan Poetry • Favored Lyric poetry over narrative • Perfected the Sonnet • Sydney, Spenser, Shakespeare – sonneteers • Marlowe – lyric poet, idealized pastoral life
14 lines rhymed iambic pentameter octave and sestet, between which a break in thought occurs The traditional rhyme scheme is abba abba cde cde, or in the sestet, any variation of cde. Sonnet #38 This night while Sleep begins with heavy wings, To hatch mine eyes, and that unbitted thought Doth fall to stray, and my chief powers are brought To leave the sceptre of all subject things: The first that straight my fancy's error brings Unto my mind, is Stella's image, wrought By Love's own self, but, with so curious draught That she, methinks, not only shines but sings. I start, look, hark: but what in closed-up sense Was held, in open sense it flies away, Leaving me nought but wailing eloquence: I, seeing better sights in Sight's decay Called it anew, and wooed sleep again: But him, her host, that unkind guest had slain. -Philip Sidney The Petrarchan Sonnet
Three quatrains and concluding couplet in iambic pentameter, rhyming abab cdcd efef gg – or – abba cddc effe gg. The first three quatrain will often present a question to be answered in the final couplet The Spenserian sonnet is a specialized form with linking rhyme abab bcbc cdcd ee. Sonnet LXXVOne day I wrote her name upon the strand. But came the waves and washéd it away: Again I wrote it with a second hand. But came the tide and made my pains his prey. Vain man, said she, that dost in vain assayA mortal thing so to immortalise, For I myself shall like to this decay, And eke my name be wipéd out likewise. Not so, quoth I, let baser things devise To die in dust, but you shall live by fame; My verse your virtues rare shall eternize, And in the heavens write your glorious name. Where, whenas death shall all the world subdue, Our love shall live, and later life renew. The Elizabethan Sonnet
Elizabethan Drama • Playwrights turned away from religion and back to classical subjects such as the tragedy • Most written in verse • Shakespeare, Marlowe