The English Renaissance 1485-1625
Key Characteristics • Religious devotion now focuses on a person’s place here on earth rather than just the afterlife. • Universities broaden studies to include the humanities (history, modern languages, etc).
Key Characteristics (2) • The printing press was invented by Johann Gutenburg. • More and more writers began writing in the vernacular – English.
Major Developments • The Age of Exploration (New World!) • The Protestant Reformation
Tudor Monarchs 1. Henry VII 2. Henry VIII (six wives – two of whom were beheaded) 3. Edward VI (died at age 15) 4. Mary I (known as Bloody Mary) 5. Elizabeth I
Stuart Monarch 1. James I (James VI in Scotland)
Literature of the Era • Poetry – mainly the sonnet and lyric poetry. • Drama – came into full bloom. 1. Tragedies 2. Comedies
Literature of the Era (2) *Prose – The most monumental prose achievement was The Bible (King James Version), which was commissioned to be translated into common English by King James I.
The Seventeenth Century • The English Renaissance is divided into two sections: 1. The rise of England under the Tudors; 2. The decline of England under the Stuarts.
Stuart Monarchy • During the Stuart monarchy there were two main problems: 1. Religious unrest – Anglican Church vs. Puritans (Roundheads) – How far should the Reformation go?
Stuart Monarchy (2) • 2. Political unrest –Royalists (Cavaliers) vs. Puritans (Roundheads) - How much authority should the monarch have? Divine Right of Kings or not?
James I • 1603 – Elizabeth I, the last of the Tudors, died. James I, King of Scotland, a Stuart, ascended to the throne of England. The reign of James I (“Snotty Scot”) was known as the Jacobean Age (Jacobean – the Latin version of James).
James I (Cont’d) James I believed in the Divine Right of Kings. He had ruled Scotland for 36 years. His reign united England and Scotland under one crown.
James I: Significant Facts *He wore padded clothes because he feared being stabbed. *Jamestown, Virginia named for him. *He wrote about demonology. *He condemned the smoking of tobacco.
James I: Significant Facts (2) *Shakespeare wrote Macbeth in honor of the king. The length of the play and the inclusion of witches as characters reflected the playwright’s consideration of the king’s preferences and interests
Immigration 1620 – The first immigration of pilgrims to the New World took place on the Mayflower.
Charles I 1625 – Charles I (“Chopped Charlie”), son of James I, became king.
Charles I: Significant Facts *He perceived himself as “high and mighty” – no one sat in his presence (arrogance). *He was at the forefront of all portraits so as to appear taller (vanity). *He sought money from the Puritan-controlled Parliament to fight France and Spain.
Charles I: Significant Facts (2) *He abused his power. *He was forced to sign the “Petition of Right,” which said that he could have no money without the consent of Parliament.
Charles I: Significant Facts (3) *Charles I did not honor the “Petition of Right,” and he dissolved the Parliament, which began a civil war between the Royalists and the Puritans.
Charles I: Significant Facts (4) *He was arrested, and then he was condemned to death by one vote. *1649 – Charles I was beheaded.
Charles I: Execution Facts *On the day of his execution, Charles I wore extra clothes, so he would not shiver in the cold. He did not want anyone to believe he was afraid. His arrogance and vanity would not permit that possibility. *His head was sewn back on, so the family could grieve. *Snow fell on his coffin during the funeral procession which some felt was a sign of his innocence.
The Commonwealth 1649 - The Commonwealth was established under the leadership of Oliver Cromwell who was named “Lord Protector.”
The Commonwealth (2) Under the Commonwealth the theatres were closed. For the Royalists, the period between kings was called the Interregnum.
The Restoration 1660 – The end of the Protectorate. The crown was offered to the son of Charles I who became Charles II (“Cheerful Charlie”). The time was called the Restoration.
Charles II Charles II had a great interest in science. While studying the heavens, ravens left a “calling card” on his telescope. He wanted to have them killed, but a superstition prevented this.
Charles II (Cont’d) It was said that the crown would fall if ravens ever left the tower, so he moved his telescope to Greenwich.
Two Tragedies *The Plague (100,000 died in 6 months). *The Great Fire burned four-fifths of London.
James II 1685 – James II (“Dim Jim”) succeeded his brother as king. He was a Catholic, as was his son, and when he tried to return the country to Catholicism, he was deposed without bloodshed.
James II (2) James II fled to France during this Glorious Revolution. 1688 – William and Mary were invited to take the crown.
The Act of Settlement 1701- The Act of Settlement was passed by Parliament that said Britain would never be ruled by a Catholic monarch.
Literature of the Period 1. Metaphysical (beyond the physical) 2. Cavalier (carpe diem) 3. Puritan
Characteristics of Metaphysical Poetry • Precise, witty, and intellectual – like trying to figure out a riddle. • Written for the aristocracy or well-educated.
Characteristics of Metaphysical Poetry (2) • Brief and concentrated in its meaning. • Centered on dramatic situations. • Fondness for “conceits”– complex figures of speech (extended metaphors) that compare two seemingly dissimilar things.
Characteristics of Metaphysical Poetry (3) • Basis of comparison is surprising. • Use of paradox – apparent contradictions that are true. • Use of hyperbole (exaggeration).
Characteristics of Metaphysical Poetry (4) • Draws on specialized areas of experience to describe love. • Law • Medicine • Philosophy • Religion
Metaphysical Poets • John Donne - leader • Herbert • Marvell • Vaughan
John Donne: Life was a Paradox *Early – he was worldly, and he focused on witty, love poetry while pursuing a career in government. *Later – he became religious, and as a serious preacher, he focused on serious verse.
Characteristics of Cavalier Poetry • Witty, elegant poetry written for song and dance. • Focused on the theme of carpe diem (Latin for “seize the day”).
Cavalier Poets • Leader – Ben Jonson – others were called “sons of Ben.”
Puritan Writers • John Milton – “Paradise Lost” (1667) – an epic poem written to explain the ways of God to men. Milton is considered the greatest writer of the seventeenth century.
Puritan Writers (2) • John Bunyan – Pilgrim’s Progress (1678) – an allegorical novel of a Christian’s progress from this world to the next.