ELIZABETHAN AGE : RENAISSANCE IN ENGLISH LITERATURE
Updated: Aug 2
With the Virgin Queen, Queen Elizabeth taking the throne of England, though being an illegitimate heir according to the people of England, in the late 14th century, brought a rather stable and golden period in the history of England. Politically, the era of the Queen was stable as there were no major revolts and wars taking place. With this being the scenario, the attention of the people moved from politics to art and the ways they could adapt to renew and revive them. The Renaissance which started in Italy during the same period Started showing its impact on England. The ancient Greek and Roman art and civilization were studied with much zeal and the impact of those were seen in the works of the then contemporary writers. Along with the impact of Italian Renaissance, the other cultures too affected the works of English writers. The other cultures included the culture of the third world countries which were recently being discovered and colonized by England due to the richness of the resources they had. Hence, it can be said that Renaissance spread in Europe due to cultural diffusion.
Another major term to be discussed here is “Renaissance Humanism”, a philosophy which said that humans have dignity and worth and their life should be centered around humanity instead of orthodox principles of church. People started questioning church philosophies and gave way to reason and logic. Some of the works of this time are a reflection of the same. People were in constant tug of war of thoughts between them with reasoning the things around them and condemning the church while at the same time feeling as a sinner by doing the same. One of the perfect and my favorite examples of one such work is Dr. Faustus by Christopher Marlowe. The work describes the life of a highly educated Dr. Faustus who having acquired all the worldly knowledge now wishes to learn black magic and quench his thirst to acquire knowledge at the most. However, at the end he is doomed by his own acts and the fact being that he bargained his own soul in order to acquire knowledge of necromancy.
Coming to the major writers of the period this era has produced are University wits which included seven most notable dramatists - John Lyly, George Peele, Thomas Lodge, Christopher Marlowe, Robert Greene, Thomas Nashe and Thomas Kyd. They came well before the very iconic William Shakespeare. I can talk about them endlessly, so it would be best to end this topic here and take up notable writers of this era individually later in the coming blogs. So, see you soon in the next blog as literature never seizes to amaze us.
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