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The English Renaissance
1485-1625
The Renaissance
 Carefully read the timeline on pp.222-23
 What two important religious works were published
during this period?

What connections might there be between those publications
and the creation of the Church of England in 1534?
 Name two events that indicate British presence in
the New World.

What do these events suggest about the importance of overseas
trade to Britain?
The Renaissance
 A “rebirth” of civilization – reviving the learning of
ancient Greece and Rome
 Humanism

Individual vs. Communal
 A response to the “dark ages” of medieval Europe
 Began in Italy in the 1300s as the wealthy began to
support learning and the arts

Petrarch, Pico della Mirandola, Leonardo da Vinci, di Medici
 Italian Renaissance slowly spread north to England
 By 1530, 60% of English people could read (vs. 30% in 15th c.)
Exploration
 Thirst for knowledge leads to sea exploration
 Advances in navigation and astronomy
 compass
 Columbus – 1492 voyage
 Trade route to East
 Discovery of Americas
 English companies and explorers became colonizers
and merchant adventurers
Religion
 Growing sense of nationalism and humanism
 People begin to question the authority of the Roman Catholic Church
 Europeans tired of corruption in the Church
 Connection to Canterbury Tales?
 Martin Luther protested against Catholic Church and began
the Protestant Reformation

95 Theses
 Humanist values and beliefs led to a favoring of personal,
not institutional, interpretations of scripture – sought an
“enlightened private conscience”
 Reformation in England: Henry VIII’s motives were
dynastic, not religious
English Monarchy
 Tudor dynasty founded in
1485 by Henry VII
 Monarchs had absolute power
 Transformed England into a
major world power

London becomes metropolitan
market
 Henry VIII breaks with
Roman Catholic Church so
that he can divorce Catherine
of Aragon and marry Anne
Boleyn
 Mary I (Bloody Mary) – a
Catholic

executed many Protestants
Elizabeth I
 Daughter of Henry VIII
and Anne Boleyn
 Received a Renaissance
education and was a great
patron of the arts
 Gathered around her the
greatest writers of the day
 Il Cortegiano – Castiglione

sprezzatura (“easy grace”)
 Reestablished Church of
England
 Considered the greatest
English monarch since
William the Conquerer
Elizabethan Literature
 Explosion of cultural energy
 Art, music, theater
 Literature expresses the spirit of the Renaissance
 Considered one of the high points in the history of
English literature
Poetry
 Development of lyric poetry over the narrative poetry of the medieval
age

How might this reflect the larger attention to humanism that began during
the Renaissance?
 Perfection of the sonnet (adapted from the Italian model)
 Sonnet: a 14-line poem usually written in iambic pentameter, rhyme
scheme varies


Petrarchan: abbaabba cdecde (or cdcdcd)
Octave and sestet: Octave poses question, sestet answers
 Major sonnet writers:
 Sidney
 Spenser
 Shakespeare


Changed the pattern and rhyme scheme of Pertrarchan sonnet
English (or Shakespearean) sonnet: abab cdcd efef gg
Pastoral Poetry
 Idealizes the simple, rustic life of the countryside
 Glorifies nature
 Christopher Marlowe: “The Passionate Shepherd to
His Love”
 Sir Walter Raleigh writes “The Nymph’s Reply to the
Shepherd” in response