The ENGLISH RENAISSANCE
The word "Renaissance" (French for rebirth) is a fitting title to describe the reawakened interest in science, art, and literature that swept across Europe during this period.
During the Renaissance, great advances were made in education and science, while some of the world's finest artists and writers created their masterpieces.
Revenge tragedies flourished at this time. Plots focused on the hero seeking revenge, often for the murder of a loved one.
Two major groups of poets appeared during the Renaissance:
Metaphysical poets wrote highly intellectual poems characterized by complex thought, paradox, natural rhythms, plain language, and especially, the conceit, or a comparison between two very unlike things. The best-known of the metaphysical poets was JOHN DONNE.
Cavalier poets were English gentlemen who were supporters of King Charles I. Their poetry, primarily about such dashing subjects as love, war, and honor, was influenced by the poetry of their predecessors Ben Jonson and John Donne. The most famous of the Cavalier poets was Sir John Suckling.
The Renaissance period in England is probably best remembered for its plays. The authors of Renaissance drama (Marlowe, Shakespeare, etc.) differed in their choice of subject, preferring comedies, tragedies, and other secular material.
The Elizabethan Era in literature was part of the Renaissance that swept Europe from the 14th through 17th centuries. Elizabeth I was queen of England from 1558 to 1603, and her support of the arts is why this period in English literature period bears her name. Theater and poetry were the dominant forms of literature during this time period.
Under Elizabeth's wise guidance, the prosperity and enthusiasm of the nation had risen to the highest pitch, and London in particular was overflowing with vigorous life.
Elizabethan literature was some of the most inspiring arts ever done. William Shakespeare was alive and well during the Elizabethan era and this is the time period in which he produced his most popular works.
Elizabeth ruled with authority and intelligence. During the course of her forty-five-year reign, she demonstrated a shrewdness for politics that enabled to establish a united kingdom.
Throughout her reign, the queen used her unmarried status, her cunning intellect, her ability to give powerful speeches, and her gift for creating a dazzling public image to rally a spirit of nationalism.