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The English Renaissance Period (In Literature)

1485-1625
Years that the English Renaissance took place

Elizabeth I- James I
The English Renaissance took place during the reigns of these rulers

London
Largest and wealthiest European Capitals
Medieval City
Population made up of people escaping the restrictions of rural life and famine
Strict class system
Crude sanitation
Crime and inflation

Italian city-states
Where the renaissance-like ideas originated (i.e. appreciation for the arts, support for learning, ect.)

Age of Exploration
The period in which people became interested in discovery and sea navigation. The most notable person from this period was Christopher Columbus.

Jacob Cabot
He engaged England in the Age of Exploration by discovering Newfoundland in 1492.

Desiderius Erasmus
Dutch scholar that published an edition of the New Testament. He raised questions about the interpretation of the Bible. His questioning of religious “truths” were influenced by his friendship with people like Sir Thomas More.

Martin Luther
(1483-1546) German Monk that stapled the 99 Thesis to the door of a German Church. Though unintentional, he led to the division of the church. He founded a new Christian denomination known as Lutheranism. This was the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.

Tudor Dynasty
Lasted from Henry VII- Elizabeth I

Henry VIII
Catholic King that wrote a book against Martin Luther. Because of this, the Pope gave him the title “Defender of Faith.” The good relations with the Pope did not last because he wanted to divorce his wife, Catherine of Aragon. He broke with the Roman Catholic Church after marrying Anne Boleyn. He married six times before he died in 1547.

Edward VI
Henry VIII’s only son. He became King at the age of 9 when his father died. During his reign, the Book of Common Prayer became required in public worship. By his death in 1553 (at the age of 15), England was on its way to becoming a protestant nation.

Mary I
Took throne after Edward VI. She was the daughter of Catherine of Aragon and restored Catholicism in England. She earned the nickname “Bloody Mary” because she ordered the execution of nearly 300 Protestants. Her reign strengthened anti-catholic sentiment in England.

Elizabeth I
Succeeded Mary I. She reestablished monarch supremacy over the Church of England and restored the Book of Common Prayer. She is also known for her religious compromise.

Stuart Dynasty
Dynasty succeeded the Tudors. Came to power in 1603 after Elizabeth I’s death. Started with James I.

Jacobean Era
The era of James I’s kingship.

James I
Took throne after Elizabeth I. The period in which he ruled is known as the Jacobean Era. He was a supporter of the arts and wanted to expand England’s position as a world power. Had the idea of “divine right of kings.” He did not get along with Parliament. He persecuted Puritans.

English Madrigal
A love song performed without musical accompaniment, often by several harmonizing voices.

Hans Holbein
Court painter to Henry VIII

Elizabethan Era
Most significant era in poetry

Sonnet
A 14-line poem in iambic pentameter and whose rhyme scheme varies

Astrophel and Stella
The first great sonnet cycle by Philip Sidney

Amoretti
Sonnet cycle by Edmund Spenser. It was about his wife.

Petrarchan Sonnet
Rhyme scheme abba abba cdecde or something similar. It avoids the use of a close couplet.

Shakespearian Sonnet
Rhyme scheme abab cdcd efef gg

Christopher Marlowe
(1564-1593) Playwright that wrote “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love,” Tamburlaine the Great, and The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus. Has a near-identical writing style to William Shakespeare.

William Shakespeare
An actor and playwright. Many of his plays were performed at The Globe. He wrote a total of 37 plays and 154 sonnets.

Prose
Language with no formal structure. It was not popular during the English Renaissance.

Defense of Poesie
Philip Sidney’s earliest work of literary criticism. Published in 1582.

The Unfortunate Traveler
Work by Thomas Nashe. It is a fictional tale and a forerunner of a novel. It was published in 1594.

History of the World.
Work of prose by Sir Walter Raleigh. It was written during the time of imprisonments in the tower of London.

Sir Francis Bacon
Leading prose writer of the English Renaissance and high government official under the reign of James I. He wrote formal essays and short prose works focusing on single topics. His work Novum Organum (1620) made significant contributions to natural science and philosophy.

King James’ Bible
A work that took 54 scholars 7 years to complete. It is the most monumental prose achievement of the entire English Renaissance. It is also the most widely quoted and has the most influential quotations in the entire English language.

Edmond Spenser
(1552-1599) Born into a working-class family. He attended Merchant Taylor’s School on a scholarship. He depended on the payments he received for his work.

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