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TheEnglish Renaissancewas aculturalandartistic movementin England dating from the late 15th and early 16th centuries to the early 17th century. It is associated with the pan-EuropeanRenaissancethat is usually regarded as beginning in Italy in the late 14th century. Like most of northern Europe, England saw little of these developments until more than a century later. The beginning of the English Renaissance is often taken, as a convenience, to be 1485, when theBattle of Bosworth Fieldended theWars of the Rosesand inaugurated theTudor Dynasty. Renaissance style and ideas, however, were slow to penetrate England, and theElizabethan erain the second half of the 16th century is usually regarded as the height of the English Renaissance.
LiteratureEngland had a strong tradition of literature in the English vernacular, which gradually increased as English use of theprinting pressbecame common by the mid 16th century. By the time ofElizabethan literaturea vigorous literary culture in both drama and poetry included poets such asEdmund Spenser, whose verse epicThe Faerie Queenhad a strong influence onEnglish literaturebut was eventually overshadowed by the lyrics ofWilliam Shakespeare,Thomas Wyattand others. Typically, the works of these playwrights and poets circulated in manuscript form for some time before they were published, and above all the plays ofEnglish Renaissance theatrewere the outstanding legacy of the period.
The English theatre scene, which performed both for the court and nobility in private performances, and a very wide public in the theatres, was the most crowded in Europe, with a host of other playwrights as well as the giant figures ofChristopher Marlowe,ShakespeareandBen Jonson.Elizabethherself was a product ofRenaissance humanismtrained byRoger Ascham, and wroteoccasional poemssuch asOn Monsieurs Departureat critical moments of her life. Philosophers and intellectuals includedThomas MoreandFrancis Bacon. All the 16th century Tudor monarchs were highly educated, as was much of the nobility, and Italian literature had a considerable following, providing the sources for many of Shakespeare's plays. English thought advanced towards modern science with theBaconian Method, a forerunner of theScientific Method. The language of theBook of Common Prayer, first published in 1549, and at the end of the period theAuthorised Version("King James Version" to Americans) of the Bible (1611) had enduring impacts on the English consciousness.
English Renaissance musickept in touch with continental developments far more than visual art, and managed to survive the Reformation relatively successfully, thoughWilliam Byrdand other major figures were Catholic. TheElizabethan madrigalwas distinct from, but related to the Italian tradition.Thomas Tallis,Thomas Morley, andJohn Dowlandwere other leading English composers.The colossalpolychoralproductions of theVenetian Schoolhad been anticipated in the works of Thomas Tallis, and thePalestrinastyle from theRoman Schoolhad already been absorbed prior to the publication ofMusica transalpina, in the music of masters such as William Byrd.Music
Despite some buildings in a partly Renaissance style from the reign of Henry VIII, notablyHampton Court Palace, the vanishedNonsuch Palace,Sutton PlaceandLayer Marney Tower, it was not until theElizabethan architectureof the end of the century that a true Renaissance style emerged, influenced far more by northern Europe than Italy. The most famous buildings are large show houses constructed for courtiers, and characterised by lavish use of glass, as at "Hardwick Hall, more glass than wall",Wollaton HallandHatfield HouseandBurghley House, the style continuing into the early 17th century before developing intoJacobean architecture. Lesser, but still large, houses likeLittle Moreton Hallcontinued to be constructed and expanded in essentially medievalhalf-timberedstyles until the late 16th century. Church architecture essentially continued in a late Gothic style until the Reformation, and then stopped almost completely, althoughchurch monuments, screens and other fittings often had classical styles from about the mid-century. The few new church buildings were usually still Gothic in style, as inLangley Chapelof 1601.ArchitectureComparison of the English and Italian Renaissances
The English Renaissance is different from theItalian Renaissancein several ways. The dominant art forms of the English Renaissance wereliteratureandmusic.Visual artsin the English Renaissance were much less significant than in the Italian Renaissance. The English period began far later than the Italian, which is usually considered to begin withDante,PetrarchandGiottoin the early 14th century, and was moving intoMannerismand the Baroque by the 1550s or earlier. In contrast, the English Renaissance can only be said to begin, shakily, in the 1520s, and continued until perhaps 1620.In addition to the teachings of the classics, the English Renaissance was the result of other factors :
The influence of the Italian Renaissance , which had already reached its peak and that was widespread in England through countless translations (which became popular thanks to the spread of printing, developed and refined the taste for literature in general , expanding the vocabulary English), improved yields and refined English, which became one of the biggest and richest languages in the world ( it should be noted that the shape of the most popular verses in the English Renaissance , the sonnet was introduced into English literature through various translations and texts adapted by Francesco Petrarca ) ;2) The Protestant Reformation , which brought new cultural and spiritual values ; it reinforced the growing sense of nationalism , and through the translation of the Bible and the liturgy in English, gave new prestige to the English language , thus contributing to the growth of a new sense of national and cultural identity ;
3) Scientific progress ( the discovery of Copernicus that the Earth is moving ) ;
4) The patriotic fervor , enhanced by the victory against Spain ( the defeat of the Invincible Armada in 1588 ) ;
5) The general prosperity of the country.WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
William Shakespeare/;26 April 1564 23 April 1616) was an englishpoet,playwrightand actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in theEnglish languageand the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England'snational poetMajor English Renaissance authors
Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St. Alban,(22 January 1561 9 April 1626), was an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, jurist, orator, essayist, and author. He served both asAttorney GeneralandLord Chancellorof England. After his death, he remained extremely influential through his works, especially as philosophical advocate and practitioner of thescientific methodduring thescientific revolutionFRANCIS BACONTHOMAS DEKKER
Thomas Dekker(c. 1572 25 August 1632) was an EnglishElizabethandramatistand pamphleteer, a versatile and prolific writer whose career spanned several decades and brought him into contact with many of the period's most famous dramatistsBEN JONSON
Ben Jonson(originallyBenjamin Jonson - 11 June 1572 6 August 1637) was an Englishplaywright, poet, and literary critic of the seventeenth century, whose artistry exerted a lasting impact upon English poetry and stage comedy. He popularised thecomedy of humours. He is best known for thesatiricalplaysEvery Man in His Humour(1598),Volpone, or The Foxe(1605),The Alchemist(1610), andBartholomew Fayre: A Comedy(1614), and for hislyric poetry; he is generally regarded as the second most important English dramatist, afterWilliam Shakespeare, during the reign ofJames I.