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English Renaissance-2

The English Renaissance

1. Historical background 2. The enclosure movement

3. Humanism
4. The flourishing of drama

England enjoyed a period of peace and prosperity during the reign of Queen Elizabeth (1558 - 1603). The Queen maintained a balance of power between
the feudal lords the rising burghers the Protestants the Catholics

In 1588 English navy defeated the Spanish Armada. strengthened the power of the monarch and accelerated the awakening of national consciousness

England became a naval power.

The reason for the Enclosure Movement
1. the rising of the burgher class (bourgeoisie) 2. the discovery of the new sea routes

3. the wool trade

The result of the Enclosure Movement
the capitalist class the labouring class two opposite classes

Time: began in the 14th century

ended in the 17th century
Place : began in Italy

spread in France, Spain, the Netherlands, England
Origin: from a French word Meaning: Rebirth; revival

Ideal: Humanism

In the 15th and 16th centuries, scholars in Western European countries had a keen interest in the Greek and Latin culture. That is, the art and

science of ancient Greece and Rome were being
born again after long years of neglect. Its ideal is


----Humanist scholars took great interest in the welfare of human beings
---- Man should be given full freedom to enrich their intellectual and emotional life ----In religion it demanded the reformation of the church ----In art and literature, it praised man and the pursuit of happiness in this life

----It shattered the shackles of spiritual bondage of man’s mind by the Roman Catholic Church ----The humanist opened his eyes to a “brave new world” in front of him

Edmund Spenser
(1552? ----- 1599)

Born: in a rather poor family --- clothmaker
Education: The Merchant Taylor’s school the greatest Humanistic school

classic language

literary masterpiece
B.A. in 1573


M.A.in 1576
to be a sizar(剑桥领取奖学金的学生,公费生)

His works:

The Shepherd’s Calendar The Faerie Queene A View of the Present State of Ireland Amoretti Epithalamion Prothalamion Four Hymns

The Shepherd’s Calendar
? The first important work ? A pastoral poem in 12 parts

? It is written in the tradition of Virgil’s verse dialogues in a rural setting with shepherds and shepherdesses who adopt classical, French, or English peasants names.
? Theme: love, poetry, and religion

? Lyrical poetry

The Faerie Queene
* Major achievement

* Unfinished allegorical romance
* original plan: 12 books

*story: the advantures of 12 knights despatched by the Faerie Queene, Gloria
* Gloria ----- Glory and Queen Elizabeth * result: six books * Six virtues: Truth, Temperance, Friendship, Justice, Chastity, and Courtesy

The Knight: the Red Cross, or Holiness the true religion of the Anglican Church
to destroy a dragon Glorious Queen of Faerie Her beauty is too dazzling to the ordinary eye, so she concealed it behind a veil. They traveled together and many events took place. his companion

Her parents were imprisoned by dragon in a tower of brass.

Fought and won

*The Red Cross knight is happily united with Una by marriage, but shorly after, he has to leave her and report his success to the Faerie Queene.

The Spenserian stanza It is a group of eight lines of iambic pentameter followed by a six-stress iambic line, with a rhyme scheme ababbcbcc.

a stressed and an unstressed foot

In the last thirty years of the 16th century there was a flourishing of drama. never seen before
Reasons: 1. Cities and towns grew rapidly in the 16th century. 2. There was no other means of entertainment. The first: “The Theatre”
in 1576 famous actor James Burbage Shakespeare

nothing like it since

The structure of the Elizabethan theatre
1. The Globe was a circular wooden structure with a stage like an apron stretching out in the center. 2. The stage had two storeys, with an inner room at the back of the first storey. 3. An opening at the top of the theatre, rain

and snow would come in.
4. There were no seats and the majority of the audience would stand around the stage. 5. Around the circular wall there were “galleries” with seats where the wealthy people went.

6. A few wealthy and influential people could be provided with a seat on the stage.

* not performed by professionals, nor by

The first modern drama


* in the case of the miracle plays * written by a school master * performed by choir boys before 1556 * Ralph Royster Doyster

* comedy
The tragedies The Roman dramatist Seneca

performed in Cambridge by students translate into English Students began to follow His influence reached the public

University Wits

University Wits In the 16th century a number of university students began to write plays after the model of Roman dramatist and they were the predecessors to Shakespeare. Robert Greene, Thomas Kyd and Christopher Marlowe
Robert Greene Educated at Cambridge and Oxford James IV Thomas Kyd The earliest specimen of revenge plays of “blood and thunder” drama in England

Christopher Marlowe
Born: in Canterbury

(1564 --- 1593)

Family: son of shoemaker
Education: at Cambridge

Social position: the most prominent of University Wits
Writing time: from 1587 to 1592

Death: be murdered
Blank verse: unrhymed iambic pentameter used in his dramas, and it was the chief verse form used by Shakespeare.

His works:
Tamburlaine the Great (1587)
his first play

The story is about Timur the Tartar.
ruthlessly cruel

a shepherd
like a tempest plan to attack the Ming Emperor rave against the gods

rebels, triumphs

the Persian king

seated on the carriage driven by the captive king

Represents the Renaissance desire for infinite power and authority.

The Tragic History of Doctor Faustus


the Renaissance desire for infinite knowledge Dr. Faustus


theology, philosophy, medicine, law
magic books


a contract with the devil sell his soul to the devil
satisfy his demand for 24 years

The end: surrender of his soul to the devil His limitation: his plot construction is loose and his characters are merely embodiments of ideas.


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