Impact of Renaissance

Impact of Renaissance on Life and Literature

The emergence of modern English in the history of English literature is perceived in the Elizabethan age. It is the beginning of modern English literature and the end of middle English. In this emergence of modern English, an important social, cultural and artistic phenomenon took place which is called Renaissance. Renaissance means reawakening, revamping of thought and actions on the strength of morality and sociality with equality. Renaissance proved to be a positive force and it brought about drastic changes not only in society but also in literary creativity. It influenced widely almost all the aspects of literature. The impact of Renaissance proved immensely fruitful.

Renaissance influenced the Elizabethan life immensely. Liberation of thought and ideas came into being. A serious revolt took place against religious dogmatism. Renaissance created ideals for a better appreciation of human values and relationship. Under the influence of Renaissance, the lifestyle, way of thinking, religious notions got purified and modified to a great extent. But the tremendous influence of Renaissance is seen in the literary activities.

In the realm of poetry, two courtier poets undertook the task of revitalizing the English verse. They were definitely pioneers in the Elizabethan literature. Sir Thomas Wyatt and Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey are also unforgettable names in the new English literature. They contributed to sonnet writing in English. Sonnet writing was a special achievement of the age.

A remarkable impact is seen in the lyric poetry of Elizabethan age. The chief exponents of English lyric poetry in the Elizabethan age are sonneteers. The sonnet was entirely a new creation of the Elizabethan age. Sir Thomas Wyatt imported sonnet from Italy, but he was not a blind imitator. He made his sonnet something different from Petrarch. Sir Philip Sydney, Edmund Spenser also contributed to sonnet writing. William Shakespeare composed 154 outstanding sonnets. He gave the sonnets a new format—three quatrains and a concluding couplet.

Renaissance influenced the Elizabethan theatre too. From the mediaeval mystery and miracle plays, there was a sweeping advancement to regular comedies, tragedies and history plays. The interludes flowered in England under the same classical influence. The comedies of the age were based on a genuine element of farce and fun. The early comedies produced humour, rude and rough. But the impact of Renaissance introduced vital rectifications in the field of comedy. In the rise of the theatre of the Elizabethan age, two important influences played a remarkable role. In the first place, the Elizabethan age was an age of maritime, prosperity and political resurgence for England.

In the second place, regular theatre cropped up in the age. Among the dramatists who immediately preceded Shakespeare, Lyly, Peele, Greene, Kyd, and Marlowe were most remarkable names. The first three dramatists were mainly the authors of comedies. They were the powerful makers of comic spirit in the classical model. Kyd and Marlowe were tragedians. All these authors are known as University Wits, and they have made immense contributions to the development of English drama.

English prose, too, found inspiration from the Renaissance and grew in stature and quality in the Elizabethan age. The prose writing of the age is not instructive but rather imaginative and impulsive. This apart, Elizabethan prose is found under the influence of poetry. The Elizabethan prose fiction is no special literary creation. The materials treated here are found to have negative origins. They represent the impact of Renaissance. Thomas Nash, Thomas Lodge, John Lyly, George Peele are the top liners prose authors of the Elizabethan age. Elizabethan prose, beside romantic stories, also included historical narration. We find several chronicles in the age.

Elizabethan prose literature is found, in reality, greatly influenced by Renaissance. Multi-dimensional impacts on literature make the Elizabethan period more important.


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2 Responses

  1. Xyz says:

    Thanks you sir

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