Literary Movements: The Beginner’s Guide to Renaissance


Definition, Background and Timeline

Renaissance was a period in European history, from the 14th to the 17th century, regarded as the cultural bridge between the Middle Ages and modern history. This new thinking became manifest in art, architecture, politics, science and literature.

Renaissance literature refers to European literature which was influenced by the intellectual and cultural tendencies associated with the Renaissance, It benefited from the spread of printing in the latter part of the 15th century.

Most Influential Writers of the Movement

Christopher Marlowe was an English playwright, poet and translator of the Elizabethan era.

William Shakespeare was an English poet, playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist

John Milton was an English poet, polemicist, man of letters, and civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under Oliver Cromwell

Miguel de Cervantes was a Spanish writer who is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the Spanish language and one of the world’s pre-eminent novelists.

Characteristics of the Movement

  1. The dominant forms of English literature during the Renaissance were the poem and the drama, drama subgenres are tragedy and comedy.
  2. Playwrights mixed things up by manipulating the traditional genres of tragedy and comedy. These genre-bending works lead to the birth of the tragicomedy.
  3. Some of the major contributions during the renaissance period are the translations of religious writings into other languages as in the case of Martin Luther and William Tyndale, those contributions led to a religious reformations
  4. Renaissance literature revolved more around having a real humanistic protagonist with a real story to tell.
  5. Renaissance literatura dealt much more with human characteristics and behaviours leaving behind the religious and methaphysical subjects of the medieval era.
  6. Some of the writings of the time were influenced by roman and greek mythology so it is common tha those writing include heroes, deities and monsters.
  7. Some of the writing focus on political reformation.
  8. The writers of the movement imitated art and they hope to change reality through it. Imitation means mirroring life.
  9. The writer reflected an spirit of exploration that was going on throughout the world.
  10. The renaissance writers were concerned with monarchs and aristocrats. They wrote about them and also they were men of the court.

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