III. The Renaissance

The dark Middle Ages were followed by a time known in Art and literature as the Renaissance. The word «Renaissance» means “rebirth” and this word marked a new step in the cultural development in Europe between the 15th — 17th centuries. People got interested in the ancient culture of Greece and Rome, they studied the works of the philosophers, artists and writers of the ancient times. On the basis of both the most progressive achievements of the culture of the Middle Ages and the ancient cultural heritage the new outlook began to dominate, the culture of Renaissance began to develop. The epoch of Humanism came. That ideology was progressive, because the main subject of Humanism was a great interest to human feelings, thoughts, human happiness and human life.

English humanists dreamed of social changes. The most progressive people of the country could not help seeing the growing power of landowners and the injustice caused by it. The rich drove thousands of peasants off their lands and captured those lands, made pastures for sheep. There was no work for the poor. A great number of peasants became homeless and miserable. Wool production became the leading, but it served the interests of the rich, because the poor had nothing. The peculiarity of English humanism was that it was both anti-feudal and anti-bourgeois. These ideas were best expressed by the first English Humanist Thomas More.

Thomas More (1478-1535)

Thomas More was born in London in 1478. He was a well-educated man. He studied in Oxford, knew Latin and...

Elizabethan Age (1558-1603)

Elizabeth, the daughter of Henry VIII, became the Queen of England at the age of twenty-five. It was the time...

Edmund Spenser (1552-1599)

Edmund Spenser was born in London in 1552. He was of a noble origin. Spenser began to write at seventeen...

Elizabethan Drama. Comedies.

There were several famous dramatists writing comedies in those times. Among them Nickolas Udal and John Lyly were the most...

Elizabethan Drama. Tragedies.

Among those dramatists who wrote tragedies the most outstanding were Thomas Norton and Thomas Sackville who together wrote the first...

Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593)

Christopher Marlowe was born in Canterbury on 26 February, 1564. The family was rather poor. The father was a shoemaker,...

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

The greatest dramatist of the Age William Shakespeare was often called “The Great Unknown”, or “Our National Bard”. He was...

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