A brief overview of the Renaissance in the history of English literature and few of its important features
The term Renaissance in English originated from the Italian Rinascimento, which meant rebirth.
Now the question is what does birth mean? It actually means the renewal of the interest in classical and Greek writings. This period of rebirth was initiated in the 15th , 16th and 17th century and the limit of it varies from country to country. In Italy, which is considered the starting point of the Renaissance, it started in the 13th century, whereas in England, it was initiated 200 years later in the late 15th century. There are two major events which marked the starting point of the Renaissance in England –
First event on the morning of 29th May
In the year 1453 on the above mentioned date, the Turks broke through the wall of Constantinople which resulted in the distribution of the scholars in the greater parts of Europe. These scholars brought the age-old preserved manuscripts of Greece with them. Italy has already initiated a revival in classical studies, therefore these scholars imitated the Italian style. Another important point is the peaceful political condition of England during the Tudor Dynasty which encouraged England’s own Renaissance very well.
Second important event
The second important event is nothing but the introduction of the printing press by William Caxton in the year 1476. The effects of this invention were revolutionary as general education became possible because of this and as a result, a large number of the public emerged as readers. According to the experts, this invention was responsible for the transition of Middle English to Modern English.
Now, let’s talk about the features –
The revival of classical learning
This revival happened and attracted the Renaissance men because the Greek works were very much similar to that, based on its ingredients and characteristics.
It was firmly dominated by reason
In the Renaissance, the reason was the only factor which dominated human behaviour. Religion was kept aside and the man was made free to use his own power in each and every sphere of life. In this era, the concept of blind faith was entirely given up.
The development in science took place
This age was marked by the birth of modern science, mathematics and astronomy. In the 16th century, Copernicus replaced Aristotle’s system and declared that the sun is the centre of the universe. There were so many other discoveries like the clock, telescope, compass etc. which marked the era as the beginning of enlightenment.
So, we can’t ignore the fact that a lot of change happened during this time which initiated this rebirth of literature and culture.