The Literary Renaissance (1550-1688)

I know this era to be when writing kicked off after years of it being relegated to the Church, and it’s also really impressive to see that the amount of output authors had in relation to what was available. It was also a time to look at man in the image of God (man as a good being) so optimism was abundant. Obviously, in discussing literature, this is the one to begin with, so join me for a short overview, would you?

What is the Renaissance era in literature?

So, as previously stated, man was optimistic about…well…man, which seems to contradict so much of modern literary (it’s those salty post-modernists, I say). Some really important things were happening during this period, including the invention of the Gutenberg printing press and a stronger focus on “man” as a being who deserves self-respect.

“During the 14th century, a cultural movement called humanism began to gain momentum in Italy,” states “Among its many principles, humanism promoted the idea that man was the center of his own universe, and people should embrace human achievements in education, classical arts, literature and science.”

These were just some of the fundamental changes occurring, but keep in mind that humanity was coming out of the Dark Ages and technology was improving—so people’s attitudes are going to change.

I think the most important person to talk about would be Shakespeare (and perhaps even his contemporary Christopher Marlowe), who really shaped literature through his storytelling and genre hopping. He contributed so much work, from “Romeo and Julliet” to “Richard III” and he also contributed the creation of the Globe Theatre, where new works could be shown.

Some of the Important Writers

John Milton

William Shakespeare

Edmund Spenser

Ben Jonson

Geoffrey Chaucer

Works Cited