Monday, June 18, 2018

Renaissance & Reformation | M.A English Entrance | UGC NET

English Renaissance 

The Renaissance sits at different times in different different countries, and that the English renaissance owes much to its Continental predecessor, especially focused on trends in learning and the arts, on the evolution of English humanism, and on religious and political movements like the Reformation and their impact on English politics and society. It will also dwell on the literary, cultural and economic developments (the beginning of British imperial inclinations, for instance) of the period. The  issues like the evolution of courtier poetry, the relation of poets and poetry to Elizabethan court politics and the role of a newly emerging English nationalism in shaping the arts of the age.

Renaissance Meaning

Revival or Rebirth of the ancient culture and literature. There was the huge change was taking place in certain European countries later spreads in the whole world. Renaissance something which  starting for the re organize the previous things.

Renaissance Causes

  • The Contact between East to West  - Fall of Ottoman Empire and Crusades
  • Rise of Middle class
  • Decline of Feudalism – Upsurge of new towns and trades
  • Beginning of National States

The Continental and the English Renaissance

Social, political, religious and cultural forces that we refer to as the Renaissance was first evident in continental Europe and began to be felt in England only about the end of the fifteenth century. Perhaps the most important of these forces in the continent and in England was the spread of the new humanist learning and ideology especially among the upper classes. This leaning is first in evidence in Italy. Following the fall of Constantinople to the Turks in 1493, refugees from that city had brought with them the vast learning and literature - especially of the Greeks - that had been stored in the libraries of the city. This produced the first great Italian humanists like Savonarola, Ficino and Pico Della Mirandola, who were subsequently to influence early English humanists like Thomas Linacre (1460 -1 524), John Colet (1467 -15 19) and William Lyly (1468 -1522) - visitors to Italy who took back to England the new learning. It was highly influential in the designing of the new syllabi in schools and universities, especially the work of the great humanist educationist Desiderius Erasmus (1469-1536), but for a long time it remained without impact on the literature and art of England. This was primarily because the English language was as yet immature, socially and politically without power. The language of the courts was still predominantly French, while that of leaining remained Latin. 
There was no complete real tradition as yet of English theatre, prose or verse, despite the work of Chaucer in the last. Nor was there a major school of art that could be influenced by the new learning, as was the case with Italian artists like Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. By now produced a generation of writers literate in the ancient languages and literatures of Latin, Greek and Hebrew, and brought to English writings the humanism of those works
The invention of the printing press also played a role in the emergence of the Renaissance in the continent and in England. 
It made possible the sudden and immense popularization of the new learning in Italy, and in the other European countries. It also contributed substantially to the development and consolidation of national languages and consequently of national traditions of literature

Renaissance and the Reformation

As we noted above, the English renaissance was crucially influenced by another very important historical phenomenon, which differentiated it substantially from its continental predecessor: the Reformation. In essence, the 'Reformation' refers to the
The Renaissance various and often bloody and violent movements against the Roman Catholic church, that spread over Continental Europe through the 14th and 15th  centuries, demanding large scale reforms in its beliefs and church practices. It, too, was in many ways a consequence of the spread of the new humanist leaning on the continent, and of the power of the printing press, which permitted the translation and popularization of the Bible from Latin and Greek into the European vernaculars, annulling the laities' dependency on the ecclesiastical orders for the interpretation and mediation of the Bible. It was led by figures like Martin Luther (1483-1546) and John Calvin (1509-64) but was preceded by reformers like St. Francis, Peter Waldo, John Huss, and John Wycliffe who repeatedly critiqued the abuses in ecclesiastical practices from the early thirteenth century onward. They were, however, not inclined to actually break from the Roman Catholic Church, an extremism that later reformers of the sixteenth century adopted, resulting in the in any breakaway sects that constitute Protestantism. 'the conventional date for the beginning of the Reformation then is Oct. 3 1, 15 17, the date that Luther is said to have posted his Ninety-five Theses critiquing the church on the door of the Castle Church, Wittenberg. It is falsely assumed by many that Luther had intended to break from the Catholic church, but the fact is that it was the Catholic church that expelled Luther, against his own desire. Later reformers however, picked up on Luther's principles of dissent and deliberately broke from the Catholic church, plunging much of Europe into religious and civil strife for the next few centuries.
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Social and Political Circumstances of the Renaissance

The permeation of the currents of the renaissance into English culture was both mediated and teinpcred by the forces of the reformation that had already found root in England. Both forces - of the renaissance and of the reformation - served to substantially  reorganize English society. In the 15th  century, England had had primarily an agrarian and feudal socio-economic structure, with much of the population living in the rural countryside, many as tenants to country squires and noble lords. However, it repeated epidemics of the plague had greatly affected the population, which  is hardly grew in this period. The shortage of labor proved a blessing to many peasants, who managed to sell their labor at a premium, and eventually to rise above their class and form a new class of landed folk called 'yeomen' or small farmers, Many large landholders converted their land into sheep pasture because of the lack of labor, leading to land enclosures and the abandonment of many villages. This in turn led to the dramatic development of the wool industry. The popularity of the pastoral as a genre and of. the figure of the shepherd in renaissance English poetry then, is not entirely because of either classical influences or of Biblical ones, but derived from the English social landscape itself But the period also saw the growth of London as a commercial and political city, with the new classes and the re -distributed populations seeking employment, commercial gains and political power gradually settling in the city. 
A part of the new social constituents were guilds of artisans and craftspeople whose services were becoming  increasing  important in catering to the needs of the growing populace. The emergence of these mixed social sectors was an early part of the larger process of the dismantling of the feudal economy  that was to culminate with the consolidation of industrial capitalism in the nineteenth century. As yet though, they were still constrained by the social and economic parameters of that economy. 
The migrants to London in this century were thus mainly seeking social and economic uplift as well as acceptability in a feudal socio -economic system that barely recognized them. They became a ready constituency for proselytizing protestant groups who not only converted their beliefs, but through promoting literacy, gave them access to educational possibilities that had remained outside their reach till now. But in doing so, it also spread the sense of tension that we noted above, between the humanist education they had access to and the conservative reformist morality of the new religious movements.

English Nationalism and the Renaissance

the nationalist spirit in England is fully in evidence only by around the middle of the seventeenth century, explicitly on display especially in John Milton's epic Paradise  Lost, the sentiment had been on the rise for more than a century. In some sense an elementary nationalistic spirit is evident ever since the beginning of the battles with France in the medieval period. But with the sixteenth century, this sentiment begins to take the shape of a lull fledged ideology. We have already hinted at some of the reasons for this development, like the political distancing of the English from Italy and France. This in turn was a consequence of the spread of Protestantism in England, leading to the religious separation from Rome and the establishment of the Anglican Church under Henry VIII. Thus, English nationalism from its very inception had been closely allied to religious sentiments, unlike the subsequent emergence of nationalism's  in the European countries, which followed, rather than preceded, the process of secularization of society, and the separation of religion and state. Since the separatist religious agenda of Protestantism in England was intimate to the formation of a separate English national identity and since the spread of Protestantism had been primarily through and among the emergent merchant and trading classes, and in the new hierarchy, the nationalism that emerged was itself very middle class in its roots. It was not confined to this class however, and found willing takers in the nobility and aristocracy, especially those who affiliated themselves to the Anglican Church or other protestant sects. The social origins of this nationalism ace of some significance. This was the time that England was growing as a naval and commercial power, and its merchant and trading ships had traveled all over the known world. English merchant ships were bringing . back wealth from the distant comers of the globe, including from India and China. Along with the local growth in agriculture, sheep -rearing and the wool and cloth industry, England was growing into an important economic power in the European region. The main beneficiaries of this economic growth as we have noted were the new classes of merchants and traders, and professional artisans. The combination of a specifically English Protestantism, the burgeoning economy and the emergent economic classes led to the promotion of a nationalism that sometimes served as a qualification for social mobility for the emergent classes and professions. It led to the consolidation of a sense of national identity (albeit as yet nascent) that was able to contain, at least in the sixteenth century, the social tensions that were unleashed by such a drastic social change, as well as offer channels for upward inability to those who proclaimed it. This is obvious in Spenser's stated  desire to be a truly English poet. It is then this English nationalism that spurred him as well as other less able poets to attempt the first truly English epic - a task that was ironically fulfilled only when that very nationalist ideology was threatened, in the next century by John Milton. 11 was the later attempts of the English monarchy to return to the Catholic fold in the 17th century  that led to the tearing of the ideological fabric of Nationalism, and a civil war that lasted for two decades. 

Renaissance Important Impact

Foundation of  Modern Age  : -

  • Humanism : Humanistic art and literature
  • Rationalism : Rationalist art and literature
  • Scientific view point : Copernicus, Kepler,  Galileo, Harvey

Reformation : -

  • Autocracy of Church      
  • Protestant movement started by Martin Luther

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