By Arthur F. Kinney
This is often the 1st finished account of English Renaissance literature within the context of the tradition that formed it: the courts of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, the tumult of Catholic and Protestant alliances in the course of the Reformation, the age of printing and of recent global discovery. The spouse covers advancements in poetry, prose, spiritual writing, drama, satire and humanism in fourteen newly-commissioned essays, written via specialists for pupil readers. a close chronology of significant literary achievements concludes with a listing of authors and their dates.
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Extra resources for The Cambridge Companion to English Literature, 1500-1600 (Cambridge Companions to Literature)
Well, that innocent question is murderously difficult to answer. The chapters which follow each describe some of the huge number of complex changes which ran through the period. But the most extraordinary literary phenomenon of the century was the sudden burst of literary activity in the 1580s and 1590s, when Shakespeare, Marlowe, Jonson and Donne were all at work within a few miles of each other. There is inevitably a shortfall between any quasi-causal "explanation" of this kind of miracle and the phenomenon itself.
13 It did indeed begin - at least in its political aspect - with a string of Acts of Parliament in the 1530s which sought to center authority on the substantial figure of Henry VIII, as the preamble to the Act in Restraint of Appeals illustrates: "Where by divers sundry old authentic histories and chronicles it is manifestly declared and expressed that this realm of England is an empire, and so hath been accepted in the world, governed by one supreme head and king having the dignity and royal estate of the imperial crown of the same, unto whom a body politic, compact of all sorts and degrees of people divided in terms and by names of spiritualty and temporalty, be bounden and owe to bear next to God a natural and humble obedience ..
Families of Lancaster and York (1550) (or Hall's Chronicle, as it is usually known) depicts interwoven rose trees which represent the houses of York and Lancaster, and which eventually merge at the top of the page in the substantial figure of Henry VIII. In Bernard Andre's history of Henry VII (c. 4 Even the death of Elizabeth was not simply a biological accident, but an act of selfshaping, mediated to the population of England through a careful propaganda campaign. According to John Clapham, She sat up six days together without any sleep and yet was she not bereaved of any understanding, but had the use thereof, even after her speech failed, as Cambridge Companions Online © Cambridge University Press, 2006 The sixteenth century appeared by divers motions of her eyes and hands lifted up, when she was required by the Bishops to give testimony of the hope and comfort she had had in God.