Historical background

februari 10, 2010
 The English Renaissance
The English Renaissance was a cultural and artistic movement in England dating from the early 16th century to the early 17th century. It is associated with the pan-European Renaissance that many cultural historians believe originated in northern Italy in the 14th century. This era (tijdperk) in English cultural history is sometimes referred to as ‘’the age of Shakespeare’’ or ‘’The Elizabethan era’’, the first period in English and British history to be named after a reigning monarch.

 Poets (dichters) such as Edmund Spencer and John Milton produced works that demonstrated an increased interest in understanding English Christian beliefs, such as the allegorical (zinnebeeldig) representation of the Tudor Dynasty (Regeerde als koning van Engeland en Wales en later ook Ierland) in The Faerie Queen and the retelling of mankink’s fall from paradise in Paradise Lost; playwrights (toneelschrijvers), such as Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare, composed theatrical representations of the English take on life, death, and history. Nearing the end of the Tudor dynasty, philosopher like Sir Thomas More and Sir Francis Bacon published their own ideas about humanity and the aspects of a perfect society, pushing the limits of metacognition (metacognitie) at that time. England came closer to reaching modern science with the Baconian Method, a forerunner of the Scientific Method.

Slow transition and mixture (langzame overgang/overtocht en vermenging)

The steadfast English mind clung to the old order of things, and relinquished with reluctance the last relics of a style that had been for centuries a part of its life. Thus all the Renaissance that came into England, after the bloody Wars of the Roses made it possible to think of art and luxury, paid toll to the Gothic on the way, and the result was a singular miscellany, for its Gothic had now forgotten, and its Renaissance had never known why it had existed. It is rather the talent with which the medley of material was handled, the broad masses, yet curious elaboration, and the scale of magnificence, that give the style its charm rather than anything in its original and bastard composition.

wars of the roses

Something of this same charm is to be found in most of the literature of the era, in accordance with that subtle relationship existing between the literature and the art of any period. It is in the lawless mixture of Gothic and Grecian characterizing the Elizabethan that Shakespeare peoples his A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Gothic fairies reveling in the Athenian forest, and poet Edmund Spenser fills his pages with a pageantry of medieval monsters and classic masks. Shakespeare is a peculiar product of the Renaissance. The machinery of The Tempest and the setting of The Merchant of Venice are direct results of its spirit.[1]


Comparison of the English and Italian Renaissance

 The English Renaissance is different from the Italian Renaissance in several ways. The dominant art forms of the English Renaissance were literature and music. Visual arts in the English Renaissance were much less significant than in the Italian Renaissance. The English period began far later than the Italian. In contrast, the English Renaissance can only be said to begin, shakily, in the 1520’s, and continued until perhaps 1620.

Reviews of the idea of the English Renaissance

 The notion of calling this period ‘’The Renaissance’’ is a modern invention, having been popularized by the historian Jacob Burckhardt in the nineteenth century. The idea of the Renaissance has come under increased criticism by many cultural historians, and some have contended that the ‘’English Renaissance’’ has no real tie with the artistic achievements and aims of the northern Italian artist (Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello) who are closely identified with the Renaissance. Indeed, England had already experienced a flourishing of literature over 200 years before the time of Shakespeare when Geoffrey Chaucer was working. Chaucer’s popularizing of English as a medium of literary composition rather than Latin was only 50 years after Dante had started using Italian for serious poetry. At the same time William Langland, author of Piers Plowman, and John Gower were also writing in English. The Hundred Years’ War and the subsequent civil war in England known as the Wars of the Roses probably hampered artistic endeavour until the relatively peaceful and stable reign of Elizabeth I allowed drama in particular to develop. Even during these war years, though, Thomas Malory, author of Le Morte D’Arthur, was a notable figure. For this reason, scholars find the singularity of the period called the English Renaissance questionable; C.S. Lewis, a professor of Medieval and Renaissance literature at Oxford and Cambridge, famously remarked to a colleague that he had ‘’discovered’’ that there was no English Renaissance, and that if there had been one, it had ‘’no effect wahtsoever’’.

Historians have also begun to consider the word ‘’Renaissance’’ as an unnecessarily loaded word that implies an unambiguously positive ‘’rebirth’’ from the supposedly more primitive Middle Ages. Some historians have asked the question ‘’a Renaissance for whom?,’’ pointing out, for example, that the status of women in society arguably declined during the Renaissance. Many historians and cultural historians now prefer to use the term ‘’early modern’’ for this period, a neutral term that highlights the period as a transitional one that led to the modern world, but does not have any positive or negative connotations.

Important English Renaissance figures

Thomas Tallis, Thomas Morley, and William Bryd were the most notable English musicians of the time, and are often seen as being a part of the same artistic movement that inspired the above authors. Elizabeth herself, a product of Renaissance humanism trained by Roger Ascham, wrote occasional poems such as On Monsieur’s Departure at critical moments of het life.

Characteristics of the Early-Renaissance

-Characteristic for the Renaissance painters was representing human naked to the classic example. The Greek pictures from the traditional period characterise themselves because beauty was found more important than lifelike representing a human body. Greek artists were always finding a balance between reality and an aesthetic reproduction. The pictures of the Greeks give as a result, an idealised picture of the human nude. In the Renaissance a voluminous nude was an ideal picture of people.

-A focus on the anatomy and balanced proportions which systematically had been fixed. Because artists in the Renaissance will study the anatomy they find out that the interior of the human body influences the exterior of the human body. People on paintings from the Renaissance therefore assume more realistic. The knowledge of the body only came into it’s own when naked or almost naked people were painted. For painting the human nude in mythological tales it was accepted and in another context not, painted Renaissance painters gladly mythological recover.

-Another important characteristic of the Early-Renaissance is the flowering of the Scientific Research.

-In the paintings from the Renaissance no shortcuts take place and the characters stand classified in a fictitious triangle/ovaal-composition. This became as balanced and harmoniously experiences. In the Renaissance paintings a preference for a symmetrical composition is.

-The mutual relations of the characters have been coordinated. Nature has been painted with attention and the laws of the perspective is for the first time applied. This means that all lines on a painting meet in one central point.

-Become in painter art beside religious subjects also mythological and allegorical themes uses.

King Henry the 8th

The King of England in the early renaissance was Henry VIII, born on 28 June 1491. He was the King from 21 April 1509 until his death in 1547. He has also been Lord of Ireland and later King of Ireland.

Henry VIII was a significant figure in the history of the English monarchy. Although in the great part of his reign he brutally suppressed the influence of the Protestant Reformation in England, a movement having some roots with John Wycliffe in the 14th century, he is more popularly known for his role in the separation of the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church. Henry’s struggles with Rome ultimately led to the separation of the Church of England from papal authority, the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and establishing himself as the Supreme Head of the Church of England. Although some. claim that Henry became a Protestant on his death-bed, he remained an advocate for traditional Catholic ceremony and doctrine throughout his life, even after his excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church following the annulment of his marriage to first wife Catherine of Aragon and the marriage to his second wife, Anne Boleyn. Royal support for the English Reformation began with his heirs, the devout Edward VI and the renowned Elizabeth I, whilst daughter Mary I temporarily reinstated papal authority over England. Henry also oversaw the legal union of England and Wales with the Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542. He is also noted for his six wives, two of whom were beheaded.

Henry the 8th

The rich opposite the poor.

In that time there was a big different between rich and poor people.

The poor

Poor people wore simple clothes made from woollen cloth. Most men wore trousers made from wool and a tunic which came down to just above the knee. Women wore a dress of wool thatcame down to the ground. They also wore a cloth bonnet on their.

There were none of the comforts we have today. Water was taken from the village pump, a well or streams. Often the water was polluted. The toilet was just a piece of wood with a hole in it and a sack under it. The houses were made of wood and were very small. The floor was made of mud, sometimes they put herbs on it to make it smell better.

The poor had to work to survive. They worked six days a week and only had holy days and public holidays off work. When the harvest failed it was temping for poor people to steal food.

The rich:

The rich people ate with spoons, knifes and their fingers. The riche people ate meat, bread, fruits, vegetables and fish. The rich drunk wine and sherry.

The only entertainment was found in theatres. The rich people could afford a seat with u cushion while poor people would had to stand.

Clothes showed how rich someone was. All the rich people wore a ruff. Rich ladies wore padded skirt held op with loops over these went colourful floor-length gowns.

The rich live in castles most likely in a E or H shape. The toilet was in a cupboard with a piece of wood with a hole in it. The waste would drop down a shaft into the moat below.

Also the rich could accept if they don’t work.


Voor als je nog een leuke kleurplaten in wilt kleuren van de mode in the early renaissance van de rijke mensen!


Focus on language

februari 10, 2010

Focus on language

Early renaissance poetry

With a small number of exceptions, the early years of the 16th century are not particularly notable. The Douglas Aeneid was completed in 1513 and John Skelton wrote poems that were transitional between the late Medieval and Renaissance styles. The new king, Henry VIII, was something of a poet himself. The most significant English poet of this period was Thomas Wyatt, who was among the first poets to write sonnets in English. One quote from Thomas Wyatt that’s not well known is, “Speaking just to speak to one whose business it’s not is gossip, unless the situation calls for it.”

Late medieval and Renaissance forms

In late medieval and Renaissance high culture, the important European literary trend was to fantastic fictions in the mode of Romance. Exemplary work, such as the English Le Morte d’Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory (c.1408–1471), and the Spanish or Portuguese Amadis de Gaula (1508), spawned many imitators, and the genre was popularly well-received, producing such masterpiece of Renaissance poetry as Ludovico Ariosto’s Orlando furioso and Torquato Tasso’s Gerusalemme Liberata and other sixteenth-century literary works in the romance genre.

Many medieval romances recount the marvellous adventures of a chivalrous, heroic knight, often of super-human ability, who, abiding chivalry’s strict codes of honour and demeanour, goes on a quest, and fights and defeats monsters and giants, thereby winning favour with a lady. The story of the medieval romance focuses not upon love and sentiment, but upon adventure.

The first romances heavily drew on the legends and fairy tales to supply their characters with marvelous powers. The tale of Sir Launfal features a fairy bride from folklore, and Sir Orfeo’s wife is kidnapped by the fairy king, and Sir Orfeo frees her from there. These marvelous abilities subside with the development of the genre; fairy women such as Morgan le Fay become enchantresses, and knights lose magical abilities. Romancers wrote many of their stories in three, thematic cycles: (i) the Arthurian (the lives and deeds of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table); (ii) the Carolingian (the lives and deeds of Charlemagne, and Roland, his principal paladin); and, (iii) the Alexandrian (the life and deeds of Alexander the Great).

Originally, this literature was written in Old French, Anglo-Norman and Occitan, later, in English and German— notable later English works being King Horn (a translation of the Anglo-Norman (AN) Romance of Horn of Mestre Thomas), and Havelok the Dane (a translation of the anonymous AN Lai d’Haveloc); around the same time Gottfried von Strassburg’s version of the Tristan of Thomas of Britain (a different Thomas to the author of ‘Horn’) and Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival translated classic French romance narrative into the German tongue.

William Caxton

William Caxton was the first English printer and published English language texts including Le Morte d’Arthur (a collection of oral tales of the Arthurian Knights which is a forerunner of the novel) and Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. These are an indication of future directions in literature. With the arrival of the printing press a process begins in which folk yarns and legends are collected within a frame story and then mass published.

John Skelton

In the last decade of the century he was appointed tutor to Prince Henry (afterwards Henry VIII). He wrote for his pupil a lost Speculum principis, and Erasmus, in dedicating an ode to the prince in 1500, speaks of Skelton as “unum Britannicarum literarum lumen ac decus.” In 1498 he was successively ordained sub-deacon, deacon and priest. He seems to have been imprisoned in 1502, but no reason is known for his disgrace. (It has been said that he offended Wolsey). Two years later he retired from regular attendance at court to become rector of Diss, a benefice which he retained nominally until his death.

Skelton frequently signed himself “regius orator” and poet-laureate, but there is no record of any emoluments paid in connection with these dignities, although the Abbé du Resnel, author of Recherches sur les poètes couronnez, asserts that he had seen a patent (1513-1514) in which Skelton was appointed poet-laureate to Henry VIII. As rector of Diss he caused great scandal among his parishioners, who thought him, says Anthony Wood, more fit for the stage than for the pew or the pulpit. He was secretly married to a woman who lived in his house, and he had earned the hatred of the Dominican monks by his fierce satire. Consequently he came under the formal censure of Richard Nix, the bishop of the diocese, and appears to have been temporarily suspended. After his death a collection of farcical tales, no doubt chiefly, if not entirely, apocryphal, gathered round his name–The Merie Tales of Skelton.

During the rest of the century he figured in the popular imagination as an incorrigible practical joker. His sarcastic wit made him some enemies, among them Sir Christopher Garnesche or Garneys, Alexander Barclay, William Lilly and the French scholar, Robert Gaguin (c. 1425-1502). With Garneys he engaged in a regular “flyting,” undertaken, he says, at the king’s command, but Skelton’s four poems read as if the abuse in them were dictated by genuine anger. Earlier in his career he had found a friend and patron in Cardinal Wolsey, and the dedication to the cardinal of his Replycacion is couched in the most flattering terms. But in 1522, when Wolsey in his capacity of legate dissolved convocation at St Paul’s, Skelton put in circulation the couplet:

“Gentle Paul, laie doune thy sweard
For Peter of Westminster hath shaven thy beard.”

In Colyn Cloute he incidentally attacked Wolsey in a general satire on the clergy, “Speke, Parrot” and “Why come ye nat to Courte?” are direct and fierce invectives against the cardinal who is said to have more than once imprisoned the author. To avoid another arrest Skelton took sanctuary in Westminster Abbey. He was kindly received by the abbot, John Islip, who continued to protect him until his death. The inscription on his tomb in the neighbouring church of St Margaret’s described him as vales pierius. It is thought that Skelton wrote “Why come ye nat to Courte?” having been inspired by Thomas Spring III, a merchant in Suffolk who had fallen out with Wolsey over tax.

Understandably, exalted personages did not want this sarcastic wit and public gossip in their private chambers gathering potentially scandalous information: they didn’t want “a Skelton in their closet”.

SONNET Sir Thomas Wyatt – Whoso list to hunt

februari 10, 2010

Thomas Wyatt and Henry Howard have written the same genre, it called the ‘lyric verse’ or the sonnet, which means in French “little song”. Wyatt and Surrey have the sonnet both adapted from Petrarch. Thomas Wyatt and Henry Howard were the First English poets to write in the sonnet form that Shakespeare later used. They are known as “fathers of the English Sonnet.”
The Petrarch-sonnets included two parts. First, the octave, which describe a problem, followed by a sestet, which gives the resolution to it. This kind of poetry is the most popular verse in the Western literature.

Now, I will tell something about the sonnet of Thomas Wyatt, which called ‘Whoso list to hunt’. In this sonnet are used old English words, like whoso list, hélas, vain travail and sithens. Moreover, noli me tangere is a Latin phrase in this text. This makes it more difficult to understand the sonnet.

1 Whoso list to hunt, I know where is an hind,
2 But as for me, hélas, I may no more.
3 The vain travail hath wearied me so sore,
4 I am of them that farthest cometh behind.
5 Yet may I by no means my wearied mind
6 Draw from the deer, but as she fleeth afore
7 Fainting I follow. I leave off therefore,
8 Sithens in a net I seek to hold the wind.

9 Who list her hunt, I put him out of doubt,
10 As well as I may spend his time in vain.
11 And graven with diamonds in letters plain
12 There is written, her fair neck round about:
13 Noli me tangere, for Caesar’s I am,
14 And wild for to hold, though I seem tame.

The writer tells in the first part of this sonnet that he hunts on a woman, but he can’t get her because he’s possession of the King. In this first part he describes that he had tried everything, but he isn’t still successful. The writer gives up, because everything is in vain. He is powerless.
In the second part of this sonnet, the writer has found a solution for his problem. He tells everyone that hunting to that woman is wasting time, because she wears a diamond on her neck with the words: Noli me tangere. It means: don’t touch me; I’m possession of the King. So he warns everyone not to spend their time in vain. It’s not always what it seems.
You can see in the forth phrase that the writer is complaining, this is one of the most important things from the sonnets of Petrarch.

SONNET Earl of Surrey – Love that doth reign and live within my thoughts

februari 10, 2010
Love that doth reign and live within my thought
And built his seat within my captive breast,
Clad in arms wherein with me he fought,
Oft in my face he doth his banner rest.
But she that taught me love and suffer pain,
My doubtful hope and eke my hot desire
With shamefaced look to shadow and refrain,
Her smiling grace converteth straight to ire.
And coward Love, then, to the heart apace
Taketh his flight, where he doth lurk and ‘plain,
His purpose lost, and dare not show his face.
For my lord’s guilt thus faultless bide I pain,
Yet from my lord shall not my foot remove,–
Sweet is the death that taketh end by love.

The poem is translated from Petrach, but not litteraly.
Rhyme scheme:

The first quatrain, chanted:

¯ ˘ ˘ ¯ ˘ ¯ ˘ ¯ ˘ ¯
Love, that doth reign and live within my thought.

˘ ¯ ˘ ¯ ˘ ¯ ˘ ¯ ˘ ¯
And built his seat within my capitive breast.

¯ ˘ ˘ ¯ ˘ ¯ ˘ ¯ ˘ ¯
Clad in the arms wherein with me he fought.

¯ ˘ ˘ ¯ ˘ ¯ ˘ ¯ ˘ ¯
Oft in my face he doth his banner rest

Explanation of this poem:

First, you have to realize that love is (made human, a character) in the poem.

It is the lord that builds his seat (his thrown) in the speakers breast. The speaker is saying that he/she is subservient to love and that this love is so profound that it shows visibly in his/her person (perhaps, as indicated by others, in a blush).

The object of the speaker’s desires sees this on his/her face, and she rejects that love. Then love removes itself from its visible manifestation on the speaker’s face and hides in his/her heart. The speaker is hurt by this love, but he/she will not show it.

The poem ends by stating that death brought on by love is sweet. This is all put into martial (military) language.

This is used to show the conflict that love creates within the speaker. Reign, seat (in this context), captive, coward, lord, and banner all add to the idea that the speaker is a kind of soldier being lead by love, and though it may cause him/her pain and though it may bring about his/her death, the speaker won’t stop to love.

PROSE Sir Thomas More – Utopia

februari 10, 2010

Sir Thomas More, Utopia

Sir Thomas More was an English lawyer, author and a public figure. His father was a famous judge. His mother died when he was young. As a teenager he is placed by John Morton, the Lord Chancellor and Archbishop of Canterbury. He enjoyed a good education there and got in touch with a wider culture. After his stay with John Morton More went to Oxford, where he studied 1492 to 1494 arts (belles lettres). After two years by Morton, his father came back and said he must go study on the law school
Between 1494 and 1501 More went to law school. He developed his knowledge and is he was influenced by the Church Fathers Augustine and the humanist Erasmus. He learned the Greek language

More became a leading politician, not only in England but also in the rest of Europe. He was a famous humanist and scholar, and he was known as a wise man.


The slogan of his book:
Noplacia was once my name,
That is, a place where no one goes.
Plato’s Republic now I claim
To match, or beat at its own game;
For that was just a myth in prose,
But what he wrote of, I became,
Of men, wealth, laws a solid frame,
A place where every wise man goes:
Goplacia is now my name.

In his book he describes the utopia of an ideal political system. He does that with a not existing island state. He puts himself in the book against the economic and political policy in England.
More wrote the book in Latin. The first translation in Dutch, with an introduction by the translator, was created in 1903 by Ferdinand Domela Nieuwenhuis.

Utopia consists of two books. It is written as a dialogue between the author and Raphael Hythlodaeus, an imaginary traveller who has visited many foreign countries.

The first book
The first book is a critique. It describes the English society at the beginning of the sixteenth century. In that society there is much corruption and tyranny. The main issue is the exploitation of the poor people by large landowners.

The second book
The second book is the opposite of the first book. He discusses an ideal, imaginary island. There is no private property. More describes the problems of his time, the religious, social, political and philosophical. He always writes in order of a solution.

The life in Utopia is not to compare with life on our earth. You must understand that More never intended to make a Utopia in the real world.

Besides his famous Utopia, he wrote poems, religious works, letters and an historical work.
More’s Utopia used to criticize the Europe of his time, it should not be seen as Mores own vision of the perfect society.

Special for the time that he writes is that in the early Renaissance there are a few more books based on a utopia:

• Francis Bacon: The new Atlantis (1627)
• Tommaso Campanella: La città del sole (1623)
• Thomas More: Utopia (1516)
• Johann Valentin Andreae: Christianopolis (1619)

In 1529 More became the judge, that did not last long because in 1532 he had resigned. Officially, the reason was his illness, but actually it was because he was sick of the behaviour of the king against the church. This was later known.
More was again asked to be faithful to the king, More refused and he was found guilty of betrayal.
On July 6, 1535 Sir Thomas More’s head was cut off, his last words were: “The king’s good servant, but God’s first.”
In 1886 More was beatified by Pope Leo XIII. St. Thomas More is the patron saint of lawyers and statesmen.