Реферат: Представители Ренессанса (Representatives of the renaissance and thair contribution to the literature)

<div v:shape="_x0000_s1026"> <span Times New Roman",«serif»;mso-font-kerning: 0pt;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Gymnasium 2 <div v:shape="_x0000_s1027">




<div v:shape="_x0000_s1028"> Student: Stepanov Michael Leonidovich Teacher: Zolotukhina Lyudmila Alexevna <div v:shape="_x0000_s1029"> Voronezh 2002




Theworks of Thomas More……………………………………………...6


Secondperiod of the Renaissance………………………………………..8


The“Fairy Queen”……………………………………………………….11

Thedevelopment of the drama. The theatres and actors…………………12




I have heard about the Renaissance not so long ago: last yearwhen I was in 10`th form, but do not think that I never knew about this periodearlier. Of course I knew but I just did not know how is it called. Actually Ialways had a great interest to unusual and pleasantly sounding words. So when Ihave heard the word “renaissance” my attention was immediately attracted by it.My firs association to this word was something magnificent, brilliant andrustling like a woman`s dress of 18`th century. Soon I have known that theRenaissance is the period of English literature and art. From that time my wishto know about its place in art was becoming stronger and more strongly. Iwanted to know more about this period in English art: when did it start, whowere the representatives of this period and what did they write, what did theythink about. It is not all what I wanted to know about but I can not tell youall questions because I had plenty of them.

Now I know more about this period of English literature but neverthelessI still have not calmed down. I have many questions till today and I want toclear up this business. So let`s investigate this period together and find outsome new facts…


The Renaissance

The “dark” Middle Ages werefollowed by a time known in art and literature as the Renaissance. The word“renaissance” means “rebirth” in French and was used  to denote a phase in the  cultural development of Europe between the 14thand 17th centuries.

The wave of progress reachedthe shores of England only in the 16th century. The ideas of theRenaissance came to England together with the ideas of the Reformation (theestablishment of the national Church) and were called the “New Learning”. Everyyear numbers of new books were brought out, and these books were sold openly,but few people could read and enjoy them. The universities were lacking inteachers to spread the ideas of modern thought. So, many English scholars beganto go to Italy, where they learned to understand the ancient classics, and whenthey came home they adapted their classical learning to the needs of thecountry. Grammar schools (primary schools) increased in number. The new pointof view passed from the schools to the home and to the market place.

Many of the learned men inItaly came from the great city of Constantinople.  It was besieged and taken by Turks in 1453.All the great libraries and schools in Constantinople had been broken up anddestroyed. The Latin and Greek scholars were driven out of the city, glad toescape with their lives and with such books as they could carry away withthem.  Being learned men, many of themfound a welcome in the cities and towns in which they stopped.  They began to teach the people how to readthe Latin and Greek books which they had brought with them and also taught themto read the Latin and Greek books which were kept in many towns of Europe, butwhich few people at that time were able to read.

Foreign scholars and artistsbegan to teach in England during the reign of Henry VIII.  In painting and music the first period of theRenaissance was one of imitation. Painting was represented by German artist Holbein, and music by Italiansand Frenchmen.  With literature the casewas different.  The English poets anddramatists popularized much of the new learning.  The freedom of thought  of English humanists revealed itself inantifeudal and even antibourgeois ideas, showing the life of their own people asit really was.  Such a writer was thehumanist Thomas More.



Thomas More, the firstEnglish humanist of the Renaissance, was born inMilk Street,London on February 7, 1478, son Sir John More, a prominent judge.  Educated at Oxford, he could write a mostbeautiful Latin. It was not the Latin of the Church but the original classicalLatin.  At Oxford More met a foreignhumanist, and made friends with him. Erasmus believed in the common sense of a man and taught that men oughtto think for themselves, and not merely to believe things to be true becausetheir fathers, or the priest had said they were true.  Later, Thomas More wrote many letters toErasmus and received many letters from him.

Thomas More began life as alawyer.  During the reign of Henry VII hebecame a member of Parliament.  He was anactive-minded man and kept a keen eye on the events of his time.  The rich landowners at the time were concentratingon sheep-raising because it was very profitable.  Small holders were not allowed to till thesoil and were driven off their lands. The commons (public ground) were enclosed and fields converted intopastures.  The mass of the agriculturalpopulation were doomed to poverty. Thomas More set to work to find the reason of this evil.  He was the first great writer on social andpolitical subjects in England.

Fourteen years after HenryVIII came to the throne, More was made Speaker of the House of Commons.  The Tudor monarchy was an absolute monarchy,and Parliament had very little power to resist the king.  There was, however, one matter on whichParliament was very determined.  That wasthe right to vote or to refuse to vote for the money.  Once when the King wanted money and askedParliament to vote him 800.000, the members sat silent.  Twice the King’s messengers called, and twicethey had to leave without an answer. When Parliament was called together again, Thomas More spoke up andurged that the request be refused. After a long discussion a sum less then halfthe amount requested by the King was voted, and that sum was to be spread overa period of four years.

Thomas More was an earnestCatholic, but he was not liked by the priests and the Pope on account of hiswritings and the ideas he taught. After Henry VIII quarrelled with the Pope hegathered around himself all the enemies of the Pope, and so in 1529 More wasmade Lord Chancellor (highest judge to the House of Lords). He had not wantedthe post because he was as much against the king’s absolute power in England ashe was against the Pope. More soon fell a victim to the King’s anger. Herefused to swear that he would obey Henry as the head of the English Church,and was thrown into the Tower on April 17. Parliament, to please the King,declared More guilty of treason, and he was beheaded in the Tower on July 6,1535.

The Works of Thomas More

Thomas More wrote in Englishand in Latin. The humanists of al1 European countries communicated in the Latinlanguage, and their best works were written in Latin. The English writings ofThomas More include:

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Discussions and politicalsubjects.

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His style is simple,colloquial end has an unaffected ease. The work by which he is best rememberedtoday is “Utopia” which was written in Latin in the year 1516. It has now beentranslated into all European languages. “Utopia” (which in Greek means“nowhere”) is the name of a non-existent island. This work is divided into twobooks.

In the first, the authorgives a profound and truthful picture of the people’s sufferings and points outthe socia1 evils existing, in England at the time.

In the second book More presents his ideal of what the future societyshould be like.

The word “utopia” has becomea byword and is used in Modern English to denote an unattainable ideal, usuallyin social and political matters. But the writer H.G. Wells, who wrote anintroduction to the latest edition, said that the use of the word “utopia” wasfar from More’s essentia1 quality, whose mind abounded in sound, practicalideas. The book is in reality a very unimaginative work.

“Utopia” describes a perfect social system built on communistprinciples.



           While on business in Flanders, theauthor makes the acquaintance of a certain Raphael Hythloday, a sailor who hastravelled with the famous explorer Amerigo Vespucci. He has much to tell abouthis voyages, Thomas More, Raphael Hythloday and a cardinal meet together in agarden and discuss many problems. Raphael has been to England too and expresseshis surprise at the cruelty of English laws and at the poverty of thepopulation. Then they talk about crime in general, and Raphael says:

          “There is another cause of stealingwhich I suppose is proper and peculiar to you Englishmen alone.”

          “What is that?” asked the Cardinal.

          “Oh, my lord,” said Raphael, “yoursheep that used to be so meek and tame and so small eaters, have now become sogreat devourers and so wild that they eat up and swallow down the very menthemselves. The peasants are driven out of their land. Away they go finding noplace to rest in. And when all is spent, what can they do but steal and then behanged?”

Second Book

The disastrous state ofthings in England puts Raphael Hythloday in mind of a commonwealth (a republic)he has seen on an unknown island in an unknown sea. A description of “Utopia”follows, and Raphael speaks “of all the good laws and orders of this sameisland.”

There is no private propertyin Utopia. The people own everything in common and enjoy complete economicequality. Everyone cares for his neighbour’s good, and each has a clean andhealthy house to live in. Labour is the most essential feature of life inUtopia, but no one is overworked. Everybody is engaged in usefu1 work ninehours a day. After work, they indulge in sport and games and spend much time in“improving their minds” (learning)-All teaching is free, and the parents do nothave to pay any schoo1 fees. (More wrote about things unknown in any country atthat time, though they are natural with us in our days.)

For magistrates the Utopianschoose men whom they think to be most fit to protect the welfare of thepopulation. When electing their government, the people give their voicessecretly. There are few laws and no lawyers at all, but these few laws must bestrictly obeyed.

          “Virtue,” says Thomas More, “lives according to Nature.”The greatest of all pleasures is perfect health. Man must be healthy and wise.

Thomas More’s “Utopia” was the first literary work in which the ideasof Communism appeared. It was highly esteemed by all the humanists of Europe inMore’s time and again grew very popular with the socialists of the 19thcentury. After More, a tendency began in literature to write fantastic novelson social reforms, and many such works appeared in various countries.


The most significant periodof the Renaissance in England falls to the reign of Queen Elizabeth. England’ssuccess in commerce brought prosperity to the nation and gave a chance to manypersons of talent to develop their abilities. Explorers, men of letters,philosophers, poets and famous actors and dramatists appeared in rapidsuccession. The great men of the so-called “Elizabethan Era” distinguishedthemselves by their activities in many fields and displayed an insatiablethirst for knowledge. They were often called “the Elizabethans”, but of coursethe Queen had no hand in assisting them when they began literary work; thepoets and dramatists had to push on through great difficulties before theybecame well known.

Towards the middle of the 16thcentury common people were already striving for knowledge and the sons of manycommon citizens managed to get an education. The universities began to breedmany learned men who refused to become churchmen and wrote for the stage. Thesewere called the “University Wits”, because under the influence of theirclassical education they wrote after Greek and Latin models. Among the“University Wits” were Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Sackville, John Lyly, GeorgePeele, Robert Greene, Thomas Kyd and Thomas Nash; Christopher Marlowe  being the most distinguished of them. The newmethod of teaching classical literature at the universities was to performRoman plays in Latin, Later the graduates translated these plays into Englishand then they wrote plays of their own.

Some wrote plays for thecourt, others for the public theatres. But the plays were not mere imitations.Ancient literature had taught the playwrights to seek new forms and to bring innew progressive ideas. The new drama represented real characters and real humanproblems which satisfied the demands of the common people and they expectedever new plays. Under such favourable circumstances there was a sudden rise ofthe drama. The great plays were written in verse.

The second period of theRenaissance was characterised by the splendour of its poetry.

Lyrical poetry also becamewide-spread in England. The country was called a nest of singing birds. Lyricalpoetry was very emotional. The poets introduced blank verse and the Italiansonnet. The sonnet is a poem consisting of fourteen lines. The lines aredivided into two groups: the first group of eight lines (the octave), and thesecond group of six lines (the sestet). The foremost poet of the time wasEdmund Spenser. He wrote in a new, English, form: the nine-line stanza.



Edmund Spenser was born inLondon in 1552.  Though his parentsdescended from a noble House, the family was poor. His father was a free journeymanfor a merchant’s company. When  Edmundcame of age he entered the University of Cambridge as a “sizar” (a student whopaid less for his education than others and had to wait on (to serve) thewealthier students at mealtimes).

Spenser was learned inHebrew, Greek, Latin and French. His generation was one of the first to studyalso their mother tongue seriously. While at college, he acted in the tragediesof the ancient masters and this inspired him to write poetry.

Spenser began his literarywork at the age of seventeen. Once a fellow-student introduced him to thefamous Sir Philip Sidney, who encouraged him to write (Sidney was the author ofan allegorical romance in prose called “Arcadia” that had become very popularas light reading among the court-ladies of Queen Elizabeth). At the age oftwenty-three, Spenser took his M.A. (Master of Arts) degree.

Before returning to Londonhe lived for a while in the wilderness of Lancashire where he fell in love witha “fair widow’s daughter”. His love was not returned but he clung to this earlypassion; she became the Rosalind of his poem the “Shepherd s Calendar”.Spenser’s disappointment in love drove him southward — he accepted theinvitation of Sir Philip Sidney to visit him at his estate. There he finished writinghis “Shepherd’s Calendar”. The poem was written in 12 eclogues. “Eclogue” is aGreek word meaning a poem about ideal shepherd life. Each eclogue is dedicatedto one of the months of the year, the whole making up a sort of calendar.

The publication of this workmade Spenser the first poet of his day. His poetry was so musical and colorfulthat he was called the poet-painter.

Philip Sidney introduced thepoet to the illustrious courtier, the Earl of Leicester, who, in his turn,brought him to the notice of the Queen. Spenser was given royal favour andappointed as secretary to the new Lord-lieutenant of Ireland. Thus he had toleave England for good.

The suppression of Irelandprovoked many rebellions against the English. English military governors weresent confiscate the lands of the rebels and to put English people on them.Spenser was sent to such a place near Cork. He felt an exile in the, lonelycastle of Kilcolman, yet he could not help admiring the, changeful beauty ofthe place.

The castle stood by a deeplake into which flowed a river (the Mulla). Soft woodlands stretched towardsmountain ranges in the distance. The beauty of his surroundings inspiredSpenser to write his great epic poem the “Faerie Queen” (“Fairy Queen”), inwhich Queen Elizabeth is idealized.

Sir Walter Raleigh who wascaptain of the Queen’s guard, came to visit Spenser at Kilcolman. He wasgreatly delighted with the poem, and Spenser decided to publish the first threeparts. Raleigh and Spenser returned to England together. At court Spenserpresented his “simple song” to the Queen. It was published in 1591. The successof the poem was great. The Queen rewarded him with a pension of 50 pounds, buthis position remained unchanged. Poetry was regarded as a noble pastime but nota profession; and Edmund Spenser had to go back to Ireland.

The end of his life wassorrowful. When the next rebellion broke out, the insurgents attacked thecastle so suddenly and so furiously that Spenser and his wife and children hadto flee for their lives. Their youngest child was burnt to death in the blazingruins of the castle. Ruined and heart-broken Spenser went to England and therehe died in a London tavern three months later, in 1599.


The poem is an allegoryrepresenting each court of Queen Elizabeth. The whole is an interweaving ofGreek myths and English legends.       

Spenser planned to dividehis epic poem into twelve books. The 12 books were to tell of the warfare of 12knights. But only six books of the “Fairy Queen” were finished. The first twobooks are the best and the most interesting. The allegory is not so clear inthe rest.

           Prince Arthur is the hero of thepoem. In a vision he sees Gloriana, the Fairy Queen. She is so beautiful thathe falls in love with her. Armed by Merlin he sets out to seek her in FairyLand. She is supposed to hold her annual 12-day feast during which 12adventures are to be achieved by 12 knights. Each knight represents a certainvirtue: Holiness, Temperance, Friendship, Justice, Courtesy, Constancy, etc.,which are opposed to Falsehood, Hypocrisy and others in the form of witches,wizards and monsters.

Spenser imitated antiqueverse. One of the features of those verses was the use of “Y” before the pastparticiple, as “Yclad” instead of “clad” (“dressed”).  He was the first to use the nine-line stanza.In this verse each line but the last has 10 syllables, the last line has 12syllables. The rhymed lines are arranged in the following way: a b a b b c b cc.

                                                        A gentle knight waspricking on the plain,                    a

Ycladin mighty arms and silver shield,                          b

Whereinold dints of deep wounds did remain,               a

Thecruel marks of many a bloody field;                        b

Yetarms till that time did he never wield;                      b

Hisangry steed did chide his foamy bit,                        c

Asmuch disdaining to the curb to yield;                        b

Fulljolly knight he seemed, and fair did sit,                    c

Asone for knightly jousts and fierce encounters fit.        c


The development of the dramain England was in close connection with the appearance and development of thetheatre. Since ancient times there existed in Europe two stages upon whichdramatic art developed. The chief place of performance was the church, andsecond to it was the market place where clowns played their tricks.

The church exhibitedBible-stories, called “Mysteries”; they also had “Miracles” which were aboutsupernatural events in the lives of saints. Both, the miracles and mysterieswere directed by the clergy and acted by boys of the choir on great holidays.It has become a tradition since then to have men-actors for heroines on theEnglish stage.

Second Period

Early in the 15thcentury characters represented human qualities, such as Mercy, Sin, Justice andTruth, began to be introduced into the miracle plays. The plays were called“Moral plays” or “Moralities”. They were concerned with man’s behaviour in thislife. The devil figured in every ply and he was the character always able tomake the audience laugh. Moralities were acted in town halls too.

Third Period

It was about the time ofKing Henry VIII, when the Protestants drove theatricals out of the church, thatacting became a distinct profession in England. Now the actors performed ininncourt yards, which were admirably suited to dramatic performances consistingas they did of a large open court surrounded by two galleries. A platformprojected into the middle of the yard with dressing rooms at the back, Therewas planty of standing room around the stage, and people came running in crowdsas soon as they heard the trumpets announcing the beginning of a play. To makethe audience pay for its entertainment, the actors took advantage of the mostthrilling moment of the plot: this was the proper time to send the hat roundfor a collection.

The plays gradually changed;moralities now gave way to plays where historical and actual charactersappeared. The popular clowns from the market-place never disappeared from thestage. They would shove in between the parts of a play and talk the crowds intoanything.

The regular drama from itsvery beginning was divided into comedy and tragedy. Many companies of playershad their own dramatists who were actors too. 

As plays became morecomplicated, special playhouses came into existence. The first regularplayhouse in London was built in what had been the Black friars Monastery wheremiracle plays had been performed before the Reformation. It was built by JamesBurbage and was called “The Theatre” (a Greek word never used in Englandbefore). Later, “The Rose”, “The Curtain”, “The Swan” and many other playhousesappeared. These playhouses did not belong to any company of players. Actorstravelled from one place to another and hired a building for theirperformances.

The actors andtheir station in life

During the reign of QueenElizabeth the laws against the poor were very cruel. Peasants who had losttheir lands and went from town to town in search of work were put into prisonas tramps. Actors were often accused of being tramps, so trave1ling becameimpossible.  The companies of players hadto find themselves a patron among the nobility and with the aid of obtainrights to travel and to perform.  Thussome players called themselves “The Earl of Leicester’s Servants”, others-“TheLord Chamberlain’s Men”, and in 1583 the Queen appointed certain actors “Groomsof the Chamber” All their plays were censored lest there be anything againstthe Church or the government.

But the worst enemies of theactors were the Puritans. They formed a religious sect in England which wantedto purity the English Church from some forms that the Church retained of romanCatholicism. The ideology of the Puritans was the ideology of the smallerbourgeoisie who wished for a “cheaper church” and who hoped they would becomerich one day by careful living. They led a modest and sober life. Theseprinciples, though moral at first sight, resulted in a furious attack upon thestage. The companies of players were actually locked out of the City becausethey thought acting a menace to public morality.

The big merchants attackedthe drama because players and playgoers caused them a lot of trouble: theprofits on beer went to proprietors of the inns and not to the merchants; allsorts of people came to town, such as gamblers and thieves, during the hotmonths of the year the plague was also spread strolling actors. Oftenapprentices who were very much exploited by the merchants used to gather atplays for the purpose of picking fights with their masters.

Towards the end of the 16thcentury we find most of the playhouses far from the city proper.


So this is the end of my investigation of the Renaissance. Of coursethis is not full information about this period of art and I do not deny it — itis too sated with different kind of events anddetailesthat we will never remember. Do not forgetthat the word “renaissance” means “rebirth” — the appearance of something newand unordinary.

The period ofthe Renaissance has marked by itself the birth of new directions of art andthoughts. For the first time we can see here the birth of the real ideas ofcommunism that were declared by Thomas More. For the first time we can watchthe appearance of fantastic novels on social life.

Great changeswere in theatre too. The most important fact is that theatres became not onlycity sightings but and the sightings of provinces that made art accessiblealmost for everyone.

So I thinkthat we have known many new and interesting facts from this period, allimportant things were said. I hope that you, my reader, have read this workwith pleasure and without boredom.

Used literature“The World literature” – encyclopedia

“The collection of Spenser`s works”

“Oxford ecyclopedia” 

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