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Humanism and the Renaissance

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I learned so much about the history of World literature this semester. I discovered that the definition of world literature is literature that touches the world, not just one country. World literature is literature that everyone can relate to in some way. On the other hand, national literature is literature written about what goes on in other countries but has no effect on the world rest of the world as a whole.
Humanism is one of most important concepts found in the history of world literature. Humanism is an attitude that emphasizes the dignity and worth of the individual. A basic assumption is that people are rational beings who possess within themselves the capacity for truth and goodness. The term humanism is most often used to describe a literary and cultural movement that spread through Western Europe in the 14th and 15th centuries. This Renaissance revival of Greek and Roman studies emphasized the value of the classics for their own sake, rather than for their relevance to Christianity. Humanism is an attitude of the mind that accompanied the progression of the Renaissance. This aspect of humanism, sometimes called the Revival of Antiquity, includes the study of the classics; editorial and philological work on ancient texts.
In the beginning, the church controlled literature. Writers could only center their literature on God. Writers couldn’t write about flesh, each other and objects outside the church. People of this time were very uneducated because the church did not value education. They believed that God does the thinking for you. At some point, people started thinking and they wanted to know what literature was like before the church controlled it. What they found opened their eyes and opened the door to the Renaissance. They found that writers wrote about other things and not just God. This is how the Renaissance begin. The Renaissance movement valued education and wanted everyone to become educated. In the 17th century, the French ruled and Kings were appointed. People were more educated, and they had more literature because of the Renaissance. The 17th century Literature in France centered on reason and classicism. The individualism and lyricism that had symbolized French Renaissance literature bent in the 17th century to classicism and an emphasis on classical ideas of order, restraint, clarity, and reason. To this end, French scholars formulated rules governing literary style. The King appointed a priest who implemented rules for theatre and poetry. In theatre, they use to be able to start one day, finish one another day and incorporate many subjects. But the rule for theatre now was in one place, one time, and one fact. Also poets use to be able to write pages of poetry. Now the rule for poetry was that each line had to be thirteen syllables. It also had to focus on changing society, not status quo. The 17th century in literature was all about rules to respect.
In the second half of the 17th century the Renaissance took place and writers began to embrace literature as an art form. In the Renaissance, we first see writers really start to think about their position in the world independently of religious motivations. Renaissance creators value the dignity of man and the joys of society much more than the former people which is known as humanism - this is a huge deal in the Renaissance, not just in literature. The invention of the printing press and the weakening of the Catholic Church’s influence on the daily lives of the people, among other things, enabled Renaissance writers to express their beliefs in new ways.
During the Middle Ages, people became less interested in God and what he thinks and more into themselves and exploring ideas and concepts outside the church. The intellectual and social movement which historians call humanism is what lies at the base of the period we call the Renaissance. Humanism and its ideals came to saturate the art, literature, learning, law, and civic life, first in Italy, then in all of Europe. Next we've got the Enlightenment, which is 18th century, and the creators of the Renaissance had begun to critique the practices of their medieval predecessors. Their followers didn't think they'd done nearly enough, so the Enlightenment people are really into strict science, logic, intellectual discourse. Blind faith was set aside and scientific proof took the forefront. Some of the key figures inspired by the Enlightment are Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826) American thinker and politician who penned the Declaration of Independence; Thomas Paine (1737–1809) English-American political writer whose pamphlet Common Sense (1776) argued that the British colonies in America should rebel against the Crown; and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778) who bought his own ideas to Enlightment.
A Romanticism movement that surfaced near the end of the Enlightenment that placed emphasis on innate emotions and instincts rather than reason. Romantics didn’t care about logic and rationality and all of this stuff. They are more into nature, feelings and emotions rather they are positive or negative. The romantic age stressed emotion over reason. One objective of the French Revolution was to destroy an older tradition that had come to seem artificial, and to assert the liberty, spirit, and heartfelt unity of the human race. Writers such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe both contributed greatly to the development of Romanticism. The Romanticism movement lasted from 1825-1865.
Classicism is a movement that can be defined by its attention to traditional forms concentrating on elegance and symmetry. It takes the art of the Greeks and Romans as its idea of perfection. Neoclassicism is the name given to quite distinct movements in the visual arts, literature, theatre, music, and architecture that were influenced by the classical style. These movements were in effect at various times between the 18th and the 20th centuries.
Literacy movements that took place in the 19 literary period are realism, naturalism, modernism, the Harlem Renaissance and Post-Modernism. The realism movement in literature lasted from 1865-1910. This movement depicts the world and people exactly as they are because its goal is the candid and truthful treatment of the subject. Realism give birth to naturalism. From the 1890-1920, Naturalism was an important movement in American literature. Nationalism is anti-Romanticism. For a naturalist, the writer’s agenda is to present the reader reality without illusion. The naturalistic movement in literature occurred after the rise of realism. Modernism lasted from 1890-1945. Modernists were driven by the fact that the assertion and oath that once provided by religion, politics and society were no longer adequate. The naturalism movement took place between1893-1914. This movement embraced nature and does not believe in the supernatural, gods, ghosts miracles etc. Nature is simply what we have good reason to believe exists. From 1923-1935, the Harlem Renaissance movement took place. This was the first major movement of African American literature. The final movement in the 19th century was Post Modernism which took place from1945-2006. Writers in this movement wrote about serious themes and topics as well as playful topics and comics.
In conclusion, even though world literature is complex and has alot and key players associated with the movements it not complicated. Once you learn the foundation of how it all got started and what was going on at that time in history it becomes easier to grasp and understand. World literature is like a beautiful piece of art that has evolved through the centuries. Having a democracy in the United States along with freedom of speech makes different forms and genre of world literature possible.

Works Cited http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americannovel/timeline/index.html Web.19 July 2015 http://www.countriesquest.com/europe/france/culture/literature/the17thcentury.htm. Web 22 July 2015
English Literature." Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia (2014): 1p. 1. Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia. Web. 29 July 2015
"Humanism." Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia (2014): 1p. 1. Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia. Web. 29 July 2015
"Humanism." Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia (1996): 491-492. Literary Reference Center. Web. 3 July 2015 Naturalism. n.p.: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 2002. Academic OneFile. Web. 20 July 2015
Shivani, Anis. "What Is World Literature?." Boulevard 27.3 (2012): 53-63. Literary Reference Center. Web. 3 July 2015
Kreis, Steven. “The History Guide: Lectures on Modern European Itellectual History (2012) Web. 3 July 2015
"Neoclassicism." Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6Th Edition (2013): 1. Literary Reference Center. Web. 3 July 2015 SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNote on The Enlightenment (1650–1800).” SparkNotes.com. SparkNotes LLC. 2005. Web. 29 Jul. 2015.
“The Harlem Renaissance: A Historical Exploration of Literature” ProtoView 2015: Academic OneFile. Web. 21 July 2015.

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