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Literature of the Renaissance

In: English and Literature

Submitted By pbinh76
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Chapter II: literature of the renaissance
(End of the 15th - beginning of the 17th century)

In the 15th - 16th centuries capitalist relation began to develop in Europe. The former townspeople became the bourgeoisie. The bourgeoisie fought against feudalism because it held back the development of capitalism.

The decay of feudalism and the development of capitalist relation were followed by a great rise in the cultural life of Europe. There was an attempt at creating a new culture which would be free from the limitation of the feudal ideology of the Middle Ages. The epoch was characterized by a thirst for knowledge and discoveries, by a powerful development of individuality.

It was then that great geographical discoveries of Columbus, Magellan and other travelers as well as astronomical discoveries of Copernicus, Bruno, Galilei were made. The invention of the printing press (Fyodorov in Russia, Guttenberg in Germany, Caxton in England) contributed to the development of culture in all European countries. Universities stopped being citadels of religious learning and turned into centers of humanist study.

There was a revival of interest in the ancient culture of Greece and Rome ("Renaissance" is French for "rebirth"). The study of the works of ancient philosophers, writers, and artists helped the people to widen their outlook, to know the world and man's nature. On the basis of both the ancient culture and the most progressive elements of the culture of the Middle Ages the fine arts, literature and science of the Renaissance began to develop. The culture of the Renaissance was, in fact, the first stage of bourgeois culture. The bourgeoisie as a class was being born and, as Engels said, the men who founded the modern rule of the bourgeoisie had anything but bourgeois limitations.

The progressive ideology of the Renaissance was Humanism. Human...

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