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Francesco Petrarca (Petrarch) a major figure of the early Renaissance
Giovanni Boccaccio, statue at the Uffizi gallery, Florence

Renaissance literature refers to European literature which was influenced by the intellectual and cultural tendencies associated with the Renaissance. The earliest Renaissance literature appeared in 14th century Italy; Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, Machiavelli and Ariosto are notable examples of Italian Renaissance writers. From Italy the influence of the Renaissance spread at different rates to other countries and continued to spread throughout Europe through the 17th century. The English Renaissance and the Renaissance in Scotland date from the late 15th century to the early 17th century. In northern Europe the scholarly writings of Erasmus, the plays of Shakespeare, the poems of Edmund Spenser and the writings of Sir Philip Sidney may be considered Renaissance in character.

The literature of the Renaissance was written within the general movement of the Renaissance which arose in 13th century Italy and continued until the 16th century while being diffused into the western world. It is characterized by the adoption of a humanist philosophy, the recovery of the classical literature of Antiquity and benefited from the spread of printing in the latter part of the 15th century. For the writers of the Renaissance Greco-Roman inspiration was shown both in the themes of their writing and in the literary forms they used. The world was considered from an anthropocentic perspective. Platonic ideas were revived and put to the service of Christianity. The search for pleasures of the senses and a critical and rational spirit completed the ideological panorama of the period. New literary genres such as the essay (Montaigne) and new metrical forms such as the sonnet (Petrarch) and Spenserian stanza made their appearance.

The impact of the Renaissance varied across the continent; countries that were predominantly Catholic or Protestant experienced the Renaissance differently. Areas where the Orthodox Church was culturally dominant, as well as those areas of Europe under Islamic rule were more or less outside its influence. The period focused on self-actualization and one's ability to accept what is going on in one's life.[citation needed]

The creation of the printing press (using movable type) by Johannes Gutenberg in the 1450s encouraged authors to write in their local vernacular rather than in Greek or Latin classical languages, widening the reading audience and promoting the spread of Renaissance ideas.

See also[edit]

Literature by century[edit]

Poetry by century[edit]

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renaissance_literature — Please support Wikipedia.
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5 news items

Slate Magazine (blog)

Slate Magazine (blog)
Mon, 04 Aug 2014 08:30:41 -0700

I was taken aback recently to pick up an (unnamed) magazine for which I'd written an article and see my brief bio begin with the words: "Ben Yagoda is a novelist. … " I am not a novelist, never have been, and have not (since the age of 15) even had ...
The Conversation
Sun, 27 Jul 2014 13:26:15 -0700

My primary field of research is Renaissance literature, specialising in women's poetry, and the relationships between form, genre, politics and history in the period. I am the lead investigator on a collaborative ARC funded project examining the ...
New Jersey Herald
Fri, 08 Aug 2014 13:03:45 -0700

Along with Shakespeare, Jonson towers above the many influential leaders of English Renaissance literature. Through his plays, poetry and elaborate masques for James I's court, Jonson was well-known in his day. He achieved early success with a 1598 ...


Sat, 26 Jul 2014 00:07:30 -0700

How does this make me any different from the French Renaissance literature grads slinging coffee? Or from those steel, auto and lumber mill workers who thought landing one of those jobs had them set for life? Why is there an echo in here?” Those are ...

Derby Telegraph

Derby Telegraph
Fri, 25 Jul 2014 00:07:30 -0700

As part of the castle project, Dr Nicola Stacey, senior properties historian at English Heritage, worked with James Knowles, professor of renaissance literature and culture at Brunel University, to explore the significance of the royal visit to ...

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