Renaissance Literature refers to European literature that was largely affected by the religious and intellectual trends related to the renaissance. These include the Italian renaissance, which was largely led by Pope Innocent III, the Spanish renaissance which was stimulated by the discovery of Americas, the French renaissance which focused on the elevation of the Medici family into the Roman Catholic Church and the German renaissance which sought to implement a Confessional and re-enlightening form of government based on the German social structure. These periods all had a profound impact on literature all over Europe. However, Renaissance literature is most commonly associated with Italian and Spanish works which were greatly affected by their time, their perspective and their people. Others include works from Latin American countries such as Spain, Portugal, Germany and Italy while works from Japan, China, Tibet and the Middle East also contribute to the genre.

During the early part of the modern era, the term ‘Renaissance’ referred to classical, scholastic and academic writing and during this time period, Renaissance literature included Italian, Greek and Latin classics like the Books of Encyclopedias, Natural History, Erich Maria Ulrichs, Translation, Opera, Biblical and Proseminary works and Science and Health. Later during the sixteenth century the Renaissance reached its height and this was the period of greatest creativity and innovation when it came to literary forms and new philosophies on knowledge, philosophy, religion, arts, politics, poetry and plays. It was during this time that scholars tried to define and classify different forms of human knowledge based on a variety of literary genres including epic, tragedy, comedy and tragedy literature, political and scholastic works. The renaissance period in literature is also notable for the impact it had on grammar, etymology and orthography. It also laid the foundation for modern grammarians.

In renaissance literature, themes are primarily historical rather than universal. Most works in renaissance literature are set in Europe, specifically in Italy, Spain, France and Germany. The geographical focus of the period can be traced to its incorporation of Latin grammar, which was derived from Latin grammarians. Also, borrowings from Greek and Arabic helped define key terms used in classical studies. Additionally, during this time period, medieval humanism emerged as a more secular concept. This is reflected by language such as ‘humanitaire’, which refer to a style of literature written solely for humans, and ‘epistemology’ which discusses the origins of knowledge.

During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries there was a great proliferation of books on renaissance period topics. The most prominent among these were The Italian Schools (fifteenth and sixteenth century), The French School (seventh century), The Spanish School (ninth century), The Italian Grammar (fifteenth century) and The Italianate (fifteenth century). In the European renaissance period, the era of the renaissance was associated with writers such as Dante, Seneca, Luca Fontana, Thomas Jefferson, Sir Philip Sidney and Pope Innocent III. The most influential male writer during this time was Pope Innocent III, who gave rise to the genre of Renaissance fiction when he wrote his famous ‘atio de bello pensupporti’ or ‘advice to the young’. Other names include ‘Saints’, ‘Raphael’, ‘Medea’ and ‘St. Francis during this era.

During the fifteen hundreds the birth of renaissance literature was marked by writers such as Dante, who wrote the Divine Comedy, John Milton, who wrote Paradise Lost, William Shakespeare, whose play The Merchant of Venice is considered to be the first work in English ever written, and Donne, whose romantic masterpiece The Divine Comedy was written in Italian. In the following century Edmund Spenser wrote The Faerie Queene, and Sir Walter Ralegh wrote The Metamorphosis. During the sixteenth century came the dawn of the renaissance period in Western Europe, which was typified by the works of Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci and Michel de Montaigne. During the seventeenth century William Wordsworth wrote his famous work ‘Ode to Joy’, and Samuel Colborne produced a collection of his best works entitled An Elegant Summary of the Decline and Fall of the Avaricious Minority. The work of William Wordsworth formed the cornerstone of the Romantic movement in England, and he also produced some of the finest poetry in the language.

Later on the nineteenth century witnessed the flowering of American Renaissance literature, which came under the banner of John Milton, although there was a section of the population who supported Thomas Jefferson’s religious establishment. The American renaissance literary geniuses were Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and theodor noland. The American renaissance literary geniuses had great success stories such as the novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, which won the hearts of Americans, and Washington’s Farewell Address, written in behalf of George Washington. America has been an admirer of classical literature since the time of our ancestors. In fact, many of our greatest poets and literary critics have had French origins.

Henry VI, king of England and William the Conqueror’s younger brother was a keen patron of classic literature. As such, the king gave impetus to the renaissance literature in England with the printing of plays and ballads by Robert Burns, Sir Walter Ralegh, and other playwrights. In addition, William Shakespeare (who was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, not far from London) was known for his great dramas. One of his most famous plays, Hamlet was set in the Italian city of Venice. It was later brought to England and performed by Henry VI, who was equally impressed with the work.

In recent years, there has been a revival of interest in renaissance literature and some of the leading figures in it are Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, and Virginia Woolf. Charles Dickens was a great lover of all things literary and during the Victorian age, almost all the prominent authors, artists, and dramatists of the day, were either deeply involved in the renaissance or inspired its writers. Oscar Wilde was imprisoned for his writings and is still revered by some of today’s modern writers. On the other hand, Virginia Woolf was one of the most famous women’s literary artists of the late Victorian era, who helped to launch the careers of many other future writers.

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