Course Description

Although we now mainly refer to the period as "the Renaissance," the sixteenth and seventeenth-century have been defined by scholars and historians over the centuries in a myriad of ways. Our survey of English Renaissance literature and culture will consider some of these approaches, beginning with the dominant notion of the period as heralding a rediscovery ("rebirth") of the art and literature of ancient Rome. But we will also look at how the new discovery of lands and societies in the Americas (and elsewhere) gave shape to the literature of the period. Additionally, we will view the impact of the Reformation of the church in England, and the period's vexed relationship to its medieval past. We will use these various perspectives to gain a richer appreciation of the period's literature and culture, as well as an understanding of our continuing interest and fascination with "the Renaissance."