Revival Of Learning This transition period is one of decline from the Age of Chaucer, and then of intellectual preparation for the Age of Elizabeth. For a centuary and a half after Chaucer not a single great english work appeared, and the general standard of literature was very low. There are three cheif causes to account for this:1. The long war with france and the civil wars of the Roses distracted attention from books and poetry, and destroyed of ruined many noble English families who had been friends of literature.2. The reformatiom in the latter part of the period filled man’s minds with religious questions.3. The Revival of Learning set scholars and literary men to an eager study of the classics, rather than to the creation of native literature.
............ Historically the age is noticeable for its intellectual progress, for the introduction of printing,for the discovery of America,for the begining of the reformation, and for the growth of political power among the common people.
Reformation>In the reign of Henry VIII the changes are less violent, but have more purpose and significance. His age is marked by a steady increase in the national power, by the entrance of the reformation and by the final separation of England from all ecclesiastical bondage in parliament’s famous Act of Supremacy.
Marriage to Catherine of Aragon In 1509, Henry VIII had married Catherine. By 1527, the union had produced no male heir to the throne and only one surviving child, a daughter, Mary. Henry was justifiably concerned about the political consequences of leaving only a female heir. In this period, people believed it unnatural for women to rule over men. At best a woman ruler meant a contested (dispute) reign, at worst turmoil and revolution.
The King’s Affair By 1527, Henry was thoroughly enamored of Anne Bolyn. He determined to put Catherine aside and take Anne as his wife. This he could not do in Catholic England, however, without papal annulment of the marriage to Catherine.
The Reformation Parliament When the king’s advisors could not obtain a papal annulment, they conceived of a plan to declare the king supreme in English spiritual affairs as he was in English temporal affairs.
Head of the Church of England In January 1531, the Convocation publicly recognized Henry as Head of the Church in England.
Marriage to Anne Boleyn In January 1533, Henry wed the Anne Boleyn, with Thomas Cranmer officiating.
King the Highest Court of Appeal In February 1533. Parliament made the King the Highest Court of Appeal for all English subjects.
Invalidation of First Marriage In March 1533. Cranmer became archbishop of Canterbury and led the Convocation in invalidating the King’s marriage to Catherine (First Marriage).
The Six Wives of Henry VIII To satisfy his desires and to secure a male heir, Henry married six times: First he married CATHERINE OF ARAGON . She was mother of king’s first daughter mary. In 1536, he married ANNE BOLEYN who give birth to Elizabeth I. JANE SEYMOUR died in 1537 shortly after giving birth to the future Edward VI. Henry wed ANNE OF CLEVES on the advice of Cromwell. CATHERINE HOWARD was his fifth wife. Henry’s last wife was CATHERINE PARR.
Elizabeth I (1558-1603) It was not until the reign of Anne Boleyn’s daughter, Elizabeth I, that a lasting religious settlement was worked out in England. Elizabeth face many problems as at that time when she came to crown she found the whole kingdom divided against itself; the North was largely Catholic, while the southern countries were as strongly Protestant.
Characteritics Of the Elizabethan Age Religious Toleration>The most characteritic feature of the age was the comparative religious tolerance, which was due largely to the queen’s influence.Upon her accession Elizabeth found the whole kingdom divided against itself, the north was largely Catholic , while the southern countries were as strongly Protestant Scotland had followed the Reformation in its own intense way, while Ireland remained true to its old religious tradition , and both countries were openly rebellious.
Social Contentment> Increasing trade brought enormous wealth to England, and this wealth was shared to this extent, at least, that for the first time some systematic care for the needy was attempted. Parishes were made responsible for their own poor, and the wealthy were taxed to support them or give them employment. The increase of wealth, the improvement in living, the opportunities for labor, the new social content— these also are factors which help to account for the new literary activity.
Enthusiasm>It is an age of dreams, of adventure, of unbounded enthusiasm.>A score of explorers reveal a new earth to men’s eyes, and instantly literature creates a new heaven to match it. So the dream and deed increase side by side, and the dream is ever greater than the deed. That is the meaning of literature.
The Drama>The Age of Elizabeth was a time of intellectual liberty, of growing intelligence and comfort among all classes, of unbounded patriotism. When Corneille, Racine, and Moliere brought the drama in France to the point where Marlowe, Shakespeare, and Jonson had left it in England half a century earlier. Such an age of great thought and great action, appealing to the eyes as well as to the imagination and intellect, neither poetry nor the story can express the whole man, his thought, feeling, action, and the resulting character; hence in the Age of Elizabeth literature turned intinctively to the drama and brought it rapidly to the highest stage of its development.