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Elizabethan Literature

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Ria Teitelbaum

on 4 December 2013

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Transcript of Elizabethan Literature

Elizabethan Literature
Culture began to flourish during Henry VIII's reign
Any literature written during Elizabeth's reign is considered "Elizabethan"
No defining characteristics of Elizabethan literature
Notarized by the immense growth of poetry and drama
Sir Thomas Wyatt
Born in 1503 and died in 1542 (making him not even involved in Elizabeth's reign)
Considered one of the most influential and important poets of the early 16th century
Involved in Henry VIII's royal court as a diplomat and poet
Affair With Anne Boleyn
According to some, Wyatt had been childhood friends with Anne Boleyn
Most though, say that Wyatt, who was unhappily married and in his mid-twenties, fell for Anne Boleyn when they were both in court
His most famous poem "Whoso List To Hunt" is written about her after Henry VIII married her
Due to much of his poetry alluding to a forbidden love and him referring to her as "mistress" led to many believing that he had an affair with her
He was put on trial as one of the adulterers of Anne's
He was imprisoned, but never beheaded! And was also later released.
Whoso List to Hunt
Whoso list to hunt, I know where is an hind,
But as for me, hélas, I may no more.
The vain travail hath wearied me so sore,
I am of them that farthest cometh behind.
Yet may I by no means my wearied mind
Draw from the deer, but as she fleeth afore
Fainting I follow. I leave off therefore,
Sithens in a net I seek to hold the wind.
Who list her hunt, I put him out of doubt,
As well as I may spend his time in vain.
And graven with diamonds in letters plain
There is written, her fair neck round about:
Noli me tangere, for Caesar's I am,
And wild for to hold, though I seem tame.
Edmund Spenser
Born in 1553 and died in 1599 (lived completely within Elizabeth's reign)
Grew up just outside of the Tower in London, where he witnessed Elizabeth's coronation at age 5 as well as many trials and beheadings all of which influenced much of his work
Wrote his best and most well-known work, The Fairie Queene, while at Cambridge and in Ireland.
Years after the work was completed, he was approached by Sir Walter Raleigh to bring it to London to be published
He was welcomed into Elizabeth's court when presented by Raleigh and was published while in London
The publishing of The Fairie Queene solidified his place as one of the greatest poets of the time
The Faerie Queene
An allegory for Elizabeth I and her reign that glorified her
Written with the intent of giving England a national epic in the style of The Odyssey, and establishing a literature for England
Invented a new structure of poetry called the Spenserian stanza
Unfortunately, the epic poem is incomplete due to Spenser becoming involved in the Irish Rebellion and having to flee to London, where he died soon thereafter
LO I the man, whose Muse whilome did maske,
As time her taught, in lowly Shepheards weeds,
Am now enforst a far vnfitter taske,
For trumpets sterne to chaunge mine Oaten reeds,
And sing of Knights and Ladies gentle deeds;
Whose prayses hauing slept in silence long,
Me, all too meane, the sacred Muse areeds
To blazon broad emongst her learned throng:
Fierce warres and faithfull loues shall moralize my song.

Helpe then, O holy Virgin chiefe of nine,
Thy weaker Nouice to performe thy will,
Lay forth out of thine euerlasting scryne
The antique rolles, which there lye hidden still,
Of Faerie knights and fairest Tanaquill,
Whom that most noble Briton Prince so long
Sought through the world, and suffered so much ill,
That I must rue his vndeserued wrong:
O helpe thou my weake wit, and sharpen my dull tong.
Christopher Marlowe
Born in 1564 and died in 1593 (making his life entirely within Elizabeth's reign)
Considered one of the most influential playwrights of Elizabethan literature as well as being the pioneer of tragedy
Not much is known about his life besides where he was born, where he went to school, and his illustrious six years in London
Time At School and Possibly a Spy?
Attended King's School at Canterbury and he received his B.A. from Corpus Cristi College at Cambridge
One year before he was going to receive his M.A. from the same school word got to university officials that he was converting to Roman Catholicism (which he really wasn't since he was an atheist).
The conversion to Roman Catholicism gave some indication that he was a government spy
This much is extent of what we know of Marlowe's work as a spy for the Privy Council
The Privy Council even contacted his university to allow him to finish his degree
The Privy Council also admitted that Marlowe was involved with “in matters touching the benefitt of his countrie,”
Years In London
Comparable to Oscar Wilde levels of rebelliousness, Marlowe as known for being " cynic about all received ideas of society and religion; almost certainly a homosexual; most likely a government spy; probably an atheist; possibly even a dabbler in the occult; and, to round off the list, a glorifier of violence who died in a tavern brawl."
All of these things earned him only one prison sentence due to his obvious atheism
Marlowe's was murdered while in London by three companions during what was supposed to be a friendly meet up at a tavern
No one really knows why Marlowe was murdered
A reoccuring theme of Marlowe's works is: "the conflict of a passionate, headstrong individual with the conventional norms of his or her society"

Something that is very similar to Euripides
To His Coy Mistress
The Passionate Shepard To His Love

The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus
Considered to be the first dramatization of Faustus
Known for it's use of blank verse, a type of writing that wasn't found in plays until the Elizabethan era
"Was this the face that launch'd a thousand ships,
And burnt the topless towers of Ilium--
Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss.--
''[kisses her]''
Her lips suck forth my soul: see, where it flies!--
Come, Helen, come, give me my soul again.
Here will I dwell, for heaven is in these lips,
And all is dross that is not Helena.
I will be Paris, and for love of thee,
Instead of Troy, shall Wertenberg be sack'd;
And I will combat with weak Menelaus,
And wear thy colours on my plumed crest;
Yea, I will wound Achilles in the heel,
And then return to Helen for a kiss.
O, thou art fairer than the evening air
Clad in the beauty of a thousand stars;
Brighter art thou than flaming Jupiter
When he appear'd to hapless Semele;
More lovely than the monarch of the sky
In wanton Arethusa's azur'd arms;
And none but thou shalt be my paramour!"
Edward II
His only play with on openly homosexual hero
William Shakespeare
No one knows his exact birthday, but it's most commonly noted as 1564
Born in Stratford-upon-Avon
Died in 1616
Did not have much money at all growing up
Married Anne Hathaway at age 20, but when his twins were born he fled to London and started his writing career there
Rose to prevalence among London playwrights while being in the Lord Chamberlain's Men company
Built and leased The Globe Theater in 1599
He died of natural causes in 1616
Works During Elizabeth's Reign
1590-91 Henry VI, Part II
1590-91 Henry VI, Part III
1591-92 Henry VI, Part I
1592-93 Richard III
1592-93 Comedy of Errors
1593-94 Titus Andronicus
1593-94 Taming of the Shrew
1594-95 Two Gentlemen of Verona
1594-95 Love's Labour's Lost
1594-95 Romeo and Juliet
1595-96 Richard II
1595-96 A Midsummer Night's Dream
1596-97 King John
1596-97 The Merchant of Venice
1597-98 Henry IV, Part I
1597-98 Henry IV, Part II
1598-99 Much Ado About Nothing
1598-99 Henry V
1599-1600 Julius Caesar
1599-1600 As You Like It
1599-1600 Twelfth Night
1600-01 Hamlet
1600-01 The Merry Wives of Windsor
1601-02 Troilus and Cressida
1602-03 All's Well That Ends Well

Elizabeth saw Shakespeare's plays many times but the two most notable were Henry IV and The Merry Wives of Windsor, which were brought to her court
Was his patron and had a strictly professional relationship
Shakespeare's Controversies
Much of the controversies surrounding Shakespeare all stem from how there is not much clear and defined evidence of what happened in his life
Was Shakespeare the true author of his plays?
Was Shakespeare homosexual?
What was Shakespeare's religion?
What did he look like?
The biggest controversy surrounding Shakespeare is the authorship question
No definitive signature
Many similarities between him and Charles Marlowe
Proposed "real" authors: Charles Marlowe, Sir Francis Bacon, Edward de Vere (Earl of Oxford), and William Stanley (Earl of Derby)
Most speculation on his possible homosexuality relies on some of his sonnets:
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.
Sonnet 18
A woman's face with Nature's own hand painted
Hast thou, the master-mistress of my passion;
A woman's gentle heart, but not acquainted
With shifting change, as is false women's fashion;
An eye more bright than theirs, less false in rolling,
Gilding the object whereupon it gazeth;
A man in hue, all 'hues' in his controlling,
Much steals men's eyes and women's souls amazeth.
And for a woman wert thou first created;
Till Nature, as she wrought thee, fell a-doting,
And by addition me of thee defeated,
By adding one thing to my purpose nothing.
But since she prick'd thee out for women's pleasure,
Mine be thy love and thy love's use their treasure.
Sonnet 20
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