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Курсовая работа

Англия в период правления Елизаветы I

England under the reign of Elizabeth I




Chapter I.

English Literature and its contribution to the development of culture in 16th century



English poetry of the 16th century



Drama and prose



William Shakespeare – the greatest English poet


Chapter II.

Fine arts of the 16th century



English painting and its main representatives



English architecture


Chapter III.



Chapter IV.

Fashion as a part of social status



Women's fashions



Men's fashion


Chapter V.

Entertainments and pastimes



Variety of entertainments and pastimes during the Elizabethan period






Festivals, holidays and celebrations





List of sources



The period under analysis is often called Elizabethan times, as during this period Queen Elizabeth was sitting on a throne. The reign of Queen Elizabeth I(1558–1603) is often referred to as The Golden Age of English history [4].

Elizabeth was an immensely popular Queen, and her popularity has waned little with the passing of four hundred years. She is still one of the best loved monarchs, and one of the most admired rulers of all time. She became a legend in her own lifetime, famed for her remarkable abilities and achievements.

This period was associated with the height of the English Renaissance, and saw the flowering of English literature and poetry. This was also the time during which Elizabethan theatre flourished and William Shakespeare, among others, composed plays that broke away from England's past style of plays and theatre. It was an age of expansion and exploration abroad, while at home the Protestant Reformation became entrenched in the national mindset.

The Elizabethan Age is viewed so highly because of the contrasts with the periods before and after. It was a brief period of largely internal peace between the English Reformation and the battles between Protestants and Catholics and the battles between parliament and the monarchy that would engulf the seventeenth century. The Protestant-Catholic divide was settled, for a time, by the Elizabethan Religious Settlement and parliament was still not strong enough to challenge royal absolutism.

England was also well-off compared to the other nations of Europe. The Italian Renaissance had come to an end under the weight of foreign domination of the peninsula. France was embroiled in its own religious battles that would only be settled in 1598 with the Edict of Nantes. In part because of this, but also because the English had been expelled from their last outposts on the continent, the centuries long conflict between France and England was largely suspended for most of Elizabeth’s reign.

The one great rival was Spain, with which England conflicted both in Europe and the Americas in skirmishes that exploded into the Anglo-Spanish War of 1585–1604. An attempt by Philip II of Spain to invade England with the Spanish Armada in 1588 was famously defeated, but the tide of war turned against England with a disastrously unsuccessful attack upon Spain, the Drake-Norris Expedition of 1589. Thereafter Spain provided some support for Irish Catholics in a draining guerilla war against England and Spanish naval and land forces inflicted a series of defeats upon English forces. This badly damaged both the English Exchequer and economy that had been so carefully restored under Elizabeth’s prudent guidance. [11; 45-46]. English colonisation and trade would be frustrated until the signing of the Treaty of London the year following Elizabeth’s death.

England during this period had a centralised, well-organised, and effective government, largely a result of the reforms of Henry VII and Henry VIII. Economically, the country began to benefit greatly from the new era of trans-Atlantic trade.

In this research we will regard English Renaissance culture and life stile, its eminent contribution to the history of England and the world culture.

The main aim of this research is to reveal English culture in the second half of the 16th century in all its variety.

The main tasks of this research are:

  • to define English culture in the second half of the 16th century

  • to estimate Queen Elizabeth’s contribution to English culture of 16th century

  • to display historical peculiars of English culture and their influence on English modern culture.

Chapter I. English Literature and its contribution to the development of culture in 16th century

1.1 English poetry of the 16th century

The poetry of the earlier part of the 16th century is generally less important, with the exception of the work of John Skelton, which exhibits a curious combination of medieval and Renaissance influences. The two greatest innovators of the new, rich style of Renaissance poetry in the last quarter of the 16th century were Sir Philip Sidney and Edmund Spenser, both humanistically educated Elizabethan courtiers.Sidney, universally recognized as the model Renaissance nobleman, outwardly polished as well as inwardly conscientious, inaugurated the vogue of the sonnet cycle in his Astrophel and Stella (written 1582; published 1591). In this work, in the elaborate and highly metaphorical style of the earlier Italian sonnet, he celebrated his idealized love for Penelope Devereux, the daughter of Walter Devereux, 1st earl of Essex. These lyrics profess to see in her an ideal of womanhood that in the Platonic manner leads to a perception of the good, the true, and the beautiful and consequently of the divine. This idealization of the beloved remained a favored motif in much of the poetry and drama of the late 16th century; it had its roots not only in Platonism but also in the Platonic speculations of humanism and in the chivalric idealization of love in medieval romance. The greatest monument to that idealism, broadened to include all features of the moral life, is Spenser's uncompleted Faerie Queene (Books I-III, 1590; Books IV-VI, 1596), the most famous work of the period. In each of its completed six books it depicts the activities of a hero that point toward the ideal form of a particular virtue, and at the same time it looks forward to the marriage of Arthur, who is a combination of all the virtues, and Gloriana, who is the ideal form of womanhood and the embodiment of Queen Elizabeth. It is entirely typical of the impulse of the Renaissance in England that in this work Spenser tried to create out of the inherited English elements of Arthurian romance and an archaic, partly medieval style a noble epic that would make the national literature the equal of those of ancient Greece and Rome and of Renaissance Italy. His effort in this respect corresponded to the new demands expressed by Sidney in the critical essay The Defence of Poesie, originally Apologie for Poetrie (written 1583?; posthumously published 1595). Spenser's conception of his role no doubt conformed to Sidney's general description of the poet as the inspired voice of God revealing examples of morally perfect actions in an aesthetically ideal world such as mere reality can never provide, and with a graphic and concrete conviction that mere philosophy can never achieve. The poetic and narrative qualities of The Faerie Queene suffer to a degree from the various theoretical requirements that Spenser forced the work to meet. [14; 25]

In a number of other lyrical and narrative works Sidney and Spenser displayed the ornate, somewhat florid, highly figured style characteristic of a great deal of Elizabethan poetic expression; but two other poetic tendencies became visible toward the end of the 16th and in the early part of the 17th centuries. The first tendency is exemplified by the poetry of John Donne and the other so-called metaphysical poets, which carried the metaphorical style to heights of daring complexity and ingenuity. This often paradoxical style was used for a variety of poetic purposes, ranging from complex emotional attitudes to the simple inducement of admiration for its own virtuosity. Among the most important of Donne's followers, George Herbert is distinguished for his carefully constructed religious lyrics, which strive to express with personal humility the emotions appropriate to all true Christians. Other members of the metaphysical school are Henry Vaughan, a follower of Herbert, and Richard Crashaw, who was influenced by Continental Catholic mysticism. Andrew Marvell wrote metaphysical poetry of great power and fluency, but he also responded to other influences. The involved metaphysical style remained fashionable until late in the 17th century.

The second late Renaissance poetic tendency was in reaction to the sometimes flamboyant lushness of the Spenserians and to the sometimes tortuous verbal gymnastics of the metaphysical poets. Best represented by the accomplished poetry of Ben Jonson and his school, it reveals a classically pure and restrained style that had strong influence on late figures such as Robert Herrick and the other Cavalier poets and gave the direction for the poetic development of the succeeding neoclassical period.

1.2 Drama and prose

The poetry of the English Renaissance between 1580 and 1660 was the result of a remarkable outburst of energy. It is, however, the drama of roughly the same period that stands highest in popular estimation. The works of its greatest representative, William Shakespeare, have achieved worldwide renown. In the previous Middle English period there had been, within the church, a gradual broadening of dramatic representation of such doctrinally important events as the angel's announcement of the resurrection to the women at the tomb of Christ. Ultimately, performances of religious drama had become the province of the craft guilds, and the entire Christian story, from the creation of the world to the last judgment, had been reenacted for secular audiences. The Renaissance drama proper rose from this late medieval base by a number of transitional stages ending about 1580. A large number of comedies, tragedies, and examples of intermediate types were produced for London theaters between that year and 1642, when the London theaters were closed by order of the Puritan Parliament. Like so much nondramatic literature of the Renaissance, most of these plays were written in an elaborate verse style and under the influence of classical examples, but the popular taste, to which drama was especially susceptible, required a flamboyance and sensationalism largely alien to the spirit of Greek and Roman literature. [19]. Only the Roman tragedian Lucius Annaeus Seneca could provide a model for the earliest popular tragedy of blood and revenge, The Spanish Tragedy (1589?) of Thomas Kyd. Kyd's skillfully managed, complicated, but sensational plot influenced in turn later, psychologically more sophisticated revenge tragedies, among them Shakespeare's Hamlet. Christopher Marlowe began the tradition of the chronicle play, about the fatal deeds of kings and potentates, a few years later with the tragedies Tamburlaine the Great, Part I (1587), and Edward II (1592?). [20]. Marlowe's plays, such as The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus (1588?) and The Jew of Malta (1589?), are remarkable primarily for their daring depictions of world-shattering characters who strive to go beyond the normal human limitations as the Christian medieval ethos had conceived them. These works are written in a poetic style worthy in many ways of comparison to Shakespeare's.

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