Elizabethan literature


Elizabethan literature
Body of works written during the reign of Elizabeth I (1558–1603).

Probably the most illustrious age in the history of English literature, the Elizabethan era saw a flowering of poetry, produced a golden age of drama, and inspired a wide variety of splendid prose. The period encompasses the work of Sir Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser, Christopher Marlowe, William Shakespeare, and others. Though some patterns and themes persisted, the tone of most forms of literary expression, especially drama, darkened rather suddenly around the start of the 17th century. See also Jacobean literature.

* * *

 body of works written during the reign of Elizabeth I of England (1558–1603), probably the most splendid age in the history of English literature, during which such writers as Sir Philip Sidney (Sidney, Sir Philip), Edmund Spenser (Spenser, Edmund), Roger Ascham (Ascham, Roger), Richard Hooker (Hooker, Richard), Christopher Marlowe (Marlowe, Christopher), and William Shakespeare (Shakespeare, William) flourished. The epithet Elizabethan is merely a chronological reference and does not describe any special characteristic of the writing.

      The Elizabethan age saw the flowering of poetry (the sonnet, the Spenserian stanza, dramatic blank verse), was a golden age of drama (especially for the plays of Shakespeare), and inspired a wide variety of splendid prose (from historical chronicles (chronicle), versions of the Holy Scriptures, pamphlets, and literary criticism to the first English novels). From about the beginning of the 17th century a sudden darkening of tone became noticeable in most forms of literary expression, especially in drama, and the change more or less coincided with the death of Elizabeth. English literature from 1603 to 1625 is properly called Jacobean, after the new monarch, James I. But, insofar as 16th-century themes and patterns were carried over into the 17th century, the writing from the earlier part of his reign, at least, is sometimes referred to by the amalgam “Jacobethan.”

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Elizabethan literature — The term Elizabethan literature refers to the English literature produced during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1558 1603). The Elizabethan era saw a great flourishing of literature, especially in the field of drama. The Italian Renaissance had… …   Wikipedia

  • literature — /lit euhr euh cheuhr, choor , li treuh /, n. 1. writings in which expression and form, in connection with ideas of permanent and universal interest, are characteristic or essential features, as poetry, novels, history, biography, and essays. 2.… …   Universalium

  • Elizabethan — E*liz a*beth an, prop. a. Pertaining to Queen Elizabeth I. or her times, esp. to the architecture or literature of her reign; as, the Elizabethan writers, drama, literature. n. One who lived in England in the time of Queen Elizabeth. Lowell.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Elizabethan era — The Elizabethan era is the period associated with Queen Elizabeth I s reign (1558 ndash;1603) and is often considered to be the golden age in English history. It was the height of the English Renaissance and saw the flowering of English poetry… …   Wikipedia

  • Elizabethan Club — The Elizabethan Club is a prestigious social club at Yale University named for Queen Elizabeth I and her era. Its profile and members tend toward a literary disposition and conversation is one of the Club s chief purposes. The Elizabethan Club s… …   Wikipedia

  • Elizabethan Age —    Queen Elizabeth I (1533 1603) was the daughter of Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn, who was beheaded for alleged adultery. Elizabeth served as queen of England from 1558 to 1603, a period in which England came to assert itself as a… …   Dictionary of eponyms

  • ELIZABETHAN ERA —    according to Carlyle, the outcome and flowerage of all which had preceded it... in that old age lies the only true poetical literature of England. The poets of the last ago took to pedagogy (Pope and his school), and shrewd men they were;… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • English literature — Introduction       the body of written works produced in the English language by inhabitants of the British Isles (including Ireland) from the 7th century to the present day. The major literatures written in English outside the British Isles are… …   Universalium

  • dramatic literature — Introduction       the texts of plays that can be read, as distinct from being seen and heard in performance.       The term dramatic literature implies a contradiction in that literature originally meant something written and drama meant… …   Universalium

  • Jacobean literature — Body of works written during the reign of James I of England (1603–25). The successor to Elizabethan literature, Jacobean literature was often dark in mood, questioning the stability of the social order; some of William Shakespeare s greatest… …   Universalium


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.