A Short History of Early Modern England: British Literature in Context

A Short History of Early Modern England: British Literature in Context

A Short History of Early Modern England: British Literature in Context

A Short History of Early Modern England: British Literature in Context

Synopsis

A Short History of Early Modern England presents the historical and cultural information necessary for a richer understanding of English Renaissance literature. Written in a clear and accessible style for an undergraduate level audience Gives an overview of the period's history as well as an understanding of the historiographic issues Explores key historical and literary events, from the Wars of the Roses to the publication of John Milton's Paradise Regained Features in depth explanations of key terms and concepts, such as absolutism and the Elizabethan Settlement

Excerpt

Before we begin, the two terms in the above chapter title require definition. First, why “early modern” as opposed to “Renaissance”? Literary scholars and historians have come to prefer the former term because it is more capacious. “Renaissance,” with its emphasis on the rebirth of classical learning and culture, necessarily privileges high culture, whereas there is increasing attention to non-elite cultural products and history, which “early modern” can encompass. Second, “early modern” has the advantage of greater accuracy, because the world we live in at the start of the twenty-first century – the “modern” world – has its beginnings in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. This period witnessed the rise of the nation state, the transformation of government into a professional bureaucracy, the establishment of the modern economy, including empires, world trade and stock markets, and the development of science. This period also witnessed less happy events, such as wars of religion, a revolution, the execution of a . . .

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