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A term used by C. S. Lewis (English Literature in the Sixteenth Century, Introduction) to distinguish the literature of the later Elizabethan period from its predecessors in the ‘Drab’ age. The ‘Golden’ period may be seen as running roughly from Lyly's Euphues (1579) to the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603. All the major works of Spenser, Sidney, and Marlowe fall within this period, as does two‐thirds of the work of Shakespeare. The term suggests a certain bright, innocent, repetitive beauty, which one might see exemplified in, for example, the poems of T. Campion. But the limited applicability of the term will be realized when we remember that Hamlet, Dr Faustus, and much of the poetry of Donne were among the works written within the period of so‐called ‘Golden’ poetry.

Subjects: Literature.

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