Chapter

English Renaissance Criticism

Gary Day

in Literary Criticism

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2008 | ISBN: 9780748615636
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652099 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748615636.003.0004
English Renaissance Criticism

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This chapter addresses the development of English Renaissance criticism. The development of the language is greatly indebted to William Tyndale's translation of the Bible. Protestantism's main contribution in literary criticism is the idea that readers should decide for themselves what a work means. A brief examination of the relation between feudalism and capitalism is then presented. The chapter also explores how politics shaped the character of criticism. There is a synergy between ideals of English and ideals of art. The political attempt to control the vernacular was countered by economic developments. The rise of Protestantism and the invention of the printing press both undermined the traditional hierarchy of reading. In the medieval world, tradition was largely a principle of continuity, the expression of a universal culture. If criticism was to defend poetry it had to develop an idiom capable of conveying its unique, as well as its universal, qualities.

Keywords: English Renaissance criticism; William Tyndale; Bible; Protestantism; feudalism; capitalism; politics; vernacular; poetry

Chapter.  22356 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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