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6. The English Renaissance: Sir Thomas Wyatt and Edmund Spenser
About this Lecture
In England, the Elizabethan period brought with it a flourishing of drama and poetry. We shall come to Shakespeare in due course, but first we explore two of the pre-eminent poets in the period: Sir Thomas Wyatt and Edmund Spenser. Sir Thomas Wyatt was a translator as well as a poet, and an important trend in the period is the influx of European literature into England through translations of Italian Renaissance figures such as Petrarch, Dante, and Boccaccio. These translations brought new forms into the English language – not least of which was the sonnet – as well as new themes when speaking about love. We look in particular at the theme of the transience in love; firstly in Wyatt’s poem ‘They Flee From Me’, and then in Edmund Spenser’s ‘One Day I Wrote Her Name’. This second poem gives rise to another great theme in love poetry that will be picked up in particular by Shakespeare: the idea that poetry about love can make love last forever.
This course explores the theme of love from the earliest English literature to the present day – from authors that you have likely heard of, such as Chaucer, Shakespeare, Byron and Keats, to authors that are perhaps less well-known. This is a course that celebrates love in all it forms and between all kinds of people.
John McRae is Special Professor of Language in Literature Studies and Teaching Associate in the School of English at Nottingham University, and holds Visiting Professorships in China, Malaysia, Spain and the USA. He is co-author of The Routledge History of Literature in English with Ron Carter, and also wrote The Language of Poetry, Literature with a Small 'l' and the first critical edition of Teleny by Oscar Wilde and others.
Cite this Lecture
McRae, J. (2018, August 15). Love Through the Ages - The English Renaissance: Sir Thomas Wyatt and Edmund Spenser [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/love-through-the-ages/the-english-renaissance-sir-thomas-wyatt-and-edmund-spenser
McRae, John. "Love Through the Ages – The English Renaissance: Sir Thomas Wyatt and Edmund Spenser." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018, https://www.massolit.io/courses/love-through-the-ages/the-english-renaissance-sir-thomas-wyatt-and-edmund-spenser