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Renaissance Humanism in England
This course is a survey of humanist thought, literature, and art in early modern England. Humanism was a particular form of Renaissance culture, originating in Italy, that attempted to assimilate Classical Greece and Roman literature in a Christian context. More specifically, humanism was an ideal that could be achieved through the study of grammar, rhetoric, poetry, history, and moral philosophy. This course will explore humanism's investment in these subjects as part of a program of cultural, intellectual, and educational reform. Focusing on the major figures of Italian and English humanism from Petrarch to Shakespeare, we will trace the spread of Italian humanist culture northward, where it became entwined with the Protestant Reformation. Through the analysis of literary texts in various genres, students in the course will be able to identify and explain the significance of connections between the key thinkers, artists, and religious or political leaders of the period. There will be two papers requiring revision and two exams, plus regular quizzes.

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