Elizabethan era

Elizabethan literature is the discourse produced during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1558–1603) and is considered to be one of the most splendid eras of English literature until this day. Under here reign there were notable accomplishments in the arts and voyages of discovery; it was after all, the period after England’s long drawn out “dark ages” (see, e.g., Thomas Moore’s “Utopia”).

English playwrights combined the influence of the Medieval theatre with the Renaissance’s rediscovery of the Roman dramatists, Seneca, for tragedy, and Plautus and Terence (see, e.g., The Duchess of Malfi)

An important aspect of literary culture in the early 17th century was the appearance of metaphysical poets, like John Donne. Not only were these poets extremely clever with their words — marked by their intricate phrasing and extended metaphors — but they also focused on elemental subjects like ‘What is religion?’ and ‘What is love?’


Henry VII 1485-1509 24 years
Henry VIII 1509-1547 38 years
Edward VI 1547-1553 6 years
Jane 1553 9 days
Mary I 1553-1558 5 years
Elizabeth I 1558-1603 45 years
James I 1603-1625 22 years
Charles I 1625-1649 24 years
Civil War 1642-1651 9 years
Commonwealth 1649-1660 11 years
Protectorate 1653-1660 7 years
Charles II 1660-1685 25 years

Absolutism
Absolutism means the holding of absolute principles in political, philosophical, or theological matters. Total control/rule & no compromise.


Act of Supremacy
The Acts of Supremacy are two acts passed by the Parliament of England in the 16th century that established the English monarchs as the head of the Church of England. The 1534 Act declared Henry 8th and his successors as the Supreme Head of the Church, replacing the Catholic Pope.


Allegory
An allegory is a work of art, such as a story or painting, in which the characters, images, and/or events act as symbols. The symbolism in an allegory can be interpreted to have a deeper meaning. An author may use allegory to illustrate a moral or spiritual truth, or political or historical situation.


Analogy
An analogy is a comparison in which an idea or a thing is compared to another thing that is quite different from it. It aims at explaining that idea or thing by comparing it to something that is familiar.


Anatomy of Melancholy
(full title: The Anatomy of Melancholy, What it is: With all the Kinds, Causes, Symptomes, Prognostickes, and Several Cures of it. In Three Maine Partitions with their several Sections, Members, and Subsections. Philosophically, Medicinally, Historically, Opened and Cut Up) is a book by Robert Burton, first published in 1621, but republished five more times over the next seventeen years with massive alterations and expansions.The book is presented as a medical textbook in which Burton applies his vast and varied learning, in the scholastic manner, to the subject of melancholia (which includes, although it is not limited to, what is now termed clinical depression).


Archbishop Laud
William Laud (7 October 1573 – 10 January 1645) was an English archbishop and academic. He was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1633, during the personal rule of Charles I. Arrested in 1640, he was executed in 1645. In matters of church polity, Laud was autocratic.


Barons
It is a rank of nobility or title of honour, often hereditary. The female equivalent is baroness.


Ben Jonson
His full name is Benjamin Jonson, (born June 11, 1572, London, England—died August 6, 1637, London). He was an English playwright and poet, whose artistry exerted a lasting impact upon English poetry and stage comedy. He popularised the comedy of humours.


Bishops’ Wars
The Bishops’ Wars of 1639 and 1640 are generally viewed as the starting point of the 1639–1652 Wars of the Three Kingdoms that ultimately involved the whole of the British Isles. They originated in long-standing disputes over control and governance of the Church of Scotland or kirk that went back to the 1580s.


Blank verse
Blank verse is poetry written with regular metrical but unrhymed lines, almost always in iambic pentameter.


Book of Common Prayer
The Book of Common Prayer has also influenced or enriched the liturgical language of most English-speaking Protestant churches. The First Prayer Book, enacted by the first Act of Uniformity of Edward VI in 1549, was prepared primarily by Thomas Cranmer, who became archbishop of Canterbury in 1533.


Calvinists
Calvinism (also called the Reformed tradition, Reformed Christianity, Reformed Protestantism, or the Reformed faith) is a major branch of Protestantism that follows the theological tradition and forms of Christian practice set down by John Calvin and other Reformation-era theologians.


Carpe diem
It is a Latin aphorism, taken from book 1 of the Roman poet Horace’s work Odes. The phrase is part of the longer: carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero, which can be translated as “Seize the day, put very little trust in tomorrow (the future)”.


Catholicism
Catholicism is the traditions and beliefs of Catholic Churches. It refers to their theology, liturgy, ethics and spirituality. The term usually refers to churches, both western and eastern, that are in full communion with the Holy See. The Catholic Church is the main and earliest form of Christianity.


Catholics
A member of the Roman Catholic Church.


Cavalier poets
The cavalier poets was a school of English poets of the 17th century, that came from the classes that supported King Charles I during the English Civil War. Charles, a connoisseur of the fine arts, supported poets who created the art he craved.


Censorship
Censorship is the suppression of speech, public communication, or other information, on the basis that such material is considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or “inconvenient”. Censorship can be conducted by a government, private institutions, and corporations.


Chivalry
Chivalry, or the chivalric code, is an informal, varying code of conduct developed between 1170 and 1220, but never decided on or summarized in a single document. It was associated with the medieval Christian institution of knighthood; knights’ and gentlewomen’s behaviours were governed by chivalrous social codes.


Church of England
The Church of England (C of E) is the established church of England. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the most senior cleric, although the monarch is the supreme governor. The Church of England is also the mother church of the international Anglican Communion. It traces its history to the Christian church recorded as existing in the Roman province of Britain by the third century, and to the 6th-century Gregorian mission to Kent led by Augustine of Canterbury.


Copia
The rhetorical term copia refers to expansive richness and amplification as a stylistic goal. Also called copiousness and abundances. In Renaissance rhetoric, the figures of speech were recommended as ways to vary students’ means of expression and develop copia. Copia (from the Latin for “abundance”) is the title of an influential rhetoric text published in 1512 by Dutch scholar Desiderius Erasmus.


Country-house poem
A country house poem is a poem in which the author compliments a wealthy patron or a friend through a description of his country house. Such poems were popular in early 17th century England. The genre may be regarded as a sub-set of the topographical poem.


Court
A place where trials and other legal cases happen, or the people present in such a place, especially the officials and those deciding if someone is guilty.


Courtier
A courtier (/ˈkɔːrtiər/) is a person who is often in attendance at the court of a monarch or other royal personage. The earliest historical examples of courtiers were part of the retinues of rulers. Historically the court was the centre of government as well as the residence of the monarch, and the social and political life were often completely mixed together.


Defense of Poesy
Sidney began writing poetry in 1578, and his writing career only lasted 7-8 years. His “The Defence of Poesy” was originally published under two different titles, The Defence of Poesie and An Apologie for Poetrie. In “The Defense of Poesy,” he references classical texts and examines different forms of poetry.


Doctrine
Doctrine (from Latin: doctrina, meaning “teaching”, “instruction” or “doctrine”) is a codification of beliefs or a body of teachings or instructions, taught principles or positions, as the essence of teachings in a given branch of knowledge or in a belief system. The etymological Greek analogue is “catechism”.


East India Company
The East India Company (EIC), also known as the Honourable East India Company (HEIC) or the British East India Company, was an English and later British joint-stock company. It was formed to trade in the Indian Ocean region, initially with Mughal India and the East Indies, and later with Qing China. The company ended up seizing control over large parts of the Indian subcontinent, colonised parts of Southeast Asia, and colonised Hong Kong after a war with Qing China.


Elegy
Elegy is a form of literature that can be defined as a poem or song in the form of elegiac couplets, written in honor of someone deceased. It typically laments or mourns the death of the individual. Elegy is derived from the Greek work elegus, which means a song of bereavement sung along with a flute.


Elizabethan compromise
In another word (Elizabethan Religious Settlement): was an attempt by Elizabeth I to unite the country after the changes in religion under Henry VIII, Edward VI and Mary I. It was designed to settle the divide between Catholics and Protestants and address the differences in services and beliefs.


Emblem
An emblem is an abstract or representational pictorial image that represents a concept, like a moral truth, or an allegory, or a person, like a king or saint.


Epigram
An epigram is a brief, interesting, memorable, and sometimes surprising or satirical statement. The word is derived from the Greek: ἐπίγραμμα epigramma “inscription” from ἐπιγράφειν epigraphein “to write on, to inscribe”, and the literary device has been employed for over two millennia.


Eucharist
The Eucharist (/ˈjuːkərɪst/; also called Holy Communion or the Lord’s Supper, among other names) is a Christian rite that is considered a sacrament in most churches, and as an ordinance in others.


Familiar essay
A familiar essay is a short prose composition (a type of creative nonfiction) characterised by the personal quality of the writing and the distinctive voice or persona of the essayist. Also known as an informal essay.


Four elements
The four elements of western culture are: EARTH, AIR, FIRE, and WATER. These four elements were believed to be essential to life. Taoism has five elements, each one superior to the next in turn: wood, earth, water, fire, and metal. Metal conquers wood, wood conquers earth, et cetera.


Four humours
In Shakespeare’s time, the understanding of medicine and the human body was based on the theory of the four bodily humours. If blood dominates, you will have a sanguine temperament; yellow bile makes you choleric; black bile melancholic; and phlegm leads you to being phlegmatic.


Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Alban, PC QC (/ˈbeɪkən/; 22 January 1561 – 9 April 1626) was an English philosopher and statesman who served as Attorney General and as Lord Chancellor of England. His works are credited with developing the scientific method and remained influential through the scientific revolution.


Francis Drake
Sir Francis Drake (c. 1540 – 28 January 1596) was an English sea captain, privateer, slave trader, naval officer and explorer of the Elizabethan era. Drake carried out the second circumnavigation of the world in a single expedition, from 1577 to 1580, and was the first to complete the voyage as captain while leading the expedition throughout the entire circumnavigation.


Friendship
Friendship is a stronger form of interpersonal bond than an association.


Funeral elegy
In 1989, using a form of stylometric computer analysis, scholar and forensic linguist Donald Foster attributed A Funeral Elegy for Master William Peter, previously ascribed only to “W.S.”, to William Shakespeare, based on an analysis of its grammatical patterns and idiosyncratic word usage. The attribution received extensive press attention from The New York Times and other newspapers.


Galileo
Galileo Galilei (Italian: [ɡaliˈlɛːo ɡaliˈlɛi]; 15 February 1564 – 8 January 1642) was an Italian astronomer, physicist and engineer, sometimes described as a polymath. Galileo has been called the “father of observational astronomy”, the “father of modern physics”, the “father of the scientific method”, and the “father of modern science”.


Geneva Bible
The Geneva Bible is one of the most historically significant translations of the Bible into English, preceding the King James Version by 51 years. It was the primary Bible of 16th-century English Protestantism and was used by William Shakespeare, Oliver Cromwell, John Knox, John Donne, and John Bunyan, author of The Pilgrim’s Progress (1678).


Gentry
Gentry (from Old French genterie, from gentil, “high-born, noble”) are “well-born, genteel and well-bred people” of high social class, especially in the past. In the United Kingdom, the term gentry refers to the landed gentry, the majority of the land-owning social class who were typically armigerous (having a coat of arms), but did not have titles of nobility.


Gorboduc
Gorboduc (Welsh: Gorwy or Goronwy) was a legendary king of the Britons as recounted by Geoffrey of Monmouth. He was married to Judon. When he became old, his sons, Ferrex and Porrex, feuded over who would take over the kingdom.


Great Chain of Being
The Great Chain of Being is a hierarchical structure of all matter and life, thought in medieval Christianity to have been decreed by God.


Gunpowder Plot
The Gunpowder Plot of 1605, in earlier centuries often called the Gunpowder Treason Plot or the Jesuit Treason, was a failed assassination attempt against King James I by a group of provincial English Catholics led by Robert Catesby.


Heroic mode
Heroic poetry, narrative verse that is elevated in mood and uses a dignified, dramatic, and formal style to describe the deeds of aristocratic warriors and rulers.


House of Commons
The UK public elects 650 Members of Parliament (MPs) to represent their interests and concerns in the House of Commons. MPs consider and propose new laws, and can scrutinise government policies by asking ministers questions about current issues either in the Commons Chamber or in Committees.


Hymn
A hymn is a type of song, usually religious, specifically written for the purpose of adoration or prayer, and typically addressed to a deity or deities, or to a prominent figure or personification. The word hymn derives from Greek ὕμνος (hymnos), which means “a song of praise”.


Interlude
An interlude is a pause in something, such as a play, or is an intervening period of time in between two other things. A break in between your morning and afternoon work is an example of an interlude. An intermission between two acts of a play is an example of an interlude.


John Milton
John Milton (9 December 1608 – 8 November 1674) was an English poet, polemicist, man of letters, and civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under its Council of State and later under Oliver Cromwell. He wrote at a time of religious flux and political upheaval, and is best known for his epic poem Paradise Lost (1667), written in blank verse.


King James’s Bible
The King James Version (KJV), also known as the King James Bible (KJB) or simply the Authorized Version (AV), is an English translation of the Christian Bible for the Church of England, begun in 1604 and completed as well as published in 1611 under the sponsorship of James VI and I.


Latin
Latin (Latin: lingua latīna, IPA: [ˈliŋɡʷa laˈtiːna]) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.


Leviathan
Leviathan (/lɪˈvaɪ.əθən/; Hebrew: לִוְיָתָן, Livyatan) is a creature with the form of a sea monster from Jewish belief, referenced in the Hebrew Bible in the Book of Job, Psalms, the Book of Isaiah, and the Book of Amos.


Love elegy
Love elegy is a distinct genre of Latin poetry with a complex set of stylistic and thematic conventions. Though strongly influenced by Greek models, most notably Callimachus’ Aetia, it is a peculiarly Roman cultural product.


Madrigal
A madrigal is a secular vocal music composition of the Renaissance and early Baroque eras. Traditionally, polyphonic madrigals are unaccompanied; the number of voices varies from two to eight, and most frequently from three to six.


Manuscript
A manuscript (abbreviated MS for singular and MSS for plural) was, traditionally, any document that is written by hand — or, once practical typewriters became available, typewritten — as opposed to being mechanically printed or reproduced in some indirect or automated way


Martin Luther
Martin Luther, O.S.A. (/ˈluːθər/; German: [ˈmaɐ̯tiːn ˈlʊtɐ]; 10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a German professor of theology, composer, priest, monk, and a seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation.


Mary Queen of Scots
Mary, Queen of Scots (8 December 1542 – 8 February 1587), also known as Mary Stuart or Mary I of Scotland, reigned over Scotland from 14 December 1542 to 24 July 1567.


Masque
The masque was a form of festive courtly entertainment that flourished in 16th- and early 17th-century Europe, though it was developed earlier in Italy, in forms including the intermedio (a public version of the masque was the pageant).


Meditation
Meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing their mind on a particular object, thought or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.


Memento mori
Memento mori (Latin: “remember (that) you will die”) is the medieval Latin Christian theory and practice of reflection on mortality, especially as a means of considering the vanity of earthly life and the transient nature of all earthly goods and pursuits.


Millenarians
Millenarianism (also millenarism), from Latin mīllēnārius “containing a thousand”, is the belief by a religious, social, or political group or movement in a coming fundamental transformation of society, after which “all things will be changed”. Millenarianism exists in various cultures and religions worldwide, with various interpretations of what constitutes a transformation.


Morality play
The morality play is a genre of medieval and early Tudor theatrical entertainment. In their own time, these plays were known as interludes, a broader term for dramas with or without a moral.


Mystery play
The mystery plays, usually representing biblical subjects, developed from plays presented in Latin by churchmen on church premises and depicted such subjects as the Creation, Adam and Eve, the murder of Abel, and the Last Judgment.


New Model Army
The New Model Army of England was formed in 1645 by the Parliamentarians in the English Civil War, and was disbanded in 1660 after the Restoration. It differed from other armies in the series of civil wars referred to as the Wars of the Three Kingdoms in that it was intended as an army liable for service anywhere in the country (including in Scotland and Ireland), rather than being tied to a single area or garrison.


Ode
An ode (from Ancient Greek: ᾠδή, romanized: ōdḗ) is a type of lyrical stanza. It is an elaborately structured poem praising or glorifying an event or individual, describing nature intellectually as well as emotionally.


Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell (25 April 1599 – 3 September 1658) was an English military and political leader. He served as Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland “and of the dominions thereto belonging” from 1653 until his death, acting simultaneously as head of state and head of government of the new republic.


Oration on the Dignity of Man
The Oration on the Dignity of Man (De hominis dignitate) is a famous public discourse composed in 1486 by Pico della Mirandola, an Italian scholar and philosopher of the Renaissance. It remained unpublished until 1496. The Pico Project, a collaboration between University of Bologna, Italy, and Brown University, United States, dedicated to the Oration, and others have called it the “Manifesto of the Renaissance”.


Pamphlet
A pamphlet is an unbound book (that is, without a hard cover or binding). It may consist of a single sheet of paper that is printed on both sides and folded in half, in thirds, or in fourths, called a leaflet, or it may consist of a few pages that are folded in half and saddle stapled at the crease to make a simple book.


Paradise Lost
Paradise Lost is an epic poem in blank verse by the 17th-century English poet John Milton (1608–1674). The first version, published in 1667, consisted of ten books with over ten thousand lines of verse. A second edition followed in 1674, arranged into twelve books (in the manner of Virgil’s Aeneid) with minor revisions throughout and a note on the versification. It is considered by critics to be Milton’s major work, and it helped solidify his reputation as one of the greatest English poets of his time.


Pastoral mode
A pastoral lifestyle (see pastoralism) is that of shepherds herding livestock around open areas of land according to seasons and the changing availability of water and pasture. It lends its name to a genre of literature, art, and music that depicts such life in an idealized manner, typically for urban audiences. A pastoral is a work of this genre, also known as bucolic, from the Greek βουκολικόν, from βουκόλος, meaning a cowherd.


Patronage
Patronage is the support, encouragement, privilege, or financial aid that an organization or individual bestows to another. In the history of art, arts patronage refers to the support that kings, popes, and the wealthy have provided to artists such as musicians, painters, and sculptors.


Petrarch
Francesco Petrarca (Italian: [franˈtʃesko peˈtrarka]; July 20, 1304 – July 18/19, 1374), commonly anglicized as Petrarch (/ˈpiːtrɑːrk, ˈpɛt-/), was a scholar and poet of Renaissance Italy who was one of the earliest humanists. His rediscovery of Cicero’s letters is often credited with inventing the 14th-century Renaissance. Petrarch is often considered the founder of Humanism.


Pilgrim’s Progress
The Pilgrim’s Progress from This World, to That Which Is to Come is a 1678 Christian allegory written by John Bunyan. It is regarded as one of the most significant works of religious English literature, has been translated into more than 200 languages, and has never been out of print. It has also been cited as the first novel written in English.


Plain style
The plain style is commonly associated with the matter-of-fact delivery of information, as in most technical writing. According to Richard Lanham, the “three central values” of the plain style are “Clarity, Brevity, and Sincerity, the ‘C-B-S’ theory of prose” (Analyzing Prose, 2003).


Predestination
Predestination, in theology, is the doctrine that all events have been willed by God, usually with reference to the eventual fate of the individual soul. Explanations of predestination often seek to address the “paradox of free will”, whereby God’s omniscience seems incompatible with human free will. In this usage, predestination can be regarded as a form of religious determinism; and usually predeterminism.


Presbyterians
Presbyterianism is a part of the Reformed tradition within Protestantism, which traces its origins to Britain, particularly Scotland.


Prince Henry
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, KCVO ADC is a member of the British royal family. He is the younger son of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Diana, Princess of Wales, and is sixth in the line of succession to the British throne.


Protestants
Protestantism is the second largest form of Christianity with collectively between 800 million and more than 900 million adherents worldwide or nearly 40% of all Christians. It originated with the 16th century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be errors in the Roman Catholic Church. Protestants reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of papal supremacy and sacraments, but disagree among themselves regarding the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.


Ptolemaic universe
The main idea of the Ptolemaic System was that the planet Earth was the center of the universe and all of the other planets, stars and the Sun revolved, or circled, around it. Theories about the universe, like Ptolemy’s, that view the Earth as the center are called geocentric.


Puritans
The Puritans were English Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries who sought to purify the Church of England of Roman Catholic practices, maintaining that the Church of England had not been fully reformed and needed to become more Protestant. Puritanism played a significant role in English history, especially during the Protectorate.


Quakers
Quakers, also called Friends, are a historically Christian group of religious movements formally known as the Religious Society of Friends, Society of Friends or Friends Church. Members of the various Quaker movements are all generally united in a belief in the ability of each human being to experientially access the light within, or “that of God in every one”.


Ralph Roister Doister
He is a sixteenth-century play by Nicholas Udall, which was once regarded as the first comedy to be written in the English language.


Ranters
The Ranters were one of a number of dissenting groups that emerged around the time of the English Commonwealth (1649–1660). They were largely common people and there is plenty of evidence that the movement was widespread throughout England, though they were not organised and had no leader.


Reformation
The English Reformation was a series of events in 16th-century England by which the Church of England broke away from the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church. These events were, in part, associated with the wider European Protestant Reformation, a religious and political movement that affected the practice of Christianity across western and central Europe. Causes included the decline of feudalism and the rise of nationalism, the rise of the common law, the invention of the printing press and increased circulation of the Bible, and the transmission of new knowledge and ideas among scholars, the upper and middle classes and readers in general.


Renaissance
The Renaissance is a period in European history, covering the span between the 14th and 17th centuries and marking the transition from the Middle Ages to modernity.


Repertory company
A repertory theatre (also called repertory, rep or stock) can be a Western theatre or opera production in which a resident company presents works from a specified repertoire, usually in alternation or rotation. In the British system, however, it used to be that even quite small towns would support a rep, and the resident company would present a different play every week, either a revival from the full range of classics or, if given the chance, a new play, once the rights had been released after a West End or Broadway run. However, the companies were not known for trying out untried new work. The methods, now seldom seen, would also be used in the United States, Canada, and Australia.


Restoration
The Restoration of the English monarchy took place in the Stuart period. It began in 1660 when the English, Scottish and Irish monarchies were all restored under King Charles II. This followed the Interregnum, also called the Protectorate, that followed the Wars of the Three Kingdoms.


Richard Cromwell
Richard Cromwell (4 October 1626 – 12 July 1712) was an English statesman who was the second Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland.


Robert Burton
Robert Burton (8 February 1577 – 25 January 1640) was an English scholar at Oxford University, best known for the classic The Anatomy of Melancholy. He was also the incumbent of St Thomas the Martyr, Oxford, and of Seagrave in Leicestershire.


Roundheads
Roundheads were supporters of the Parliament of England during the English Civil War (1641–1652). Also known as Parliamentarians, they fought against King Charles I of England and his supporters, known as the Cavaliers or Royalists, who claimed rule by absolute monarchy and the principle of the ‘divine right of kings’. The goal of the Roundhead party was to give the Parliament supreme control over executive administration of the country/kingdom


Sacraments
A sacrament is a Christian rite recognized as of particular importance and significance.The Church of England prayer book describes a sacrament as ‘an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace’. There are various views on the existence and meaning of such rites. Many Christians consider the sacraments to be a visible symbol of the reality of God, as well as a means by which God enacts his grace.


Satire
Satire is a genre of literature, and sometimes graphic and performing arts, in which vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, corporations, government, or society itself into improvement. Although satire is usually meant to be humorous, its greater purpose is often constructive social criticism, using wit to draw attention to both particular and wider issues in society.


Sermon
A sermon is an oration or lecture by a preacher (who is usually a member of clergy). Sermons address a scriptural, theological, religious, or moral topic, usually expounding on a type of belief, law, or behavior within both past and present contexts. Elements of the sermon often include exposition, exhortation, and practical application. The act of delivering a sermon is known as preaching.


Sonnet
A sonnet is a poem in a specific form which originated in Italy; Giacomo da Lentini is credited with its invention. The term sonnet is derived from the Italian word sonetto (from Old Provençal sonet a little poem, from son song, from Latin sonus a sound). By the thirteenth century it signified a poem of fourteen lines that follows a strict rhyme scheme and specific structure. Conventions associated with the sonnet have evolved over its history. Writers of sonnets are sometimes called “sonneteers”, although the term can be used derisively.


Spanish Armada
The Spanish Armada (Spanish: Grande y Felicísima Armada, lit. ‘Great and Most Fortunate Navy’) was a Habsburg Spanish fleet of 130 ships that sailed from Corunna in late May 1588, under the command of the Duke of Medina Sidonia, with the purpose of escorting an army from Flanders to invade England. Medina Sidonia was an aristocrat without naval command experience but was made commander by King Philip II. The aim was to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I and her establishment of Protestantism in England, to stop English interference in the Spanish Netherlands and to stop the harm caused by English and Dutch privateering ships that interfered with Spanish interests in America.


Sprezzatura
Sprezzatura is an Italian word that first appears in Baldassare Castiglione’s 1528 The Book of the Courtier, where it is defined by the author as “a certain nonchalance, so as to conceal all art and make whatever one does or says appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it”.


Stationer’s Company
he Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers, usually known as the Stationers’ Company, is one of the livery companies of the City of London. The Stationers’ Company was formed in 1403; it received a royal charter in 1557.


Stuart
The House of Stuart, originally Stewart, was a European royal house of Scotland with Breton origin. They had held the office of High Steward of Scotland since Walter FitzAlan in around 1150. The royal Stewart line was founded by Robert II whose descendants were kings and queens of Scotland from 1371 until the union with England in 1707. Mary, Queen of Scots was brought up in France where she adopted the French spelling of the name Stuart.


The Advancement of Learning
he Advancement of Learning (full title: Of the Proficience and Advancement of Learning, Divine and Human) is a 1605 book by Francis Bacon. It inspired the taxonomic structure of the highly influential Encyclopédie by Jean le Rond d’Alembert and Denis Diderot, and is credited by Bacon’s biographer-essayist Catherine Drinker Bowen with being a pioneering essay in support of empirical philosophy.


The Complete Angler
The Compleat Angler (the spelling is sometimes modernised to The Complete Angler, though this spelling also occurs in first editions) is a book by Izaak Walton. It was first published in 1653 by Richard Marriot in London. Walton continued to add to it for a quarter of a century. It is a celebration of the art and spirit of fishing in prose and verse.


The Courtier
A courtier (/ˈkɔːrtiər/) is a person who is often in attendance at the court of a monarch or other royal personage. The earliest historical examples of courtiers were part of the retinues of rulers. Historically the court was the centre of government as well as the residence of the monarch, and the social and political life were often completely mixed together.


The Faerie Queene
The Faerie Queene is an English epic poem by Edmund Spenser. Books I–III were first published in 1590, and then republished in 1596 together with books IV–VI. The Faerie Queene is notable for its form: it is one of the longest poems in the English language as well as the work in which Spenser invented the verse form known as the Spenserian stanza. On a literal level, the poem follows several knights as a means to examine different virtues, and though the text is primarily an allegorical work, it can be read on several levels of allegory, including as praise (or, later, criticism) of Queen Elizabeth I.


The First Folio
Mr. William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies is a collection of plays by William Shakespeare, published in 1623, commonly referred to by modern scholars as the First Folio. It is considered one of the most influential books ever published in the English language.


The King’s Men
All the King’s Men is a novel by Robert Penn Warren first published in 1946. Its title is drawn from the nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty. In 1947, Warren won the Pulitzer Prize for All the King’s Men. It was adapted for a film in 1949 and 2006; the 1949 version won the Academy Award for Best Picture. It is rated as the 36th greatest novel of the 20th century by Modern Library, and it was chosen as one of Time magazine’s 100 best novels since 1923.


The Prince
The Prince (Italian: Il Principe [il ˈprintʃipe]) is a 16th-century political treatise by the Italian diplomat and political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli. From his correspondence, a version appears to have been distributed in 1513, using a Latin title, De Principatibus (Of Principalities). However, the printed version was not published until 1532, five years after Machiavelli’s death. This was carried out with the permission of the Medici pope Clement VII, but “long before then, in fact since the first appearance of The Prince in manuscript, controversy had swirled about his writings”.


The Spanish Tragedy
The Spanish Tragedy, or Hieronimo is Mad Again is an Elizabethan tragedy written by Thomas Kyd between 1582 and 1592. Highly popular and influential in its time, The Spanish Tragedy established a new genre in English theatre, the revenge play or revenge tragedy. Its plot contains several violent murders and includes as one of its characters a personification of Revenge.


The True Law of Free Monarchies
The Reciprocal and Mutual Duty Betwixt a Free King and His Natural Subjects is a treatise or essay of political theory and kingship by James VI of Scotland. It is believed James VI wrote the tract to set forth his idea of kingship, in contrast to the contractarian views espoused by, among others, George Buchanan.


Thomas Hobbes
(/hɒbz/; 5 April 1588 – 4 December 1679), in some older texts Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury,[4] was an English philosopher, considered to be one of the founders of modern political philosophy. Hobbes is best known for his 1651 book Leviathan, which expounded an influential formulation of social contract theory. In addition to political philosophy, Hobbes also contributed to a diverse array of other fields, including history, jurisprudence, geometry, the physics of gases, theology, ethics, and general philosophy.


Thomas Kyd
He (baptised 6 November 1558; buried 15 August 1594) was an English playwright, the author of The Spanish Tragedy, and one of the most important figures in the development of Elizabethan drama.


Thomas Norton
He (1532 – 10 March 1584) was an English lawyer, politician, writer of verse, and playwright.


Treatise
A treatise is just a long, formal (i.e., organized) discussion of any given topic. Authors of treatises really dig deep and focus on the principles of what they’re discussing.


Tribe of Ben
In another name Sons of Ben were followers of Ben Jonson in English poetry and drama in the first half of the seventeenth century. These men followed Ben Jonson’s philosophy and his style of poetry. These men, unlike Jonson, were loyal to the king.


Utopia
A utopia is an imagined community or society that possesses highly desirable or nearly perfect qualities for its citizens. The opposite of a utopia is a dystopia. One could also say that utopia is a perfect “place” that has been designed so there are no problems.


Verse
In the countable sense, a verse is formally a single metrical line in a poetic composition. However, verse has come to represent any division or grouping of words in a poetic composition, with groupings traditionally having been referred to as stanzas.


Epistle
An epistle is a writing directed or sent to a person or group of people, usually an elegant and formal didactic letter. The epistle genre of letter-writing was common in ancient Egypt as part of the scribal-school writing curriculum.


Virginia
Virginia (/vərˈdʒɪniə/ (About this soundlisten)), officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state in the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States located between the Atlantic Coast and the Appalachian Mountains.


Volpone
Volpone (Italian for “sly fox”) is a comedy play by English playwright Ben Jonson first produced in 1605–1606, drawing on elements of city comedy and beast fable. A merciless satire of greed and lust, it remains Jonson’s most-performed play, and it is ranked among the finest Jacobean era comedies.


Walter Ralegh
Sir Walter Raleigh (/ˈrɔːli, ˈræli, ˈrɑːli/; c. 1552 (or 1554) – 29 October 1618), also spelled Ralegh, was an English landed gentleman, writer, poet, soldier, politician, courtier, spy and explorer. He was cousin to Sir Richard Grenville and younger half-brother of Sir Humphrey Gilbert. He is also well known for popularising tobacco in England. Raleigh was one of the most notable figures of the Elizabethan era.


Wars of the Roses
The Wars of the Roses were a series of English civil wars for control of the throne of England fought between supporters of two rival branches of the royal House of Plantagenet: the House of Lancaster, associated with a red rose, and the House of York, whose symbol was a white rose. Eventually, the wars eliminated the male lines of both families. The conflict lasted through many sporadic episodes between 1455 and 1487, but there was related fighting before and after this period between the parties. The power struggle ignited around social and financial troubles following the Hundred Years’ War, unfolding the structural problems of feudalism, combined with the mental infirmity and weak rule of King Henry VI which revived interest in Richard of York’s claim to the throne. Historians disagree on which of these factors to identify as the main reason for the wars.


William Caxton
William Caxton (c. 1422 – c. 1491) was an English merchant, diplomat, and writer. He is thought to be the first person to introduce a printing press into England, in 1476, and as a printer was the first English retailer of printed books.


William Prynne
William Prynne (1600 – 24 October 1669) was an English lawyer, author, polemicist, and political figure. He was a prominent Puritan opponent of the church policy of the Archbishop of Canterbury, William Laud. Although his views on church polity were presbyterian, he became known in the 1640s as an Erastian, arguing for overall state control of religious matters. A prolific writer, he published over 200 books and pamphlets.


Wit
Wit is a form of intelligent humour, the ability to say or write things that are clever and usually funny. Witty means a person who is skilled at making clever and funny remarks. Forms of wit include the quip, repartee, and wisecrack.