Chapter I The Renaissance Period
Brief Introduction to the Renaissance Period
1. 应用Definitions of the Literary Terms：
1. The Renaissance： The Renaissance marks a transition from the medieval to the modern world. Generally， it refers to the period between the 14th & 17th centuries. It first started in Italy， with the flowering of painting， sculpture & literature. From Italy the movement went to embrace the rest of Europe. The Renaissance， which means "rebirth" or "revival，" is actually a movement stimulated by a series of historical events， such as the re-discovery of ancient Roman & Greek culture， the new discoveries in geography & astrology， the religious reformation & the economic expansion. The Renaissance， therefore， in essence is a historical period in which the European humanist thinkers & scholars made attempts to get rid of those old feudalist ideas in medieval Europe， to introduce new ideas that expressed the interests of the rising bourgeoisie， & to recover the purity of the early church from the corruption of the Roman Catholic Church.
Humanism is the essence of the Renaissance. It sprang from the endeavor to restore a medieval reverence for the ancient authors and is frequently taken as the beginning of the Renaissance on its conscious， intellectual side， for the Greek and Roman civilization was based on such a conception that man is the measure of all things. Through the new learning， humanists not only saw the arts of splendor and enlightenment， but the human values represented in the works. Renaissance humanists found in the classics a justification to exalt human nature and came to see that human beings were glorious creatures capable of individual development in the direction of perfections， and that the world they inhabited was theirs not to despise but to question， explore， and enjoy. Thus， by emphasizing the dignity of human beings and the importance of the present life， they voiced their beliefs that man did not only have the right to enjoy the beauty of this life， but had the ability to perfect himself and to perform wonders. Thomas More， Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare are the best representatives of the English humanists.
3. Spenserian stanza：
Spenserian stanza was invented by Edmund Spenser. It is a stanza of nine lines， with the first eight lines in iambic pentameter & the last line in iambic hexameter， rhyming ababbcbcc.
4. Metaphysical poetry：
The term "metaphysical poetry" is commonly used to name the work of the 17th century writers who wrote under the influence of John Donne. With a rebellious spirit， the metaphysical poets tried to break away from the conventional fashion of the Elizabethan love poetry. The diction is simple as compared with that of the Elizabethan or the Neoclassic periods， and echoes the words and cadences of common speech. The imagery in drawn from the actual life. The form is frequently that of an argument with the poet's beloved， with God， or with himself.
5. The Renaissance hero：
A Renaissance hero refers to one created by Christopher Marlowe in his drama. Such a hero is always individualistic and full of ambition， facing bravely the challenge from both gods and men. He embodies Marlowe's humanistic ides of human dignity and capacity. Different from the tragic hero in medieval plays， who seeks the way to heaven through salvation and god's will， he is against conventional morality and contrives to obtain heaven on earth through his own efforts. With the endless aspiration for power， knowledge， and glory， the hero interprets the true Renaissance spirit. Both Tamburlaine and Faustus are typical in possessing such a spirit.