Lecture 17: Renaissance Prose
Prose in the Renaissance was not as popular as drama.
Yet, prose is important because (1) it has helped to form the modern English Language, and (2) it gives the earliest examples of many forms of writings that later became very popular.
Wider audience reached prose because of the invention of the printing press.
Types of prose in the renaissance
Authorized Version of the Bible (1611)
King James I asked a group of translators to prepare a new English version for the Bible.
They are pieces of prose about the subculture (low life) of thieves, cheats, and other similar characters. The tone of this writing was comic and they highlighted that there was a lot of crime in London.
3. Travel writings
They were stories about the real and imaginary voyages of the explorers to the new worlds of the Americas and the East.
Utopia by Thomas More and Discovery of Guiana by Sir Walter Raleigh are two major travel books. (a model for or satire of society)
Eldorado: the land of gold. It was in a real book of history.
4. Romance writings
They were firstly found in the books of the voyages. They are the origin of the English novel.
5. The Essays
They discussed some issues of the time and highlighted their aspects in details.
6. Religious writings
They were sermons of churchmen.
7. Illustrated books
They are also known as emblems. They usually contained pictures with writings to explain the symbolism of the pictures.