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JavaScript seems to be disabled in your browser. You must have JavaScript enabled in your browser to utilize the functionality of this website. Recommend to your Librarian. Request a Review Copy. Sophie Chiari. While ecocritical approaches to literary texts receive more and more attention, climate-related issues remain fairly neglected, particularly in the field of Shakespeare studies. At the same time, a growing number of literati stood against determinism and defended free will, thereby insisting on the ability to act upon celestial forces.

Sophie Chiari argues that Shakespeare reconciles the scholarly approaches of his time with popular views rooted in superstition and promotes a sensitive, pragmatic understanding of climatic events.

Early Modern History MA

A brilliant and bold contribution to both Shakespeare studies and to the emerging field of eco-criticism. Eloquently written, this is a thorough literary analysis of the status of the elements and environment as symbols, metaphors and crucially, as material phenomena. The Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus — posited that the Earth moved around the Sun, not the other way around, as had been assumed for centuries — a theory proved through close observation by the Italian polymath Galileo Galilei — , who also refined the mechanical clock. The magnetic compass first used by Chinese sailors in the 11th century was belatedly rediscovered in early 14th-century Italy, revolutionising navigation.

The use of another Chinese invention, gunpowder, also spread across Europe, with a dramatic and brutal effect on warfare. And — yet again — the printing press helped in incalculable ways, spreading ideas faster and faster. Usage terms The printed text and illustrations are Public Domain. The handwritten text is Public Domain in most countries other than the UK. How did the Renaissance affect culture? The Renaissance affected culture in innumerable ways. In painting, sculpture and architecture, Italian artists such as Leonardo, Michelangelo and Raphael experimented with naturalism and perspective, and pushed visual form to more expressive heights than had ever been witnessed.

Writers such as Boccaccio, Petrarch and Montaigne used insights gleaned from Latin and Greek texts to develop literature that had the polish and elegance of classical authors, yet was more intensely personal than ever before. Composers including Palestrina, Lassus, Victoria and Gabrieli experimented with interweaving polyphony and richly coloured harmonies, far more formally complex than their medieval antecedents.

Political thinkers such as Machiavelli honed a statecraft based on realpolitik , while thinkers such as Galileo and Francis Bacon stressed the importance of science based on real-world experiment and observation. The fact that so many of these people were polymaths — skilled in music as well as art, writing as well as science — is itself testament to Renaissance attitudes to life and learning.

Da Vinci was the ultimate polymath and many of his ideas and designs are preserved in this manuscript notebook. This page is a study for an underwater breathing apparatus.

John Kerrigan

Usage terms Public Domain An English Renaissance Although the Renaissance arrived in England in the mids, almost two centuries after it began in Italy, some of its greatest achievements occurred on these shores, particularly in literature. Perhaps most strikingly, playwrights such as William Shakespeare , Christopher Marlowe and Ben Jonson put their grammar-school educations to fine effect in the public theatres of London by creating drama more sophisticated and psychologically powerful than anything else in Europe. Andrew Dickson is an author, journalist and critic.

A former arts editor at the Guardian in London, he writes regularly for the paper and appears as a broadcaster for the BBC and elsewhere. He lives in London, and his website is andrewjdickson. Words from Latin or Greek often via Latin were imported wholesale during this period, either intact e.

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Sometimes, Latin-based adjectives were introduced to plug "lexical gaps" where no adjective was available for an existing Germanic noun e. Examples of inkhorn terms include revoluting , ingent , devulgate , attemptate , obtestate , fatigate , deruncinate , subsecive , nidulate , abstergify , arreption , suppeditate , eximious , illecebrous , cohibit , dispraise and other such inventions.

Sydney Smith was one writer of the period with a particular penchant for such inkhorn terms, including gems like frugiverous , mastigophorus , plumigerous , suspirous , anserous and fugacious , The so-called Inkhorn Controversy was the first of several such ongoing arguments over language use which began to erupt in the salons of England and, later, America.

Among those strongly in favour of the use of such "foreign" terms in English were Thomas Elyot and George Pettie; just as strongly opposed were Thomas Wilson and John Cheke. However, it is interesting to note that some words initially branded as inkhorn terms have stayed in the language and now remain in common use e.

An indication of the arbitrariness of this process is that impede survived while its opposite, expede , did not; commit and transmit were allowed to continue, while demit was not; and disabuse and disagree survived, while disaccustom and disacquaint , which were coined around the same time, did not. It is also sobering to realize that some of the greatest writers in the language have suffered from the same vagaries of fashion and fate.

There was even a self-conscious reaction to this perceived foreign incursion into the English language, and some writers tried to deliberately resurrect older English words e.

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Most of these were also short-lived. John Cheke even made a valiant attempt to translate the entire "New Testament" using only native English words. However, this perhaps laudable attempt to bring logic and reason into the apparent chaos of the language has actually had the effect of just adding to the chaos. Whichever side of the debate one favours, however, it is fair to say that, by the end of the 16th Century, English had finally become widely accepted as a language of learning, equal if not superior to the classical languages.

Vernacular language, once scorned as suitable for popular literature and little else - and still criticized throughout much of Europe as crude, limited and immature - had become recognized for its inherent qualities. As mass-produced books became cheaper and more commonly available, literacy mushroomed, and soon works in English became even more popular than books in Latin.

At the time of the introduction of printing, there were five major dialect divisions within England - Northern, West Midlands, East Midlands a region which extended down to include London , Southern and Kentish - and even within these demarcations, there was a huge variety of different spellings. For example, the word church could be spelled in 30 different ways, people in 22, receive in 45, she in 60 and though in an almost unbelievable variations. The "-eth" and "-th" verb endings used in the south of the country e.

The Chancery of Westminster made some efforts from the s onwards to set standard spellings for official documents, specifying I instead of ich and various other common variants of the first person pronoun, land instead of lond , and modern spellings of such , right , not , but , these , any , many , can , cannot , but , shall , should , could , ought , thorough , etc, all of which previously appeared in many variants. Chancery Standard contributed significantly to the development of a Standard English, and the political, commercial and cultural dominance of the "East Midlands triangle" London-Oxford-Cambridge was well established long before the 15th Century, but it was the printing press that was really responsible for carrying through the standardization process.

With the advent of mass printing, the dialect and spelling of the East Midlands and, more specifically, that of the national capital, London, where most publishing houses were located became the de facto standard and, over time, spelling and grammar gradually became more and more fixed. IMAGE Early printing was a very labour-intensive process from EHistLing Some of the decisions made by the early publishers had long-lasting repercussions for the language. One such example is the use of the northern English they , their and them in preference to the London equivalents hi , hir and hem which were more easily confused with singular pronouns like he , her and him.

Caxton himself complained about the difficulties of finding forms which would be understood throughout the country, a difficult task even for simple little words like eggs. But his own work was far from consistent e. Many of his successors were just as inconsistent, particularly as many of them were Europeans and not native English speakers. Sometimes different spellings were used for purely practical reasons, such as adding or omitting letters merely to help the layout or justification of printed lines.

A good part of the reason for many of the vagaries and inconsistencies of English spelling has been attributed to the fact that words were fixed on the printed page before any orthographic consensus had emerged among teachers and writers. It is only since the archaic spelling was revived for store signs e.


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Ye Olde Pubbe that the "modern" pronunciation of ye has been used. As the Early Modern period progressed, there was an increased use of double vowels e. The letters "u" and "v", which had been more or less interchangeable in Middle English , gradually became established as a vowel and a consonant respectively, as did "i" and "j". The grammarian John Hart was particularly influential in these punctuation reforms. Standardization was well under way by around , but it was a slow and halting process and names in particular were often rendered in a variety of ways.

But, in , William Tyndale printed his New Testament, which he had translated directly from the original Greek and Hebrew.

Early Modern literature

By the time of his death he had only completed part of the Old Testament, but others carried on his labours. It appears to be deliberately conservative, even backward-looking, both in its vocabulary and its grammar, and presents many forms which had already largely fallen out of use, or were at least in the process of dying out e. The "-eth" ending is used throughout for third person singular verbs, even though "-es" was becoming much more common by the early 17th Century, and ye is used for the second person plural pronoun, rather than the more common you.

Matthew in the Wycliffe, Tyndale and Authorized versions respectively gives an idea of the way the language developed over the period:. Matthew Ch.

Much of its real power, though, was in exposing the written language to many more of the common people. Several other dictionaries, as well as grammar, pronunciation and spelling guides, followed during the 17th and 18th Century. Johnson also deliberately omitted from his dictionary several words he disliked or considered vulgar including bang , budge , fuss , gambler , shabby and touchy , but these useful words have clearly survived intact regardless of his opinions.

Several of his definitions appear deliberately jokey or politically motivated. Since the 16th Century, there had been calls for the regulation and reform of what was increasingly seen as an unwieldy English language, including John Cheke's proposal for the removal of all silent letters, and William Bullokar's recommendation of a new letter alphabet including 8 vowels, 4 "half-vowels" and 25 consonants in order to aid and simplify spelling. There were even attempts similarly unsuccessful to ban certain words or phrases that were considered in some way undesirable, words such as fib , banter , bigot , fop , flippant , flimsy , workmanship , selfsame , despoil , nowadays , furthermore and wherewithal , and phrases such as subject matter , drive a bargain , handle a subject and bolster an argument.

But, by the early 18th Century, many more scholars had come to believe that the English language was chaotic and in desperate need of some firm rules. He was supported in this by other important writers like John Dryden and Daniel Defoe, but such an institution was never actually realized.