Renaissance Studies: An Introduction
By Jeremy David Clos
Historical Director, The North Carolina Renaissance Faire
Renaissance Studies: An Introduction | Medieval Europe | The Renaissance Shift
Renaissance Europe | Renaissance England
Why Study the Renaissance?
In 1953, the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II was heralded by many as the dawn of a New Elizabethan age, or a second British Renaissance. For the most part, this was postwar optimism since Britain remained impoverished by the huge costs related to World War II. Rationing was still in effect, and by looking to the past glories of the nation the war-ravaged people of Britain could envision a brighter future. All of this sparked a flurry of study into the Renaissance and the reign of the first Queen Elizabeth of England.
Effectively Envisioning the Renaissance
To effectively study the history of the Renaissance, the historian must attempt to examine historical evidence through the eyes of the people of the Renaissance. It is important to attempt to grasp the world views which were prevalent during the Renaissance. This is, however, all but impossible to achieve completely as modern perception will always place emphasis on things which may seem important to the modern era and which may or may not have been important to the lives and world views of the people of the Renaissance era. History can only be explored and illustrated--a book or document cannot completely contain man's spirit and therefore we may only catch glimpses of it.
Because of the limitations in the study of history, we cannot account wholly for the movements of the Renaissance. However, we can and will decipher signs and symptoms to tell us the difference between what came before and what followed.
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