The French word "renaissance" literally means ' rebirth '.How fitting is this term as a label for the particular period in European history?Fit this term as a label for the particular period in...

The French word "renaissance" literally means ' rebirth '.How fitting is this term as a label for the particular period in European history?

Fit this term as a label for the particular period in European history referred to as the 'Renaissance"? Discuss with adequate examples from literary and/ or cultural texts of this period. Please give me answer in at least in 500 words.

Thank you.

Expert Answers
lynnebh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Renaissance is a period of history that spans a couple of centuries. It began in the early 14th century, first in Italy, then spread to the rest of Europe. Roughly, the dates are 14th century to 17th century. As people were returning from the Crusades, and also after the fall of Constantinople, they had to sail first to Italy. Italy had many port cities and it was the first country in Western Europe that most ships would arrive in on the way back from the East. Plus, Italy had the Medici family - rich patrons of the arts - that encouraged painting, sculpture, literature, etc. The Middle Ages were called the "Dark Ages" for many reasons - the plague, lack of literacy, failed Crusades - so with a newborn interest in arts and science, one can see why the term "rebirth" or "Renaissance" was applied to this time. It was a rebirth of a time when these things were important to people - a rebirth of the classics.

You will have to do some research on literary and cultural texts of this period to complete your assignment because the scope of Renaissance literature includes famous literary giants from all European countries: Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio from Italy, Marlow, Milton, Spenser, Donne, Shakespeare from England, Ronsard, Rabelais, Montaigne from France - and many, many others. Great philosophers wrote during this period - Spinoza, Grotius, Bacon, Machiavelli.

Since you are limited to only 500 words, the best you can do on this is give an overview of what the Renaissance writers were writing about. What made their writing distinct from other periods? Remember that the printing press was invented during this period, so people other than monks could get their hands on great literature. For the most part, the Renaissance focused on humanism as opposed to the focus on religion in the Middle Ages. This thought was reflected in the great art masterpieces, sculptures and literature of the period. This was the period of Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Van Eyck, Raphael, Titian, Bellini, Botticelli. It's a lot to cover in only 500 words when volumes and volumes have been written.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

i would say that the critical reason why the "Renaissance" lived up to its name was in the vaulting of the individual as being an agent of change in the world.  Prior to the Renaissance, individuals were seen as petty, small, insignificant specks only capable of the worst in reality.  The Renaissance helped to transform this conception of reality by transforming the capabilities of human beings.  Artists and thinkers ended up widening the scope of what was done, transforming what human beings could actually do.  From a time period where artists received little or no credit for their work, the Renaissance thinkers and artists such as da Vinci or Michelangelo helped to ensure that they were known for all their creations.

krishna-agrawala | Student

I do not know the the meaning of the word renaissance in French, but as I understand the word renaissance as applied to European history is derived from the Latin word renascere and which means the act of being reborn. Weather derived from French or Latin, the reference to rebirth is very appropriate for the term Renaissance, which is used for the great cultural movement occurring in Europe from early 1300's to about 1600, as it was marked by revival of culture, art, philosophy and knowledge of ancient Roman and Greek period.

Renaissance that began in Italy and spread to England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, and other countries. During the Renaissance, many European scholars and artists, studied the learning and art of ancient Greece and Rome, and captured the spirit of the Greek and Roman cultures in their own works. In Europe, the knowledge of cultures of ancient Greece and Rome became lost.  The Renaissance thus represented a rebirth of these cultures.