In Europe almost the whole 16 century (and the beginning of 17th century for England) was influenced by the blossom of Renaissance. During this period, the interest to classical sources has increased and the development of intellectual and cultural legacy of the Middle Ages and ancient Greece continued. Historically, this period was characterized by a transition from feudal society to more advanced forms of government; political institutions and urban economy emerged and strengthened during the 16th century (Sider, 2005). The shocks and upheavals of people involved in such impressive social processes were reflected in numerous works of prose and poetry, focusing on the feelings, dreams and aspirations of real people. Many works of literature created during the Renaissance period in English, France and Spain have evolved into immortal classical masterpieces
In the 16th century, English spirit of Reformation has generated inspiration of many famous authors. The major trend in literature in 16th century was humanism (Sider, 2005), and prominent English authors such as William Shakespeare and John Milton illustrate this trend. Shakespeare’s dramas set a good example of how the focus was shifted from abstract religious holiness and divinity to love, struggle and suffering of real people. Renaissance literature paid a lot of attention to human spirit and soul, and it was not surprising that during this period there emerged a lot of French poets, such as Clement Marot and Maurice Sceve (Sider, 2005).
The pro-Christian interpretation of man and role of people in the world adopted in the Middle Ages has gradually been replaced by a more down-to-earth perception of human beings. One of vivid examples of the change in literature is Rabelais: his history of Gargantua and Pantagruel became widely known and the humor of Rabelais has even become a proper name. Overall, in the 16th century Renaissance shifted literature focus to humanism, and the authors gained more interest in outer and inner world of human beings. This is why many works of art written in the 16th century became classical writings, and did not lost actuality until nowadays.
Sider, S. (2005). Handbook to life in Renaissance Europe. Infobase Publishing.