Friday, June 29, 2007

1636 to 1638

1636. Providence is founded as a Rhode Island settlement by English clergyman Roger Williams, 33, who has been banished by the Massachusetts Great and General Court for his outspoken criticism of what he calls the 'abuse of power' and who has sought a place where 'persons of distressed conscience' could go. Williams selects the name in gratitude for "God's merciful providence" that the Narragansett have granted him title to the site.

1636. The town of Haarlem is founded by Dutch colonists on Manhattan Island.

1636. Another epidemic of the black Death strikes London.

1636. Harvard College has its beginnings.

Life Is a Dream. Calderon. Spanish. 1636. Play. One of the outstanding Spanish dramas of all time. Explores the mysteries of human destiny, the illusory nature of mundane existence. Conflict between predestination and will. Sigismundo learns that all life is a dream and that virtue and nobility give meaning to the dream.

1637. Massachusetts colonists have their first hostile encounter with the Pequot. A force of 240 militiamen, 1,000 Narragansetts and 70 Mohegans destroys a stockaded fort at Mystic, burning the town and slaughtering 500 inhabitants.

1637. Discours de la Methode by Rene Descartes establishes the "Cartesian" principle of basing metaphysical demonstrations on mathematical certitude rather than on scholastic subtleties. The proper guide to reason, says Descartes, is to doubt everything systematically until one arrives at clear, simple ideas that are beyond doubt.

Le Cid. Corneille. French. 1637. Play. Marks the beginning of modern French drama. Compressed the original material into a swiftly moving play. Argued with and reconciled with Alfonso VI. Exiled. Fought both for and against Moorish rulers. Defeat of the Count of Barcelona. Capture of Valencia. Reconciled with the king. Revenge on his sons-in-law who mistreated his daughters after they were married.

Lycidas. Milton. Britain. 1637. Poetry: Elegy. Commemorates the death of Edward King, a Cambridge schoolmate. Deals with a world in which the good die young and false priests and poets prevail. Ultimately, God's justice will prevail on earth. Virtue is rewarded in heaven. True genius is interconnected and immortal. A poem of self-renewal and dedication to a great work ahead.

The Wonder-Working Magician (El Magico Prodigioso). Calderon. Spanish. 1637. Play. Reminiscent of the Faust legend. Pagan makes pact with the devil to gain the love of a Christian. The devil tempts her in vain. The pagan admires her virtue and becomes a Christian. Both are martyred at the hands of the Roman governor.

1638. Wilmington, Delaware, has its beginnings in Port Christina on the Delaware River where Peter Minuit of the New Sweden Company lands two shiploads of Swedish and Finnish colonists and builds a fort.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

1633 to 1635

1633. Galileo goes on trial at Rome, April 12, and is threatened by the Inquisition with torture on the rack if he does not retract his defense of the Copernican idea that the sun is the center of the universe and the earth a movable planet. Galileo yields and is sent to his villa outside Florence where he will be confined for the remaining 9 years of his life.

1633. Rene Descartes takes warning from the trial of Galileo. Now living in Holland, Descartes stops publishing in France.

"The Canonization." John Donne. British. 1633. Poetry. The love between him and his mistress is deep and unworldly. They are saints of love. Vehemently colloquial and full of conceits.

"The Collar." George Herbert. British. 1633. Poetry. Rebels against the profitless service of God. Abruptly, totally reconciled. The collar = the clerical collar.

The Temple. George Herbert. British. 1633. Poetry. Collection of 160 religious poems.

"Go and Catch a Falling Star." John Donne. British. 1633. Poetry. Series of impossible feats is less difficult than the task of finding a woman "true and faire."

"Twicknam Garden." John Donne. British. 1633. Poetry. The paradoxes of fidelity and falseness in love. Intensity of feeling.

1634. French explorer Jean Nicolet, 36, makes an expedition to Lake Michigan and Wisconsin.

1634. Lord Calvert establishes a Maryland settlement that will welcome Protestants as well as Roman Catholics.

1634. Villagers at Oberammergau in the Bavarian Alps vow to enact a passion play at regular intervals if they are spared by the Black Death. The folk drama with its anti-Jewish slurs will be performed every 10 years for centuries.

The Two Noble Kinsmen. John Fletcher. British. 1634. Play. Palamon and Arcite--the same as Chaucer's "Knight's Tale." Two friends vie for the same girl. Duel. Winner gets the girl; loser to be executed. Arcite wins, falls from horse; before dying gives girl to Palamon.

Comus. Milton. British. 1634. Masque. Theme: struggle between chaste temperance and sensual pleasure with both causes eloquently represented.

1635. The Academie Francaise is founded to establish rules of grammar and correct usage and to cleanse the French language of "impurities."

1635. Boston Public Latin School opens. It is the first secondary school in the American colonies.

1635. England gets her first inland postal service as mail coach service begins between London and Edinburgh.

Medee (Medea). Corneille. French. 1635. Play. First tragedy by Corneille; Medea's bloody vengeance on the faithless Jason.

The Lady of Pleasure. James Shirley. British. 1635. Play. Taming an extravagant wife by imitating her behavior.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

1627 to 1632

The New Atlantis. Francis Bacon. British. 1627. Fable. Voyage to the island of "Bensalem." "Solomon House" becomes the model for the royal Society.

1628. Salem is founded on Massachusetts Bay by some 50 colonists who arrived in September with John Endicott, 39, who will serve as first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony until 1630.

1628. English engineer Edward Somerset invents the first crude steam engine.

1628. "Essay on the Motion of the Heart and Blood" by English physician William Harvey, 50, is published at Frankfurt. Harvey's 75-page treatise establishes that the human heart is muscular and that its regular mechanical contractions drive the blood out into the blood vessels.

1628. Bubonic Plague kills half the population of Lyons. The Black Death will kill a million in the northern Italian states in the next 2 years.

1629. The joint-stock company of Massachusetts Bay organized by Anglican Puritans will bring more than 17,000 settlers to America in the next 13 years.

El Medico de su honra (The Physician of His Own Honor). Calderon. Spanish. 1629. Play. Wife tries to dissuade the attentions of a prince whom she loves. The husband feels his honor is besmirched. He has her bled to death by a surgeon, which is accepted by the king as within the code of honor.

1630. Boston, Dorchester, Roxbury, Watertown, Mystic and Lynn are established as the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

1630. Portsmouth is established by John Mason in what will be the New Hampshire Colony.

1630. Bubonic Plague kills 500,000 Venetians, hastening the decline of Venice. Repeated epidemics in the decade ahead will reduce America's Huron Tribe to a third of its estimated 30,000 population.

1630. A "Great Migration" begins that will bring 16,000 people to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the next ten years.

Libertine of Seville and the Stone Guest (Don Juan). Tirso de Molina. Spanish. 1630. Play. Don Juan ignores honor and seeks only pleasure. The morality of the Middle Ages vs. Renaissance libertinism. Introduced Don Juan. He kills his lover's father. The statue of her father strangles him.

1631. Shipyards start up at Boston and other Massachusetts colony seaports as cheap American lumber makes an American-built ship only half as expensive as one built in England.

1632. Nova Scotia is founded as the French colony of Acadia by settlers who will cut farms out of the region's dense forests.

1632. Galileo Galilei repeats his advocacy of the Copernican system of astronomy; summoned to Rome.

La Dorotea. Lope de Vega. Spanish. 1632. Romance. In dialogue. Partly autobiographical, based on actress Elena Osorio with whom Lope had had an affair.

"Il Penseroso." Milton. British. 1632. Poetry. The pleasure of melancholy, contemplation, solitude and study.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

1623 to 1627

1623. Pilgrim fathers at Plymouth Colony assign each family its own parcel of land, forsaking the communal Mayflower Compact. Given a new incentive, women and children join with men to plant corn and increase production.

The Changeling. Thomas Middleton and William Rowley. British. 1623. Play. Young noblewoman arranges the murder of her betrothed because she is in love with another. The killer, her ugly servant, claims her as his mistress lest he tell all. She marries the man she loves, but substitutes her virgin servant girl in the marriage bed because she is afraid she will be found not to be a virgin. Confronted with the truth, her husband kills both her and the killer who had claimed her as his mistress.

1624. France's Louis XIII makes Cardinal Richelieu his chief minister.

1624, Pope Urban VIII threatens snuff users with excommunication as the use of tobacco from the New World gains in popularity.

1624. The Louvre Palace at Paris is completed in part for Louis XIII.

Devotions upon Emergent Occasions. John Donne. British. 1624. Meditation. Series of meditations on the variable, therefore miserable, condition of man. Metaphorical and complex. Contains, "No Man Is an Island."

1625. England's James I dies and is succeeded by his son of 24 as Charles I.

1625. The Plymouth Colony for the first time has "corn sufficient and some to spare for others," Governor William Bradford writes home to England and credits part of the improvement to a revised plan of communal labor with each family being assigned land according to its size. "This...made all hands very industrious...."

A New Way to Pay Old Debts. Philip Massinger. British. 1625. Play. Avaricious Sir Giles Overreach manipulates lives and eventually loses his mind.

The Essays or Counsels, Civil and Moral. Francis Bacon. British. 1625. Essays. On personal and public conduct. Philosophical, religious. Witty, pithy and metaphorical. Highly original style. Contains the essay on reading that includes, "Some books are to be tasted...."

1626. Manhattan Island is purchased from Canarsie chiefs of the Wappinger Confederacy for fish hooks and trinkets valued at 60 guilders by Dutch colonists who call the natives Manhattes. The 60 guilders paid for Manhattan is by some accounts $24 and by others $39, but a 20th century economist will reckon the purchasing power of 60 guilders at several thousand dollars in modern terms. (And the Canarsie sellers have sold land that belongs to the Manados).

1626. Dutch whalers establish the port of Smeerenberg in Spitzbergen to process right whales, so called by the English to distinguish them from "wrong" whales which sink when dead. The whales are prized not as food but for their oil and whalebone, used for illumination and lubrication and as stays.

'Tis Pity She's a Whore. John Ford. British. 1627. Play. Fatal attraction for his sister whom he impregnates. She tries to cover up by marrying someone else. The would-be husband plans to tell all. The brother kills his sister to save her honor and kills the would-be husband whose followers then kill him.

Los Suenas. Francisco de Quevedo. Spanish. 1627. Satires. Descriptions of the author's visit to Hell. Caricature of men and institutions.

Monday, June 25, 2007

1619 to 1623

Fuenteovejuna. Lope de Vega. Spanish. 1619. Play. Lascivious officer violates a peasant girl. The town rises up to kill him. It is asserted that the town, not individuals, killed him.

1620. The Mayflower Compact, drawn up by the Pilgrims, establishes a form of government based on the will of the colonists rather than on that of the Crown.

1620. The 180-ton vessel Mayflower out of Southampton arrives off Cape Cod, November 11, with 100 Pilgrims plus two more born at sea during the 66-day voyage. The Pilgrims are English separatists who have emigrated from Scrooby to Amsterdam and thence to Leyden but who decided 3 years ago to seek a new home in order to preserve their English identity.

1620. Novum Organum by Sir Francis Bacon proposes an inductive method of interpreting nature as opposed to the the deductive logic of Aristotle. Bacon insists on observation and experience as the sole source of knowledge.

1620. Pilgrims from the Mayflower receive help from the Pemaquid, Samoset, and the Wampanoags, Hobomah and Massasoit, who have learned some English from earlier visitors and share tribal stores of maize with the new colonists to get them through the winter. But roughly half will die within 3 months, of starvation, scurvy and disease.

Novum Organu. Francis Bacon. British. 1620. Nonfiction. In Latin. Statement of the inductive method. Results of experience studied. General conclusion reached. Different from the syllogistic method.

El mejor alcalde el rey (The King, the Greatest Alcalde). Lope de Vega. Spanish. 1620/23. Play. Feudal lord steals the loved one of a peasant. The king supports the peasant and the lord is executed.

1621. New England's Pilgrims celebrate their first Thanksgiving Day. They entertain 92 Indian guests, including Chief Massasoit, at a Thanksgiving dinner-breakfast. The meal includes wild turkeys shot by the colonists and popcorn which is introduced to the Pilgrims by the chief's brother.

The Anatomy of Melancholy. Robert Burton. British. 1621. Nonfiction. Organized as a medical treatise. Morbid mental states. Notable utterances on the human condition. Melancholy - raving lunacy to philosophical, occasional pessimism. From Milton onward, pillaged by authors.

The Wild Goose Chase. John Fletcher. British. 1621. Play. Beautiful woman resorts to several ruses in order to gain the love of the rakish Mirabel.

1622. Indian attacks, March 22, destroy a number of Virginia settlements within a few hours, killing 347 colonists.

Mourt's Relation. (Mourt was author of the preface.) American. 1622. Narrative. Earliest narrative of the Plymouth Pilgrims. Letters from the colonists. William Bradford's journal.

1623. The Dutch make New Netherlands a formally organized province and some 30 Dutch families land on Manhattan Island.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

1612 to 1619

The White Devil, or Victoria Corombona. John Webster. British. 1612. Play. Husband killed so that she might marry duke of Bracciano. Revenge for his death.

1613. Dutch Merchants establish a fur trading post at the foot of Manhattan Island.

1613. Letters on the Solar Spots by Galileo Galilei advocates the Copernican system proposed in 1543. Galilelo is admonished by the Church.

1613. Spain's population falls as a consequence of wars and emigration to overseas colonies. The country becomes largely a wool-growing nation in a period of decadence and agricultural decline.

The Duchess of Malfi. John Webster. British. 1613. Play. Disastrous marriage of noblewoman and commoner. Her lovers and her children all die.

The Famous History of the Life of King Henry VIII. Shakespeare. British. 1613. Play. Henry's desire to wed Anne Boleyn. Wolsey tries to prevent the marriage and dies. Cranmer annuls the marriage to Katharine of Aragon.

Novelas Ejemplares (Exemplary Novels). Cervantes. Spanish. 1613. Stories dealing with the author's personal experience and practical philosophy.

1614. Virginia Colony widower John Rolfe is married April 5 to Pocahontas, favorite daughter of the Powhatan Chief Wahunsonacook. Pocahontas, 18, has become Europeanized, adopted Christianity, changed her name to Rebecca, and will never see her father again.

1614. Dutch traders found Albany under the name Fort Nassau on the Hudson River.

1616. The Vatican orders Galileo Galilei to stop defending Copernican "heresy" and has him arrested.

1618. The Thirty Years' War, a conflict between Catholics and Protestants, begins, bringing devastation to mush of Europe.

1618. The Virginia House of Burgesses convenes at Jamestown, the first legislative body in the New World.

1619, The first black slaves to arrive in the Virginia Colony come in August from a Dutch privateer.

1619. Some 90 young women arrive at Jamestown from England to marry settlers who pay 120 pounds of tobacco each for the cost of transporting their brides.

1619. French mathematician philosopher Rene Descartes, 22, establishes the basics of modern mathematics, applying algebra to geometry and formulating analytic geometry. Descartes makes the breakthrough November 19 that will provide the basis for exploring natural phenomena by mathematics, but his work will not be published until 1637.

1619. The first American day of thanksgiving is celebrated November 30 by 30 Englishmen aboard the ship Margaret which touched land at what will be Hampton, Virginia.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

1610 to 1612

1610. Jamestown colonists in Virginia prepare to abandon the colony and move to Newfoundland after having buried some 500 of their men, women, and children. Enroute, they encounter the Virginia commanded by Thomas West, 33, the Baron De La Warr, with 150 new settlers and fresh supplies. The outward bound vessels come about and return to Jamestown to try again with De La Warr as their first governor.

Cymbeline. Shakespeare. British. 1610. Play. Iachamo bets husband that he can seduce Imogen. Produces "proof" through subterfuge. Ends happily.

The Alchemist. Ben Jonson. British. 1610. Play. Subtle, clever quack and his whorish colleague Doll Common set up in the house of Lovewit with the servant Jeremy Face. They trick a series of gullible scoundrels. Lovewit returns and routs the quacks. He takes their gains.

1611. English mutineers maroon Henry Hudson on the shore of James Bay. The expidition has been ice-bound through the winter. Eskimos kill some of the mutineers, others starve to death. Hudson and eight others will never be heard of again.

1611. The new governor of the Jamestown Colony in Virginia introduces private enterprise. The colony's agriculture has been socialized until now, but Sir Thomas Cole assigns 3 acres to each man and give him the right to keep or sell most of what he raises.

1611. The Authorized (King James) version of the Bible is published for the Church of England after 7 years of effort by English scholars.

The Tempest. Shakespeare. British. 1611. Play. Prospero, a magician and philosopher, reigns over an enchanted island with his daughter. A magic-induced storm capsizes a boat and brings his former enemies to the island. They had usurped his dukedom 12 years before and set Prospero and his daughter adrift in a boat. The son of Alonso, an enemy, thought to be drowned, is on the other side of the island where he meets and falls in love with Prospero's daughter. Led by Ariel's music, Alonso searches for his son, finds him and blesses the union with Prospero's daughter. Prospero frees Ariel from his spell and renounces magic. He is restored to his dukedom.

The Anniversaries: An Anatomy of the World. John Donne. British. 1611. Poetry. Concerned with the themes of intellectual disorder and temporal decay.

The Maid's Tragedy. Beaumont and Fletcher. British. 1611. Play. A soap opera plot begun by the order of the king that Amintor is to marry Evadne who is mistress of the king.

The Winter's Tale. Shakespeare. British. 1611. Play. The king, jealous of a friend who apparently is attractive to his queen, orders him killed. He escapes. The king throws his wife into prison. She reportedly dies. His daughter is put on a deserted shore where she is saved by a shepherd. When she grows up she falls in love with the son of the guest who the king thought was attractive to his wife. The king now mourns the loss of his queen. Shown a perfect statue of the queen, it turns out to be the queen, not dead but hiding.

1612. Tobacco cultivation gives Virginia Colony settlers an export commodity that will provide a solid economic base for the colony.

The Anniversaries: Of the Progrresse of the Soule. John Donne. British. 1612. Poetry. Donne's themes are of intellectual disorder and temporal decay.

Friday, June 22, 2007

1608 to 1610

1608. Capt. John Smith is elected president of the Jamestown Council September 10 and tries to cope with the disease and famine that have ravaged the colony since late summer.

Tyre and Sidon. Jean de Schelander. French. 1608. Play. Setting is Phoenicia. Lovers from either side of the war. Tragic ending is later rewritten. In a preface to the revised play, a cleric defends the mixture of comic and tragic elements.

The Tragedy of Coriolanus. Shakespeare. British. 1608. Play. Angered by the fickleness of the masses, Coriolanus joins the Volscians to besiege Rome. After pleas from his mother and wife, he raises the siege. When he tries to explain his actions to the Volscians, he is murdered.

Pericles, Prince of Tyre. Shakespeare. British. 1608. Play. Marital misadventures. Loses wife and child then reunited with his wife and child.

1609. Mare Liberum by Hugo Grotius urges freedom of the seas to all nations.

1609. A long period of hostility begins between America's Five Nations, Iroquois and the French. Samuel de Champlain has precipitated the hostility by killing some Mohawks at the behest if the Hurons.

1609. Expulsion of Spain's Moriscos (Moors) begins. Some 275,000 Moriscos (Muslims converted to Christianity who continue to practice their old religion in secret) will leave the country in the next 5 years, disrupting the economic life of Valencia (which will lose one-fourth of her population) and creating problems in Castile, Aragon and Andalusia as well.

1609. Henry Hudson makes a third voyage to America, this time in the employ of Dutch interests. He explores a 200-mile tidal estuary that will be called the North (Hudson) River, ascending as far as what will one day be called Albany. Hudson's ship the Half Moon carries a crew of 18 or 20.

1609. German astronomer Johannes Kepler, 38, establishes two of the cardinal principles of astronomy: planets travel round the sun in elliptical paths rather than in perfect circles, and they do not travel at uniform rates of speed.

1609. The Virginia Colony declines in population to 67 by January as food stocks run low.

Epicene, or The Silent Woman. Ben Jonson. British. 1609. Play. Morose tries to disinherit his nephew, Sir Dauphine. He marries the "silent" Epicene who turns into a raging shrew. He begs Sir Dauphine to take her off his hands. The nephew reveals that the "wife" is a boy he has trained.

Philaster, or Love Lies A-Bleeding. Beaumont and Fletcher. British. 1609. Play. Arethusa in love with Philaster is saved from marriage to a lecher.

The Sonnets of Shakespeare. British. 1609 published. Poetry. Composed between 1593 and 1601. Three quatrains and a couplet. Numbers 1-126 addressed to a beloved male friend. Numbers 127-152 to the malign but fascinating "Dark Lady." Numbers 153-154 probably early poetic exercises. Themes: decay by time and the immortalization of beauty and love in poetry.

1610. Expulsion of Spain's Moriscos (Moors), who have contributed much to the country's culture and economy is stepped up. Spain will never recover from the loss.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

1606 to 1608

Volpone, or The Fox. Ben Jonson. British. 1606. Play. Childless, avaricious Venetian nobleman pretends to be dying to pique the expectations of those who aspire to inherit his fortune. Characters have names meaning birds and animals. When the word comes that he is dying, they rush to him with rich gifts to assure their inheritance. About to be outwitted by his servant, Volpone reveals the whole plot in court.

Macbeth. Shakespeare. British. 1606. Play. Shakespeare's shortest play. A study in fear. Prophecy kindles Macbeth's ambition to be king. He kills King Duncan. He tries to avoid the second part of the prophecy by murdering Banquo, Lady Macduff and her children. Lady Macbeth commits suicide. Macduff kills Macbeth. Lady Macbeth's sleepwalking scene in Act 5 is one of the most famous in Shakespeare. The real Macbeth (d. 1058) killed Duncan, seized the throne and was overthrown by Malcolm, Duncan's son 17 years later.

A Trick to Catch the Old One. Thomas Middleton. British. 1606. Play. A penniless rake borrows money to further his suit of a wealthy widow who is really only a courtesan in disguise.

1607. Jamestown, Virginia is founded May 15 by Capt. Christopher Newport of the London Company; he sails for home June 22, leaving behind colonists under Capt. John Smith.

1607. Jamestown's colonists are sick and starving by autumn, having buried at least 50. Their Capt. John Smith goes up the Chickahominy River in December to trade for corn with the Algonquins and is captured. By his own account his life is spared only by the intercession of the Powhatan Tribe's chief's daughter Pocahontas, 12, who holds his head in her arms to prevent his father's warriors from clubbing Smith to death.

Timon of Athens. Shakespeare. British. 1607. Play. Timon, deserted by friends in time of trouble, turns against Athens. He finds gold in a cave. He plots against the Athenians with Alcibiades, who negotiates with the Athenians on his behalf. But Timon dies without hearing about this, still inveighing against mankind. Shakespeare wrote probably only part of this play.

Antony and Cleopatra. Shakespeare. British. 1607. Play. Antony succumbs to a life of sensual pleasure with Cleopatra. Defeated, thinking that Cleopatra is dead, Antony falls on his sword. To avoid Octavius's leading her through Rome, Cleopatra applies an asp to her bosom. They share a last kiss and then both die.

The Revenger's Tragedy. Cyril Tourneur. British. 1607. Play. Incredible degeneracy of the duke and his court. Senecan tragedy.

The Knight of the Burning Pestle. Francis Beaumont. British. 1607. Play. Play is interrupted by a grocer who inserts scenes and comments on the action. Hackneyed bourgeois romance. Hilarious.

1608. Capt. Christopher Newport arrives at Jamestown in January with 110 new Virginia colony settlers. He finds that disease and malnutrition have reduced the original contingent to a group of 40. Jamestown's fort is destroyed by fire January 7.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

1604 to 1605

1604. England's James I commissions nearly 450 scholars to re-translate the Old and New Testaments.

1604. James I of England on smoking: "What honor or policie can move us to imitate the barbarous and beastly manners of the wild, godlesse, and slavish Indian especially in so vile and stinking a custome?" He finds it "a custome lothsome to the eye, hatefull to the nose, harmfull to the braine, dangerous to the lungs and in the blacke stinking fume thereof, nearest resembling the horrible Stigian smoke of the pit that is bottomlesse."

Othello, the Moor of Venice. Shakespeare. British. 1604. Play. Made jealous by Iago, Othello strangles his wife Desdemona. Iago's wife reveals his treachery. Othello commits suicide: "I loved not wisely but too well."

The Dutch Courtezan. John Marston. British. 1604. Play. Freevil leaves a courtesan for Beatrice. The courtesan arranges his death. The hired killer and Freevil stage his death. The courtesan betrays the hired killer to authorities. Freevil reappears to forestall his execution.

Bussy D'Ambois. George Chapman. British. 1604. Play. Poor countryman rivals a noble for a lady's affections. He succeeds, but is lured to his death.

Measure for Measure. Shakespeare. British. 1604. Play. Tyrant who rules by the letter of the law is caught breaking the law himself.

The Honest Whore, Parts I and II. Thomas Dekker. British. 1604/05. Play. When his lover is sent to a convent, Hippolito is taken to Bellafont, a courtesan whose advances he resists. She reforms, but he is reunited with his lover. Subplot: Candido, a linen draper, perturbed by nothing, is put into an institution by his wife. In Part II, the characters change personalities. The husband of Bellafont tries to force her into prostitution and Hippolito tries to force his attentions on the now honest whore, Bellafont.

1605. A "Gunpowder Plot" to blow up the Houses of Parliament in revenge against harsh penal laws enacted against Roman Catholics comes to light when English Catholic Guy Fawkes, 35, is arrested the night of November 4 while entering the gunpowder-filled cellar under Parliament.

1605. The world's first newspaper begins publication at Antwerp under the direction of local printer Abraham Verkoeven.

King Lear. Shakespeare. British. 1605. Play. Lear divides his kingdom between his daughters Goneril and Regan who profess their love for him. Cordelia who is honest in saying she loves him simply because he is her father he disowns Goneril and Regan reduce Lear to madness. Cordelia, who truly loves him, is reunited with him, but she is executed. Lear dies soon after. He was blind to the false love of Goneril and Regan and to the true love of Cordelia.

The Advancement of Learning. Francis Bacon. British. 1605. Nonfiction. Extols the pursuit of learning. Critically surveys the existing state of knowledge.

Don Quixote. Cervantes. Spanish. 1606/15. Novel. His mind crazed by reading romances of chivalry, Don Quixote believes himself called upon to redress the wrongs of the world. Alonso Quijano takes the name of Don Quixote whose bony nag is Rocinante. Aldonza Lorenzo, a peasant girl, he names Dulcinea. He is joined by Sancho Panza and his ass Dapple. Is it an ironic story of an idealist frustrated and mocked in a materialistic world? Is it a veiled attack on the Catholic Church? Whatever it is, it's a panoramic view of 17th-century Spanish society. Essential humanity. Does the contrast between Don Quixote, visionary idealist, and Sancho Panza, practical realist, illustrate the duality of Spanish character?

Monday, June 18, 2007

1600 to 1604

1600. Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno, 51, is burnt at the stake February 17 at Rome. The Inquisition has condemned him after 7 years of imprisonment for supporting Copernican astronomy.

1600. French fur traders establish a colony on the St. Lawrence River.

1600. Tobacco sells at London for its weight in silver shilling and is a popular extravagance among the dandies who dip snuff and blow smoke rings as they puff on clay pipes.

Twelfth Night; or What You Will. Shakespeare. British. 1600. Play. Plot hinges on the physical likeness between brother and sister who become separated. Low comedy involves Maria, Sir Toby Belch, Sir Andrew Aguecheek and Malvolio.

England's Helicon. Anonymous. British. 1600. Anthology. Collection of poetry published in Elizabethan period. Limited to pastoral poetry.

The Phoenix and the Turtle. Shakespeare. British. 1601. Poetry. Provokes speculation about its merit and meaning.

Troilus and Cressida. Shakespeare. British. 1601. Play. Troilus pursues Cressida; they consummate their love. She is unfaithful with Diomedes who has taken her back to her father, who went over the the Greeks. When Patroclus is killed, Achilles kills Hector, Troilus's older brother. Troilus leads the Trojans back to the city.

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Shakespeare. British. 1601. Play. His father's ghost demands revenge, but Hamlet is unable to act, beset by doubts. Hamlet is thoughtful, not active. Preoccupation with consequences of his actions: "the first modern man." He is finally swept to revenge by events.

The Poetaster. Ben Jonson. British. 1601. Play. Satire attacks Thomas Dekker and John Marshton.

All's Well That Ends Well. Shakespeare. British. 1602. Play. Bertram will not marry Helena. Sets a challenge for her. She substitutes for his lover. She gains his ring and conceives his child.

1603. Queen Elizabeth I dies March 24 at age 69 after an extraordinary 45-year reign, ending 118 years of Tudor monarchy in England. She is succeeded by Scotland's James VI, Stuart, son of the late Mary Queen of Scots, who becomes James I of England.

1603. Samuel de Champlain, 36, explores the Saguenay and St. Lawrence rivers. Learns of the Great Lakes and Niagara Falls; makes an alliance with the Algonquins that will endure for 150 years.

1603. London has an epidemic of the Black Death that kills at least 33,000.

A woman Killed with Kindness. Thomas Heywood. British. 1603. Play. Husband invites his charming friend into his house, who promptly seduces his wife. Banished, the wife pines away and is reconciled to her husband on her deathbed.

1604. England's James I directs his efforts to American colonization.

1604. Samuel de Champlain explores the North American Atlantic Coast from Maine to Cape Cod.

Friday, June 15, 2007

List of Literary Works: 1600 to 1699

List of Literary Works, 1600 to 1699

Twelfth Night; or What You Will. Shakespeare. 1600.
England's Helicon. Anon. 1600.
The Phoenix and the Turtle. Shakespeare. 1601.
Troilus and Cressida. Shakespeare. 1601.
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Shakespeare. 1601.
The Poetaster. Ben Jonson. 1601.
All's Well That Ends Well. Shakespeare. 1602.
A Woman killed with Kindness. Thomas Heywood. 1603.
Othello, the Moor of Venice. Shakespeare. 1604.
The Dutch Courtezan. John Marston. 1604.
Bussy D'Ambois. George Chapman. 1604.
Measure for Measure. Shakespeare. 1604.
The Honest Whore, Parts I and II. Thomas Dekker. 1604/05.
King Lear. Shakespeare. 1605.
The Advnacement of Learning. Francis Bacon. 1605.
Don Quixote. Cervantes. 1605/15.
Volpone, or The Fox. Ben Jonson. 1606.
Macbeth. Shakespeare. 1606.
A Trick to Catch the Old One. Thomas Middleton. 1606.
Timon of Athens. Shakespeare. 1607.
Antony and Cleopatra. Shakespeare. 1607.
The Revenger's Tragedy. Cyril Tourneur. 1607.
The Knight of the Burning Pestle. Francis Beaumont. 1607.
Tyre and Sidon. Jean de Schelander. 1608.
The Tragedy of Coriolanus. Shakespeare. 1608.
Pericles, Prince of Tyre. Shakespeare. 1608.
Epicene, or The Silent Woman. Ben Jonson. 1609.
Philaster, or Love Lies A-Bleeding. Beaumont and fletcher. 1609.
The Sonnets of Shakespeare. Pub. 1609.
Cymbeline. Shakespeare. 1610.
The Alchemist. Ben Jonson. 1610.
The Tempest. Shakespeare. 1611.
The Anniversaries: An Anatomy of the World. John Donne. 1611.
The Winter's Tale. Shakespeare. 1611.
The Anniversaries: Of the Progresse of the Soule. John Donne. 1612.
El Alcald de Zalamea. Calderon. 1640.
Horace. Corneille. 1640.
Bay Psalm Book. Richard Mather, et al. 1641.
The White Devil, or Victoria Corombona. John Webster. 1612.
TheFamous History of the Life of King Henry VIII. Shakespeare. 1613.
Novelas Ejemplares (Exemplary Novels). Cervantes. 1613.
Fuentevejuna. Lope de Vega. 1619.
Novum Organum. Francis Bacon. 1620.
El mejor alcalde el rey (The King, the Greatest Alcalde). Lpe de Vega. 1620/23.
The Anatomy of Melancholy. Robert Burton. 1621.
The Wild Goose Chase. John Fletcher. 1621.
Mourt's Relation. 1622.
The Changeling. Middleton and Rowley. 1623.
Devotions upon Emergent Occasions. John Donne. 1624.
A New Way to Pay Old Debts. Philip Massinger. 1625.
The Essays or Counsels, Civil and Moral. Francis Bacon. 1625.
'Tis Pity She's a Whore. John Ford. 1627.
Los Suenas. Francisco de Quevedo. 1627.
The New Atlantis. Francis Bacon. 1627.
El Medico de su honra (The Physician of His Own Honor). Calderon. 1729.
Libertine of Seville and the Stone Guest (Don Juan). Tirso de Molina. 1630.
La Dorotea. Lope de Vega. 1632.
"Il Penseroso." Milton. 1632.
"The Canonization." John Donne. 1633.
"The Collar." Geroge Herbert. 1633.
The Temple. George Herbert. 1633.
"Go and Catch a Falling Star." John Donne. 1633.
"Twicknam Garden." John Donne. 1633.
The Two Noble Kinsmen. John fletcher. 1634.
Comus. Milton. 1634.
Medee (Medea). Corneille. 1635.
The Lady of Pleasure. James Shirely. 1635.
Life Is a Dream. Calderon. 1636.
Le Cid. Corneille. 1637.
The Wonder-Working Magician. Calderon. 1637.
Cinna. Corneille. 1640. Annus Mirabilis. Dryden. 1667.
Simplicissimus. Hans Grimmelhausen. 1668.
Essay of Dramatic Poesy. Dryden. 1668.
L'Avare (The Miser). Moliere. 1668.
Polyeucte. Corneille. 1641.
The Body of Liberties. Nathaniel Ward, et al. 1641.
Religio Medici (A Doctor's Religion). Sir Thomas Browne. 1643.
The Bloudy Tenent. Roger Williams. 1644.
Vulgar Errors. Sir Thomas Browne. 1646.
"Wishes to His Supposed Mistress." Richard Crashaw. 1646.
The Simple Cobler of Aggawam in America. Nathaniel Ward. 1647.
"The Virgins, To Make Much of Time." Robert Herrick. 1648.
"Delight in Disorder." Robert Herrick. 1648.
"Corinna's Going A-Maying." Robert Herrick. 1648.
"To Althea from Prison." Richard Lovelace. 1649.
"An Horatian Ode Upon Cromwell's Return from Ireland." Andrew Marvell. 1650.
The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America. Anne Bradstreet. 1650.
"To His coy Mistress." Andrew Marvell. 1650.
Holy Living and Dying. Jeremy Taylor.
Leviathan, or the Matter, Form and Power of a Commonwealth, Ecclesiastical and Civil. Thomas Hobbes. 1651.
El Gran Teatro del Mundo. Calderon. 1651?
The Compleat Angler, or the Contemplative Man's Recreation. Izaac Walton. 1653.
Histoire Romaine Clelie. Madame de Scudery. 1654/60.
Areopagitica. Milton. 1655.
"Hydriotaphia, or Urn Burial." Sir Thomas Browne. 1658.
The Ridiculous Snobs. Moliere. 1659.
The School for Wives. Moliere. 1662.
The Day of Doom. Michael Wigglesworth. 1662.
Hudibras. Samuel Butler. 1664/78.
Tartuffe. Moliere. 1664.
Don Juan or the Stone Guest. Moliere. 1665.
Le Misanthrope. Moliere. 1666.
Le Medecin Malgre lui (The Doctor in Spite of Himself). Moliere. 1666.
Paradise Lost. Milton. 1667.
Andromaque. Racine. 1667.
Selected Fables, Set in Verse. Jean de Lafontaine. 1668/94.
Britannicus. Racine. 1669.
Pensées. Pascal. 1672.
Tite et Berenice. Corneille. 1670.
Berenice. Racine. 1670.
Samson Agonistes. Milton. 1671.
Bajazet. Racine. 1672.
The Imaginary Invalid. Moliere. 1673.
Mithridate. Racine. 1673.
The Lectern. Boileau. 1674/83.
The Country Wife. Wycherley. 1675.
The Man of Mode, or Sir Fopling Flutter. Etherege. 1676.
Phedre. Racine. 1677.
All for Love, or The World Well Lost. Dryden. 1678.
La Princesse de Cleves. Comtesse de la Fayette. 1678.
Iphigenie en Aulide. Racine. 1679.
"The Garden." Marvell. 1681.
"The Definition of Love." Marvell. 1681.
Absalom and Achitophel. Dryden. 1681.
Venice Preserved, or a Plot Discovered. Thomas Otway. 1682.
MacFlecknoe. Dryden. 1682.
The Medal. Dryden. 1682.
Religio Laici. Dryden. 1682.
An Essay for the Recording of Illustrious Providences. Increase Mather. 1684.
"God's Determination Touching His Elect." Edward Taylor. 1685.
The Hind and the Panther. Dryden. 1687.
Principia. Sir Isaac Newton. 1687.
"Lillibulero." Purcell and Wharton. 1688.
Esther. Racine. 1689.
Declaration of Rights. William and Mary. 1689.
An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. John Locke. 1690.
Athalie. Racine. 1691.
Love for Love. William Congreve. 1695.
Contes de ma mere l'Oye (Mother Goose Tales). 1697. Charles Perrault: "Puss-in-Boots"; "Little Red Riding Hood"; "Tom Thumb"; "Bluebeard"; "Cinderella or the Little Glass Slipper."
Telemaque. Francois Fenelon. 1699.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

1600 to 1699. Notable Events and People.

Notable Events and People, 1600 to 1699

Champlain/ James I of England/ Gunpowder Plot: Guy Fawkes/ Jamestown, Virginia/ John Smith/ Pocahontas/ Henry Hudson/ Kepler and Astronomy/ Authorized (King James) Bible/ Tobacco/ Galileo and the Copernican System/ Thirty Years' War/ Black Slaves in Virginia/ Descartes/ Mayflower/ American Thanksgiving/ Francis Bacon and the Inductive Method/ Cardinal Richelieu/ Manhattan/ Harvey and the Circulation of the Blood/ Massachusetts Bay Colony/ Lord Calvert and Maryland/ Academie Francaise/ Cavaliers ve. Roundheads/ Oliver Cromwell/ Charles I/ Society of Friends/ Taj Mahal/ Charles II/ The Royal Society/ British vs. the Dutch/ Isaac Newton/ The Great Fire of London/ Christopher Wren/ King Philip's War/ Titus Oates/ Habeas Corpus/ Pennsylvania/ Versailles/ James II/ William and Mary/ Salem Witchcraft Trials/ Westernization of Russia.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

1596 to 1599

1596. A Basque whaling captain Francois Sopite Zabrur devises the world's first factory ship. He builds a brick furnace on his deck and extracts whale oil from blubber which he has boiled down aboard ship, a procedure far more economical than dragging whale carcasses to shore factories.

Romeo and Juliet. William Shakespeare. British. 1596. Play. Lovers are victims of a deadly feud between their families, the Montagues and the Capulets.

The Famous History of the Seven Champions of Christendom. Richard Johnson. British? 1596. Romance. National patron saints of England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, Spain and Italy.

Henry IV, Part I. William Shakespeare. British. 1597/98. Play. Hotspur, Prince Hal, and Falstaff. Hal defeats the rebels and kills Hotspur, saving his father's life.

Henry IV, Part II. William Shakespeare. British. 1597/98. Play. Rebels, promised redressed grievances if they will disband, are killed by John of Lancaster, the king's second son. Hal is named king. He repudiates Falstaff and his misspent youth.

1598. The Edict of Nantes issued April 15 by France's Henri IV gives Protestant Huguenots equal political rights with Catholics.

Titus Andronicus. William Shakespeare. British. 1598. Play. Based on Senecan models. Human sacrifice, rape, mayhem, tongue cut out, hands cut off. Everyone kills everyone else. The survivor is proclaimed emperor.

Much Ado About Nothing. William Shakespeare. British. 1598. Play. Conspiracy against Claudio. Attempt to discredit his betrothed. The warring Beatrice and Benedick become betrothed through the schemes of their friends.

Edict of Nantes. Henry IV of France. French. 1598. Decree. Decree establishing limited religious toleration in France. Revoked in 1685.

The Merry Wives of Windsor. William Shakespeare. British. 1598. Play. Falstaff tries to seduce two wealthy wives and they have great fun at his expense.

The Life of King Henry V. William Shakespeare. British. 1598/99. Play. Henry wins the battle of Agincourt in 1415. He wins Catherine of Valois and is recognized as the heir of the French throne.

1599. The New World has an estimated 900,000 black slaves.

1599. The Globe Theatre is opened as a summer playhouse on London's Bankside by William Shakespeare and some partners.

Julius Caesar. William Shakespeare. British. 1599. Play. Conspiracy against Julius Caesar in which he is assassinated. Defeat of the conspirators by Antony and Octavius Caesar. The key is Antony's speech in which he pretends to be a friend of the conspirators but turns the crowd against them.

Old Fortunatus. Thomas Dekker. British. 1599. Play. The goddess Fortune offers a beggar inexhaustible riches. They bring nothing but trouble.

Crabbed Age and Youth. Anonymous. British. 1599. Poetry. Series of antitheses between youth and age. Elizabethan lyric.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

1592 to 1595

The Two Gentlemen of Verona. William Shakespeare. British. 1592. Play. Two former friends vie for the same girl. Proteus uses some dirty tricks to gain this end. Valentine wins her in the end and Proteus marries his former girl friend.

A Groatsworth of Wit Bought with a Million of Repentance. Robert Greene. British. 1592. Pamphlet. References to Shakespeare: "Upstart crow..."; "Shake-scene." Written while dying. A repentance tract. Warning to fellow playwrights to eschew evil and avoid his bitter end.

The Taming of the Shrew. William Shakespeare. British. 1593. Play. Younger daughter cannot be wed until older, violent, shrewish sister is married. Petruchio tames her by his own high-handed behavior after marrying her.

The Phoenix Nest. R.S. British. 1593. Poetry. One of the finest Elizabethan collections.

The Burning Babe. Robert Southwell. British. 1593. Poetry. Poet has vision of suffering infant Christ on Christmas Day.

A Midsummer Night's Dream. William Shakespeare. British. 1594. Play. Fairy Puck's juice makes people love the first object they see on awakening. Many merry mixups with pairs of lovers.

The Tragedy of King Richard III. William Shakespeare. British. 1594. Play. Richard exterminates all who in any way obstruct his succession to the throne.

The Comedy of Errors. William Shakespeare. British. 1594. Play. Identical twins, both named Antipholus with identical twin servants, both named Dromio. Separated. Mixup.

Love's Labour's Lost. William Shakespeare. British. 1594. Play. Males eschew women to study. Four ladies tempt them. They capitulate, but the ladies must leave and exact penances.

The Life and Death of King John. William Shakespeare. British. 1595. Play. Efforts of weak, despicable King John to fend off the royal claims of Arthur, duke of Brittany. He alienates the nobility. He runs afoul of the Pope. He is poisoned and his son, Henry III, becomes king.

Epithalamion (Celebrate Marriage). Edmund Spenser. British. 1595. Poetry. Written to celebrate his marriage. His highest poetic achievement.

The Merchant of Venice. William Shakespeare. British. 1595. Play. Shylock can have his pound of flesh, but he cannot take any blood with it. Portia. Bassanio. Antonio.

The Tragedy of Richard II. William Shakespeare. British. 1595. Play. Richard II is murdered by Bolingbroke, who becomes Henry IV.

Sir Thomas More. Anthony Monday. British? 1595. Play. Significant episodes in the life of Thomas More. Partly rewritten by Shakespeare?

Colin Clouts Come Home Againe. Edmund Spenser. British. 1595. Poetry. Allegorical pastoral. Journey with Shepherd of Ocean, Raleigh, to the land of the shepherdess, Cynthia, Queen Elizabeth.

Monday, June 11, 2007

1588 to 1592

1588. An "invincible" Spanish Armada of 132 vessels sails against England. A great storm blows up and the elements help the English defeat the armada by August 8, scoring a victory that opens the world to English trade and colonization.

The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus. Christopher Marlowe. British. 1588. Play. Yearning for the infinite. Seeker after power through knowledge. One feels sympathy for the boundless longings of the hero.

The Jew of Malta. Christopher Marlowe. British. 1589. Play. Barabas degenerates from longing for power and the ability to express desire in stirring poetry to a caricature of the grasping, greedy Jew dominated by desire for gold. Commits atrocities and dies atrociously.

The Faithful Shepherd. Giambattista Guarini. Italian. 1590. Play. Tragic plot with happy ending. Goddess Diana sets terms for placating her anger.

Henry VI: Part I. William Shakespeare. British. 1590/92. Play. Early years of Henry's reign to his marriage to Margaret of Anjou. Beginning of the Wars of the Roses.

Henry VI: Part II. William Shakespeare. British. 1590/92. Play. Early years of the Wars of the Roses. Henry dominated by Margaret of Anjou.

Henry VI: Part III. William Shakespeare. British. 1590/92. Play. Downfall of Henry VI; victory of the house of York and Edward IV. Edward vs. Margaret of Anjou, Henry's queen.

The Faerie Queen. Edmund Spenser. British. 1590/96. Poetry. Spiritual allegory of man's quest for salvation. Quest motif. Each leading knight represents a particular virtue. Book I: Legend of the Red Cross Knight, or of Holiness. Book II: Sir Guyon, or Temperance. Book III: Britomart or Chastity. Book IV: Legend of Cambel and Triamond, or of Friendship. Book V: Legend of Artegal, or Justice. Book VI: Legend of Calidor, or of Courtesy.

As You Like It. William Shakespeare. British. 1590/1600? Play. Duke Frederick; niece Rosalind-Ganymede and Orlando vs. his wicked brother Oliver; Celia/Touchstone; Audrey/Silvius; Phebe. Pastoral. Duke banished to the forest. Rosalind disguised as Ganymede is wooed by Phebe. Rosalind eventually marries Orlando.

1591. John White returns to Roanoke after having been delayed by the war with Spain and finds the colony has vanished, possibly victims of hostile Indians. The word Coratan, never to be satisfactorily explained, is the only message left by the 117 lost colonists who include White's family.

1591. Pamplona in northern Spain has a running of the bulls in which men run through the streets in front of the bulls being driven to the local bullring. The event will be repeated for centuries with occasional deaths and frequent injuries as men are gored or trampled.

1592. A Russian census lists peasants under the names of landholders. The peasants will hereafter be considered the landlords' serfs.

1592. Jesuit Robert Southwell is apprehended while celebrating mass in a Catholic household in England. He is tortured severely and imprisoned in the Tower of London but refuses to reveal the names of fellow priests.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

1580 to 1587

Astrophel and Stella. Sir Philip Sidney. 1580/84. Poetry. Sonnet sequence. "Stella" = Penelope Devereux. Astrophel ("star lover") Greek pun on Sidney's name.

Essays. Michel de Montaigne. French. 1580/88. Created the personal, discursive essay. Spirited conversation. From classic stoic to skeptic to affirmation of the possibilities of human nature. Used his own experience to glean lessons Turned attention from academic learning and intellectual theorizing to man himself.

"Apology for Raymond Sebond." Michel de Montaigne. French. 1580/88. Essay. Fullest expression of his skeptical philosophy. He asserts the relativity of knowledge. He reacts to the excessive faith in reason of the early Renaissance. Prepared him to search for wisdom based not on intellectual speculation but on his own experience.

1581. Scholars attending commencement exercises at St. Mary's, Oxford, June 27, find on their benches 400 copies of a pamphlet attacking the Anglican Church. Authorities seize English Jesuit Edmund Campion, 41, as he preaches at Lyford, Berkshire, July 14. He is committed to the Tower of London, examined in the presence of the queen, placed on the rack three times in an effort to shake his faith in Roman Catholicism, indicted for conspiring to dethrone Elizabeth, found guilty November 20, hanged, December 1, drawn and quartered.

1582. Divers Voyages Touching the Discovery of America by Oxford clergyman-geographer Richard Hakluyt, 30, is published in England.

Bradamante. Robert Garnier. French. 1582. Play. Combat between the knight Roger and the warrior-maiden Bradamante. Roger's dilemma is in choosing between love and duty.

1584. The Virginia Colony planted on Roanoke Island by English navigator Walter Raleigh, 32, is named for England's virgin queen.

The Spanish Tragedy. Thomas Kyd. British. 1584/89. Play. Revenge. Spanish vs. Portuguese. Lures maidens into parts in a play and kills them.

1586. A plot to assassinate England's queen is discovered. Anthony Babbington, 25, a page to Mary Queen of Scots, has conspired with Jesuit priest John Ballard, who is executed along with Babbington. Mary is convicted, October 25, of involvement in the scheme, and her life hangs in the balance.

1587. Mary Queen of Scots is beheaded, February 8, by order of her cousin Elizabeth who has been persuaded that Mary Stuart's existence poses a continuing threat to the Protestant crown of England.

1587. Virginia Dare is born August 18 on Roanoke Island to the daughter of John White and is the first English child to be born in North America.

Tamburlaine the Great. Christopher Marlowe. British. 1587. Play. Shepherd becomes bandit and finally king of Persia. In Part I, Tamberlaine is the embodiment of the Renaissance, bold, defiant, eager to explore the possibilities of life. In Part II, his lust for power and his cruelty end in ruin.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

1565 to 1580

1565. John Hawkins introduces tobacco into England from Florida and writes that it s smoked by Floridians to satisfy their hunger and therefore live four or five days without meat or drink.

Gammer Gurton's Needle. William Stevenson. 1566. Play. Lost needle is found, painfully, in the seat of Hodge's pants.

La Araucan. Alfonso de Ercilla y Zuniga. Spanish. 1569/90. Poetry. Stubborn resistance of the Chilean Araucanian Indians against the Spanish. The nobility and valor of the Indians and their leaders.

1568. Mary Queen of Scots is placed in confinement after fleeing to England.

1570. Five North American tribes confederate under the name Iroquois. The Mohawk brave Hiawatha and the brave Dekanawida, originally a Huron, have persuaded the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca to form a league with a common council, each tribe having a fixed number of chiefly delegates.

The Schoolmaster. Roger Ascham. British. 1570. Nonfiction. Favors athletics in the curriculum and English prose to English verse.

1572. England's duke of Norfolk, Thomas Howard III, 36, is beheaded for having conspired with the Spanish to invade England and free Mary Queen of Scots.

1572. The Massacre of St. Bartholomew, August 23 and 24, kills an estimated 50,000 Huguenots at Paris and in the provinces, urged on by the queen mother Catherine de Medici. Pope Gregory XIII and all the Catholic powers congratulate Catherine, and the pope commands that bonfires be lighted to celebrate the massacre.

The Lusiad. Luis de Camoes. Portuguese. 1572. Epic poetry. Exploits of Vasco da Gama in "discovery of India." Mythological machinery.

1573. Poland makes all religions equal under the Constitution.

1574. An estimated 152,000 Spanish settlers are now in the Americas.

Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland. Raphael Holinshed. 1577. History. Source of much material used in Macbeth, Lear and Cymbeline.

1579. De Juri Begni Apud Scotos by Scottish humanist George Buchanan, now 73, confutes absolutism with the argument that kings exist only by the will of the people. Written for the instruction of his royal pupil who will become England's James I, Buchanan's work states that the obligation of subjects to their king is conditioned on the performance of that king in the duties of his office.

The Shepeardes Calendar. Edmund Spenser. British. 1579. Poetry. 12 eclogues, one for each month of the year. Shepherds' loves and laments.

An Apologie for Poetry. Sir Philip Sidney. 1580/83. Poetry. Answer to attack on poetry by the Puritans. Defines as poetry all imaginative writing.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

1559 to 1565


The Mirror for Magistrates. Miscellaneous authors. British. 1559. Poetry. Fall of great men in English history; 19 tragedies, each narrated in the first person by the ghost of its subject. Fickle fortune and moral flaws in character are responsible for tragic ends.

Heptameron. Margaret of Navarre. French. 1559. Tales. Unfinished. 72 tales. Modeled on the Decameron, but original tales were based on her own experience. Psychological.

Jerusalem Delivered. Torquato Tasso. Italian. 1559/75. Epic poem. Based on historic events of the First Crusade, 1096-1099. Much intervention by mystical figures. Aladino. Sofronia. Olindo. Clorinda. Argantes. Geoffredo. Dudone. Idraote. Rinaldo. Ottone. Tancredi. Erminia. Solimano. Archangel Gabriel. Ismeno. Guelfo. Ubaldo. Armida. Victory for the Crusaders.

Gorboduc, or Ferrex and Porrex. Thomas Sackville and Thomas Norton. 1561. Play. First Senecan tragedy in English. First English play in blank verse. Used English historical material. Gorboduc and sons Ferrex and Porrex. Porrex kills Ferrex. His mother kills Porrex. The people kill both the king and queen.

1562. A massacre of Huguenots (Protestants) at Vassy, March 1, begins a series of French civil wars. The Huguenots retaliate by murdering priests and raping nuns. Both sides seek to control the government in the absence of a strong crown.

1562. English navigator John Hawkins, 30, hijacks a Portuguese ship carrying African slaves to Brazil. His enterprise marks the beginning of English participation in the slave trade.

The Ringing Island (Book V of Gargantua and Pantagruel). Francois Rabelais. French. 1562. Fiction. Transparent satire on the luxurious living of the Roman Catholic clergy.

1563. Queen Elizabeth persecutes Catholics, Unitarians (who deny the Trinity), and Brownists--Puritan extremists who will form the nucleus of the Congregational Church.

1563. The Anglican Church (Church of England, or Episcopal Church) is established by the adoption of the Thirty-Nine Articles, a modification of the 42 articles published by Thomas Cranmer in 1551. The Church is largely Protestant in dogma, with a liturgy and hierarchy similar to the Roman Catholic Church.

The Book of Martyrs (Actes and Monuments of These Later Perilous Days). John Foxe. 1563. Nonfiction. Twice the size of Gibbon's Decline and Fall. Emphasizes martyrs during Mary's reign. Credulous acceptance of stories of martyrdom. Vivid dialogues between persecutors and victims.

1564. The Inquisition forces Andreas Vesalius to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land as a condition for commuting his death sentence for dissecting human bodies. He will disappear on the pilgrimage.

1565. St. Augustine, Florida, is established August 28 as the first permanent European settlement in North America by Spanish conquistador Pedro Menendez de Aviles.

1565. London's Royal College of Physicians receives authority to conduct dissections of human cadavers.

Monday, June 4, 2007

1549 to 1559

Defense et illustration de la langue francaise. Joachim DuBellay. French. 1549. Nonfiction. Defends the French language as a mode of poetic expression against those who wrote in Latin. Embellishes by borrowing from Greek and Latin. Advocates use of archaic, dialectical, technical words and the adoption of poetic forms like the classical ode and the Italian sonnet.

Journey to the West. Wu Ch'eng-en. Chinese. 1550? Novel. Fictionalized adventures of a historical Buddhist priest on quest to India to search for scriptures. He is accompanied by three magical helpers. Monkey is the most famous comic creation in Chinese fiction.

1552. The land of the convent garden owned by the abbey of Westminster, now part of London, was confiscated along with other church properties in 1534 and will serve as London's produce and flower market beginning in 1661, called "Covent Garden."

1553. England's Edward VI dies of tuberculosis, July 6, at age 15 and is succeeded by his Catholic half-sister Mary, 37, who has been raised by her mother, Catherine of Aragon.

1553. Mary enters London, August 3, to begin a harsh 5-year reign. England's new queen has Protestant bishops arrested and restores Roman Catholic bishops.

1553. England's Princess Elizabeth, now 20, is sent to the Tower of London in March. She is released in May.

Ralph Roister Doister. Nicholas Udall. British. 1553. Play. Earliest English comedy. Swaggering fellow tries to win rich widow.

La vida de Lazarillo de Tormes. Anonymous. Spanish. 1554. Novel. Autobiography of wily Lazarillo. Experiences with various masters. Ends as town crier of Toledo. Realism and irony.

1555. Bloody Mary returns Roman Catholicism to England and persecutes Protestants.

1556. England's archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer is degraded from his office February 14 in humiliating ceremonies and burned at the stake March 21 at age 66 after renouncing the Church of Rome and refusing all recantations.

1556. The worst earthquake in history rocks China's Chanxi province January 24, killing more than 830,000.

Tottel's Miscellany. Richard Tottel. British. 1557. Poetry. Includes many poems never before published. Marks the beginning of modern English poetry.

1558. England's glorious Elizabethan Age begins November 17 as Mary Tudor dies at age 42 and is succeeded by her half-sister Elizabeth, now 25, daughter of Henry VIII by Anne Boleyn.

1559. Mary Queen of Scots claims the title Queen of England.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Update on the Blog. 1542 to 1548.

Why this Blog?

The purpose of this blog is to share with the reader brief summaries of the events and people in the history of society and of the best-known literary works of the time. Presently we are working on the 1500s, having proceeded from the period before Christ. These summaries have been reduced to a sentence or two based on information in The People's Chronology for the history of events and people and Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia for the literary works.

Want to know who discovered the potato? Who were the parents of Elizabeth I of England? The stories in the Bible and the Canterbury Tales? They're all right here.

1542. England's Henry VIII has his fifth wife Catherine Howard beheaded on charges of adultery.

1542. Henry VIII makes Ireland a kingdom.

1542. The Universal Inquisition established by Pope Paul III tries to stem the tide of the Reformation with cruel repression. A council of Dominican cardinals conducts trials of alleged heretics and permits them no legal counsel.

1542. The Battle of Solway Moss gives Henry VIII a victory over Scotland's James V, who is succeeded at his death by his week-old daughter Mary queen of Scots.

1543. England's Henry VIII marries Catherine Parr, 31.

1543. The Spanish Inquisition burns Protestants at the stake for the first time.

1543. Nikolaus Copernicus, 70, defies Church doctrine that the earth is the center of the universe and establishes the theory that the earth rotates daily on its axis and revolves in orbit round the sun.

1543. Andreas Vesalius produces the first accurate book on human anatomy.

1543. Pope Paul III issues an index librorum prohibitorum forbidding Roman Catholics to read certain books.

1543. The Council of Trent, convened by Pope Paul III, undertakes reform of the Church. Establishes the Latin liturgy that will be used in Roman Catholic church services for more than 400 years.

1546. Parisian printer Etienne Dolet is hanged and burnt at the stake, August 3. He has been denounced as a heretic and blasphemer for printing the works of Erasmus, Melancthon, and other humanists.

1546. Mayans in New Spain stage a major uprising against the Spanish but are crushed by the conquistadors.

1546. The health of England's Henry VIII fails rapidly. He has grown grossly overweight.

1546. Martin Luther dies at age 63.

1546. Henry VIII dies January 28 at age 58. Succeeded by Jane Seymour's son who reigns as Edward VI.

1548. The Book of Common Prayer (first Prayer Book of Edward VI) by the archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer simplifies and condenses the Latin services of the medieval church into a single, convenient, comprehensive English volume.

1548. Giorgio Vasari gives Gothic architecture its name and disparages it. A pupil of Michelangelo, he says that medieval cathedrals were built in a style originated by the Goths ("those Germanic races untutored in the classics"), and describes them as a "heap of spires, pinnacles, and grotesque decorations lacking in all the simple beauty of the classical orders."