Changing Roots of a Literary Society In order to explore the aspects of 16th and 17th century English Prose we must first understand that over the course of those two hundred years, an extraordinary amount of social upheaval and reformation took place. Several changes occurred politically, religiously, and socially. In order to follow the path of English prose, I shall illustrate the use of different pieces of literature during these changing times.
Prose, being a written form of language lacking rhyme and/or meter, was certainly not the prevalent form of literature moving into this time period. Keeping in mind that paper and printing had been invented only a century or so before, most writers used forms of verse and poetry. Still, even during the 16th century this remained the case for the most part although some changes were beginning to take place. The time period known as the Renaissance or in England as the Elizabethan period (due to the reign of Queen Elizabeth) was in progress, and the swing to a brighter, more personalized time took place.
People began to turn away from seeking their sole purpose through religion and politics, and began to focus more on intellectual stingers such as philosophy, science, art, music, and writing. During all of this, conventions, or habitual patterns in literature began to change. Again, for the most part this affected the non-prose area of literature, however there were some noticeable changes, which affected prose writings.
The use of the pastoral convention concerned itself with love, pursuit of contentment, and freedom from pride and ambition, rather than the gloomy ideas of war and politics.(lit. background site) As this convention came into use there were also several forms of literature during the period that vanished from use. Sonnets would be one example of this, known...