In what way is the Renaissance temper reflected in Browning's poetry ?
It was Ruskin who declared that Browning was a poet reflecting the Middle Ages. However, other critics have refuted this statement and offered conclusive evidence to support the contention that Browning's poetry reflected dominantly the ethos of the Italian Renaissance. Indeed, the major poems of Browning catch unerringly the spirit of the Italian Renaissance with its curious blend of soaring idealism and the4 depths of materialism, the demanding desires of the flesh and the elevating flights of the mind.
The Renaissance was an intellectual and cultural movement which spread over Western Europe in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. As its name suggests, the movement marked the rebirth or revival of interest in the classical culture and traditions of ancient Greece and Rome which had been neglected since the break up of the Roman Empire Empire in the fifth century. The revival of interest in the classical works changes men's outlook. The Middle Ages was dominated by monastic ideals and the firm conviction that the earth was a place of sin and the desires of the flesh a degrading necessity. The Renaissance freed men's from the hold of ascetic ideals, asserted the supremacy of reason, and induced men to take an artistic delight in the beauties of the world and the delights of the senses. But we must remember that with this glorifying of the body and the senses also went a passionate intellectual curiosity, a striving for widening the horizons of human knowledge.