Elizabethan Generation

Last Updated: Mar. 12, 2008

The Elizabethan Generation (Hero, born 1541–1565) benefited as children from an explosive growth in academies intended to mold them into “perfect paragons” of civic achievement and teamwork. Coming of age with the great wars against Spain, they soldiered with dazzling valor and courtly show. During their “Gloriana” midlife, they regulated commerce, explored overseas empires, built stately country houses, pursued “new” science, and wrote poetry that celebrated an orderly universe. Historian William Esler explains that “ambitious projects of breath-taking scope and grandeur” distinguished these “overreachers” from the “burned-out generation” before them. In old age, many lived to see their hearty and expansive “Merrie England” repudiated by prickly-conscienced sons and daughters. (ENGLISH: William Shakespeare, Walter Raleigh, Phillip Sidney, Francis Vere, Francis Bacon, Edward Coke; FOREIGN: Cervantes, Galileo Galilei)

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