Thursday 2 April 2020

Who were known or called as University wits in english literature and what are their works

Who were the University Wits ? How did their contribution enrich the art of Shakespeare ?

Short notes , essay on university wits of english literature
University Wits 


The term University wits refer to a group of young dramatist of the early Elizabethan period who were associated with the universities of Cambridge and oxford. University Wits consisted of writers like John Lyly , George peel , Robert Green , Thomas Nash , Thomas Lodge , Thomas Kyd and Christopher Marlowe. These young men had certain things in common all of them were qualified with universities degrees. All were actors and playwrights. They knew the stage and understood the attitude of the audience which craved for stories of love and brave spectacles. The university wits often worked together and collaborated to produce plays. This practice was chiefly adopted either to revive old plays or to create new ones. Apart from these literary characteristics these writers also shared a romantic attitude to life which was manifested in their bohemian attitude . In short these playwrights represented the true spirit of Renaissance both in their art and in their personal lives.


The following are the names of University wits Member
 They were called as University Wits in English Literature because they all had certain things in common all of them were qualified with University Degrees . All of them were actors and playwrights

Contribution Of University Wits to English Literature

The university Wits contributed greatly to the formation of romantic comedy which later culminated in the hands of William Shakespeare


It was John Lyly a courtier who made notable contribution to the development of English comedy. This comedian are romantics as well as witty. Some of this romantic plays are Endymian, Midas, Love’s Metamorphoses etc.

George peel was another university wit who wrote comedies plays are both humorous and satirical in style. Among his play mention can be made of Battle of Alcazar, The arrangement of Paris etc.


Robert Green was another University Wit who contributed to the development of English Comedy. In his plays like Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay, These is an exquisite connexion of diverse moods and surroundings. They creates a world where princess meet with clown and fairies with artisans.
The university wits however had not mastered the art of plot construction. Their plots were often used but they could harmonize the different of their stories into a whole which somehow held in the advancement of plot from this point of view Robert Green was a pioneer and he was later successfully followed by Shakespeare skill in Constructing plot particularly in the Merchant of Venice. A midsummer’s night dream.


Thomas Nash, Another prominent university wit was a singer of Saints John college Cambridge. He is noted to have written summer’s last will and Taskeman which was acted in 1592 and perhaps he too also contributed some part to Marlowe’s Dido Queen of carthage , and to a last play called the Eyle of Dogs. Nash is however more famous as a Pampheter and a story writer particularly. The unfortunate Traveller.


Thomas Lodge wrote a chronicle play called the wounds of Civil War. This play perhaps influenced Shakespeare later Chronicle plays. Lodge also wrote another play called a looking glass for London and England.


 The two most famous university wits were Kyd and Marlowe. Both of them developed tragedy which gradually became the most popular poem of the time. Thomas Kyd is famous for the Spanish tragedy, which turned out to be a landmark in the history of English drama because it firmly established the genre of revenge tragedy. He inspired Shakespear’s Hamlet and the later Jacobean cult of Revenge plays particularly these of Webster.

The most important university dramatist among the university wits were undoubtedly Christopher Marlowe, he enriched the Elizabethan plays not only by his great tragedies like Tamburlaine Doctor Faustus, Jew of Malta etc but also by introducing the Blank verse as a powerful media. Marlowe demonstrated that if used effectively. The Blank Verse could became an appropriate medium for tragedies .
It was for Marlowe also paved the way for the later historical plays of Shakespeare particularly Edward III And Henry IV in a way all the university wits certain helped in the development of the drama in the some way or the others they also enriched the art of Shakespeare by creating a longinial literary environment for him to follow and build upon.
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