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From Regency to Renaissance – A Look at Historical Romance Fiction

Exploring historical romance literature can transport you to various thrilling and captivating periods. Reading historical pieces gives you a sense of what societal norms, daily challenges, and romance looked like in specific eras. In this article, we’ll look at two periods in particular: The Renaissance and the Regency.

Let’s travel back in time together to explore these crucial periods in history for literature. Whether you’re a writer or bookworm passionate about romance, learning about love stories from the past can leave you with a fresh perspective on this genre. Historical literature is a great way to learn as a writer and reader.

The Renaissance Period

The Renaissance period in Europe was from the 14th to the 17th centuries. During this time in history, cultures, arts, and science began to flourish. Innovation and exploration through literature became more common. Society was experiencing huge changes at this time as the societal structure shifted from a feudal system to an urban and cosmopolitan system.

Literature wasn’t the only thing thriving in this era. Art was explored more, making it more recognized. Some prominent artists of the time include Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. This growing appreciation for art and culture helped pave the way for romantic literature.

Key Features of Renaissance Romantic Literature

During the Renaissance, romantic literature reached new heights and limits that were never seen before. Though it was becoming more refined as an art form, it was still very distinct and unique compared to what we see in contemporary novels. These are some key features of Renaissance love stories:

  • Romantic poetry: Romance wasn’t written in novel form but was rather expressed through sonnets and poetry. Courtly love and chivalry were common themes explored through poetry. Pastoral poetry would explore the beauty of the rural countryside and romanticize nature.
  • Platonic love: People during the Renaissance were inspired by ancient Greek philosophy and explored the realm of platonic love. This literature focuses on intellectual and spiritual love and connection with individuals. 
  • Shakespearean love sonnets: We can’t talk about literature in the Renaissance without acknowledging William Shakespeare. Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets that explored the themes of beauty, love, the passage of time, and intense romantic emotions.

These features of Renaissance literature are what make it so unique and interesting.

Notable Works of the Renaissance Period

Because the Renaissance era was such a long period, there’s a vast amount of romantic literature you can read through. Most of these works aren’t novels, as they’re written in different structures, such as poetry or playwriting. Nonetheless, the following recommendations are entertaining to read, especially the must-read classics:

  • “Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare 
  • “The Faerie Queene” by Edmund Spenser
  • “Astrophil and Stella” by Sir Philip Sidney
  • “Amadis of Gaul” by Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo
  • “The Decameron” by Giovanni Boccaccio
  • “Orlando Furioso” by Ludovico Ariosto

When reading through literature of the Renaissance period, you may find it fun to compare the works with contemporary romantic novels. This comparison can showcase how far romantic literature has come. 

The Regency Era

Moving on to a period that is a bit more recent, the Regency era, which occurred toward the beginning of the 19th century. This was a time in history when creative romantic novels began to flourish. The late 18th century and early 19th century were known as the Romantic era. This makes literature from this period so valuable to explore as a romance literature enthusiast.

The Regency era played a crucial role in the rise of the novel. It was the first time in history that this form of literature had become so popular and recognized. The contemporary romantic novels we enjoy today wouldn’t exist without this period in literature. 

Key Features of Regency Romantic Literature

Romantic novels were born in this era, which can make them some of the best forms of literature out there. But what sets Regency romance apart from other eras of romance novels? These key features of Regency Romance literature help one to distinguish this era of romance novels:

  • Courtly love: A feature of Regency romance that is similar to Renaissance romance is courtly love. With that being said, courtly love in the Regency era looks a little different from Renaissance literature. Courtly love can be seen through unattainable love, secrecy and discretion, and an idealized beloved.
  • Strong Heroines: The Regency era explored controversial approaches to literature, as strong heroines in novels became a popular theme. The roles of women in society were starting to change for the better. Women were being heard and seen, which would be reflected in the literature. Strong heroines showcased bright and intelligent women who challenged social traditions.
  • Moral dilemmas: Some common moral dilemmas that would be explored in Regency period love stories include marrying for love or for social standing, affairs and reputation, treatment of lower classes, and scandal and gossip. These moral dilemmas left readers with a message that inspired change in society.

When trying to identify whether a romance novel was written during the Regency era, it’s important to consider the social and romantic trends of that time. Some prominent social trends of the time include the prioritizing of social classes, arranged marriages, etiquette, and the roles of women in society. 

Notable Works of the Regency Era

To discover how great romantic literacy was in this period, it’s important to read some of the most popular works of this time. The following novels are great reads, especially if you’re passionate about historical literature:

  • “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë
  • “Emma” by Jane Austen
  • “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen
  • “Sense and Sensibility” by Jane Austen
  • “North and South” by Elizabeth Gaskell
  • “Persuasion” by Jane Austen

Adding some of these classics to your reading list is a great way to broaden your horizons for reading. These novels are more recent than the Renaissance era, which can make them a little bit more relatable and easier to understand. With that being said, you should still compare these historical romance novels to modern works you’ve read to recognize how much romantic literature has evolved over the years.

How to Write Historical Romance

Historical literature isn’t left in the past, as many authors embrace these periods in newly written and published novels. Writing historical fiction that’s set in the Renaissance or Regency era can introduce readers to this captivating world.

Combining Historical and Modern Literature

The benefit of exploring historical romances in this day and age is that you can embrace the best of both worlds. Combining historical and modern themes, trends, and styles in your historical romance novel is the best way to give readers a glimpse of a bygone era while having a modern approach that is more familiar to them.

When combining two different styles and themes, you need to ensure that the structure and pacing of your novel are not compromised. It needs to have a good flow, like any contemporary romance novel would.

This successful flow can be achieved by creating a thorough outline for your romance novel before writing. If you’re not sure where to start when creating an outline, TUW can help you put together an outline and novel that reflects your vision.

Research the Era

Whether you choose the Renaissance or Regency era, you need to ensure that you do enough research about the specific period you’ve chosen. Though you may know a lot about this period, it’s important to do extensive research when trying to be historically accurate. 

You need to know about how people dressed, spoke, and behaved during this time. Knowing how places look, and the settings of different environments are crucial when you want to create a successful atmosphere for your novel. All of this research helps you to write an accurate and entertaining novel that transports your readers to the past.  

Use a Ghostwriter

When writing historical literature, you need to ensure that the setting, characters, and language in dialogue are all accurate to the time. The objective of a good romance novel is to transport the reader to that period, which can be a challenging thing to achieve.

 Getting help from a professional can help you produce a historical romance novel that is entertaining and accurate for its time. You can find a wide range of skilled professional writers at The Urban Writers who are knowledgeable about how to write a historical period piece with a modern flair!

In Summary

The rich history of romance is what makes this genre so fascinating. Exploring the two most popular historical romance literature eras, the Regency and Renaissance, can teach you so much about romantic novels. All of the past eras of literature played a role in molding romance into what we know it today.

Whether you’re a writer, an avid reader, or you’d like to self-publish your own books, it’s valuable to read some of the recommendations from the two eras listed in this article. This can teach you a lot about historical romance and how you can potentially write a historical romance novel yourself.

If you’d like to have a professional ghostwriter help write an accurate and entertaining period-piece novel, check out our services, and we can help you self-publish an award-winning historical romance novel! Elevate your romance with a special offer! Enjoy 10% off on Romance Books from January 8th to 30th.

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