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The Oxford Handbook of English Prose1500-1640is the only current overview of early modern English prose writing. The aim of the volume is to make prose more visible as a subject and as a mode of writing. It covers a vast range of material vital for the understanding of the period: from jestbooks, newsbooks, and popular romance to the translation of the classics and the pioneering collections of scientific writing and travel writing; from diaries, tracts on witchcraft, and domestic conduct books to rhetorical treatises designed for a courtly audience; from little known works such as William Baldwin'sBeware the Cat,probably the first novel in English, to The Bible,The Book of Common Prayerand Richard Hooker's eloquent statement of Anglican belief,The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity.The work not only deals with the range and variety of the substance and types of English prose, but also analyses the forms and styles of writing adopted in the early modern period, ranging from the Euphuistic nature of prose fiction inaugurated by John Lyly's mannered novel, to the aggressive polemic of the Marprelate controversy; from the scatological humour of comic writing to the careful modulations of the most significant sermons of the age; and from the pithy and concise English essays of Francis Bacon to the ornate and meandering style of John Florio's translation of Montaigne's famous collection. Each essay provides an overview as well as comment on key passages, and a select guide to further reading.
Andrew Hadfield is Professor of English at the University of Sussex and visiting Professor at the University of Granada. He is the author of a number of works on early modern literature, including Shakespeare and Republicanism (Cambridge University Press, 2005); Literature, Travel and Colonialism inthe English Renaissance, 1540-1625 (Oxford University Press, 1998); Sand Literature, Politics and National Identity: Reformation to Renaissance (Cambridge, 1994). He has also edited, with Matthew Dimmock, Religions of the Book: Co-existence and Conflict, 1400-1660 (Palgrave, 2008); with Raymond Gillespie, The Oxford History of the Irish Book, Vol. III: The Irish Book in English, 1550-1800 (Oxford, 2006); with Paul Hammond, Shakespeare and Renaissance Europe (Cengage, Arden Critical Companions, 2004); and Literature and Censorship in Renaissance England (Palgrave, 2001). He is a regular reviewer for The Times Literary Supplement.
Table of Contents
Introduction, Andrew Hadfield Part 1: Translation, Education, and Literary Criticism 1. Englishing Eloquence: Sixteenth-Century Arts of Rhetoric and Poetics, Catherine Nicholson 2. All talk and no action? Early modern political dialogue, Cathy Shrank 3. Commonplacing and Prose Writing: William Baldwin and Robert Burton, Jenny Richards 4. Romance: Amadis de Gaul and William Barclay's Argenis, Helen Moore 5. Montaigne and Florio, Peter Mack 6. Italianate Tales: William Painter and George Peele, Neil Rhodes 7. Classical translation, Gordon Braden 8. Lazarillo de Tormes and the Picaresque in Early Modern England, Alex Samson Part 2: Prose Fiction 9. William Baldwin's Beware the Cat and Other Foolish Writing, Tom Betteridge 10. The Adventures Passed by Master George Gascoigne: Experiments in Prose, Gillian Austen 11. 'Turne Your Library to a Wardrobe': John Lyly and Euphuism, Katharine Wilson 12. Robert Greene, Robert Maslen 13. Thomas Nashe, Jason Scott-Warren 14. Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia, Gavin Alexander 15. Topicality in Mary Wroth's Countess of Montgomery's Urania: Prose, Romance, Masque, and Lyric, Mary Ellen Lamb Part 3: Varieties of Early Modern Prose 1: Public Prose 16. Utopia and Utopianism, Robert Appelbaum 17. English Scientific Prose: Bacon, Browne, Boyle, Claire Preston 18. Richard Hakluyt and travel writing, Nandini Das 19. Raphael Holinshed and historical Writing, Bart Van Es 20. Astrology, magic, and witchcraft, Peter Maxwell-Stuart 21. Jest books, Anne Lake Prescott and Ian Munro 22. Political Prose, Nicolas McDowell 23. Polemic/Satire, Dermot Cavanagh 24. News Writing, Joad Raymond Part 4: Varieties of Early Modern Prose 2: Private Prose 25. Letters, Alan Stewart 26. Diaries, Adam Smyth 27. Life writing, Danielle Clark 28. Essays, Paul Salzman 29. Domestic conduct books, Catherine Richardson Section 5: Religious Prose 30. Immethodical, Incoherent, Unadorned: Style and The Early Modern Bible, Kevin Killeen 31. The Style of Authorship in John Foxe's Acts and Monuments, Tom Freeman and Susannah Monta 32. The Marpelate Controversy, Joseph Black 33. Sermons, Peter McCullough 34. The Book of Common Prayer, Daniel Swift Part 6: Major Prose Writers 35. Gabriel Harvey, Henry Woudhuysen 36. Richard Hooker's Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, Rudolph Almasy 37. John Knox, George Buchanan, and Scots Prose, Caroline Erskine 38. Robert Burton and The Anatomy of Melancholy, Angus Gowland 39. 'When all things shall confesse their ashes': Science and Soul in Thomas Browne, Kevin Killeen