Labor and Writing in Early Modern England, 1557-1667

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2008-04-30
  • Publisher: Ashgate Pub Co

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Looking at texts by non-aristocratic authors, in this study Laurie Ellinghausen investigates the relationship between nascent early modern notions of professional authorship and the emerging idea of vocation - the sense that one's identity is bound up in one's work. Ellinghausen analyzes how the concept of labor as a calling, which was assisted by early modern experiments in democracy, print, and Protestant religion, had a lasting effect on the history of authorship as a profession. In so doing, she reveals the construction of an approach to early modern authorship that values diligence over the courtly values of leisure and play.This study expands the scope of scholarship to develop a cultural history that acknowledges the considerable impact of non-aristocratic poets on the idea of authorship as a vocation. Ellinghausen shows that our modern, post-Romantic notions of the professional writer as materially impoverished-and yet committed to his or her art-has recognizable roots in early modern England's workaday lives.

Table of Contents

Introduction: forging authorship
'Tis all I have': print authorship and occupational identity in Isabella Whitney's A Sweet Nosgay
The uses of resentment: Nashe, Parnassus, and the poet's mystery
'Laborious, yet not base': Jonson, Vulcan, and poetic labor
The new bourgeois hero: the individualist project of John Taylor 'the water poet'
'One line a day': George Wither's process
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