The Oxford Handbook of English Prose 1500-1640

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-08-24
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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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.

Author Biography

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 in the 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

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