Reading Popular Romance in Early Modern England

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2001-12-01
  • Publisher: Columbia Univ Pr

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With the expansion of the publishing industry between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, reading for pleasure became possible for an increasing number of people, not just the wealthy and educated. The growth of the book trade produced, alongside elite literature, a parallel popular literature. Lori Humphrey Newcomb examines the proliferation of romances in early modern England, as well as their vilification by elite writers. Using as her case study Robert Greene's Pandosto (1585), an Elizabethan prose romance that inspired Shakespeare's late play, The Winter's Tale, she shows that the two forms of literature influenced each other profoundly. Because Shakespeare's works are considered timeless literary achievements, critics have distanced his plays from his romantic sources -- a separation that until now has gone unquestioned. Newcomb undermines this assumption, providing a fascinating account of an early bestseller's incarnations over 250 years of literary history.

Author Biography

Lori Humphrey Newcomb is associate professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Note on References xi
Introduction 1(20)
``Growne so ordinarie''
Producing Robert Greene's Pandosto and Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia, 1585-92
Social Things
Commodifying Pandosto, 1592-1640
Material Alteration
Re-commodifying Dorastus and Fawnia and The Winter's Tale, 1623-1843
The Romance of Service
The Readers of Dorastus and Fawnia, 1615-1762
Epilogue 247(15)
Appendix A: Pandosto Prose Versions 262(2)
Appendix B: Pandosto Verse Versions 264(3)
Notes 267(50)
Index 317

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