By Thomas N. Corns

A heritage of Seventeenth-century Literature outlines major advancements within the English literary culture among the years 1603 and 1690. an brisk and provocative background of English literature from 1603-1690. a part of the most important Blackwell heritage of English Literature sequence. Locates seventeenth-century English literature in its social and cultural contexts. Considers the actual stipulations of literary construction and intake. appears to be like on the complicated political, spiritual, cultural and social pressures on seventeenth-century writers. positive factors shut severe engagement with significant authors and texts. Thomas Corns is an enormous overseas authority on Milton, the Caroline courtroom, and the political literature of the English Civil battle and the Interregnum.

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Woudhuysen argues that the sudden availability in print of Sidney’s Astrophil to Stella may have stimulated imitation and a sense that public exposure in print was not so demeaning after all (1996: 386). The kind of larger structure that Sidney built from his 108 sonnets and 11 songs, with its intricate numerological symbolism premised on its totality (Fowler 1970: 174–80), cannot be communicated in the piecemeal assemblage of the miscellanies; even its more evident thematic development would be lost.

He allowed the annulment of the marriage of his lover, Frances Howard, from the third Earl of Essex on the grounds of non-consummation, which in turn made possible a highly advantageous marriage. Frances, however, had somewhat overreached herself, securing the poisoning, while he was in prison, of her husband’s erstwhile confidant Sir Thomas Overbury, who had tried to block the annulment and had been jailed for his pains. The scandal broke in all its gross complexity, compounded by James’s evident insistence that Frances and Carr should escape the capital penalties their agents suffered.

Eventually, such circulation spread far beyond authors’ control, and sometimes resulted in unwelcome and unauthorized publication in print. Woudhuysen vividly describes the social circumstance for the enjoyment of contemporary poetry in manuscript circulation in terms of its fashion among the young, leisured and wealthy and of the evident enthusiasm of such aficionados. No doubt, but the experience of some poetry-lovers in late Elizabethan England must often have been a frustrating one, excluded from access to texts still circulating only in the tightest coteries defined by social networks, by consanguinity, by structures of patronage.

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