The Oxford Handbook of Tudor Literature (Oxford Handbooks) by Mike Pincombe, Cathy Shrank

By Mike Pincombe, Cathy Shrank

This is often the 1st significant choice of essays to examine the literature of the whole Tudor period,
from the reign of Henry VII to dying of Elizabeth I.
Written by means of specialists from Europe, North the US, and the United Kingdom,
the forty-four chapters within the Oxford guide to Tudor Literature recover
some of the certain voices of sixteenth-century writing, its energy,
variety, and inventiveness.

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Additional resources for The Oxford Handbook of Tudor Literature (Oxford Handbooks)

Example text

It is the age of printing, the refashioning of English monarchy and nationhood, the rise of the commercial theatre, nascent capitalism, the spread of humanism, and the violent reformation of English religion. Its literature made for, and was made by, these changes; it continues to make them sensible to us; it deserves careful reading. Caxton’s ‘George’, the borrowed bookseller, is an argument of this sort in miniature. Like much of what strikes us in Tudor literature, he is Continentally derived.

However, ground-breaking though the methodology was, it was not intended to rewrite literary history. In Renaissance Self-Fashioning, Greenblatt leaps from Wyatt in the 1520s–1530s to Spenser in the 1580s. Subsequent practitioners tended to justify reading non-canonical material—by which they meant legal and historical texts—by showing how it shed new light on familiar, often Shakespearean, material. Rather than opening up the mid-century, New Historicism reinforced Lewis’s conclusion that those decades could be skipped.

The primer of New Historicism, Stephen Greenblatt’s Renaissance Self-Fashioning (1980), showed a new generation of scholars how to perform anthropologically inflected historicist readings on pre-modern texts. However, ground-breaking though the methodology was, it was not intended to rewrite literary history. In Renaissance Self-Fashioning, Greenblatt leaps from Wyatt in the 1520s–1530s to Spenser in the 1580s. Subsequent practitioners tended to justify reading non-canonical material—by which they meant legal and historical texts—by showing how it shed new light on familiar, often Shakespearean, material.

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