A History of Seventeenth-Century English Literature by Thomas N. Corns

By Thomas N. Corns

A historical past of Seventeenth-century Literature outlines major advancements within the English literary culture among the years 1603 and 1690. an lively and provocative historical past of English literature from 1603-1690. a part of the most important Blackwell historical past of English Literature sequence. Locates seventeenth-century English literature in its social and cultural contexts. Considers the actual stipulations of literary creation and intake. appears on the advanced political, spiritual, cultural and social pressures on seventeenth-century writers. beneficial properties shut severe engagement with significant authors and texts. Thomas Corns is a big overseas authority on Milton, the Caroline court docket, and the political literature of the English Civil warfare and the Interregnum.

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Miscellanies are sometimes organized thematically, though eclectically, and a distinct enthusiasm emerges for juxtaposing poems which in some sense answer other poems. But typically, each poem must have been read as an autonomous text, rather than a component of something more complex. This is profoundly limiting for both author and reader, though it may usefully inform our own interpretative strategies in engaging with internally inconsistent works such as Donne’s ‘Songs and Sonnets’ (see below, chapter 2).

Similar claims have been advanced for the court of Prince Henry. He was only 9 at the time of his father’s accession, and not until 1610 was he created Prince of Wales, receiving at the same time his own revenues, household and the palaces of Richmond and St James’s (Strong 1986: 11). The two years before his death saw a flurry of cultural activity as he generated around himself a militantly Protestant, austere and yet creative court, patronizing artists, architects and garden designers, and extending very direct patronage to a small number of writers who seem not to have secured his father’s favour, in particular Josuah Sylvester and Michael Drayton (see below, ‘Non-dramatic Poetry’).

It marked his rise in the king’s favour. His status was confirmed in 1618 when he danced again in another Jonson masque, Pleasure Reconciled to Virtue, for the first time led by Charles, Prince of Wales. It elicited the fullest surviving account of Jacobean masque, the report of Orazio Busino, chaplain to the Venetian Embassy and spectator at the event: Then there was such a crowd; for though they claim to admit only those favoured with invitations, nevertheless every box was full, especially with most noble and richly dressed ladies, 600 and more in number .

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