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English Renaissance Literary Criticism Paperback – 10 Apr 2003

5 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; New Ed edition (10 April 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199261369
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199261369
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 4.1 x 13.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,445,116 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


Review from previous editionEnglish Renaissance Literary Criticism may well become the standard reference collection ... the greatest coup is John Ford's elegy on John Fletcher, discovered by the late Jeremy Maule and printed here for the first time. (Alastair Fowler, TLS 9/6/00.)

In addition to the usual suspects (Spenser, Harvey, Sidney, Jonson, Milton, et al), he includes long selections from rhetoricians Wilson and Puttenham; several hard-to-find pieces; thoughtfully edited passages from Shakespeare, Chapman, and Champion; and John Ford's never-before-printed 'Elegy for John Fletcher'. What makes this selection so insightful and useful is Vickers' recognition of the rhetorical and prescriptive character of early modern English criticism...[one] of the most distinguished publications in Renaissance literary studies to have appeared in many years. (N.Lukacher, Choice, Jul/Aug. 2000.)

About the Author

Brian Vickers is Chair of English Language and Literature, ETH Zürich.

Inside This Book

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First Sentence
SIR THOMAS ELYOT (1490?-1546), author and public servant (clerk of assize, 1511-28; JP for Oxfordshire, 1522; clerk of the privy council, 1523-30; knighted, 1530; ambassador to Charles V, 1531-2; MP for Cambridge, 1542). Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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The category 'literary criticism' didn't exist in the sixteenth century but what Vickers has collected and edited here is a wide-ranging and sometimes eclectic assortment of texts on subjects related to literature. Some are on rhetoric, some on the emergence of English poetry, some on genre or on metre, some on the moral and educational value of poetry. What brings them all together is precisely their diversity, highlighting the lack of a defined poetics in this period.

The earliest item in the collection is from 1531 (Elyot) and the latest from 1675 (Hobbes on epic). While the standard treatises are here (Puttenham on English poetics; Sidney's Defense of Poesy), others are more difficult to access, especially where they take the form of prefaces and other occasional notes.

For students and scholars of Renaissance literature interested in how readers and writers framed and thought about the texts they consumed and produced, this is indispensable.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x98cc857c) out of 5 stars 1 review
HASH(0x98de88ac) out of 5 stars A must-have book for serious students of English poetics 18 Sept. 2015
By Julia - Published on
This is a highly specialized, highly valuable "anthology" of English literary criticism spanning the English Renaissance. Vickers's lengthy introduction, footnotes, and mini authors' biographies illuminate puzzling aspects of the primary materials. It's wonderful to have Elyot, Wilson, Spenser, Puttenham, Sidney, Jonson, Hobbes etc. sharing the same stage, holding forth on such subjects as style, character, and plot. This is a good book to have on your shelf if you're a serious student of rhetoric and poetics.

But beware: this is not a well-constructed book. The spine of my copy cracked after one reading. Come on, Oxford UP. You can do better.
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