2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Perfect companion or introduction to the period!,
This review is from: Renaissance Literature: An Anthology (Blackwell Anthologies) (Paperback)
I used this book during my degree course, and it came in use no end. It has a large selection of texts, both recognised classics and less familiar ones. A particularly useful aspect is that it has both poetic and prose works that are interesting for their literary value and also a number of texts whose historical value is very high, although of course all the texts have both historical and literary value.
There is a good chunk of Spenser, which is enough to introduce you to him, (although to study further a more annotated version would be helpful), and helpings of the other main poets like Wyatt, Surrey, Sidney, Jonson, Marlowe, Donne and Herbert. It is also interesting to find poems from monarchs and prominent courtiers thrown in there as well, which give a sense that most of the people reading the poetry of Sidney, and other poets who circulated their writings in the courts in manuscript form, also wrote it!
The prose is also strong, including excerpts from translations of the bible and other texts, colonial literature, political writings, and a snippet of Walton's 'The Compleat Angler'.
For me a really exciting aspect was a number of anonymous ballads, and carols, which show that there was artistic activity happening not only in the courts and mansions, but also in the folk tradition of the people who had to work for a living.
It has come in handy for revising for exams, searching for interesting texts to use in my essays, and getting a sense of the period as a whole. Finally, it has saved me a great deal of money!