The Oxford Handbook of English Prose 1500-1640

ISBN : 9780198778349

Andrew Hadfield
768 Pages
170 x 244 mm
Pub date
May 2016
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The Oxford Handbook of English Prose 1500-1640 is the only current overview of early modern English prose writing. The aim of the volume is to make prose more visible as a subject and as a mode of writing. It covers a vast range of material vital for the understanding of the period: from jestbooks, newsbooks, and popular romance to the translation of the classics and the pioneering collections of scientific writing and travel writing; from diaries, tracts on witchcraft, and domestic conduct books to rhetorical treatises designed for a courtly audience; from little known works such as William Baldwin's Beware the Cat, probably the first novel in English, to The Bible, The Book of Common Prayer and Richard Hooker's eloquent statement of Anglican belief, The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity. The work not only deals with the range and variety of the substance and types of English prose, but also analyses the forms and styles of writing adopted in the early modern period, ranging from the Euphuistic nature of prose fiction inaugurated by John Lyly's mannered novel, to the aggressive polemic of the Marprelate controversy; from the scatological humour of comic writing to the careful modulations of the most significant sermons of the age; and from the pithy and concise English essays of Francis Bacon to the ornate and meandering style of John Florio's translation of Montaigne's famous collection. Each essay provides an overview as well as comment on key passages, and a select guide to further reading.


Andrew Hadfield: Introduction
Part 1: Translation, Education, and Literary Criticism
1 Catherine Nicholson: Englishing Eloquence: Sixteenth-Century Arts of Rhetoric and Poetics
2 Cathy Shrank: All talk and no action? Early modern political dialogue
3 Jennifer Richards: Commonplacing and Prose Writing: William Baldwin and Robert Burton
4 Helen Moore: Romance: Amadis de Gaul and William Barclay's Argenis
5 Peter Mack: Montaigne and Florio
6 Neil Rhodes: Italianate Tales: William Painter and George Peele
7 Gordon Braden: Classical translation
8 Alex Samson: Lazarillo de Tormes and the Picaresque in Early Modern England
Part 2: Prose Fiction
9 Tom Betteridge: William Baldwin's Beware the Cat and Other Foolish Writing
10 Gillian Austen: The Adventures Passed by Master George Gascoigne: Experiments in Prose
11 Katharine Wilson: 'Turne Your Library to a Wardrobe': John Lyly and Euphuism
12 Robert Maslen: Robert Greene
13 Jason Scott-Warren: Thomas Nashe
14 Gavin Alexander: Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia
15 Mary Ellen Lamb: Topicality in Mary Wroth's Countess of Montgomery's Urania: Prose, Romance, Masque, and Lyric
Part 3: Varieties of Early Modern Prose 1: Public Prose
16 Robert Appelbaum: Utopia and Utopianism
17 Claire Preston: English Scientific Prose: Bacon, Browne, Boyle
18 Nandini Das: Richard Hakluyt and travel writing
19 Bart Van Es: Raphael Holinshed and historical Writing
20 Peter Maxwell-Stuart: Astrology, magic, and witchcraft
21 Anne Lake Prescott and Ian Munro: Jest books
22 Nicolas McDowell: Political Prose
23 Dermot Cavanagh: Polemic/Satire
24 Joad Raymond: News Writing
Part 4: Varieties of Early Modern Prose 2: Private Prose
25 Alan Stewart: Letters
26 Adam Smyth: Diaries
27 Danielle Clark: Life writing
28 Paul Salzman: Essays
29 Catherine Richardson: Domestic conduct books
Section 5: Religious Prose
30 Kevin Killeen: Immethodical, Incoherent, Unadorned: Style and The Early Modern Bible
31 Tom Freeman and Susannah Monta: The Style of Authorship in John Foxe's Acts and Monuments
32 Joseph Black: The Marpelate Controversy
33 Peter McCullough: Sermons
34 Daniel Swift: The Book of Common Prayer
Part 6: Major Prose Writers
35 Henry Woudhuysen: Gabriel Harvey
36 Rudolph Almasy: Richard Hooker's Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity
37 Caroline Erskine: John Knox, George Buchanan, and Scots Prose
38 Angus Gowland: Robert Burton and The Anatomy of Melancholy
39 Kevin Killeen: 'When all things shall confesse their ashes': Science and Soul in Thomas Browne

About the author: 

Andrew Hadfield is Professor of English at the University of Sussex and visiting Professor at the University of Granada. He is the author of a number of works on early modern literature, including Shakespeare and Republicanism (Cambridge University Press, 2005); Literature, Travel and Colonialism in the English Renaissance, 1540-1625 (Oxford University Press, 1998); Sand Literature, Politics and National Identity: Reformation to Renaissance (Cambridge, 1994). He has also edited, with Matthew Dimmock, Religions of the Book: Co-existence and Conflict, 1400-1660 (Palgrave, 2008); with Raymond Gillespie, The Oxford History of the Irish Book, Vol. III: The Irish Book in English, 1550-1800 (Oxford, 2006); with Paul Hammond, Shakespeare and Renaissance Europe (Cengage, Arden Critical Companions, 2004); and Literature and Censorship in Renaissance England (Palgrave, 2001). He is a regular reviewer for The Times Literary Supplement.

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