By Kent Cartwright
A spouse to Tudor Literature provides a suite of thirty-one newly commissioned essays targeting English literature and tradition from the reign of Henry VII in 1485 to the demise of Elizabeth I in 1603.
- Presents scholars with a necessary historic and cultural context to the period
- Discusses key texts and consultant topics, and explores matters together with overseas affects, non secular swap, go back and forth and New international discoveries, women’s writing, technological thoughts, medievalism, print tradition, and advancements in song and in modes of seeing and reading
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Additional resources for A Companion to Tudor Literature
Manuscript courtier poetry reveals corporate authorship, distinct from that of print, and it destabilizes the sense of the finished, unchangeable poem (May and Wolfe, Carlson). Women could make themselves present as authors by submerging themselves in male forms and traditional conventions (Smith), and could also speak through their silences and ellipses (Linton). Even in the case of one of the most famous of Elizabethan authors, Sir Philip Sidney, one can think of his sister’s involvement as so integral as to be joint – not “Sidney’s” literary corpus but a “Sydnean” one (Trill).
Related to wonder is an anxiety about the nature and borders of the human. Changing images of the skin bespeak Tudor concerns about human vulnerability and about a new desire to protect one’s Protestant interiority (Pollard). Various of the volume’s chapters touch upon a common fear that human nature is vulnerable to transformation and, indeed, that the borders between the human and the monstrous or barbarian or animalistic were weak and permeable. The possibility of humans transformed into witches (Edwards); the image of the reading ape (Lerer); the automaton replicants of humans who wander Fairyland (Wolfe; see also Cohen); the implicitly sub-human court Fool (Brown; see also Hornback); the anxiety that English people could return to a feral barbaric condition if exposed to the savages of the New World or to the Irish (Warren, Coles); the image of the terrible Turk (Dimmock); the headless men and monstrous beings of travel writing (Warren, Fuller); indeed, the all-too-human savagery witnessed by Jack Wilton in his “grand tour” (Mentz) – all these suggest a deep and abiding Tudor distress about the stability and borderlines of humanness.
There seem to have been few, if any, Lollards in the north. It was once assumed that “late Lollards” were almost invariably ignorant country folk, at the wrong end of an evolutionary development from Wyclif ’s sophisticated theology. But detailed research in tax and testamentary records, as well as court proceedings, has repositioned them on the social scale. In Amersham and Coventry, suspects were among the ruling elites of the town. Landed gentry were not represented in the ranks, perhaps because their social position shielded them: The survival of richly produced volumes among 250 surviving manuscripts of the Wycliffite Bible suggests some involvement on their part.