Classical and Christian Ideas in English Renaissance Poetry: A Student's Guide

Classical and Christian Ideas in English Renaissance Poetry: A Student's Guide

Classical and Christian Ideas in English Renaissance Poetry: A Student's Guide

Classical and Christian Ideas in English Renaissance Poetry: A Student's Guide

Synopsis

Since publication in 1979 Isabel Rivers' sourcebook has established itself as the essential guide to English Renaissance poetry. It:

  • provides an account of the main classical and Christian ideas, outlining their meaning, their origins and their transmission to the Renaissance;
  • illustrates the ways in which Renaissance poetry drew on classical and Christian ideas;
  • contains extracts from key classical and Christian texts and relates these to the extracts of the English poems which draw on them;
  • includes suggestions for further reading, and an invaluable bibliographical appendix.

Excerpt

This handbook has been in print continuously since its first publication in 1979, and I am pleased that several generations of undergraduate and graduate students and their teachers have found it useful. Since I wrote it there has been an explosion of research and publication in many areas of Renaissance studies, and in order for the book to retain its usefulness as a bibliographical guide I thought it necessary to bring the bibliographical sections up to date. I have partly rewritten the Introduction, but otherwise the structure, the introductory chapters, and the collections of extracts remain unchanged, except for some minor corrections. I have added a new paragraph to each of the sections under Further Reading, taking account of significant publications since 1977 (when I completed the first edition); in a few cases I have included earlier books which I was unaware of or unable to consult. Bibliographical Appendix A and the introductory section to B have been comprehensively revised; further titles have been added to the majority of the authors under B, and thirteen new authors have been included. I am very grateful to Julia Griffin of St John's College, Oxford, who has helped me with the work for the Bibliographical Appendix.

There have been important developments in scholarly research in two of the principal subjects with which this book is concerned: religion and philosophy. First, many historians of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries have become much more interested in ideas and beliefs and what these meant to those who held them, and much less willing to translate these ideas and beliefs into modern secular or socio-economic terms. One consequence of this valuable new emphasis is a continuing debate among historians of the English Reformation and Revolution as to the meaning of key terms such as Reformed and Catholic, Calvinist and Arminian, and Puritan and Anglican. Much important new work has been done by literary historians on Spenser, Donne, Herbert, Milton, and other poets in the light of this development. Second, the vitality and variousness of Renaissance philosophy is now increasingly recognised, and our knowledge has been significantly extended, for example in the study of humanism and rhetoric and of the continuing strength of Aristotelianism in the sixteenth century. There is now much more material available to help modern readers set English Renaissance poetry in its intellectual contexts. If this revised, second edition

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