The Literary Profession in the Elizabethan Age

The Literary Profession in the Elizabethan Age

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The Literary Profession in the Elizabethan Age

The Literary Profession in the Elizabethan Age

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Excerpt

The writer of the following brief sketch is conscious that it only partly fulfils the promise of its title, which has been selected chiefly for the sake of brevity. This little book is, in fact, only a series of studies upon certain aspects of the whole question of authorship and the conditions amid which it was pursued as a profession during the period denoted. No attempt has been made to deal with learned and controversial writings. The enquiry is confined to what may perhaps be styled, for want of a good English word, "belles-lettres,"--to the "literature of power," as distinguished from the "literature of knowledge." It includes poetry, story-telling, pamphlets on social topics, and drama. The last has been treated very briefly, because it has already received ample investigation from more competent writers.

The period chosen for review has also had to be strictly limited. It dates from the accession of Elizabeth to a few years after the accession of Charles I. It has been selected as being a period of comparative internal quiet, preceded and followed by times of serious disturbance,-- a period therefore fairly favourable for a study of the natural development of the profession of literature.

The writer gladly takes this opportunity of offering her thanks to the Council of Somerville College, Oxford, whose generous grant of a "Sabbatical" year's leave of absence, during her tenure of the Tutorship in English Literature there, made it possible to carry nearly to completion a scheme long cherished. Sincerest thanks are also due to Mr. A. W. Pollard, for generous . . .

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