George Sandys, Poet-Adventurer: A Study in Anglo-American Culture in the Seventeenth Century

George Sandys, Poet-Adventurer: A Study in Anglo-American Culture in the Seventeenth Century

George Sandys, Poet-Adventurer: A Study in Anglo-American Culture in the Seventeenth Century

George Sandys, Poet-Adventurer: A Study in Anglo-American Culture in the Seventeenth Century

Excerpt

The man of the Renaissance has in our age received a remarkable amount of attention, partially at least because we feel a real kinship with him. In another period of enormously expanding physical and intellectual horizons we admire and sympathize with his mixture of sharp realism and sometimes rather vague idealism, his eager search for Truth in its manifold forms, his courage and tenacity in the face of the unknown future, and perhaps above all his almost subconscious yearning for spiritual reassurance

This man of the Renaissance has been studied as he manifested himself in the Latin nations, the Low Countries, and England, in his role of artist, philosopher, scientist, antiquarian, philologist, politician, explorer, warrior, and theologian. We often prefer him when he plays most or all these parts at the same time, for then we see more quickly the complexities and simplicities of his civilization.

Very rightly the genius with head and shoulders above his fellows has not been the only actor on this great stage whose quality has been examined, for the lesser figure usually is the more representative and therefore the more revealing. One learns about the period in England from a variety of biographies-of a choirmaster who set Comus to music; of a busy printer and bookseller; of a travelling preacher; or of a circle of brilliant but even then relatively unknown scientists.

Less than the great artist and more than the busy bookseller is the man, often eminent for one or a number of reasons in his own time, who has been largely forgotten but who actually summed up in his career the characteristic if not the major accomplishments of his race and time. Such a figure is George Sandys. The present volume is the first attempt at a full-length study of this complex and significant individual.

First he is the traveller looking at men and nations. Few persons of even his vigorous and roving age bad his opportunities to observe the vanities of this world. For in Asia, Africa, and America had he been, in courts and cabins, among Moslem sultans and red Indian chiefs. He had grown up under Elizabeth, travelled under James, and worked as government official under James and Charles I. Of Egypt he gave archaeological descriptions, and there he had collected curious objects.

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