Early Modern English Poetry: A Critical Companion presents twenty-eight original essays on the major poems of the English Renaissance. Each essay is written by a leading scholar and examines a poem in the context of an important topic in early modern culture. The selections provide groundbreaking scholarship on subjects ranging from the invention of English verse, Petrarchism, pastoral, elegy, and satire to women's religious verse, the politics of town, the place of homoeroticism, and Cavalier poetry.
An ideal supplement to both primary texts and anthologies of Renaissance literature, Early Modern English Poetry offers fresh approaches to poems by Sir Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser, Christopher Marlowe, William Shakespeare, Aemilia Lanyer, John Donne, John Milton, and many others. The first three chapters set the rest of the volume in context with coverage of the sixteenth-century invention of verse, print and manuscript culture in early modern England, and Renaissance treatises on the art of poetry. The remaining chapters are structured around authors and their workswhich are each related to a specific issue in early modern cultureand organized chronologically according to the dates of composition or publication of the poems discussed. This innovative and flexible design corresponds perfectly with courses in which students first read a primary text and then expand their understanding of the work with detailed critical commentary. The book is enhanced by a general introduction, recommended reading lists at the end of each chapter, and a chronology of Renaissance poetry tailored to the book's contents. Early Modern English Poetry provides an accessible introduction both to a key selection of canonical poetic works in English and to historical and cultural topics that illuminate them.