A world-renowned historian presents a series of four brilliant forays into English literature, from Sir Thomas More to Robert Louis Stevenson.
Ginzburg, an Italian Renaissance historian, here turns his attention to representative works from various stages in English literature. He studies Thomas More's Utopia, Elizabethan poetry, Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy, and Robert Louis Stevenson's The Bottle Imp, concentrating on how the works of British authors were influenced in their style and rhetorical modes by models in Continental literature. Thus, Utopia's satire is derived from the Roman comic writer Lucian, and Sterne's differing devices in Shandy are taken from Bayle's Dictionary, banned in France in 1697. In a wide-ranging analysis, Ginzburg describes how poets in 16th-century England debated the pluses and minuses of rhyme as opposed to the more classical poetry of ancient Greece and Rome. In the chapter on Stevenson, the critic shows how the writer was influenced by Balzac's La Peau de Chagrin and how The Bottle Imp in turn helped to mold the theories of Polish anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski. These complex, clever essays, first given as lectures at Columbia and Cambridge universities, will appeal to scholars who choose to view literature and history in an international, comparative context. For graduate-level library collections.--Morris Hounion, New York City Technical Coll. Lib., CUNY Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.