A History of Seventeenth-Century English Literature by Thomas N. Corns

By Thomas N. Corns

A background of Seventeenth-Century Literature outlines major advancements within the English literary culture among the years 1603 and 1690.

  • An lively and provocative background of English literature from 1603-1690.
  • Part of the main Blackwell heritage of English Literature series.
  • Locates seventeenth-century English literature in its social and cultural contexts.
  • Considers the actual stipulations of literary creation and consumption.
  • Looks on the complicated political, non secular, cultural and social pressures on seventeenth-century writers.
  • Features shut serious engagement with significant authors and texts

Thomas Corns is an incredible overseas authority on Milton, the Caroline court docket, and the political literature of the English Civil conflict and the Interregnum.

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The ‘British’ project remained largely an unrealized aspiration, though one frequently celebrated among writers looking to James for patronage and preferment. Ecclesiastical affairs seemed calmer in his early years than in the reign of Elizabeth. A major assassination attempt, the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, plainly signalled that some in the disadvantaged Catholic community retained treasonous intent. But reprisals were limited to participants and the attempt was not repeated. Since the 1580s James had sought ‘to persuade Catholics, both in Elizabeth’s dominions and on the Continent, of .

2000: 104). A major brush with authority, though more limited in its impact, resulted from the peripheral involvement of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men in the abortive Essex coup of 1601. The larger intentions of the earl remain as uncertain to modern historians as they were among his contemporaries. To repair his political eclipse after the failure of his military expedition to Ireland and his rash response to that, he had assembled a small private army in his London mansion and attempted 30 The Last Years of Elizabeth I to take over both the Tower of London and the royal court.

Modern criticism has sought to identify in it a defiance of monarchical patriarchy, its ‘perhaps partly subconscious . . gestures of resistance’ (Lewalski 1994: 43; see also McManus 2002: passim). But we should recognize, too, its clear surface significance. This is an overt celebration of the king’s wealth and power, acted out in a closed rite that celebrated, in the uniting of Anne with masquers drawn for the most part from the highest ranks of the English aristocracy, the security with which the new dynasty had been established.

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