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The English Renaissance: Identity and Representation in Elizabethan England

ISBN: 978-0-631-19029-5
252 pages
November 1997, ©1997, Wiley-Blackwell
The English Renaissance: Identity and Representation in Elizabethan England (0631190295) cover image


This book reassesses Renaissance English literature and its place in Elizabethan society. It examines, in particular, the role of Italianate literary imitation in addressing the ethical and political issues of the sixteenth century.
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Table of Contents



1. The Reception of Italian Literary Culture: Motives and Dynamics.

2. Wyatt, Surrey, and the Onset of English Petrarchism.

3. Elizabethan Petrarchism and the Protestant Location of Self.

4. Ethic and Politic Considerations: Spenser, Sidney, and the Uses of Italianate Pastoral.

5. Epic and the Formation of National Identity: Ariosto, Tasso, and The Faerie Queene.

6. Appraising 'The Seeming Truths' of the Times: the Italianate Plays of Shakespeare.




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Author Information

Alistair Fox was educated at the University of Canterbury (MA) and the University of Western Ontario, where he took his doctorate as a Commonwealth Scholar. He has held visiting fellowships at Clare Hall, Cambridge, and All Souls College, Oxford, and is currently Professor of English at the University of Otago, New Zealand. His previous books include Thomas More: History and Providence (1982); Reassessing the Henrician Age: Humanism, Politics, and Reform, 1500-1550 (with John Guy) (1986); Politics and Literature in the Reigns of Henry VII and Henry VIII (1989); and Utopia: An Elusive Vision (1993).
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The Wiley Advantage

* An account of the effect of the European Renaissance on English literature, art and politics.
* Sheds new light on the link between the English Reformation and the English Renaissance.
* Shows how the English governing elite used continental developments to create a distinctive Elizabethan ideology and identity.
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"Fox's clear style suits his difficult material. This is one of few recent works treating Italian influence in detail with a good command of the evidence as well as a fresh point of view. Strongly recommended for graduates, researchers, and faculty." Choice

‘Alistair Fox offers a new and compelling version of the literary culture of Tudor England, one that finds its defining qualities in the complex interactions of English Protestantism and Italian humanism. If a full synthesis of the two systems finally proved impossible for English writers, Fox impressively shows how their brave effort to achieve it animates the most important imaginative literature of the period.’ – David Scott Kastan, Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University

‘The English Renaissance registers how the secular narratives of Catholic culture were reinvented by England’s new Protestant culture. It shows the English writing of Sidney, Spenser and Shakespeare undergoing a rebirth out of its Italian sources. In the process it fully justifies Alistair Fox’s re-application of the term "Renaissance" to the products of this fertile period.’ – Professor Andrew Gurr, Department of English, University of Reading<!--end-->

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