A History of Seventeenth-Century English Literature
December 2006, Wiley-Blackwell
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“This “handbook” is, perhaps, more “textbook” than “reference book”, but it is well done and would be a useful resource for undergraduate libraries.” (Reference Reviews , 2011)Tom Corns’s book is the first of its kind to attempt to relate literature to the history of its time not merely in broad abstract terms but in specific detail. He discusses individual works in such a way that they reoccupy their rightful place among the social and political events of their time. And so they come freshly alive. This is not the only story that could be told about literature, but it is one not to be ignored.
Alastair Fowler, Regius Professor of Rhetoric and English Literature, University of Edinburgh
Thomas Corns has written an exceptionally fine and remarkably ambitious history of seventeenth-century English literary culture. One of its great virtues is that this history begins with the late Elizabethan period and extends its account to the very end of the seventeenth century, thereby crossing and reexamining traditional boundaries of literary historical periodisation. Corns deftly illuminates the distinctive aesthetic achievements of seventeenth-century English writers, while precisely situating their works in their social, political, and religious contexts, as well as in relation to the other arts. Students and scholars alike will find this new, wide-ranging literary history of the period invaluable. It is an outstanding achievement. David Loewenstein, University of Wisconsin-Madison