A time of political and social unrest in England, this period produced some of the greatest poetry in English. This volume includes the major poets—John Donne, Ben Jonson, George Herbert, John Milton, and Andrew Marvell—the major women writers of the era—Aemilia Lanyer, Mary Wroth, Anne Bradstreet, Margaret Cavendish, and Katherine Philips—and nineteen other poets essential to an understanding of English literature in the seventeenth century. The poems are accompanied by headnotes and explanatory annotations. "Criticism" is divided into two sections. The first, "Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Criticism," includes commentary by contemporary poets and biographers, among them Ben Jonson, John Dryden, and Samuel Johnson. The second, "Recent Criticism," brings together twenty critical examinations of the period and its poets, including essays by T. S. Eliot, Janel Mueller, Aldous Huxley, W. H. Auden, Joseph Summers, Laurence Babb, Gerald Hammond, Eavan Boland, Leah Marcus, and William Kerrigan. A Selected Biography is also included.