The Art of English Poesy

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Overview

George Puttenham's Art of English Poesy is a foundational work of English Renaissance criticism and literary theory. Rich in detail about the nature, purpose, and functions of poetry as well as the poet's character and goals, it is also a valuable historical document, offering generous insight into Elizabethan court culture, implicitly on display in the attitudes and values of the writer. His illustrative anecdotes enable us to watch European courtiers negotiating their social and political relationships with one another as well as with rulers and social inferiors.

This new critical edition of The Art of English Poesy contains the first modernized and fully annotated edition of Puttenham's 1589 text; a substantial introductory essay by Frank Whigham and Wayne A. Rebhorn; a comprehensive bibliography; several glossaries and appendixes; and an index. The editors' masterly essay introduces Puttenham to modern readers and situates The Art of English Poesy in the context of the rhetorical theory, poetics, and courtly conduct of its time. The introduction also includes a concise biography of Puttenham based on a variety of new and unfamiliar data: he married an older and much richer woman whom he badly mistreated; indulged habitually in a life of sexual predation; was repeatedly sued, arrested, and imprisoned; survived several supposed attempts on his life; and died, nearly indigent, in 1591. For scholars and students of the English Renaissance, the Cornell edition of The Art of English Poesy should prove the definitive edition of Puttenham's major work.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Whigham and Rebhorn have undertaken an enormous task in annotating and modernizing such a difficult text, written in frequently complex prose and rife with obscure and sometimes concealed references. . . . Their readable, fully annotated version of Puttenham's treatise, in consultation with a facsimile of the 1589 text, will be extremely useful to students and seasoned literary critics."—Stephen B. Dobranski, SEL: Studies in English Literature 1500–1900

"Frank Whigham and Wayne A. Rebhorn have done a major service to everyone seriously interested in English Renaissance literature and culture. Puttenham's curious, encyclopedic, and haunting book is of enormous interest and importance, and we have never had a usable and annotated edition of it. Whigham and Rebhorn have provided a readable and fully, usefully, and intelligently annotated text. That in itself would have been a major service. But their introduction is an extremely useful work of criticism and scholarship that is also a major contribution. We are all in their debt."—Richard Strier, University of Chicago

"In their insightful introduction and notes to The Art of English Poesy, Frank Whigham and Wayne A. Rebhorn show how George Puttenham complicates poetic 'decorum' and 'decency' by insisting on the 'abuses' and 'dissembling' at work in figurative language. Their learned and informed edition of this seminal English ars poetica illuminates the equivocal subtleties and turbulent energies informing Renaissance literary thought."—Richard C. McCoy, Queens College and The Graduate Center, CUNY

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801486524
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2007
  • Series: Cornell Paperbacks Series
  • Edition description: Critical
  • Pages: 512
  • Sales rank: 975,831
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.40 (d)

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