Fault Lines and Controversies in the Study of Seventeenth-Century English Literature

Fault Lines and Controversies in the Study of Seventeenth-Century English Literature

by Claude J. Summers
     
 

ISBN-10: 0826214231

ISBN-13: 9780826214232

Pub. Date: 11/28/2002

Publisher: University of Missouri Press

Written by various experts in the field, this volume of thirteen original essays explores some of the most significant theoretical and practical fault lines and controversies in seventeenth-century English literature. The turn into the twenty-first century is an appropriate time to take stock of the state of the field, and, as part of that stock-taking, the

Overview

Written by various experts in the field, this volume of thirteen original essays explores some of the most significant theoretical and practical fault lines and controversies in seventeenth-century English literature. The turn into the twenty-first century is an appropriate time to take stock of the state of the field, and, as part of that stock-taking, the need arises to assess both where literary study of the early modern period has been and where it might desirably go. Hence, many of the essays in this collection look both backward and forward. They chart the changes in the field over the past half century, while also looking forward to more change in the future.
            Some of the essays collected here explore the points of friction, vulnerability, and division that have emerged in literary study of all periods at the end of the twentieth century, such as theory, gender, sexuality, race, and religion. Others are more narrowly focused on fault lines and controversies peculiar to the study of Renaissance and seventeenth-century literature. At the same time nearly all of these essays examine and illuminate particular works of literature. They engage theory, but they also illustrate their points concretely by enacting practical criticism of works by authors ranging from Bacon to Milton. What emerges from the collection is a sense of the field’s dynamism and vitality. The dominant mood of the essays is a cautious optimism, and, while the contributors are by no means complacent, they all share a belief that the fault lines that have emerged in the field are variously and valuably instructive. 
By exposing these fault lines the essayists seek a means of acknowledging differences and disagreements without covering them up. They also constructively suggest ways of addressing the issues as a prerequisite to bridging them. By broaching some of the most significant questions that animate the study of early modern literature at the turn into a new century, this volume will be of great value to any student or scholar of seventeenth-century literature.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780826214232
Publisher:
University of Missouri Press
Publication date:
11/28/2002
Edition description:
1
Pages:
248
Product dimensions:
6.13(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsix
Introduction1
"What Is Truth?": Defining and Defending Theoretical Pluralism10
The Ahistoricism of the New Historicism: Knowledge as Power versus Power as Knowledge in Bacon's New Atlantis22
Conjecture in the Writing of Donne's Biography, with a Modest Proposal50
Marvell's "Mower against Gardens": Reconsidering Bakhtinian Dialogism62
In Defense of Empson: A Reassessment of Milton's God73
Milton and Dryden on the Restoration Stage88
Profession or Performance? Religion in Early Modern Literary Study111
John Donne and the Socinian Heresy130
Critical Directions in the Study of Early Modern Sermons140
The Poets of the Renaissance; or, The Illusions of My Youth156
Donne on Love: Sometimes the End Just Doesn't Justify the Means170
"The Explication of Whiteness and Blackness": Skin Color and the Physics of Color in the Works of Robert Boyle and Margaret Cavendish187
Milton's Lady and Lady Milton: Chastity, Prophecy, and Gender in A Maske Presented at Ludlow Castle204
Notes on Contributors227
Index231

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >