God Speed the Plough: The Representation of Agrarian England, 1500-1660

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Overview

This book presents a fresh view of crucial processes of change, offering through an interdisciplinary analysis fresh insights into both the history and literature of the land in early modern England. It examines a wide range of source material concerned with the practices and values of rural England—sermons, pamphlets, satiric verse and drama, husbandry and surveying manuals, chorographic texts, and rural poetry. It traces important developments in patterns of representation, which at once parallel and promote the nation's shift toward modern standards of individualism and mercantilism.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...a recent entry in this notable field, and, while nothing can replace acquaintace with primary texts, it may be recommended as an excellent place to start." Studies in English Literature

"The work is characterized by an admirably thorough and ingenuous reading across several genres of printed works." The Sixteenth Century Journal

"God Speed the Plough is an innovative and important testimony to the value of interdisciplinary work, which incontestably succeeds in its object of demonstrating "the role of literature as an agent of social change"." Lorna Hutson

"In his emphasis on generic particularity on the social and ideological entailments of certain ways of writing, McRae provides a more valuable example of what the new interdisciplinarity can do: not erase difference in a world of homogenized idea, but rather reveal differences, how they have been constructed, and why they matter." Richard Helgerson, University of California

"God Speed the Plough is an innovative and important testimony to the value of interdisciplinary work, which incontestably succeeds in its object of demonstrating 'the role of literture as an agent of social change'." JLS

"McRae provides a valuable example of what the new interdisciplinary can do: not erase difference in a world of homogenized idea, but rather reveal differences, how they have been constructed, and why they matter. And when all this is accomplished with refernce to matters as significant as the use and distribution of the land, the result is likely to be worth attending to-as is it clearly stated here." Richard Helgerson, Journal of Historical Geography

"McRae provides a more valuable example of what the new interdisciplinarity can do..." Richard Helgerson, Journal of Historical Geography

"Andrew McRae has written a stimulating book that will be valuable for students of both the history and literature of early modern England....the book is unusually accessible and makes a helpful contribution to our understanding of social change in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries..." Michael Finlayson, Agricultural History

"This important interdisciplinary work examines literary representations of the English rural landscape and its economy and society in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Andrew McRae's book differs from many contributions to the 'new historicism' in literary criticism in its treatment of an impressive array of printed sources drawn from a variety of genres, a literature McRae explores to uncover the dynamics of an agrarian discourse." Dan Beaver, Albion

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521453790
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2004
  • Series: Past and Present Publications Series
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 5.43 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction; Part I. Versions of Moral Economy: 1. Covetousness in the countryside: agrarian complaint and mid-Tudor reform; 2. Moral economics and the Tudor-Stuart Church; 3. The rural vision of Renaissance satire; 4. Agrarian communism; Part II. Imperatives of Improvement: 5. Husbandry manuals and agrarian improvement; 6. 'To know one's own': the discourse of the estate surveyor; 7. Georgic economics; Part III. The Profits and Pleasures of the Land: 8. Chorography: the view from the gentleman's seat; 9. Rural poetics; Bibliography.

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