Poetry and the Making of the English Literary Past: 1660-1781

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This book explores how the English literary past was made. It charts how antiquarians unearthed the raw materials of the English (or more widely) British tradition; how scholars drafted narratives about the development of native literature; and how critics assigned the leading writers to canons of literary greatness.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is a highly readable and informative book that will be enjoyed by many."—Modern Language Quarterly
Terry (18th-century English literature, U. of Sunderland, UK) examines the canon that resulted from compilations of English poets made by antiquarians in the late 17th century. The themes that developed from this canon, rather than its application in various venues, are traced in detail. These include an analysis of the morphology of the concept of literature, the creation of dictionaries of authors, the increasing fame attached to certain writers, the myth of English literature's origins in writers before Chaucer, Dryden, Johnson, the female canon, and the division of interpretation between classicists and gothicists. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198186236
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 12/27/2001
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Terry is Reader in Eighteenth-Century English Literature, University of Sunderland

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Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations
List of Illustrations
1. 'Literature': The Morphology of a Concept
2. The Progress of Poesy: Making an English Canon
3. Authorial Dictionaries and the Cult of Fame
4. Myths of Origin: The Canon of Pre-Chaucerian Poetry
5. Dryden and the Idea of a Literary Tradition
6. Teaching English Literature
7. Johnson's Lives of the Poets
8. Making the Female Canon
9. Classicists and Gothicists: The Division of the Estate

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