Teaching Early Modern English Prose

Teaching Early Modern English Prose

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Modern Language Association of America


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Teaching Early Modern English Prose

To gain a full understanding of the literature and history of early modern England, students need to study the prose of the period. Aiming to make early modern prose more visible to teachers, this volume approaches prose as a genre that requires as much analysis and attention as the drama and poetry of the time. The essays collected here consider the broad cultural questions raised by prose and explore prose style, showing teachers how to hone students' writing skills in the process.

Noting that the inclusion of Renaissance prose in anthologies now makes it easier to teach texts discussed in this volume, the introduction considers the practical and historical reasons prose has been taught less often than poetry and drama. The essays call attention to the range of prose writing and to the variety of definitions that have been developed to describe it. In part 1, contributors outline broad issues concerning early modern prose, looking at rhetoric and pamphlet writing and asking how to classify nonfiction. Essays in part 2 discuss particular genres, such as sermons, martyrologies, autobiographies, and Quaker writings. The third part explores specific prose works, including Francis Bacon's scientific writing, Richard Hooker's prose, and the transcribed speeches of Queen Elizabeth I. The final part, "Crossings and Pairings," examines ways to use prose in teaching early modern attitudes toward issues such as education, imperialism, and the translation of the Bible.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781603290531
Publisher: Modern Language Association of America
Publication date: 01/01/2010
Series: Options for Teaching Series , #25
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 396
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Susannah Brietz Monta is John Cardinal O'Hara, C.S.C., and Glynn Family Honors Associate Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame. Her book Martyrdom and Literature in Early Modern England won the Book of the Year award from the Conference on Christianity and Literature. She has published articles on history plays, saints and martyrs, early modern women, and pedagogy and is the editor of Religion and Literature. Her current projects include work on Catholicism and time and research on miracles in early modern writing.

Margaret W. Ferguson is Distinguished Professor of English at the University of California, Davis. She was chair of English from 2006 to 2009. The author of Trials of Desire: Renaissance Defenses of Poetry and Dido's Daughters: Literacy, Gender, and Empire in Early Modern England and France, she has coedited eleven volumes, among them Re-membering Milton: The Texts and the Traditions and Rewriting the Renaissance: The Discourses of Sexual Difference in Early Modern Europe. Her current project is a study of Aphra Behn's theory and practice of translation.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction Margaret W. Ferguson Susannah Brietz Monta 1

Part I Perspectives on Prose

What Is Early Modern Nonfictional Prose? Ronald Corthell 19

Cultivating the Commons: Early Modern Rhetoric, Pamphlet Writing, and the Undergraduate Reader Lauryn S. Mayer 32

Desiring Styles: Renaissance Prose Styles and Teaching by Imitation Mary Moore 43

Part II Kinds of Prose

Religious Persuasions: Teaching the Early Modern Sermon Lori Anne Ferrell 61

Early Modern Prose and the Uses of the New World Peter C. Herman 71

Teaching with Passions; or, Bringing Martyrologies into the Classroom Susannah Brietz Monta 81

Dedicated Thought: Montaigne, Bacon, and the English Renaissance Essay Kate Lilley 95

Teaching Early Modern Autobiographies and Life Writings Mary Ellen Lamb 113

Reading Tudor Chronicles Christopher Ivic 123

Quaker Writing in the Seventeenth Century Roger E. Moore 132

A Voyage on a Dangerous Sea: Marriage as Heroism in Early Modern English Prose Mary Beth Rose 143

Teaching Early Modern Letters Gary Schneider 154

Teaching Gascoigne, Deloney, and the Emergence of the English Novel Eric Sterling 164

Part III Teaching Selected Authors

Reforming the Greek Tragic Hero: Narrative Trickery and Gender Reversal in Sidney's Old Arcadia Donald Stump 177

Speech Made Visible: The Writings of Queen Elizabeth I Leah S. Marcus 188

Thomas Nashe: Cornucopias and Gallimaufries of Prose Margaret W. Ferguson 199

Community and Context in Richard Hooker's Prose P. G. Stanwood 214

"Amorous Metaphors": John Donne's Prose Elizabeth Hodgson 224

The Long and Winding Road: Teaching Lady Mary Wrath's Urania Sheila T. Cavanagh 236

Francis Bacon's Experimental Writing Deborah E. Harkness 246

Discovering Milton in His Prose Stephen M. Fallon 259

Stand-Up Browne: Religio Medici in the Classroom Claire Preston 272

Mastering the Monster Text: Teaching Hobbes's Leviathan Robert E. Stillman 282

"On Thursday Giant Despair Beats His Prisoners": Teaching Bunyan in an Unsympathetic Age Thomas Corns 292

Part IV Crossings and Pairings

Teaching Lyly's Euphuism through William Harrison's The Description of England: History, Parody, and Dialogic Form Terry Reilly 303

Literary Figures: Lodge's Rosalynd in the Undergraduate Classroom Catherine R. Eskin 313

Infectious Knowledge: Teaching the Educational Tracts of John Milton and Mary Astell Erin Murphy 320

Translation, Nationalism, and Imperialism: Teaching Aphra Behn's "Essay on Translated Prose" and A Discovery of New Worlds Deborah Uman 329

Teaching the Early Modern Bible, Fully and Perfectly Gregory Kneidel 344

Part V Resources

Selected Resources for Teachers Margaret W. Ferguson Susannah Brietz Monta Magdalena Nerio Genevieve Pearson Vanessa Rapatz 353

Print Resources: Anthologies including Substantial Selections of Prose Writings 353

Electronic Resources 363

Notes on Contributors 369

Index of Names 375

Index of Selected Resources 385

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