This book presents a comprehensive study of the literature of the Cretan Renaissance and relates it to the historical, social and cultural context. Crete, ruled by Venice from 1211 to 1669, responded to the stimulus of the Renaissance in a body of narrative, personal and dramatic poetry, written in the Cretan dialect, and now regarded as an important influence on Modern Greek literature. These Cretan literary works are part of a more general phenomenon of cultural fusion which occurred in Crete and can be observed in art and architecture, as well as in learning. The historical background is related to an examination of the structure of Veneto-Cretan society, while the central chapters concentrate on the small but distinguished group of literary texts which have survived, among which drama is especially important, with examples of tragedy, comedy, pastoral and religious drama. Finally, there is a pioneering study of the interrelations between popular poetry and literature.
"As a historian, I found the book not only up to high scholarly standards, but quite interesting. ...I enjoyed it, profited from it, and recommend it." Renaissance Quarterly "In conclusion this is a rich book, wide ranging, written in an accessible style, and of an extremely high academic standard. It is more about Cretan literature than about the society to which it is foregrounded, but it is likely to be of particular relevance not just to scholars of Greek literature, but also of Mediterranean literature generally. The editor of this volume deserves congratulations for having put together a work that is likely to be a major reference point in the study of Cretan literature, and to help find a more comfortable space for it within the study of Greek literature." Paul Sant Cassia, Journal of Mediterranean Studies "...pioneering work in the field...this work deepens and enriches our understanding of the Renaissance as a European phenomenon, and readers of other Renaissance literatures will undoubtedly find fertile comparisons to make...Holton's volume revolutionizes the teaching of the subject and provides the solid foundation for further studies of Renaissance Crete as a society of high literary achievement." David Ricks, Times Literary Supplement