This book reassesses Renaissance English literature and its place in Elizabethan society. It examines, in particular, the role of Italianate literary imitation in addressing the ethical and political issues of the sixteenth century. In doing so, it reveals the significance of the Calvinist discourse of English Protestantism as a stimulus to literary creation. It demonstrates how the clash between the values of the Continental system from which England was separating and the assumptions of the Elizabethan religious settlement of 1559 prompted writers to use creative imitation as a means of exploring the problematical relationship between the two.At the heart of this activity was a need for English men and women to formulate what their new identity should be, both at the individual and national levels. A radically new picture emerges from this investigation both of the literature of the English Renaissance, and also of the English Reformation itself. The author shows how imitation of Italianate literary culture had a much greater influence on the formation of modern British identity than has been hitherto supposed.
He demonstrates that it also invested Renaissance English literature with many of its most characteristic attributes. Above all, the English Renaissance and Reformation are shown to be far more closely linked than previous scholars have recognized.
"Fox's clear style suits his difficult material. This is one of few recent works treating Italian influence in detail with a good command of the evidence as well as a fresh point of view. Strongly recommended for graduates, researchers, and faculty." Choice
'Alistair Fox offers a new and compelling version of the literary culture of Tudor England, one that finds its defining qualities in the complex interactions of English Protestantism and Italian humanism. If a full synthesis of the two systems finally proved impossible for English writers, Fox impressively shows how their brave effort to achieve it animates the most important imaginative literature of the period.' - David Scott Kastan, Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University
'The English Renaissance registers how the secular narratives of Catholic culture were reinvented by England's new Protestant culture. It shows the English writing of Sidney, Spenser and Shakespeare undergoing a rebirth out of its Italian sources. In the process it fully justifies Alistair Fox's re-application of the term "Renaissance" to the products of this fertile period.' - Professor Andrew Gurr, Department of English, University of Reading
1. The Reception of Italian Literary Culture: Motives and Dynamics.
2. Wyatt, Surrey, and the Onset of English Petrarchism.
3. Elizabethan Petrarchism and the Protestant Location of Self.
4. Ethic and Politic Considerations: Spenser, Sidney, and the Uses of Italianate Pastoral.
5. Epic and the Formation of National Identity: Ariosto, Tasso, and The Faerie Queene.
6. Appraising 'The Seeming Truths' of the Times: the Italianate Plays of Shakespeare.
Number Of Pages: 252
Published: 6th November 1997
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.76 x 15.16
Weight (kg): 0.42
Edition Number: 1