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Ranging from the works of Shakespeare, Spenser, Jonson and Milton to those of Robert Southwell and Anna Trapnel, this groundbreaking study explores the conscious use of archaic style by the poets and dramatists between 1590 and 1674. It focuses on the wide-ranging, complex and self-conscious uses of archaic linguistic and poetic style, analysing the uses to which writers put literary style in order to re-embody and reshape the past. Munro brings together scholarly conversations on temporality, memory and historiography, on the relationships between medieval and early modern literary cultures, on the workings of dramatic and poetic style, and on national history and identity. Neither pure anachronism nor pure nostalgia, the attempts of writers to reconstruct outmoded styles within their own works reveal a largely untold story about the workings of literary influence and tradition, the interactions between past and present, and the uncertain contours of English nationhood.Read more
- Presents a new model for conceptualizing writers' interactions with the past, appealing to literary scholars and cultural historians interested in time and temporality, nostalgia, memory and historiography
- Advances the study of the relationship between medieval and early modern literary cultures, especially in its contribution to the study of the recovery of Old English as a literary phenomenon
- Provides new approaches to major authors such as Shakespeare, Spenser, Milton and Jonson, placing them in fresh contexts, and contributes to the study of the afterlives of Chaucer and Gower
Reviews & endorsements
'Munro’s method of defining and illuminating many facets of poetic archaism and their relation to cultural change through concatenated close readings makes for an enjoyably well-paced argument and an exciting sense of generative theory emerging from the verbal weave of the texts. … the conceptual apparatus and exemplary analyses that fill its pages will invite reconsideration of archaism as a lifelong Miltonic interest and strategy.' David Currell, Milton Quarterly
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- Date Published: December 2016
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9781107649842
- length: 322 pages
- dimensions: 230 x 154 x 18 mm
- weight: 0.49kg
- contains: 4 b/w illus.
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
Introduction: conceptualising archaism
1. Within our own memory: Old English and the early modern poet
2. Chaucer, Gower and the anxiety of obsolescence
3. Archaic style in religious writing: immutability, controversy, prophecy
4. Staging generations: archaism and the theatrical past
5. Shepherds' speech: archaism and early Stuart pastoral drama
6. Archaism and the 'English' epic
Coda: looking backward, looking forward.
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