English Literature and Language
ENGLISH LITERATURE AND LANGUAGE
ENGLISH LITERATURE AND LANGUAGE. The nature and status of the English language underwent a profound transformation during the early modern period, and literature in English was also subject to many changes in its style and content. One of the most important developments, that of English drama, is covered separately in the article of that title; other literature is covered here, with separate sections on fictional prose, nonfictional prose, and poetry.
At the beginning of the period covered in this encyclopedia, English was a parochial and marginal tongue, eschewed as a literary medium by many of its own speakers and used by few outside the British Isles. In his First Book of the Introduction of Knowledge (written c. 1542, printed 1547), Andrew Boorde declared that it was "a base speche to other noble speeches." By the end of the eighteenth century, however, most literary works in Britain were produced in English, the first major extraterritorial "English" outside of the British Isles was established in the Americas, and English was being spoken as far south as Australasia and the Cape of Good Hope. But, even as late as 1755, Samuel Johnson could lament the "perplexity," "confusion," "boundless variety," and "adulteration" exhibited by English.
In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, individual English literary traditions existed in England and in Scotland: writing about "English" is therefore inevitably problematic. There existed around 1500 two standard forms of literary English, one centered on London and the other, referred to by the Scottish writer Gavin Douglas (c. 1475–1522) as "Scottis," on lowland Scotland. By the turn of the eighteenth century, however, the Scots tradition had fallen into neglect; it was later to be revived in another form by poets such as Allan Ramsey and Robert Burns. Throughout the early modern period, writing in English had an uneasy relationship with other literatures, notably pan-European Latin humanist culture and vernacular traditions in Welsh, Scottish Gaelic, and Irish Gaelic. Tensions were exacerbated by political conditions: successive English and British governments advocated linguistic colonization in Ireland, and in the wake of the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion, schools were founded in the Scottish Highlands in which teachers were forbidden to use Gaelic.
Political and religious tensions associated with the Reformation contributed to a debate over the place of English. Latin began to lose its preeminence, and writers in many parts of the British Isles turned increasingly to the vernacular. In the early sixteenth century Sir Thomas More wrote his "literary" works—such as his Epigrams and Utopia —in Latin, and his polemical works in English; around the same time, however, Douglas was writing exclusively in Scots. By the turn of the seventeenth century many writers were writing solely in English, and English was even being used for prestigious literary genres such as the epic. A literary tradition of Neo-Latin works persisted—John Barclay's popular Latin romance Argenis, for instance, was printed in 1621, and John Milton wrote many of his sonnets in Latin—but by the end of the seventeenth century, writers tended to use Latin only in certain circumstances.
Translations of the Bible—including William Tyndale's New Testament (1525), the popular "Geneva" Bible (1560), and the "Authorized [or King James] Version" of 1611—helped to raise the status of English as a literary language. Religious translations were particularly important for female writers in the early part of the period, offering them a space for literary expression that was less contested than the writing of secular poetry or prose. Examples of women's religious translations include the translation from Greek of a sermon by St. Basil by Mildred Cecil, Lady Burleigh (1526–1589), and translations from Italian and Latin of Bernardo Ochino's sermons and John Jewel's Apology for the Church of England by her sister Anne Bacon (c. 1528–1610); Anne Lok (c. 1535–after 1590) translated John Calvin's sermons on the Song of Hezekiah from Latin, and her metrical paraphrase of the fifty-first Psalm, A Meditation of a Penitent Sinner, was published in 1560.
Translations of literature from other languages were, meanwhile, substantial literary works in their own right and exercised a shaping influence on original works in English. The works of classical authors such as Ovid, Homer, and Virgil were translated in successive editions: particularly notable are Arthur Golding's translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses (1567), the Homeric translations of George Chapman (The Iliad, 1598, 1611; The Odyssey, 1616) and later Alexander Pope (The Iliad, 1715–1720; The Odyssey, 1725–1726), and translations of Virgil's Aeneid by Douglas (before 1522, printed 1553), Surrey (1557), Richard Stanyhurst (1582), and John Dryden (1697). Modern works were also translated, including Thomas Hoby's translation of Baldassare Castiglione's Il Cortegiano (1561), John Harington's translation of Ariosto's Orlando Furioso (1591), John Florio's translation of Montaigne's Essays (1603), Thomas Urquhart's translation of Rabelais (1653, 1693), and Tobias Smollett's translation of the works of Voltaire (1761). Translators of Cervantes' Don Quixote included Thomas Shelton (1612, 1620), Peter Motteaux (1700), Charles Jervas (1742), and Smollett (1755).
The early modern period also saw an increasing interest in the codification of language. Bilingual dictionaries, published in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, were followed by English hard-word dictionaries, including Edmund Coote's The English Schoolmaster (1596), Robert Cawdry's A Table Alphabetical (1604), Thomas Blount's Glossographia (1656), and Elisha Coles's English Dictionary (1676). The largest and most famous of these early modern dictionaries was Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language (1755).
Related to this process of codification was a desire to regulate and standardize English. At the beginning of the period, there was a wide degree of variation in spelling and grammar, and a widespread uncertainty about vocabulary. Despite the efforts of sixteenth-century reformers such as John Cheke, Thomas Smith, and John Hart, Simon Daines could still lament in his Orthoepia Anglicana (1640) the "want of one uniforme and certain method" of speaking and writing English. However, the language did become gradually more standardized, at least in printed books, notwithstanding failed attempts to set up an academy to regulate English, which were supported by John Dryden and later by Daniel Defoe and Jonathan Swift.
The lexicon expanded a great deal during the early modern period, taking new material from a variety of sources: loan words from classical languages, especially from Latin, loan words from modern languages, and the revival of obsolete or archaic English words. These introductions often caused controversy. In The Apology for Poetry (written c. 1579–1580; printed 1595), Philip Sidney worried about the "old rustic language" of Edmund Spenser's Shepheardes Calendar (1579); Ben Jonson was more forthright, commenting in his "conversations" with William Drummond (1619) that "Spenser, in affecting the ancients, writ no language." Jonson was not, however, any more enamored with Latin coinages: in The Poetaster, first performed in 1601, he satirized the neologisms of fellow playwright John Marston by having Marston's dramatic surrogate vomit out the outrageous words he had used throughout the play. The incorporation of words into English was still controversial in the 1660s, when Dryden wrote of Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher, "I am apt to believe the English language in them arrived to its highest perfection: what words have since been taken in, are rather superfluous than necessary" (Of Dramatick Poesie ).
Like the language itself, English prose changed massively in the period from 1450 to 1789. The beginning of the period saw the publication of one of the quintessential late-medieval prose romances, Thomas Malory's Morte d'Arthur (1485); at the end we find the novel well established with works such as Henry Fielding's Tom Jones (1749), Laurence Sterne's Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy (1759–1767), and Frances Burney's Evelina (1778). The period was also notable for the breadth and ambition of its nonfictional prose.
Prose fiction. In the earlier centuries the most important mode of prose fiction was romance, which often carried political and social material under a veil of fantasy. Malory's Morte d'Arthur was followed by George Gascoigne's The Adventures of Master F. J. (1573), Sidney's Arcadia (written c. 1581 and c. 1583–1584, printed 1590), Robert Greene's Pandosto (1588) and Menaphon (1589), Thomas Lodge's Rosalyne (1590), Mary Wroth's Urania (1621), Richard Brathwait's Panthalia; or, the Royal Romance (1659), Percy Herbert's Princess Cloria (1661), and Roger Boyle's Parthenissa (1651–1656, 1669). The last three are all examples of political romance, written by royalist sympathizers during the Commonwealth and Restoration. In the same period, Margaret Cavendish, duchess of Newcastle's Utopian romance The Description of a New World Called the Blazing World (1666) addressed the oppression of women. An earlier political work, William Baldwin's Beware the Cat (c. 1554, printed 1570), features talking cats who witness the continued practice of forbidden Catholic rituals; it is sometimes termed the first English novel and was one of the earliest pieces of original prose fiction. A social function can even be found in texts such as John Lyly's witty and stylized Euphues: The Anatomy of Wit (1578) and Euphues and His England (1580), which shaped the prose style of a generation.
From the end of the seventeenth century, romance began to be supplanted by the emergent novel, which combined the romance's narrative drive, exotic settings, and interest in sexuality with developing biographical and epistolary modes. Notable examples include Aphra Behn's Love-Letters Between a Noble-Man and his Sister (1684) and Oroonoko, or the History of the Royal Slave (1688), William Congreve's Incognita (1691), and Defoe's Life and Strange and Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1719). Both Oroonoko and Robinson Crusoe are additionally indebted to travel writing, another important early modern prose genre, which also influenced Swift's satirical Gulliver's Travels (1726). The influence of religious autobiography on the novel can be seen in works such as John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress (1678, 1684). The epistolary novel itself became an important mode in the early eighteenth century: notable examples include Samuel Richardson's Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded (1740–1741) and Clarissa (1747–1749), Burney's Evelina (1778), and Smollett's The Expedition of Humphry Clinker (1771).
A related genre, the picaresque, focusing on the careers of likeable rogues in realistic or quasi-realistic settings, developed in Spanish narratives such as Diego Hurtado de Mendoza's Lazarillo de Tormes (1553) and Miguel Cervantes' Don Quixote; it is adapted in English in Thomas Nashe's The Unfortunate Traveller; or, the Life of Jack Wilton (1594). A related genre of rogue literature includes Thomas Harman's A Caveat for Common Cursitors (1566), Robert Greene's "cony catching" pamphlets (1592), and Thomas Dekker's Lantern and Candlelight (1608); Defoe's accounts of the careers of criminals such as Jack Sheppard and Jonathan Wild are later examples. A civic variation, focusing on the rise of hardworking tradesmen, can be found in Thomas Deloney's highly popular narratives: Jack of Newberry (1596), The Gentle Craft (1597), and Thomas of Reading (1598). From the early eighteenth century the picaresque eventually merged with the novel, resulting in texts such as Defoe's Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders (1722), Smollett's Adventures of Roderick Random (1748), John Cleland's Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, also known as Fanny Hill (1748–1749), and Charlotte Lennox's TheFemaleQuixote (1752).
Nonfiction prose. Probably the most important nonfictional prose genre was the sermon, of which notable examples include the works of John Fisher, Hugh Latimer, and Henry Smith in the sixteenth century, of Lancelot Andrewes and John Donne in the early seventeenth century, and of John Tillotson, Francis Atterbury, and John Wesley in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Reformation polemic and controversial literature includes William Tyndale's exchange of pamphlets with Sir Thomas More (1529–1532), the Examinations of Anne Askew (1546–1547), and John Foxe's Protestant hagiography, Acts and Monuments of the English Martyrs (1559, 1563). Other important religious and political prose works of the sixteenth century include Tyndale's The Obediance of a Christian Man (1529), John Knox's misjudged First Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstrous Regiment of Women, published not long before the death of Mary I and offensive to her successor Elizabeth I due to its criticism of female rule, Richard Hooker's Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity (1593, 1597) and the treatise on kingship, Basilikon Doron (1599), of James VI of Scotland (later James I of England).
The Civil War and Commonwealth period also saw an outpouring of various kinds of religious and political writing. Important texts range from Milton's attack on censorship, Areopagitica (1644), to Gerrard Winstanley's The New Law of Righteousness (1649) and the Diggers' manifesto, The True Levellers Standard Advanced (1649), to Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan (1651). Also noteworthy are accounts of religious experience and persecution, including Anna Trapnel's A Legacy for the Saints and Anna Trapnel's Report and Plea, Or a Narrative of Her Journey from London into Cornwall (both 1654), and the Quakers Katherine Evans and Sarah Cheevers's Short Relation of Cruel Sufferings (1662).
Significant political texts of the Restoration include William Penn's The Great Case of Liberty of Conscience (1671), Andrew Marvell's The Rehearsal Transposed (1672), John Locke's Treatises of Goverment (1690), and Mary Astell's A Serious Proposal to the Ladies, For the Advancement of Their True and Greatest Interest (1696). In the eighteenth century, Defoe's The Shortest Way with Dissenters (1702), Swift's A Modest Proposal (1729), David Hume's Essays Moral and Political (1741–1742) were landmarks in political prose; Thomas Paine's Common Sense (1776) and The American Crisis (1777) preceded The Rights of Man (1791) and The Age of Reason (1793). Debate about national identity is also reflected in the prominence of historical writing, from Raphael Holinshed's Chronicles (1577) to Edward Gibbon's History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776–1788).
Another important nonfiction genre, the biography and autobiography, also developed during the early modern period. The earliest examples of life writing are diaries and spiritual biographies, such as William Roper's Life of Thomas More (written c. 1535, published 1626), and the diaries of Grace Mildmay (1570–1619), Margaret Hoby (1599–1605), and Anne Clifford (1616–1619) in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Later biographical texts became more secular in focus. Important works include the diaries of Samuel Pepys (1660–1669) and John Evelyn (1620–1706), Thomas Fuller's History of the Worthies of England (1662), Lucy Hutchinson's Memoirs of the Life of Colonel Hutchinson (a biography of her husband, John Hutchinson, a prominent parliamentarian, written c. 1664), Izaak Walton's lives of John Donne (1640), Henry Wotton (1651), Richard Hooker (1665), and George Herbert (1670) and John Aubrey's gossipy and anecdotal Lives (completed c. 1693).
Outstanding eighteenth-century biographies include Johnson's Life of Richard Savage (1774) and The Lives of the English Poets (1779–1781); Johnson was himself the focus of biographies, with Hester Lynch Thrale Piozzi's Anecdotes of the Late Samuel Johnson (1786) and John Hawkins's Life (1787) preceding James Boswell's masterpiece The Life of Samuel Johnson (1791). Letters also began to be published in large numbers: particularly interesting are the letters of Mary Wortley Montagu (printed 1763), Philip Stanhope, earl of Chesterfield's letters to his son (printed 1774), and The Letters of the Late Ignatius Sancho (1782), one of the earliest examples of black British writing.
Related to biographical genres was travel writing. Important early examples of travel writing include the compilations published by Richard Hakluyt (The Principal Navigations of 1589 and 1598–1600) and Samuel Purchas (notably Hakluytus Posthumous; or, Purchas His Pilgrims of 1625). The genre became increasingly important in the eighteenth century and increasingly biographical in nature; it also began to encompass accounts written by colonized subjects about their experiences. Notable examples include Piozzi's Observations and Reflections Made in the Course of a Journey through France, Italy, and Germany (1789) and Olaudah Equiano's Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, published in the same year. Travel writing also focused on "home" tours within the British Isles, reflecting contemporary interest in the nature of "Britain," for instance, Boswell and Johnson's accounts of their travels in Scotland (printed in 1777 and 1775 respectively).
The early modern period also saw the rise of periodical literature. The first English newsbooks were published by Nicholas Butter and Thomas Archer (1621–1641), followed by Civil War publications such as John Berkenhead's Mercurius Aulicus (1643–1645), and its Parliamentarian rival, Thomas Audley and Marchamont Needham's Mercurius Britanicus (1643–1646). The Oxford Gazette, often described as the first newspaper, was founded by Henry Muddiman in 1665. The eighteenth century saw the growth of periodical literature, including Joseph Addison and Richard Steele's Tatler (1709–1711), Spectator (1711–1712, revived 1714), and Guardian (1713), and Johnson's Rambler (1750–1752).
Early modern poetry also demonstrates a huge variety of forms and subjects, from the range and ambition of politico-religious epics such as Spenser's Faerie Queene (1590, 1596) or Milton's Paradise Lost (1667) to the compact brevity of lyric and epigram.
The earliest works of the period demonstrate their descent from medieval works: Robert Henryson's Scots poem The Testament of Cresseid (late fifteenth century), for example, picks up where Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde (c. 1385–1390) left off; Henryson and his contemporaries, such as Gavin Douglas and William Dunbar, are often dubbed the "Scottish Chaucerians." A similar derivation can be seen in probably the most important poetic publication of the mid-sixteenth century, the Mirror for Magistrates (1559, 1563), originally planned by George Ferrers and William Baldwin as a continuation of John Lydgate's The Fall of Princes, itself a translation of a French version of Boccaccio's De Casibus Virorum Illustrium. Of the Mirror's first-person narratives, Thomas Sackville's "Complaint of Buckingham" is the most famous.
Devotional poetry was, unsurprisingly, a major mode; the best-known religious poets of the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries include John Donne, George Herbert, Thomas Traherne, and Henry Vaughan. The writing of these poets on religious and secular subjects is often characterized as "metaphysical," a term first used by Johnson in his Lives of the Poets, picking up Dryden's complaint in "A Discourse concerning the Original and Progress of Satire" (1693) that Donne "affects the metaphysics." Metaphysical poetry is usually thought to be characterized by tough wit and complexity of syntax, and by a tendency to use obscure or abstruse imagery to express abstract ideas and emotions.
Religious poetry also, however, provided a means of expression for poets who were otherwise marginalized within the sphere of literary production. These included sixteenth-century recusant poets (Roman Catholics who refused to attend Communion in the Church of England) such as Chidiock Tichborne and Robert Southwell; Ben Jonson reportedly commented to William Drummond that if he had written Southwell's "The Burning Babe," "he would have been content to destroy many of his." It also provided a place for female poets, ranging from Mary Sidney's versification of the Psalms (composed from c. 1585), Aemilia Lanyer's Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum (1611), and the witty metaphysical lyrics of Anne Southwell (written c. 1610–1630). Particularly notable is Lucy Hutchinson's epic poem Order and Disorder (written c. 1679), which bears comparison with Milton's Paradise Lost.
Other early modern poetry was closely related to public religious affairs. John Skelton's "Speak, Parrot" (c. 1521) and "Colin Clout" (c. 1521) were significant political poems, attacking the excesses of Henry VIII's chancellor Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, while John Heywood's The Spider and the Fly (1556), saw the Protestant spider eventually die at the hands of a divine housemaid, Mary I. The deliberate roughness of Skelton's political satire influenced generations of writers, notably George Wither (Abuses Stript and Whipt, 1613), Samuel Butler (Hudibras, 1663), and Jonathan Swift. Another "rough" form of satire can be seen in popular poems, ballads, and libels, circulated orally or in manuscript throughout the period. The earliest formal satires include those of Thomas Wyatt in the early sixteenth century; the mode was taken up by Donne, Everard Guilpin, Joseph Hall, Thomas Lodge, and John Marston. Some of the satires of these writers provoked the anger of the authorities and were ordered to be burned in 1599. The late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries are often thought to have been a golden age for satire: the most famous examples include Dryden's MacFlecknoe (1682) and Absalom and Achitophel (1682) and Pope's The Dunciad (1728, 1742). The reverse side of the satiric coin is the panegyric, or poem of praise, exemplified by Jonson's Epigrams, which combined satiric and panegyric modes (1616), Milton's Sonnet 16, "To the Lord General Cromwell, May 1652" (1652), Marvell's "Horation Ode Upon Cromwell's Return" (written 1650), and the political verse of Restoration poets such as Aphra Behn.
A political edge can also be found in other early modern poetic modes. The love poetry of Wyatt is inescapably entwined with court politics under Henry VIII; similarly, the poems of Walter Raleigh and other courtier-poets in the 1580s and 1590s depicted ardent lovers confronting chilly and remote mistresses, with disquieting echoes of their own political relationships with Elizabeth I. This model, drawn in part from the verse of the fourteenth-century Italian poet Francesco Petrarch, also influenced the development of the English sonnet cycle, notably Sidney's Astrophel and Stella (written c. 1582, printed 1591), Samuel Daniel's Delia (1592) and Michael Drayton's Idea's Mirror (1593). Shakespeare's Sonnet 130, "My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun" (printed 1609) satirizes this tradition, while Mary Wroth's "Pamphilia to Amphilanthus" (1621) turns the model on its head by having a female poet address a male love-object.
Other late-sixteenth-century poetry is far more explicit about sexual issues than is Petrarchan verse; examples are the outburst of Ovidian erotic narratives, including Lodge's Scillae's Metamorphosis (1589), Marlowe's Hero and Leander (c. 1593, printed 1598), Shakespeare's Venus and Adonis (1593), and Marston's Metamorphosis of Pygmalion's Image (1598). Erotica edges closer to pornography in some manuscript poems, of which the most famous include Donne's elegy "To His Mistress Going to Bed" (written c. 1593–1596) and Nashe's A Choice of Valentines (written c. 1593–1597). The erotic mode moves briefly into the mainstream during the Restoration, most notably in Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress" (printed 1681) or the witty and cheerfully obscene poetry of John Wilmot, earl of Rochester. Rochester himself drew on a tradition of erotic and political verse exemplified by the "Cavalier" poets of the mid-seventeenth century, notably Thomas Carew, Richard Lovelace, John Suckling, Robert Herrick, and Edmund Waller: exemplary poems include Lovelace's "To Lucasta, Going to the Wars" (1649). Also indebted to this tradition was the poetry of Katherine Philips, "the Matchless Orinda," who drew on Donne's poetry in her heavily romanticized addresses to male and female friends, written in the 1650s and early 1660s.
Even genres such as pastoral, which at first look to be apolitical, could be used for political and polemical purposes. Spenser's Shepherd's Calendar and Colin Clout's Come Home Again (printed 1595) were the model for a generation of "Spenserian" poets, who used pastoral forms to attack political and religious corruption; the tradition influenced the young John Milton, whose elegy Lycidas (1637) is indebted to this mode of writing. Pastoral is also associated with a wider tradition of topographical writing, which ranged from Michael Drayton's massive survey of Britain, Poly-Olbion (published 1612–1622), to the country-house poems of Lanyer, Jonson, and Marvell. Texts such as John Gay's quirky Trivia; Or, the Art of Walking the Streets of London (1716) also reflect this interest in landscape and locale. Thomas Gray's "Elegy Written in a Country Church-yard" (1751) was the most successful example of the "graveyard" school, which also included Thomas Parnell's "Night-Piece on Death" (1721) and Edward Young's Night Thoughts (1742–1745). Toward the end of the early modern period, sentimental writings about landscape, such as James Thomson's The Seasons (1726–1730) and Oliver Goldsmith's The Deserted Village (1770) were highly popular; George Crabbe's The Village (1783) reacted against the conventions of pastoral writing and painted a grim picture of rural poverty. Mixed attitudes toward the working poor could also be detected in the popularity of "laboring-class" poetry, such as Stephen Duck's The Thresher's Labour (1730) and Mary Collier's The Woman's Labour (1739). Other influential poets of the eighteenth century included William Collins—especially the "Ode to Evening" (1746)—William Cowper, and Robert Burns. William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience, published in 1789, takes us into the beginning of the Romantic period.
See also Addison, Joseph ; Beaumont and Fletcher ; Behn, Aphra ; Bible: Translations and Editions ; Biography and Autobiography ; Boswell, James ; Burney, Frances ; Classicism ; Defoe, Daniel ; Diaries ; Dictionaries and Encyclopedias ; Donne, John ; Drama: English ; Dryden, John ; Elizabeth I (England) ; Fielding, Henry ; Jacobitism ; Johnson, Samuel ; Jonson, Ben ; Journalism, Newspapers, and Newssheets ; Journals, Literary ; Latin ; Marlowe, Christopher ; Milton, John ; More, Thomas ; Pepys, Samuel ; Pope, Alexander ; Richardson, Samuel ; Shakespeare, William ; Sheridan, Richard Brinsley ; Smollett, Tobias ; Spenser, Edmund ; Steele, Richard ; Sterne, Laurence ; Swift, Jonathan ; Travel and Travel Literature .
It is impossible to list all relevant primary sources, but good anthologies of early modern English literature include the following:
Davidson, Peter, ed. Poetry and Revolution: An Anthology of British and Irish Verse, 1625–1660. Oxford and New York, 1998.
DeMaria, Robert, ed. British Literature, 1640–1789: An Anthology. 2nd ed. Oxford, 2001.
Duncan, Thomas G., ed. Late Medieval English Lyrics and Carols, 1400–1530. London, 2000.
Fowler, Alastair, ed. The New Oxford Book of Seventeenth Century Verse. Oxford, 1991.
Hammond, Paul, ed. Restoration Literature: An Anthology. Oxford, 2002.
Lonsdale, Roger, ed. Eighteenth-Century Women Poets: An Oxford Anthology. Oxford, 1989.
——. The New Oxford Book of Eighteenth-Century Verse. Oxford, 1984.
Norbrook, David, and H. R. Woudhuysen, eds. The Penguin Book of Renaissance Verse. London, 1993.
Payne, Michael, and John Hunter, eds. Renaissance Literature: An Anthology. Oxford, 2003.
Pearsall, Derek, ed. Chaucer to Spenser: An Anthology of Writings in English, 1375–1575. Oxford, 1999.
Pooley, Roger, ed. English Prose of the Seventeenth Century, 1590–1700. London, 1992.
Sharrock, Roger, ed. The Pelican Book of English Prose. Vol. 1, From the Beginnings to 1780. Harmondsworth, U.K., 1970.
Stevenson, Jane, and Peter Davidson, eds. Early Modern Women Poets: An Anthology (1520–1700). Oxford, 2001.
Trapp, J. B., Douglas Gray, and Julia Boffey, eds. Medieval English Literature. 2nd ed. Oxford and New York, 2002.
Wootton, David, ed. Divine Right and Democracy: An Anthology of Political Writing in Stuart England. London, 1986.
Barber, Charles. Early Modern English. 2nd ed. Edinburgh, 1997.
Corns, Thomas, ed. The Cambridge Companion to English Poetry: Donne to Marvell. Cambridge, U.K., 1993.
Hattaway, Michael, ed. A Companion to English Renaissance Literature and Culture. Oxford and Malden, Mass., 2000.
Hogg, Richard M., gen. ed. The Cambridge History of the English Language. Vol. 3, 1476–1776. Edited by Roger Lass. Cambridge, U.K., 2000.
Hulme, Peter, and Tim Youngs, eds. The Cambridge Companion to Travel Writing. Cambridge, U.K., 2002.
Jones, Vivien, ed. Women and Literature, 1700–1800. Cambridge, U.K., and New York, 2000.
Keeble, N. H., ed. The Cambridge Companion to Writing of the English Revolution. Cambridge, U.K., 2001.
Kinney, Arthur F., ed. The Cambridge Companion to English Literature, 1500–1600. Cambridge, U.K., 2000.
Loewenstein, David, and Janel Mueller, eds. The Cambridge History of Early Modern English Literature. Cambridge, U.K., 2003.
Norbrook, David. Poetry and Politics in the English Renaissance. Rev. ed. Oxford, 2002.
Nussbaum, Felicity A. The Autobiographical Subject: Gender and Ideology in Eighteenth-Century England. Baltimore, 1989.
Pearsall, Derek, ed. Chaucer to Spenser: A Critical Reader. Oxford and Malden, Mass., 1999.
Richetti, John, ed. The Cambridge Companion to the Eighteenth-Century Novel. Cambridge, U.K., 1996.
Sitter, John, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Eighteenth-Century Poetry. Cambridge, U.K., 2001.
Wallace, David, ed. The Cambridge History of Medieval English Literature. Cambridge, U.K., 1999.
Wilcox, Helen, ed. Women and Literature, 1500–1700. Cambridge, U.K., 1996.