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By Thomas N. Corns

A historical past of Seventeenth-century Literature outlines major advancements within the English literary culture among the years 1603 and 1690. an brisk and provocative historical past of English literature from 1603-1690. a part of the key Blackwell background of English Literature sequence. Locates seventeenth-century English literature in its social and cultural contexts. Considers the actual stipulations of literary construction and intake. appears to be like on the complicated political, non secular, cultural and social pressures on seventeenth-century writers. positive factors shut serious engagement with significant authors and texts. Thomas Corns is a tremendous foreign authority on Milton, the Caroline court docket, and the political literature of the English Civil battle and the Interregnum.

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The case of Henry Chettle is instructive. Chettle was among the most prolific dramatists of the late Elizabethan period, writing mainly for the companies managed by Philip Henslowe, whose diary records 18 The Last Years of Elizabeth I their dealings. Henslowe bought 13 plays written by Chettle and another 36 plays in which Chettle was a collaborator, usually for a couple of pounds each. Of the first group, only one is extant – in a corrupt edition of 1631, a quarter of a century after his death.

Nashe lived to see the publication of Summers Last Will and Testament in the following year. He died in 1601, and so conclusions are harder to draw. Plays were subject to pre-performance censorship, and the ordinary rules applied if they were to be printed; the measure here no more than insists on the strict observation of current procedures. The Ban targets specifically literary genres, in the case of satires, presumably because of their topicality; in the case of erotic verse, on grounds of decency.

Although there is strong evidence that stationers themselves diversified into other businesses (Bennett 1965: 271), by 1600 only stationers could print books, and the Company had powers to police the industry to ensure there were no violations – and to ensure that seditious writing had no currency. Much of this special status can be traced to its Charter of incorporation, granted by Philip and Mary in 1557. Its preamble declares that the king and queen, wishing to provide a suitable remedy against the seditious and heretical books that were daily printed and published, gave certain privileges to the stationers.

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