A History of Seventeenth-Century English Literature by Thomas N. Corns

By Thomas N. Corns

A heritage of Seventeenth-century Literature outlines major advancements within the English literary culture among the years 1603 and 1690. an lively and provocative background of English literature from 1603-1690. a part of the key Blackwell heritage 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 on the advanced political, spiritual, cultural and social pressures on seventeenth-century writers. gains shut severe engagement with significant authors and texts. Thomas Corns is an incredible foreign authority on Milton, the Caroline courtroom, and the political literature of the English Civil battle and the Interregnum.

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Competition for preferment was fierce, and men of letters offered limited attractions to potential benefactors, who may have wished to reward or advance people with rather different skills. Among leading writers of the period, Francis Bacon was the most successful in securing powerful aristocratic patronage, though the second Earl of Essex no doubt valued his shrewd legal mind at least as much as his prose style. At an early stage of his career, Bacon was engaged, for example, in ‘drafting position papers’ (Jardine and Stewart 1998: 131).

Anne’s cultural influence was felt more widely. She was an accomplished musician and kept a musical consort that was fairly large for a subsidiary royal household, and she also collected paintings, though her almost clandestine Catholicism excluded her from dispensing ecclesiastical patronage (DNB 2004). Visits were exchanged with Christian IV of Denmark, her brother, whose glittering court showed the Scots and English what patronage could achieve. After the decades of Elizabethan niggardliness, parochialism and isolation, Anne’s was an important part in the advancement of English court culture, which reached its apogee in the personal rule of Charles I.

But, as the minor figures in the failed uprising followed Essex to execution, they had another reminder of the nature of power in the last years of Elizabeth and of their own lowly status. Patronage and Court Culture Elizabethan writers could rarely live well from the direct fruits of their labours. Those who were not privately wealthy needed employment, perhaps in the learned professions, or as a servant of the crown or an aristocrat, or as an office-holder of some sort. Competition for preferment was fierce, and men of letters offered limited attractions to potential benefactors, who may have wished to reward or advance people with rather different skills.

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