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English Literature in the Sixteenth Century Excluding Drama

English Literature in the Sixteenth Century Excluding Drama by C.S. Lewis

Lewis in his don mode.  a look at Scotland and England in that era and the literature that came out.  Plus the influences that went into it.</p>

An interesting look at the era, with its changes in politics, and religion, and science.  Some of which are grossly distorted in the pop cultural view.  He dislikes the term Rennaissance, because it's been so corrupted you can hardly use it to mean the recovery of (some) ancient Latin and Greek works, and even on that topic, he's rather firm on the limits of the benefits.

And its literature.  How the bad late medieval English work became the Drab era, of regular meter and trim, neat poems with little poetical splendour, and how suddenly the Golden style erupted.  By Golden, he meant, not good, but innocent.  The writers had mastered the art of writing meter and poetical imagery; there was nothing more to be done than take obvious poetical topics, and write beautiful poetry with obvious poetic imagery.  Metaphysical poetry arose in part because after a period of this, you start looking for more variety.   But this is the field of Shakespeare's poems, Marlowe's, Spenser's, Sidney's and so many of the minor ones.

Also a look at Scottish literature which was in blazing splendor at the start of the era, and lost its touch by the end.

Definitely worth looking at for anyone who wants to read more of the era than Shakespeare's plays.

Tags: c. s. lewis, history reviews: 15th-18th centuries, lit crit
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