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Redefining Elizabethan Literature
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 (ISBN-13: 9780511262111)

Redefining Elizabethan Literature examines the new definitions of literature and authorship that emerged in one of the most remarkable decades in English literary history, the 1590s. Georgia Brown analyses the period's obsession with shame as both a literary theme and a conscious authorial position. She explores the related obsession of this generation of authors with fragmentary and marginal forms of expression, such as the epyllion, paradoxical encomium, sonnet sequence, and complaint. Combining developments in literary theory with close readings of a wide range of Elizabethan texts, Brown casts light on the wholesale eroticisation of Elizabethan literary culture, the form and meaning of Englishness, the function of gender and sexuality in establishing literary authority, and the contexts of the works of Shakespeare, Marlowe, Spenser and Sidney. This study will be of great interest to scholars of Renaissance literature as well as cultural history and gender studies.

• A thorough study of how definitions of 'literature' were developed in the 1590s • A comprehensive examination of the generation of Shakespeare, Marlowe, Spenser, Donne and Jonson and their attitudes to authorship • Brown studies marginal forms and the theme of shame to illuminate the period and its works


1. Introduction; 2. Generating waste: Thomas Nashe and the production of professional authorship; 3. Literature as fetish; 4. Shame and the subject of history; Epilogue; Bibliography.


Review of the hardback: 'Although Brown's book … sets itself in opposition to the arguments of earlier books on non-dramatic literature of the 1580s and 90s, such as Richard Helgerson's Elizabethan Prodigals (1976) it valuably complements them.' The Times Literary Supplement

Review of the hardback: ' … thought-provoking and challenging book … well-documented; it offers a precise reading of most of the contemporary critical essays … it challenges one's desire to contradict her even while admitting that she can be enticingly convincing … elegantly written … stimulating, worthwhile read.' Cahiers Elizabéthains

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