English Prose Fiction, 1558-1700: A Critical History

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9780198128052: English Prose Fiction, 1558-1700: A Critical History

The period from the accession of Elizabeth to the end of the l7th century is considered one of the high points of English drama and poetry. It was also a time when many forms of prose fiction developed, from popular chivalric romances and chapbooks to picaresque narratives and sophisticated romance forms--works which were the forerunners of the novel. This volume is the first comprehensive study of the prose fiction written or translated in England during this period. It combines a historical survey with a critical study of representative texts, both familiar works such as Sidney's Arcadia and little-known ones such as Mary Wroth's Urania (1621), the first prose fiction written by a woman in England. Salzman analyzes in detail the various prose forms of the period, focusing on specific examples, and examines the different audiences for these works and the influence of increasing literacy on the range of fiction produced.

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