Defending Literature in Early Modern England: Renaissance Literary Theory in Social Context
Why was literature so often defended and defined in early modern England in terms of its ability to provide the Horatian ideal of both profit and pleasure? This book, first published in 2000, analyses Renaissance literary theory in the context of social transformations of the period, focusing on conflicting ideas about gentility that emerged as the English aristocracy evolved from a feudal warrior class to a civil elite. Through close readings centered on works by Thomas Elyot, Philip Sidney and Edmund Spenser, Matz argues that literature attempted to mediate a complex set of contradictory social expectations. His original study engages with important theoretical work such as Pierre Bourdieu's and offers a substantial critique of New Historicist theory. It challenges recent accounts of the power of Renaissance authorship, emphasizing the uncertain status of literature during this time of cultural change, and sheds light on why and how canonical works became canonical.
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Defending Literature in Early Modern England: Renaissance Literary Theory in ...
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Acrasia aesthetic argue aristocratic authority Bourdieu’s Bower of Bliss chivalric claims conflict conspicuous consumption consumption and leisure contemporary court courtier courtly aristocratic courtly culture courtly pleasure critique cultural capital cultural studies dance delight describes desire discipline discourse distinction early modern England economic elite Elizabethan Elizabethan Subject Elyot emphases English example expenditure Faerie Queene feudal gentleman Gosson Governour Greenblatt Guyon Helgerson Henry VIII Henry’s Historicism Historicist Historicist criticism Horatian humanism humanist ideology idleness implies John Guillory Jonathan Goldberg knight knighthood labor leisure and consumption letters literature Louis Montrose material mediation Montrose Montrose’s moral nobility noble ofthe Palmer play poet poet’s poetry poetry’s political position praise profit and pleasure Protestant Protestant-humanist Protestantism provides Puttenham reading relationship Renaissance rhetoric role romance sexual Sidney’s Sir Philip Sidney sixteenth century social Spenser status Stephen Greenblatt Stephen Orgel suggests temperance texts tion traditional Tudor University Press virtue warrior service writing