Essays in English Literature from the Renaissance to the Victorian Age

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Millar MacLure, Frank William Watt
University of Toronto Press, 1965 - 339 pages
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The essays in this book, by English, American and Canadian scholars, constitute a spectrum of some of the most influential kinds of scholarship and criticism in contemporary English studies. They range over the interests which for forty years A.S.P. Woodhouse made his wide province: Spenser and Milton, the imaginative and ideological writings of the seventeenth century, the origins of romanticism and the history of ideas in the eighteenth century, the main traditions and revolutions of nineteenth-century thought. Biographical research is represented by Rosemond Tuve's study of the background to a possibly Spensarian inscription, by R.C. Bald's inquiry into Walton's Life of Donne, and by J.M. Robson's analysis of J.S. Mill's relations with his father and with Jeremy Bentham. New critical interpretations of familiar works include William Blissett's reading of the "Cantos of Mutabilitie," H.N. Maclean's tracing of a theme in Jonson's lyrics and occasional verse, N.J. Endicott's consideration of the riddle of personality in Religio Medici, F.E.L. Priestley's case for a reappraisal of the Essay on Man, and Malcolm Ross's study of the influence of Hooker on Ruskin's Modern Painters. Four essays on Milton, by Geoffrey Bullough, M.W. Hugest, H.R. MacCallum, and A.E. Barker, centred chiefly on Paradise Lost, make an important and unusually varied contribution to Milton scholarship. The social and ideological backgrounds of literature are studied by Herbert Davis, working from the new edition of Swift's correspondence, and by Northrop Frye on the problem of spiritual authority in the nineteenth century. J.R. MacGillivray describes the early history of Wordsworth's Prelude and L.K. Shook traces the idea of reform in Newman's early periodical writings. Douglas Bush contributes a perceptive account of A.S.P. Woodhouse as scholar and critic.

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