Catalogue


Literature and revolution in England, 1640-1660 /
Nigel Smith.
edition
Pbk ed.
imprint
New Haven : Yale University Press, 1997, c1994.
description
xiv, 425 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.
ISBN
0300071531 (pbk.) 0300059744 (hbk.)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New Haven : Yale University Press, 1997, c1994.
isbn
0300071531 (pbk.) 0300059744 (hbk.)
catalogue key
1883559
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1995-03:
Depending on the future of New Historicism, this book may either come to be regarded as a groundbreaking work, or it may sink without trace. Smith contends that those 20 years in the mid-17th century are not just a turning point in England's political, social, and religious history, but also decisively altered the use and meaning of language and literature. Civil war literature, which Smith calls "a series of remarkable writings produced at a remarkable time," has hitherto been marginalized. Cogently and with a daunting range of examples, Smith demonstrates how dramatic resources migrated to the new genres of the pamphlet and journalism. Giving equal emphasis to Republican and to Royalist viewpoints, he explores the effect of "the moment of innovation" on all genres: he is particularly interesting on the ways in which classical, biblical, and epic language become redeployed to suit "interiority," the concerns with England's political turbulence. Of the women poets of the interregnum, especially Katherine Philips and Margaret Cavendish, Smith writes: "We still need to understand more about this kind of poetry before our view of the literary canon is properly renewed." This is the gauntlet, but will others take it up? Upper-division undergraduate and up. R. J. Craik; Kent State University
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
The years of the English Civil War and Interregnum constituted a turning point not only in the political, social and religious history of 17th century England, but also in the use and meaning of English language and literature.
Main Description
The years of the British Civil War and Interregnum constituted a turning point not only in the political, social, and religious history of seventeenth-century England but also in the use and meaning of English language and literature. Nigel Smith examines literary output from the age from Milton's Paradise Lost to epics and romances, exploring the effect of politics on the practice of writing and the impact of literature on patterns of historical change.
Main Description
The years of the British Civil War and Interregnum constituted a turning point not only in the political, social, and religious history of seventeenth-century England but also in the use and meaning of English language and literature. Smith examines literary output from the age from Miltons Paradise Lost to epics and romances, to psalms and hymns. This highly original book explores the effect of politics on the practice of writing and the impact of literature on patterns of historical change. "Whether dealing with gallant love-lyrics by Herrick or Lovelace or with a major work of the order of Hobbess Leviathan or Paradise Lost, Smith shows the same sensitivity to inner tensions and topical resonances. He has done a signal service to all students of this watershed period."-Anthony Curtis, Financial Times "A valuable new study. . . . This] well-researched book provides an impressive survey of the periods varied literature and shows how its generic innovations were a creative response to the crises of the 1640s and 50s. . . . Thanks to Smith, we now have a richer, more complete account of the ways literature and political culture interacted during this unsettled age of civil war, reformation and revolution."-David Loewenstein, Times Literary Supplement "Cogently and with a daunting range of examples, Smith demonstrates how "Smith takes a relatively overlooked period in Englands literary history . . . and reminds us of its vitality and centrality. His theory, which is solid if not profound, asserts a peculiar correspondence between art and society. Smiths work is important simply because of its intense focus on this tumultuous period in literary and social history."-Virginia Quarterly Review "An impressive and gracefully written book which cannot help but enlighten its readers."-D. R. Woolf, Canadian Journal of History Nigel Smith is Fellow and Tutor in English at Keble College, Oxford.
Unpaid Annotation
The years of the Civil War and Interregnum have usually been marginalised as a literary period. This wide-ranging and highly original study demonstrates that these central years of the seventeenth century were a turning point, not only in the political, social and religious history of the nation, but also in the use and meaning of language and literature. At a time of crisis and constitutional turmoil, literature itself acquired new functions and played a dynamic part in the fragmentation of religious and political authority. For English people, Smith argues, the upheaval in divine and secular authority provided both motive and opportunity for transformations in the nature and meaning of literary expression. The increase in pamphleteering and journalism brought a new awareness of print; with it existing ideas of authorship and authority collapsed. Through literature, people revised their understanding of themselves and attempted to transform their predicament. Smith examines literary output ranging from the,obvious masterworks of the age - Milton's Paradise Lost, Hobbes's Leviathan, Marvell's poetry - to a host of less well-known writings. He examines the contents of manuscripts and newsbooks sold on the streets, published drama, epics and romances, love poetry, praise poetry, psalms and hymns, satire in prose and verse, fishing manuals, histories. He analyses the cant and babble of religious polemic and the language of political controversy, demonstrating how, as literary genres changed and disintegrated, they often acquired vital new life. Ranging further than any other work on this period, and with a narrative rich in allusion, the book explores the impact of politics on the practiceof writing and the role of literature in the process of historical change.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Preface
Abbreviations
Introduction: Dissent Refracted: Text, Genre and Society 1640-60p. 1
Writing, Publishing and Reading in the Warp. 21
Unstable Parametersp. 23
Public Forap. 54
Rhetoric, Politics and Religionp. 93
The Meaning of the Centrep. 95
Discourse from Below: The Levellers, the City and the Armyp. 130
Political Theory as Aesthetics: Hobbes, Harrington, Winstanleyp. 154
The Free State in Letters: Republicanism Comes Outp. 177
Mythologising Calamity: Genres in Revolutionp. 201
Heroic Workp. 203
The Instrumentality of Lyricsp. 250
Satire: Whose Property?p. 295
Calamity as Narrativep. 320
Conclusionp. 357
Notesp. 365
Indexp. 403
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

This information is provided by a service that aggregates data from review sources and other sources that are often consulted by libraries, and readers. The University does not edit this information and merely includes it as a convenience for users. It does not warrant that reviews are accurate. As with any review users should approach reviews critically and where deemed necessary should consult multiple review sources. Any concerns or questions about particular reviews should be directed to the reviewer and/or publisher.

  link to old catalogue

Report a problem