The Origins of English Nonsense

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9780006388449: The Origins of English Nonsense

"Nonsense verse in England is generally thought to have its origins in Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll. Noel Malcolm's work discusses the extent of the genre a full two hundred and fifty years earlier, with the work of such now nearly forgotten nonsense poets as Sir John Hoskyns and John Taylor. It presents an anthology of their work, much of it published here for the first time since the 17th century, and in a long introduction discusses the origins and development of the genre in England, and the history of medieval and Renaissance nonsense poetry in Europe." Noel Malcolm is a former Foreign Editor of The Spectator, and columnist for the Daily Telegraph. Hugh Trevor-Roper reviewing the book for the Sunday Telegraph said "What a versatile scholar Noel Malcolm is!... He has produced a work of equal erudition and great originality on a hitherto totally neglected, but curious and interesting subject: the 'nonsense poetry' of the early seventeenth century... It is only through Mr Malcolm's brilliant scholarship that we can appreciate this missing chapter of our literary history."Contents: Preface, Introduction, Chapter 1: The origins and development of English seventeenth-century nonsense poetry; Chapter 2: Fustian, bombast and satire: the stylistic preconditions of English seventeenth century nonsense poetry; Chapter 3: A short history of nonsense poetry in medieval and Renaissance Europe; Chapter 4: The sources and resources of nonsense: literary conventions, parodic forms and related genres; POEMS; Notes, Bibliography, Indices - Longer Notes; Manuscript Sources; Bibliography; Index of authors of the nonsense poems; Index of titles and first lines of the nonsense poems; Index to Introduction. The poets included in this volume are: John Hoskyns; Henry Peacham; John Sanford; John Taylor; Martin Parker; Richard Corbett; James Smith; Joseph Brookesbank; George Dalgarno.

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Product Description:

A major rediscovery and reevaluation of a lost strand of English literature from one of today’s most brilliant scholars.

Nonsense verse in England is generally thought to have its origins in Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll. Noel Malcolm’s remarkable book lays before us the extent of its flourishing a full two hundred and fifty years earlier, with the work of such now nearly forgotten nonsense poets as Sir John Hoskyns and John Taylor. It presents an anthology of their work, much of it published here for the first time since the 17th century, and in a long introduction discusses the origins and development of the genre in England, and the history of medieval and Renaissance nonsense poetry in Europe. It is a brilliant addition to the study of English literature in the 17th century.

Review:

‘What a versatile scholar Noel Malcolm is!… He has produced a work of equal erudition and great originality on a hitherto totally neglected, but curious and interesting subject: the
“nonsense poetry”
of the early 17th century… and it is only through Mr Malcolm’s brilliant scholarship that we can appreciate this missing chapter of our literary history.’
Hugh Trevor Roper, Sunday Telegraph

‘A readable, scholarly book… Malcolm restores to nonsense verse its rightful historical role as a medium for satire and parody and reckless play. He has helped rescue nonsense from whimsy.’
Ian Sansom, Guardian

‘A brilliant, argumentative book… Malcolm is a fine critic, and this exemplary study displays an exquisite literary sensibility operating at the height of its powers.’
Robert McCrum, Observer

‘A masterly piece of research… I do hope this publication will be applauded. People get chairs for less.’
Peter Levi, Literary Review

‘An elegant, enjoyable book which is a real contribution to literary history.’
Jackie Wullschlager, Financial Times

‘A delight.’
Mark Archer, Spectator

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