Literature and Revolution in England, 1640-1660

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9780300071535: Literature and Revolution in England, 1640-1660

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. 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.

Nigel Smith argues that 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 predicaments.

Smith examines literary output ranging from the 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 newspapers sold on the streets, published drama, epics and romances, love poetry, praise poetry, psalms and hymns, satire in prose and verse, fishing manuals, and histories. He also analyzes religious polemic and the language of political controversy, demonstrating how, as literary genres changed, they often acquired new vitality.

Ranging wider than any other work on this period, this highly original book explores the effect of politics on the practice of writing and the impact of literature on patterns of historical change.

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From the Back Cover:

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.

About the Author:

Nigel Smith is lecturer in English at Oxford University and a Fellow of Keble College.

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Nigel Smith
Published by Yale University Press, United States (1997)
ISBN 10: 0300071531 ISBN 13: 9780300071535
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Book Description Yale University Press, United States, 1997. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Revised ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.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 Milton s 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 Hobbes s 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 period s 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 England s 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. Smith s 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. Bookseller Inventory # AAV9780300071535

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Book Description Yale University Press, United States, 1997. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Revised ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. 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 Milton s 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 Hobbes s 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 period s 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 England s 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. Smith s 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. Bookseller Inventory # AAV9780300071535

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Book Description Yale University Press 6/25/1997, 1997. Paperback or Softback. Book Condition: New. Literature and Revolution in England, 1640-1660. Book. Bookseller Inventory # BBS-9780300071535

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Book Description Yale University Press. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 442 pages. Dimensions: 9.3in. x 6.2in. x 1.1in.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 This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Bookseller Inventory # 9780300071535

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