A Brief History of English Literature by John Peck

By John Peck

A short heritage of English Literature offers a full of life introductory advisor to English literature from Beowulf to the current day. The authors write of their frequently lucid kind which permits the reader to interact absolutely with the narrative and simply comprehend the texts when it comes to the social, political and cultural contexts during which they have been written. A masterpiece of readability and compression, this ebook is a must-have for a person drawn to the historical past of literature from the British Isles.

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28 Even one of the most highly regarded of Shakespeare's plays needed its language clarified for this new generation of playgoers, apparently, and even with such assistance the tragedy might still seem out of date, incongruous in a theatrical repertory whose chief business was to nurture the particular romantic fictions that were among the premisses of Charles II's court. Revision Critical perceptions of Shakespeare in the early Restoration, however admiring, frequently collude with the pragmatic recognition 26The Merry conceited Humors of Bottom the Weaver (London, 1661), republished in Francis Kirkman, The Wits, or Sport upon Sport (2 parts; London, 1672-3).

30 29 De Grazia, Shakespeare Verbatim, 47. On the relations between these three folios, and especially on the 1623 preliminaries' importance in establishing the 'Poet of Nature' view of Shakespeare, see ibid. 33-48. It is perhaps worth noting here that the Restoration's own edition of the Shakespeare folio, the Third (1663-4), gives unusual prominence to these prefatory materials, reprinting them, with the expanded collection of commendatory poems from the Second, in large type so that they fill more pages than in either the Second (1632) or the Fourth (1685).

While I would not wish to argue that anything about Shakespeare was settled once and for all by this extraordinary cultural event, it may well be that even now, over two centuries later, what is most striking about its traces is not their kitsch strangeness but their unnerving familiarity. To a surprising degree, the Jubilee encoded in itself the history to date of the Bardolatry it proclaims'the sum and substance of the manner of setting up Shakespeare', to return to Colonel Hart's formulationand it may furthermore have substantially predicted the form in which, with however many signs of strain, it still survives.

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