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By Thomas N. Corns

A historical past of Seventeenth-century Literature outlines major advancements within the English literary culture among the years 1603 and 1690. an brisk and provocative historical past of English literature from 1603-1690. a part of the key Blackwell historical past of English Literature sequence. Locates seventeenth-century English literature in its social and cultural contexts. Considers the actual stipulations of literary construction and intake. seems to be on the complicated political, spiritual, cultural and social pressures on seventeenth-century writers. positive aspects shut serious engagement with significant authors and texts. Thomas Corns is an incredible overseas authority on Milton, the Caroline courtroom, and the political literature of the English Civil warfare and the Interregnum.

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The main part of the manuscript is a fair copy of a play sometimes assigned to 1600–1, into which, by way of revision, has been inserted pages in a hand that has been identified as William Shakespeare’s (Schoenbaum 1975: 156– 60). Yet here, though worked over with a few deletions and additions, the document appears to be a fair copy or late draft. The disappearance of first and early drafts, however, is unsurprising. Writing paper was expensive. Little was manufactured in England, where paper production was overwhelmingly directed to producing brown paper.

Chillingly, the Privy Council instructed ‘Mr Topcliffe’ ‘to examine . . those of the players that are committed . . what is become of the rest of their fellows that either had their parts in the devising of that seditious matter, or that were actors or players in the same; what copies they have given forth of the said play and to whom; and such other points as your shall think meet to be demanded of them’ (Wickham et al. 2000: 102). Richard Topcliffe was the notorious chief inquisitor of recusants, a man licensed to use torture in extracting information.

Samuel Daniel, who wrote scripts for two of her masques, remained a beneficiary, and, more important, she secured Ben Jonson for the other four, thus founding a long-standing, though eventually acrimonious, working relationship with her chosen designer, Inigo Jones. Two years after From the Accession of James I to the Defenestration of Prague 39 arriving from Scotland she had largely determined the future trajectory of an important component of early Stuart court culture. Her most challenging performance was the first collaboration between Jones and Jonson, The Masque of Blackness, danced on Twelfth Night, 1605.

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