George Puttenham's Art of English Poesy is a foundational work of English Renaissance criticism and literary theory. Rich in detail about the nature, purpose, and functions of poetry as well as the poet's character and goals, it is also a valuable historical document, offering generous insight into Elizabethan court culture, implicitly on display in the attitudes and values of the writer. His illustrative anecdotes enable us to watch European courtiers negotiating their social and political relationships with one another as well as with rulers and social inferiors.
This new critical edition of The Art of English Poesy contains the first modernized and fully annotated edition of Puttenham's 1589 text; a substantial introductory essay by Frank Whigham and Wayne A. Rebhorn; a comprehensive bibliography; several glossaries and appendixes; and an index. The editors' masterly essay introduces Puttenham to modern readers and situates The Art of English Poesy in the context of the rhetorical theory, poetics, and courtly conduct of its time. The introduction also includes a concise biography of Puttenham based on a variety of new and unfamiliar data: he married an older and much richer woman whom he badly mistreated; indulged habitually in a life of sexual predation; was repeatedly sued, arrested, and imprisoned; survived several supposed attempts on his life; and died, nearly indigent, in 1591. For scholars and students of the English Renaissance, the Cornell edition of The Art of English Poesy should prove the definitive edition of Puttenham's major work.
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Number of pages: 512
Weight: 737 g
Dimensions: 235 x 156 x 31 mm
"The first response to this critical edition of Puttenham's Art of English Poesy ought to be gratitude. Frank Whigham and Wayne A. Rebhorn, both of whom have made substantial scholarly contributions to a rhetorical understanding of early modern literature, have done all students, teachers, and scholars of early modern English literature a great service. This is now the best, most readily available edition of Puttenham's text. If this new edition means that Puttenham's Art is taught more often, that will be a good thing. Students will now more likely be examining an art of English poetry and not just a sociology of it in the wonderful prose argument in this historicized, yet aesthetically aware edition of the text. We should exhibit our gratitude by ordering it for our libraries and requiring it for our classes."-Scott Crider, Sixteenth Century Journal
"This fine edition of George Puttenham's Art of English Poesie, by Frank Whigham and Wayne A. Rebhorn, presents a modernized, extensively glossed, and annotated text. The edition also provides a long, full, and often brilliant introduction, which sketches Puttenham's biography, rehearses the evidence for his authorship of the Art, describes the cultural materials on which the book draws, analyzes its poetics, and discusses it as an embodiment of its author's ambitions."-William A. Oram, Modern Philology
"Frank Whigham and Wayne A. Rebhorn have done a major service to everyone seriously interested in English Renaissance literature and culture. Puttenham's curious, encyclopedic, and haunting book is of enormous interest and importance, and we have never had a usable and annotated edition of it. Whigham and Rebhorn have provided a readable and fully, usefully, and intelligently annotated text. That in itself would have been a major service. But their introduction is an extremely useful work of criticism and scholarship that is also a major contribution. We are all in their debt."-Richard Strier, University of Chicago
"In their insightful introduction and notes to The Art of English Poesy, Frank Whigham and Wayne A. Rebhorn show how George Puttenham complicates poetic 'decorum' and 'decency' by insisting on the 'abuses' and 'dissembling' at work in figurative language. Their learned and informed edition of this seminal English ars poetica illuminates the equivocal subtleties and turbulent energies informing Renaissance literary thought."-Richard C. McCoy, Queens College and The Graduate Center, CUNY
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