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Teaching Early Modern English Prose

Editor(s): Susannah Brietz Monta, Margaret W. Ferguson

Pages: x & 386 pp.
Published: 2010
ISBN: 9781603290531 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781603290524 (cloth)

"This volume is full of wonderful, promising, intriguing suggestions, which I will gladly borrow for my own teaching."
Debora Shuger, University of California, Los Angeles

"It is hard to imagine a better teaching guide to the varied prose of the early modern period: the volume explores recent topics raised by teaching the culture of the period while invigorating more traditional ones."
Studies in English Literature



To gain a full understanding of the literature and history of early modern England, students need to study the prose of the period. Aiming to make early modern prose more visible to teachers, this volume approaches prose as a genre that requires as much analysis and attention as the drama and poetry of the time. The essays collected here consider the broad cultural questions raised by prose and explore prose style, showing teachers how to hone students' writing skills in the process.

Noting that the inclusion of Renaissance prose in anthologies now makes it easier to teach texts discussed in this volume, the introduction considers the practical and historical reasons prose has been taught less often than poetry and drama. The essays call attention to the range of prose writing and to the variety of definitions that have been developed to describe it. In part 1, contributors outline broad issues concerning early modern prose, looking at rhetoric and pamphlet writing and asking how to classify nonfiction. Essays in part 2 discuss particular genres, such as sermons, martyrologies, autobiographies, and Quaker writings. The third part explores specific prose works, including Francis Bacon’s scientific writing, Richard Hooker’s prose, and the transcribed speeches of Queen Elizabeth I. The final part, “Crossings and Pairings,” examines ways to use prose in teaching early modern attitudes toward issues such as education, imperialism, and the translation of the Bible.

Contributors
Sheila T. Cavanagh
Thomas Corns
Ronald Corthell
Catherine R. Eskin
Stephen M. Fallon
Lori Anne Ferrell
Deborah E. Harkness
Peter C. Herman
Elizabeth Hodgson
Christopher Ivic
Gregory Kneidel
Mary Ellen Lamb
Kate Lilley
Leah S. Marcus
Lauryn S. Mayer
Mary Moore
Roger E. Moore
Erin Murphy
Magdalena Nerio
Genevieve Pearson
Claire Preston
Vanessa Rapatz
Terry Reilly
Mary Beth Rose
Gary Schneider
P. G. Stanwood
Eric Sterling
Robert E. Stillman
Donald Stump
Deborah Uman


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