Teaching Early Modern English Prose

  • Editors: Susannah Brietz Monta, Margaret W. Ferguson
  • Pages: x & 386 pp.
  • Published: 2010
  • ISBN: 9781603290531 (Paperback)
  • ISBN: 9781603290524 (Cloth)
Teaching Early Modern English Prose Cover

“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.

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

 Acknowledgments (ix)

Introduction (1)

Margaret W. Ferguson and Susannah Brietz Monta

Part I: Perspectives on Prose

What Is Early Modern Nonfictional Prose? (19)

Ronald Corthell

Cultivating the Commons: Early Modern Rhetoric, Pamphlet Writing, and the Undergraduate Reader (32)

Lauryn S. Mayer

Desiring Styles: Renaissance Prose Styles and Teaching by Imitation (43)

Mary Moore

Part II: Kinds of Prose

Religious Persuasions: Teaching the Early Modern Sermon (61)

Lori Anne Ferrell

Early Modern Prose and the Uses of the New World (71)

Peter C. Herman

Teaching with Passions; or, Bringing Martyrologies into the Classroom (81)

Susannah Brietz Monta

Dedicated Thought: Montaigne, Bacon, and the English Renaissance Essay (95)

Kate Lilley

Teaching Early Modern Autobiographies and Life Writings (113)

Mary Ellen Lamb

Reading Tudor Chronicles (123)

Christopher Ivic

Quaker Writing in the Seventeenth Century (132)

Roger E. Moore

A Voyage on a Dangerous Sea: Marriage as Heroism in Early Modern English Prose (143)

Mary Beth Rose

Teaching Early Modern Letters (154)

Gary Schneider

Teaching Gascoigne, Deloney, and the Emergence of the English Novel (164)

Eric Sterling

Part III: Teaching Selected Authors

Reforming the Greek Tragic Hero: Narrative Trickery and Gender Reversal in Sidney’s Old Arcadia (177)

Donald Stump

Speech Made Visible: The Writings of Queen Elizabeth I (188)

Leah S. Marcus

Thomas Nashe: Cornucopias and Gallimaufries of Prose (199)

Margaret W. Ferguson

Community and Context in Richard Hooker’s Prose (214)

P. G. Stanwood

“Amorous Metaphors”: John Donne’s Prose (224)

Elizabeth Hodgson

The Long and Winding Road: Teaching Lady Mary Wroth’s Urania (236)

Sheila T. Cavanagh

Francis Bacon’s Experimental Writing (246)

Deborah E. Harkness

Discovering Milton in His Prose (259)

Stephen M. Fallon

Stand-Up Browne: Religio Medici in the Classroom (272)

Claire Preston

Mastering the Monster Text: Teaching Hobbes’s Leviathan (282)

Robert E. Stillman

“On Thursday Giant Despair Beats His Prisoners”: Teaching Bunyan in an Unsympathetic Age (292)

Thomas Corns

Part IV: Crossings and Pairings

Teaching Lyly’s Euphuism through William Harrison’s The Description of England: History, Parody, and Dialogic Form (303)

Terry Reilly

Literary Figures: Lodge’s Rosalynd in the Undergraduate Classroom (313)

Catherine R. Eskin

Infectious Knowledge: Teaching the Educational Tracts of John Milton and Mary Astell (320)

Erin Murphy

Translation, Nationalism, and Imperialism: Teaching Aphra Behn’s “Essay on Translated Prose” and A Discovery of New Worlds (329)

Deborah Uman

Teaching the Early Modern Bible, Fully and Perfectly (344)

Gregory Kneidel

Part V: Resources

Selected Resources for Teachers (353)

Margaret W. Ferguson, Susannah Brietz Monta, Magdalena Nerio, Genevieve Pearson, and Vanessa Rapatz

Print Resources: Anthologies including Substantial Selections of Prose Writings (353)

Electronic Resources (363)

Notes on Contributors (369)

Index of Names (375)

Index of Selected Resources (385)