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‘Franco Marucci’s History of English Literature is unique in its field. There is no other book that combines such erudition and authority in such a compact format. An indispensable work of reference.’
— J. B. Bullen, Visiting Fellow, Kellogg College, Oxford
History of English Literature is a comprehensive, eight-volume survey of English literature from the Middle Ages to the early twenty-first century. This reference work provides insightful and often revisionary readings of core texts in the English literary canon. Richly informative analyses are framed by the biographical, historical and intellectual context for each author.
Volume 1 begins by discussing Anglo-Saxon literature before focusing on the three major Middle English poets of the late fourteenth century: Gower, Langland and Chaucer. It then engages with the sixteenth-century prose romances of Sidney, the epic and lyrical poetry of Spenser, and Donne’s love and religious poems. Full coverage is devoted to the legendary fifty-year blossoming of the Elizabethan theatre (excluding Shakespeare, the object of Volume 2), from Kyd and Marlowe up to Jonson, Webster, Middleton, Ford and Shirley. The final part addresses the sixteenth-century prose works of Lyly, Greene and Nashe, homiletics by Hooker and others, and Elizabethan travel literature and historiography.