Printer Friendly

The Oxford English Literary History. Volume 2. 1350-1547: Reform and Cultural Revolution. (Reviews).

The Oxford English Literary History. Volume 2. 1350-1547: Reform and Cultural Revolution. James Simpson. Oxford University Press. [pounds sterling]30.00. 661 pages. ISBN 0-19-818261-9. The theme of this survey history is 'very simple, central and consistent... that the institutional simplifications and centralisations of the sixteenth century provoked correlative simplifications and narrowings in literature'. If literary history and criticism are 'ancillary to the complex history of freedoms' then this period in English history is a 'narrative of diminishing liberties'. This centralisation of literature and language began in the late fifteenth century with the invention of printing and the increasing dominance of London but soared under Henry VIII, beginning with his suppression of the priories and monasteries of England. Throughout the period Mr Simpson is concerned with works that reveal a contrast between the 'reformist' and the 'revolutionary'. He follows the example of John Leland who composed a bibliogr aphy of 'English antiquities' and looks at the period's literary productions through various themes: war narratives, elegiac lyrical writings political writings (mainly fifteenth century), the 'comic' (which includes romance), writings on the Church, devotional literature, Biblical study before the Reformation (a fascinating chapter) and the theatre. Each chapter is designed to stand on its own but the whole makes for a vigorous and rejuvenating study of the period. (A.T.)
COPYRIGHT 2003 Contemporary Review Company Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Contemporary Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 1, 2003
Previous Article:The Battle for Normandy 1944. (Reviews).
Next Article:Larry Burrows: Vietnam. (Reviews).

Related Articles
The Word of God and the Languages of Man: Interpreting Nature in Early Modern Science and Medicine.
A Cultural History of Humour: From Antiquity to the Present Day.
A Life in the Twentieth Century: Innocent Beginnings, 1970-1950.
The Confessionalization of Humanism in Reformation Germany. (Reviews).
Zora Neale Hurston's their eyes were watching God: A casebook.
A History of Women's Writing in Italy. (Reviews).
Women in Italian Renaissance Culture and Society. (Reviews).
Encyclopedia of African Literature. (Books).
Curiosity: A Cultural History of Early Modern Inquiry. (Reviews).

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2020 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters