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Writing the Nation in Reformation England, 1530–1580$
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Cathy Shrank

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199268887

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199268887.001.0001

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‘Workshops of the New Poetry’: The Shepheardes Calender and Old Arcadia 1

‘Workshops of the New Poetry’: The Shepheardes Calender and Old Arcadia 1

(p.220) 6 ‘Workshops of the New Poetry’: The Shepheardes Calender and Old Arcadia 1
Writing the Nation in Reformation England, 1530–1580

Cathy Shrank (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the influence of previous Tudor writers on the early writings of Edmund Spenser and Philip Sidney. Rooted in contemporary affairs at a time when Englishness was becoming increasingly equated with Protestantism, the Old Arcadia and Shepheardes Calender are characteristic of Tudor writing in their topicality, their investment in the English language, and their cultivation of a national literary style fusing vernacular, continental, and classical traditions. They also share with earlier English humanist works both a belief in the power of words and a scepticism about words' ability to move, persuade, or even survive. The chapter explores how Sidney and Spenser (like their earlier Tudor forebears) fashioned themselves as authors, and their attention to and exploitation of the physical form in which works circulated, be it manuscript or print.

Keywords:   Edmund Spenser, Englishness, literary style, manuscript, Philip Sidney, Protestantism

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