The epigram in England, 1590-1640

By James Doelman

The epigram in England, 1590-1640


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-9644-0
  • Pages: 416
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: June 2016
  • BIC Category: Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: poetry & poets, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: c 1500 to c 1800, Early Modern Literature, Literature, United Kingdom, Great Britain, Literature: history & criticism, Literary studies: general, Ireland, LITERARY CRITICISM / Poetry, LITERARY CRITICISM / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh


While among the most common of Renaissance genres, the epigram has been largely neglected by scholars and critics: James Doelman's book is the first major study on the Renaissance English epigram since 1947. It combines thorough description of the genre's history and conventions with consideration of the rootedness of individual epigrams within specific social, political and religious contexts.

The book explores questions of libel, censorship and patronage associated with the genre, and includes chapters on the sub-genres of the religious epigram, political epigram and mock epitaph.

It balances discussion of canonical figures such as Ben Jonson and Sir John Harington with a wide range of lesser known poets, drawing on both manuscript and print sources.

In its breadth The epigram in England serves as a foundational introduction to the genre for students, and through its detailed case studies it offers rich analysis for advanced scholars.


1. The classical, Medieval and Renaissance inheritance
2. 'A Curter kind of Satyre'? The epigram, proximate genres and terminology
3. The contexts of epigram composition
4. Buzzed, scrawled and printed: composition and circulation of topical epigrams
5. Epigrams in manuscript
6. Epigrams in print
7. Authorship
8. The readers of printed epigram books
9. Two facets of the epigram: names and responsiveness
10. The epigram and political comment
11. The feigned epitaph
12. The religious epigram
Coda: Harington's 'Of Moyses'
Select bibliography


James Doelman is Associate Professor in the Department of English at Brescia University College, University of Western Ontario

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