The daring muse of the early Stuart funeral elegy

By James Doelman

The daring muse of the early Stuart funeral elegy


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-4418-8
  • Pages: 336
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: March 2021
  • BIC Category: Literature, LITERARY CRITICISM / Modern / 16th Century, LITERARY CRITICISM / Poetry, LITERARY CRITICISM / General, Literature & literary studies / Literary theory, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: poetry & poets, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: c 1500 to c 1800


The early Stuart funeral elegy was a copious and digressive genre, and exceptional deaths pressed elegists to stretch beyond the usual rhetoric of grief and commemoration. This book engages in a broad reading of the period's rich trove of funeral elegies, in both manuscript and print, and by poets ranging from the canonical to the anonymous. The book stands apart from earlier studies by its greater focus upon the subjects of funeral elegies (rather than the poets), and how the particular circumstances of death and the immediate contexts affected the poetic response. Individual deaths are understood in relation to each other and other prominent events of the time. While the book covers the period 1603 to 1640, the 1620s stand out as a tumultuous decade in which the genre most fully engaged in matters of political controversy and satire.


1 Prince Henry
2 'A Prison is in all things like a Grave': elegies on Arbella Stuart, Sir Thomas Overbury, and Sir Walter Ralegh
3 Royal deaths
4 Military deaths of the 1620s
5 To 'Silence Slanders toungue': elegies on George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham
6 A defence of suicide: William Douglas' funeral elegy on the Second Earl of Lothian
7 Funeral elegies on elite women
8 From robe to winding sheet: funeral elegies on churchmen and scholars
9 Distracted into heresy

Appendix: terminology, genres, and sub-genres
Select bibliography


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

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