English literary afterlives

Greene, Sidney, Donne and the evolution of posthumous fame

By Elisabeth Chaghafi

English literary afterlives


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-4495-9
  • Pages: 224
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: November 2019
  • BIC Category: LITERARY CRITICISM / General, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: plays & playwrights, Literature & literary studies / Shakespeare studies & criticism, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: c 1500 to c 1800, Early Modern Literature, LITERARY CRITICISM / Shakespeare
  • Series: The Manchester Spenser


English Literary Afterlives traces life narratives of early modern authors created for them after their deaths by readers or publishers, who retrospectively tried to make sense of the author's life and works. In a series of case-studies of the reception history of major poets - Sidney, Spenser, Donne, Herbert, as well as Robert Greene, the first 'celebrity author' - within a generation of their deaths, it shows how those authors were posthumously fashioned and refashioned. It argues that during the early modern period there is a gradual movement towards biographical readings that attempt to find the author in the works, which in turn led to the emergence of written lives that consider poets not in terms of their 'public' lives but in terms of their poetic activity, i.e. the beginnings of literary biography.

Will be of interest to students and scholars of several canonical early modern authors.


List of figures
1 The complete author
2 The posthumous career of Robert Greene
3 'Borne in Arcady': Sidney's literary rebirth
Interlude: 'After I am dead and rotten': Spenser's missing afterlife
4 Walton's literary Lives: from Donne to Herbert
Conclusion: brief lives and lives of the poets


Elisabeth Chaghafi is a Lecturer in English at the University of Tübingen

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