Interesting Literature

The Best Poems of the Elizabethan Era

essay on elizabethan poetry

1. Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene .

Probably the most ambitious of all Elizabethan-era poems, The Faerie Queene was written to honour Queen Elizabeth I, who is idealised as Gloriana in Edmund Spenser’s vast Arthurian Christian ‘fantasy’ epic, which remained only half-completed when he died in 1599 (and even the poem as we have it dwarfs just about every other poem in English). It begins:

2. Sir Philip Sidney, ‘ Loving in Truth ’.

The sonnet sequence really came into its own in English literature during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, and its pioneer was one of Elizabeth’s courtiers, the soldier, statesman, poet, and all-round Renaissance man (in the truest sense of the phrase), Sir Philip Sidney (1554-86).

In this, the opening sonnet from his sequence Astrophil and Stella , Sidney – as ‘Astrophil’ tries to find inspiration so he can pay due tribute to the beauty of ‘Stella’, the woman he could have married but turned down, only to see her married to another (and then to realise that he loves her, after all)…

3. Chidiock Tichborne, ‘ Elegy ’.

One of the greatest Elizabethan elegies was written by one of Queen Elizabeth’s deadliest enemies: the Catholic conspirator Chidiock Tichborne is thought to have penned this elegy for himself in the Tower of London, the night before his execution in 1586. It begins:

My prime of youth is but a frost of cares, My feast of joy is but a dish of pain, My crop of corn is but a field of tares, And all my good is but vain hope of gain; The day is past, and yet I saw no sun, And now I live, and now my life is done …

essay on elizabethan poetry

Come live with me and be my love, And we will all the pleasures prove, That Valleys, groves, hills, and fields, Woods, or steepy mountain yields.

And we will sit upon the Rocks, Seeing the Shepherds feed their flocks, By shallow Rivers to whose falls Melodious birds sing Madrigals …

‘Come live with me’ is an old line in lyric poetry stretching from ancient Rome to Heaven 17, but perhaps the poet who gave this sentiment the definitive treatment was Christopher Marlowe (1564-93). In ‘The Passionate Shepherd to His Love’, Marlowe’s speaker sings the praises of a life in the countryside (as opposed to the town or city), in an attempt to win round his would-be beloved, whom he addresses.

5. William Shakespeare, Sonnet 18 .

With one of the most famous opening lines in all of English poetry, this poem is one of numerous gems among Shakespeare’s sonnet sequence, which was first published in full in 1609 but probably written in the 1590s (the earliest sonnets were, at least). In the poem, Shakespeare addresses a Fair Youth, telling him that the young man will never grow old because the Bard’s poem immortalises him.

6. John Donne, ‘ Song (Go and Catch a Falling Star) ’.

But like the Campion poem and the anonymous one later on this list, it’s meant to be sung and thus might be viewed as belonging to the same genre as many of Shakespeare’s songs from his plays .

7. George Gascoigne, ‘ For That He Looked Not Upon Her ’.

Gascoigne (c. 1535-77) is the most important stepping-stone between earlier Tudor poets, Sir Thomas Wyatt and Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (from the reign of Henry VIII) and the later Elizabethan poets such as Sir Philip Sidney. His most famous work was a 1572 collection bearing the snappy title A Hundreth Sundry Flowres bound up in one small Poesie. Gathered partely (by translation) in the fyne outlandish Gardins of Euripides, Ovid, Petrarch, Ariosto and others; and partly by Invention out of our owne fruitefull Orchardes in Englande, Yelding Sundrie Savours of tragical, comical and moral discourse, bothe pleasaunt and profitable, to the well-smelling noses of learned readers .

The poem we’ve selected is a ‘Shakespearean’ sonnet (published when Shakespeare was still in short trousers), and reads as remarkably modern, like many of Gascoigne’s poems.

8. Thomas Campion, ‘ Hark, All You Ladies ’.

Campion (1567-1620) was one of the most prolific composers of the Elizabethan age, and also one of the most celebrated, known far and wide for his madrigals. He wrote lyrics as well as music, such as this fine song from 1591:

Harke, al you Ladies that do sleep ; The fayry queen Proserpina Bids you awake and pitie them that weep. You may doe in the darke What the day doth forbid ; Feare not the dogs that barke, Night will haue all hid …

9. Anonymous, ‘ Weep You No More, Sad Fountains ’.

The author of this lyric is unknown, but the words were published in 1603, and it was set to music by the composer John Dowland. It’s an oft-anthologised song that, like many songs since, has an upbeat message (the speaker is enjoying watching his beloved sleeping) but can sound almost unbearably poignant when sung. It begins:

Weep you no more, sad fountains; What need you flow so fast? Look how the snowy mountains Heaven’s sun doth gently waste. But my sun’s heavenly eyes View not your weeping, That now lie sleeping Softly, now softly lies Sleeping …

10. Queen Elizabeth I, ‘ Ah, Silly Pug, Wert Thou So Sore Afraid ’.

As this is a pick of the best Elizabethan lyrics, it seems fitting to end with a poem written by Queen Elizabeth I herself . This poem was inspired by Sir Walter Raleigh – ‘my Wat’ – who was one of Queen Elizabeth’s favourites at court.

But when Elizabeth appointed the Earl of Essex, her young new favourite, to a high position at court, Raleigh petitioned the Queen, worried that he was falling out of favour with her. In this poem, Elizabeth deftly seeks to reassure the great explorer of his place in her affections.

Ah, silly Pug, wert thou so sore afraid? Mourn not, my Wat, nor be thou so dismayed. It passeth fickle Fortune’s power and skill To force my heart to think thee any ill …

Image: via  Wikimedia Commons .

The Elizabethan Sonnet Sequence

Overview: the phenomenon of the sonnet sequence.

The phrase “Elizabethan sonnet sequences” refers to the series of English sonnets written by various prominent practitioners in the Elizabethan era, such as William Shakespeare, Sir Philip Sidney, and Edmund Spenser. Shakespeare’s sonnet sequence includes 154 sonnets. Spenser’s main sonnet series is a collection entitled Amoretti and Sidney’s most famous sonnet series is entitled Astrophil and Stella .

The English sonnet sequence became a phenomenon around 1580 and remained a major literary and cultural influence until around 1610. Many credit Sidney’s Astrophil and Stella as the first true sequence. In 1619, Drayton completed his final revision of his famous sequence Idea , which historically marked the end of the phenomenon. The impact of the sonnet and sonnet sequence was seen everywhere during this time. Writers like John Donne insisted that only fools could not write sonnets. Queen Elizabeth was also known to use the language of sonnets while conducting foreign policyCitation?. Christopher Warley, author of Sonnet Sequence and Social Distinction in Renaissance England , argues that the sonnet sequence had no true system or stable pattern and

What is a Sonnet?

A sonnet is a type of poem that contains fourteen lines, is composed in iambic pentameter, and is formatted to a specific rhyme scheme, which varies for each type of sonnet.. Iambic pentameter is a style of verse writing in which each line contains ten syllables, divided into five metrical feet. In iambic pentameter, each metrical foot contains an unaccented syllable followed by an accented syllable. An example here would be nice.

The two most commonly occurring types of sonnets are the Italian (Petrarchan) sonnet and the English (Shakespearean) sonnet. The Italian sonnet is traditionally divided into two stanzas, an octave (8 lines) and a sestet (6 lines). In addition, the Italian sonnet is traditionally characterized by the rhyme scheme abbaabba cdecde. The English sonnet is traditionally divided into three 4-line stanzas and an ending couplet, and traditionally follows the rhyme scheme abab cdcd efef gg. Typically, in an English sonnet, each quatrain serves as building block toward the poet’s ultimate point in writing the poem.

Other less frequently used forms of the sonnet exist, such as the Spenserian Sonnet. The Spenserian Sonnet is a variation of the English sonnet which has the interlocking rhyme scheme ababbcbccdcdee.

The sonnet was first practiced in the English language by Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder (1503-1542), an English poet who also worked in the royal court under King Henry VIII.

Who Were the Chief Practitioners?

The main practitioners of the Elizabethan sonnet sequence were William Shakespeare, Edmund Spenser, and Sir Philip Sidney.

William Shakespeare is often considered the greatest writer of the English language. His most

famous works include a total of 38 plays and 154 sonnets. Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, a small town in Southern Warkwickshire, England that sits on the river Avon. He was born in April 1564, and although the date of his birth is not known for sure, historians believe that he was probably born on the 23rd, also St. George’s Day. Shakespeare’s father, John Shakespeare, was a successful glovemaker who was also held important positions in the local government. Shakespeare mother was Mary Arden. It is suspected that Shakespeare attended the free Stratford grammar school, however there is no documented proof. The rest Shakespeare’s childhood to remains somewhat of a mystery due to the lack of documentation. In 1582, at the age of 18, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, who was eight years his senior. In 1583, Shakespeare’s daughter, Susanna, was born, as in 1585 the couple gave birth to twins, Hamnet

and Judith; however, Hamnet died at an early age in 1596. The next seven years of Shakespeare’s life are completely undocumented, and his activity is unknown; therefore, historians refer to them as his “lost years”.

By 1594, Shakespeare was working with a successful troupe of professional actors known as Lord Chamberlain’s Men, who later became the King’s Men. Shakespeare eventually became the head playwright for the company and one of its leading shareholders. In 1599, Shakespeare’s company began to perform at the Globe, an open-aired theater on the bank of the River Thames in London. Shakespeare continued to work in London while his wife and children lived in Stratford. After writing The Tempest , Shakespeare retired and returned to live with his family. In 1616, Shakespeare died, leaving most of his estate to his daughter Susanna. To his wife, Shakespeare left “my second best bed.” Nothing here about his sonnets????

Sir Philip Sidney was born to Sir Henry Sidney and Lady Mary Dudley in Penshurst Place, Kent in 1554. His father was a governor (lord deputy) three different times of Ireland and his mother was the sister of Robert Dudley, the earl of Leicester, often regarded as the most powerful of the queen’s favorites. In 1564 he started attending Shrewsbury School and later attended the University of Oxford. Before he completed his studies at Oxford he left England and began travelling across Europe. During his travels he met many powerful figures of the time. On August 24, 1572 Sidney witnessed the Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Day in Paris, France which reinforced his Protestantism. Shortly afterthis, he returned to England. Spenser, during Sidney’s return, dedicated The Shepheardes Calendar to him. Later, he retired to his sister’s home in Pembroke and wrote Arcadia for her personal enjoyment. After this he decided to make it public and began to edit and revise it. Shortly after writing The Defense of Poesy , Sidney wrote Astrophil and Stella which is widely considered to be the first of the great Elizabethan sonnet sequences. Citation?? Sir Philip Sidney was considered the first major writer of the Elizabethan sonnet sequence, and is often considered to be a major influence on William Shakespeare’s form of ABAB-CDCD-EFEF-GG. Citation?

Edmund Spenser was born around the year 1552 to a rather middle class family. His origins are not known for certain, however he is thought to be the son of John Spenser of East Smithfield. As a boy, Edmund studied at the Merchant Taylors’ school until he matriculated as a sizar to Pembroke Hall (today known as Pembroke College) in Cambridge. After taking his B.A. and M.A. Spenser left Cambridge in 1570 and went to Kent where he worked as a secretary for the Bishop of Rochester, John Young. By 1579, Spenser was working for the Earl of Leicester and living in Leicester House on the Strand. In 1580 Spenser was appointed secretary of Arthur and relocated to Ireland. In 1586 Spenser was alloted his estate near Doneraile which included the castle Kilcolman. After reading his draft of The Faerie Queen, Sir Walter Raleigh introduced Spenser to Queen Elizabeth in 1590. Spenser procured a pension from the Queen then returned to Ireland after insulting Lord Burghley with his Complaints. in After returning to Kilcolman, Spenser courted and proceeded to marry Elizabeth Boyle, for whom Amoretti is dedicated. In 1598 Kilcolman was sacked during the Nine Years War. Spenser fled to Cork. He left Cork carrying a message for the Privy Council and upon arrival passed away in Westminster in 1599.

Spenser is particularly famous for the development of the Spenserian sonnet, as well as his famous sonnet sequence Amoretti and his Epithalamion. Furthermore, he is famous for writing an epic work, The Faerie Queene, in which he celebrates England and Protestantism as a whole. Overall, he impacted literature massively with his unique styles of writing, his celebration of love in his poems, and his celebration of his country.

Another well-known practitioner was Michael Drayton, who was famous for his sequence Idea . Drayton is known for changing and revolutionizing the sonnet sequence, which eventually led to its transition out of the literary spotlight at the time.

Lady Mary Wroth, another practitioner of the Elizabethan sonnet sequence, was most famous for her work entitled Pamphilia to Amphilanthus .

Major themes of the Elizabethan Sonnets:

Some of the most significant themes in the Elizabethan sonnet sequences include love, time, the value of writing, and the eternalization of beauty. Romantic love is one of the central themes; many sonnets of the Elizabethan era wrote about the frustrations of unreciprocated love. Some, however, like Spenser, celebrate the feelings of successful love. Some of the poems also deal with the themes of divine love. Many of the Elizabethan sonnets also deal with love versus desire, a theme which Sidney particularly focused on in Astrophil and Stella.

Another major theme of the Elizabethan sonnet sequence is time. Shakespeare, in particular, focused on how time could destroy nature and other beautiful things. He emphasized reproduction as a means of eternalizing beauty, which was also a common theme in the Elizabethan sonnets. It is portrayed in the sonnets that only love and poetry could withstand time.

In addition, many of the sonneteers address is the value of poetry and writing. Sidney and Spenser, for instance, both draw attention in their poems to the fact that they are using verse to portray their feelings for their desired loved ones. Many of the authors brought the Muses into their poems to imply the sources of inspiration for their writing. The Elizabethan sonnets demonstrate the growing belief that poetry could be used to immortalize phenomena such as the beauty of a loved one, which Spenser tries to do with towards the end of his sequence, Amoretti . Similarly, Shakespeare writes about the desire to eternalize beauty; by contrast to Spenser, however, Shakespeare focuses largely on physical beauty whereas Spenser shows that he values inner beauty.

Video: Shakespeare Sonnet #55 Reading & Analysis


“Famous portrait of William Shakespeare, known as the Chandos portrait”,

Greenblatt, Stephen, George Logan, Katharine E. Maus, and Barbara K. Lewalski. The Norton Anthology of British Literature Volume B . Ninth ed. New York: W. W. Norton &, 2012. Print.

Miller, Nelson. “Basic Sonnet Forms.” Sonnet Central. Cayuse Press Writers Exchange Board, 25 Aug. 2012. Web. 26 Nov. 2012.

“Portrait of Edmund Spenser”,

“Portrait of Lady Mary Wroth”,

“Portrait of Michael Drayton”,

“Portrait of Sir Philip Sidney”,

“Shakespeare’s house in Stratford-upon-Avon (2012)”, picture by Elizabeth Sobel

“The main stage at the Globe Theater in London (2012)”, picture by Elizabeth Sobel

Warley, Christopher. Sonnet Sequences and Social Distinction in Renaissance England . Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2005. Print.

English Summary

Elizabethan Era Literature: Characteristics, Themes, and Authors

Back to: History of English Literature All Ages – Summary & Notes

Table of Contents


Elizabethan Period is generally regarded as the greatest in the history of English Literature. Historically, we note in this age, the tremendous impetus received from the Renaissance from the Reformation & from the exploration of the new world.

It was marked by a strong national spirit, by patriotism, by religious tolerance, by social content, by intellectual progress & by unbounded enthusiasm.

Such an age of thought, feeling & vigorous action, finds its best expression in the drama; & the wonderful development of the drama, culminating.

Though the age produced some of the excellent prose works, it is essentially an age of poetry; & the poetry is remarkable for its variety, its freshness, its youth & romantic feeling.

Revival of Interest in Greek Literature

The ardent revival in the study of Greek literature brought a dazzling light into many dark places of interest. The new classical influences were a great benefit. They tempered & polished the earlier rudeness of English Literature.

Abundance of Output

The Elizabethan age was rich in literary productions of all kinds. Singing is impossible when one’s hearts undeclared & at any moment one may be laid prostrate.

Not till the accession of Queen Elizabeth, did a better state of things began to be. In the Elizabethan age, pamphlets & treatises were freely written.

Sometimes writers indulged in scurrilous abuses which were of personal character. But on the whole, the output of the literature was very wide, & after the lean years of the preceding epoch, the prodigal issue of the Elizabethan age is almost embarrassing.

The New Romanticism

The romantic quest is, for the remote, the wonderful & the beautiful. All these desires were abundantly fed during the Elizabethan age, which is the first & the greatest romantic epoch (period).

According to Albert, “there was a daring & resolute spirit of adventure in literary as well as the other regions, & most important of these was an un-mistakable buoyancy & freshness in the strong wind of the spirit. It was the ardent youth of English Literature & the achievement was worthy of it.”

Translations in Elizabethan Age

The Elizabethan age witnessed translation into English of several important foreign books. Many translations were as popular as the original works. Sir Thomas North translated Plutarch’s Lives & John Florio translated Montaigne’s Essais .

No less popular were the translations of poetry . E.g. Metamorphoses by Arthur Golding, Aristotle’s Orlando Furioso by Sir John Harrington, Tasso’s Terusalom Liberata by Richard Carew.

Spirit of Independence

In spite of borrowings from abroad, the authors of this age showed a spirit of independence & creativeness.  Shakespeare borrowed freely, but by the alembic of his creative imaginations, he transformed the dross into gold.

Spenser introduced the ‘ Spenserian Stanza ’, & from his works, we got the impression of inventiveness & intrepidity. On the whole, the outlook of the writers during the age was broad & independent.

Development of Drama

During the Elizabethan Age, the drama made a swift & wonderful leap into maturity . The drama reached the splendid perfection in the hands of Shakespeare & Ben Jonson, though in the concluding part of the age, particularly in Jacobean Age, there was a decline of drama standards.

Popularity of Poetry

Poetry enjoyed its hey-day during the Elizabethan age . The whole of the age lived in a state of poetic fervour. Songs, lyric s & sonnet s were produced in plenty, & England became the nest of the singing birds. In versification, there was a marked improvement. Melody & pictorialism were introduced in poetry by Spenser.

Prose & Novel

For the first time, prose rose to the position of first-rate importance. “Even the development of poetical drama between 1579 A.D. -1629 A.D., is hardly more extraordinary than the sudden expansion of English prose & its adaptation to every kind of literary requirement.”

The deadweight of the Latin & English prose acquired a tradition & universal application. English Novel made its first proper appearance during this age .


T. S. Eliot

T. S. Eliot Portrait

T. S. Eliot grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. He was educated first at Harvard University and then at Oxford University, with a break at the Sorbonne in Paris between his undergraduate and graduate degrees in Boston. He moved to England and began a strained marriage with Vivian Haigh-Wood in 1915. He supported himself by working at Lloyd's Bank in London from 1917-1925, then joined a publishing firm. In 1927, he became a British citizen and joined the Anglican Church. He was drawn to European fascism in the 1930s, but unlike Pound remained uninvolved in politics. His literary criticism, both on individual poets and on general principles of analysis, heavily influenced the American "New Critical" movement from the 1930s through the 1960s. His more general social criticism was more idiosyncratic; its Christian cultural commitments earned him an audience but its occasional anti-Semitism and severe conservatism isolated him from many readers. Eliot has a career that runs from "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” through The Waste Land to Four Quartets . He had notable success with his verse plays, among them Murder in the Cathedral (1935) and The Cocktail Party (1949).

When The Waste Land first appeared in journals on both sides of the ocean in 1922, it evoked for many readers the ruined landscape left to them after the historically unique devastation of trench warfare and mass slaughter of the first world war. Its fragments mirrored a shattered world, and its allusions, however erudite, recalled a civilized culture many felt they had lost. Even its tendency to taunt readers with failed possibilities of spiritual rebirth, along with its glimpses of a religious route to joining the pieces of a dismembered god and a broken socius, struck a chord. Eliot was one of many major modernist writers to yearn for a mythic synthesis remaining out of reach. In a surprisingly short period of time, The Waste Land became the preeminent poem of modernism, the unquestioned symbol of what was actually a much more diverse movement. Eventually, as its shadow came to hide other kinds of modernism—from more decisively vernacular language to poems strongly identified with race or revolution— The Waste Land gathered a set of compensatory ambitions and resentments.


  • T. S. Eliot Bibliography

Biographical Criticism

  • Ronald Bush: On "T. S. Eliot's Life and Career"
  • T. S. Eliot: Biographical Timeline

General Criticism

  • Stephen Spender: On "General Statements on Eliot"
  • J. Hillis Miller: On "General Statements on Eliot"

Other Writing by the Poet

  • T. S. Eliot: On "Tradition and the Individual Talent"

Poet Details

Poet timeline, t. s. eliot is born. 26 september, 1888.

Thomas Sterns Eliot is born September 26, 1888. He is born in St. Louis, Missouri, to Henry Ware Eliot and Charlotte Champe Stearns. 

Eliot is a student at Smith Academy in St. Louis 1 January, 1898

Eliot attends milton academy in massachusetts 1 january, 1905, eliot's undergraduate years at harvard. reads symons’s the symbolist movement in literature and the poetry of laforgue. studies with george santayana and irving babbitt 1 january, 1906, eliot spends a year at the sorbonne in paris. in the summer of 1911, finishes a version of "the love song of j. alfred prufrock" 1 january, 1910, eliot returns to harvard to study philosophy as a graduate student. begins doctoral thesis on f.h. bradley. 1 january, 1911, t. s. eliot visits paris to attend paris university. 1 september, 1911.

·         In May 1910, Eliot had a suspected case of scarlet fever which almost prevented his graduation from Harvard University. In fall Eliot undertook a postgraduate year in Paris at the University of Paris. 

Eliot Goes To England on fellowship; meets Ezra Pound. 1 January, 1914

Eliot studies abroad in germany. 1 june, 1914.

·         Eliot spends the beginning of 1914’s summer studying at a seminar in Marburg, Germany. Eliot departs from Germany early due to the impending World War and goes to London around August, where he meets Ezra Pound. 

T. S. Eliot meets Ezra Pound. 1 August, 1914

Eliot travels with Conrad Aiken to London from Germany because of increasing war tensions. Here he meets Ezra Pound. Aiken shows Pound Eliot's poetry, which greatly impresses Pound. 

Eliot marries Vivien Haigh-Wood on June 26th; begins publishing poems that later appear in the Prufrock volume. 1 January, 1915

Eliot works as teacher at highgate junior school and as university extension lecturer 1 january, 1916, eliot publishes prufrock and other observations 1 january, 1917, eliot takes a position at lloyds bank in the colonial and foreign department. 1 january, 1917, eliot publishes ezra pound: his metric and poetry 1 january, 1918, eliot's "tradition and the individual talent" appears in the egoist. 1 january, 1919, eliot publishes poems 1 january, 1919, eliot publishes ara vos prec 1 january, 1920, eliot publishes the sacred wood: essays on poetry and criticism 1 january, 1920.

The Sacred Wood is a collection of essays that Eliot wrote on many authors including Shakespeare, Dante, and William Blake.

Eliot takes leave from Lloyds Bank. Recuperating at Margate and Lausanne, finishes the drafts of The Waste Land, which he then shows to Pound. 1 January, 1921

Eliot takes several months off to rest after a nervous breakdown. 1 june, 1921.

Eliot suffers a breakdown in the summer of 1921 as a result of his father's passing in 1919 and his wife Vivien's deteriorating health. After his breakdown, his physician recommends taking time off to recover. His physician recommended taking time off at the coast of Margate in England. Eliot's friend Bertrand Russell recommends a sanitarium in Lausanne Switzerland. Over the course of 3 months Eliot spends time at both where he finishes his writings on "The Waste Land".

Eliot Publishes The Waste Land 1 January, 1922

The Waste Land is a 434 line poem presented in five-parts, written by T. S. Eliot; considered by many to be one of the greatest poets in history. It is one of the most important writings of modernist poetry. The Waste Land loosely follows the legend of the Holy Grail and the Fisher King while including cultural shades from Western canon, Buddhism and Hindu Upanishads. The Waste Land is highly recommended for those who enjoy important poetic works and for those newly discovering the talent of T. S. Eliot.

Eliot Publishes Homage to John Dryden: Three Essays On Poetry Of The Seventeenth Century 1 January, 1924

Three essays on 17th century literature, with particular emphasis on Dryden's poetry and criticism

Eliot Publishes Poems 1909-1925 1 January, 1925

Eliot joins the publishing house of faber & gwyer, leaves lloyds bank 1 january, 1925, eliot delivers the clark lectures at cambridge university. 1 january, 1926.

·         Eliot delivers the Clark Lectures at Cambridge University in 1926. His speech was entitled “The metaphysical poetry of the 17th century”. His speech took place Friday, January 1st 1926 at 2 pm.

Eliot Publishes Sweeney Agonistes 1 January, 1926

Eliot publishes journey of the magi 1 january, 1927, eliot enters the church of england and assumes british citizenship 1 january, 1927, eliot publishes shakespeare and the stoicism of seneca 1 january, 1927, eliot publishes a song for simeon 1 january, 1928.

Contains a drawing by E. McKnight Kauffer

Eliot Publishes For Lancelot Andrewes: Essays On Style And Order 1 January, 1928

Eliot publishes dante 1 january, 1929, eliot publishes animula 1 january, 1929, eliot publishes marina 1 january, 1930, eliot publishes ash-wednesday 1 january, 1930, eliot publishes thoughts after lambeth 1 january, 1931, eliot publishes triumphal march 1 january, 1931, eliot publishes charles whibley: a memoir 1 january, 1931, eliot delivers the norton lectures at harvard university. 1 january, 1932.

·         Eliot delivers the Norton Lectures at Harvard University in 1932 and 1933. Eliot’s 1932-33 speech was entitled “The Use of Poetry and the Use of Criticism: Studies in the Relation of Criticism to Poetry in England. This speech was later published by Harvard University Press.

Eliot Publishes Selected Essays 1917-1932 1 January, 1932

Eliot publishes john dryden: the poet, the dramatist, the critic 1 january, 1932.

This study of the noted literary figure of the Restoration deals separately with his various roles as poet, dramatist and critic.

Eliot’s 1932-33 Norton lectures at Harvard published under the title The Use of Poetry and the Use of Criticism (1933). At the University of Virginia, he delivers the lectures later published as After Strange Gods (1934). Obtains legal separation from Viv 1 January, 1933

Eliot publishes the use of poetry and the use of criticism: studies in the relation of criticism to poetry in england 1 january, 1933.

Eliot begins with the appearance of poetry criticism in the age of Dryden, when poetry became the province of an intellectual aristocracy rather than part of the mind and popular tradition of a whole people. Wordsworth and Coleridge, in their attempt to revolutionize the language of poetry at the end of the eighteenth century, made exaggerated claims for poetry and the poet, culminating in Shelley's assertion that "poets are the unacknowledged legislators of mankind." And, in the doubt and decaying moral definitions of the nineteenth century, Arnold transformed poetry into a surrogate for religion.

By studying poetry and criticism in the context of its time, Eliot suggests that we can learn what is permanent about the nature of poetry, and makes a powerful case for both its autonomy and its pluralism in this century.

Eliot Publishes After Strange Gods: A Primer Of Modern Heresy 1 January, 1934

Eliot publishes the rock: a pageant play 1 january, 1934.

The choruses in this pageant play represent a new verse experiment on Mr. Eliot's part; and taken together make a sequence of verses about twice the length of "The Waste Land." Mr. Eliot has written the words; the scenario and design of the play were provided by a collaborator, and the purpose was to provide a pageant of the Church of England for presentation on a particular occasion. The action turns upon the efforts and difficulties of a group of London masons in building a church. Incidentally a number of historical scenes, illustrative of church-building, are introduced. The play, enthusiastically greeted, was first presented in England, at Sadler's Wells; the production included much pageantry, mimetic action, and ballet, with music by Dr. Martin Shaw.

Eliot Publishes Elizabethan Essays 1 January, 1934

Seeks to define and illustrate a point of view toward theElizabeth drama which is different from that of the nineteenth-century tradition.

Revised as Essays On Elizabethan Drama (1956)

Republished as Elizabethan Dramatists (1963)

Eliot Publishes Words For Music 1 January, 1934

Eliot publishes murder in the cathedral 1 january, 1935.

T. S. Eliot's verse dramatization of the murder of Thomas Becket at Canterbury, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

The Archbishop Thomas Becket speaks fatal words before he is martyred in T. S. Eliot's best-known drama, based on the murder of the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1170. Praised for its poetically masterful handling of issues of faith, politics, and the common good, T. S. Eliot's play bolstered his reputation as the most significant poet of his time.

Eliot Publishes Essays Ancient & Modern 1 January, 1936

A collection of essays grappling with some of the most significant topics of our time, Essays Ancient and Modern reveals Eliot’s thoughts on his literary contemporaries and predecessors, the role of religion in a secular society, and the continuing tradition of the classics in modern education. Astute and erudite, here we see the inner thoughts of one of our greatest minds, articulated in some of his most eloquent and direct prose.

Eliot Publishes Collected Poems 1909-1935 1 January, 1936

Eliot publishes the idea of a christian society 1 january, 1939.

These three lectures by the renowned poet and playwright T. S. Eliot address the direction of religious thought toward criticism of political and economic systems. They were originally delivered in March 1939 at Corpus Christi College.

Republished in (1940)

Eliot Publishes The Family Reunion 1 January, 1939

A modern verse play dealing with the problem of man’s guilt and his need for expiation through his acceptance of responsibility for the sin of humanity. “What poets and playwrights have been fumbling at in their desire to put poetry into drama and drama into poetry has here been realized.... This is the finest verse play since the Elizabethans” (New York Times).

Eliot Publishes Old Possum's Book Of Practical Cats 1 January, 1939

The basis for the musical phenomenon Cats, this collection of 14 inviting rhymes — the mixture of the real and the impossible, the familiar and the fantastic — make for a set of poems that no child or adult can possibly resist. 

Eliot Publishes East Coker 1 January, 1940

Eliot publishes burnt norton 1 january, 1941, eliot publishes points of view/ edited by john hayward 1 january, 1941, eliot publishes the dry salvages 1 january, 1941, eliot publishes the music of poetry 1 january, 1942, eliot publishes little gidding 1 january, 1942, eliot publishes the classics and the man of letters 1 january, 1942, eliot publishes four quartets 1 january, 1943.

The last major verse written by Nobel laureate T. S. Eliot, considered by Eliot himself to be his finest work.

Four Quartets is a rich composition that expands the spiritual vision introduced in “The Waste Land.” Here, in four linked poems (“Burnt Norton,” “East Coker,” “The Dry Salvages,” and “Little Gidding”), spiritual, philosophical, and personal themes emerge through symbolic allusions and literary and religious references from both Eastern and Western thought. It is the culminating achievement by a man considered the greatest poet of the twentieth century and one of the seminal figures in the evolution of modernism.

Eliot Publishes Reunion By Destruction 1 January, 1943

Eliot publishes what is a classic 1 january, 1945, eliot publishes a practical possum 1 january, 1947, eliot's ex-wife, vivien eliot dies 1 january, 1947, eliot publishes on poetry 1 january, 1947, eliot publishes milton 1 january, 1947, eliot publishes notes towards the definition of culture 1 january, 1948.

The word culture, in recent years, has been widely and erroneously employed in political, educational, and journalistic contexts. In helping to define a word so greatly misused, T. S. Eliot contradicts many of our popular assumptions about culture, reminding us that it is not the possession of a class but of a whole society and yet its preservation may depend on the continuance of a class system, and that a “classless” society may be a society in which culture has ceased to exist.

Surveying the contemporary scene, Mr. Eliot points out that our standards of culture are lower than they were fifty years ago, finds evidence of this decay in every department of human activity, and sees no reason why the decay of culture should not proceed much further. He suggests that culture and religion have a common root and that if one decays the other may die too. He reminds us that “the Russians have been the first modern people to practice the political direction of culture consciously, and to attack at every point the culture of any people whom they wish to dominate.” The appendix includes his broadcasts to Europe, ending with a plea to preserve the legacy of Greece, Rome, and Israel, and Europe’s legacy throughout the last 2,000 years.

Republished in (1949)

Eliot Publishes From Poe To Valéry 1 January, 1948

Eliot wins nobel prize in literature 1 january, 1948, eliot publishes a sermon 1 january, 1948, eliot publishes selected poems 1 january, 1948.

Chosen by Eliot himself, the poems in this volume represent the poet’s most important work before Four Quartets. Included here is some of the most celebrated verse in modern literature-”The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” “Gerontion,” “The Waste Land,” “The Hollow Men,” and “Ash Wednesday”-as well as many other fine selections from Eliot’s early work.

Republished in (1967)

Eliot Publishes The Undergraduate Poems Of T.S. Eliot 1 January, 1949

Eliot publishes the aims of poetic drama 1 january, 1949, eliot wins tony award for best play: the broadway production of "the cocktail party" 1 january, 1950, eliot publishes the cocktail party 1 january, 1950.

A modern verse play about the search for meaning, in which a psychiatrist is the catalyst for the action. “An authentic modern masterpiece” (New York Post)

Eliot Publishes Poems Written In Early Youth 1 January, 1950

Republished in (1967) 

Eliot Publishes Poetry And Drama 1 January, 1951

Eliot publishes the value and use of cathedrals in england today 1 january, 1952, eliot publishes an address to members of the london library 1 january, 1952.

Republished in (1953)

Eliot Publishes The Complete Poems And Plays 1 January, 1952

This omnibus collection includes all of the author’s early poetry as well as the Four Quartets, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, and the plays "Murder in the Cathedral", "The Family Reunion", and "The Cocktail Party".

Eliot Publishes The Three Voices Of Poetry 1 January, 1953

Republished in (1954)

Eliot Publishes American Literature And The American Language 1 January, 1953

Eliot publishes the confidential clerk 1 january, 1954.

The Confidential Clerk was first produced at the Edinburgh Festival in the summer of 1953.

'The dialogue of The Confidential Clerk has a precision and a lightly felt rhythm unmatched in the writing of any contemporary dramatist.' (Times Literary Supplement)

'A triumph of dramatic skill: the handling of the two levels of the play is masterly and Eliot's verse registers its greatest achievement on the stage - passages of great lyrical beauty are incorporated into the dialogue.' (Spectator)

Eliot Publishes Religious Drama: Mediaeval And Modern 1 January, 1954

Eliot publishes the cultivation of christmas trees 1 january, 1954.

Republished in (1956)

Eliot Publishes The Literature Of Politics 1 January, 1955

Foreword by Sir Anthony Eden. Text of a lecture delivered at a literary luncheon, organized by the London Conservative Union, at the Overseas League, London, April 19, 1955.

Eliot Publishes The Frontiers Of Criticism 1 January, 1956

Eliot publishes on poetry and poets 1 january, 1957.

T. S. Eliot was not only one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century—he was also one of the most acute writers on his craft. In On Poetry and Poets, which was first published in 1957, Eliot explores the different forms and purposes of poetry in essays such as "The Three Voices of Poetry," "Poetry and Drama," and "What Is Minor Poetry?" as well as the works of individual poets, including Virgil, Milton, Byron, Goethe, and Yeats. As he writes in "The Music of Poetry," "We must expect a time to come when poetry will have again to be recalled to speech. The same problems arise, and always in new forms; and poetry has always before it . . . an ‘endless adventure.'"

Eliot Marries Valerie Fletcher on January 10th 1 January, 1957

Eliot publishes the elder statesman 1 january, 1959.

One of Eliot's plays

Eliot Publishes Geoffrey Faber 1889-1961 1 January, 1961

Eliot publishes collected plays 1 january, 1962, eliot publishes george herbert 1 january, 1962.

T.S. Eliot considered Herbert's religious verse above John Donne's and placed him firmly in the ranks of the great English poets. Peter Porter's new introduction gives a fresh perspective on the poetry of Herbert and on Eliot's study itself.

Eliot Publishes Collected Poems 1909-1962 1 January, 1963

In this volume, one of the most distinguished poets of our century selected all of his poetry through 1962 that he wished to preserve. An event of major literary significance, Collected Poems 1909-1962 was published on T. S. Eliot's seventy-fifth birthday. It offers the complete text of Collected Poems 1909-1935, the full text of "Four Quartets", and several other poems. Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, widely honored for his poetry, criticism, essays, and plays, T. S. Eliot exerted a profound influence on his contemporaries in the arts as well as on a great international audience of readers.

Eliot Publishes Knowledge And Experiences In The Philosophy Of F. H. Bradley 1 January, 1964

T. S. Elliot left Harvard during his third year of study in the department of philosophy and went to England. Forty-six years later he authorized the publication of his doctoral dissertation but the book is virtually impossible to find today.

Here we have a reprint of his sympathetic but not entirely uncritial study of the English idealist philosopher F. H. Bradley. Enthusiastic approval came to Eliot at the time from Harvard pragmatist Josiah Royce, who pronounced his writing of philosophy "the work of an expert."

Eliot's critical literary theory was deeply influenced by his early philosophical outlook. This rewarding book provides a potent refutation of the false but frequent claim that Eliot's poetic and critical intelligence had no philosophical writings, making this book indispensable to all literary critics and theorists.

Eliot Publishes To Criticize The Critic And Other Writings 1 January, 1965

These influential essay and lectures by T. S. Eliot span nearly a half century—from 1917, when he published The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, to 1961, four years before his death. With the luminosity and clarity of a first-rate intellect, Eliot considers the uses of literary criticism, the writers who had the greatest influence on his own work, and the importance of being truly educated.

T. S. Eliot dies. 4 January, 1965

T. S. Eliot dies January 4th, 1965. As per Eliot’s wishes his remains were interred at St. Michael’s church in East Coker, Somerset, England.

T. S. Eliots ashes are interred. 14 January, 1965

T. S. Eliot's ashes are interred at St. Michael's Church in East Coker.

Eliot Publishes The Waste Land: A Facsimile And Transcript Of The Original Drafts Including The Annotations Of Ezra Pound / edited by Valerie Eliot 1 January, 1971

Each facsimile page of the original manuscript is accompanied here by a typeset transcript on the facing page. This book shows how the original, which was much longer than the first published version, was edited through handwritten notes by Ezra Pound, by Eliot’s first wife, and by Eliot himself. Edited and with an Introduction by Valerie Eliot; Preface by Ezra Pound.

Eliot Publishes Selected Prose Of T.S. Eliot/edited by Frank Kermode 1 January, 1975

Thirty-one essays-categorized as “essays in generalization,” “appreciations of individual authors,” and “social and religious criticism”- written over a half century. This volume reveals Eliot’s original ideas, cogent conclusions, and skill and grace in language. Edited and with an Introduction by Frank Kermode; Index. Published jointly with Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

Eliot Wins Two Tony Awards For His Poems Used In The Musical "Cats" 1 January, 1983

Eliot publishes the letters of t.s. eliot. vol. 1, 1898-1922/edited by valerie eliot 1 january, 1988.

Included her are all the significant extant letters Eliot wrote up to age 24 as well as many letters written to him by his family, friends, and contemporaries. There are insights into his struggle to earn a living, care for a wife who was frequently ill, edit a magazine, and become known as a critic and poet. And through the correspondence emerges a memorable view of the social and intellectual milieu before and after World War I.

Valerie Eliot has written a detailed introduction, provided annotations and commentary, and selected numerous photographs of Eliot and his world, many of which have never been shown publicly. All these elements combine to create an exceptional portrait of Eliot in the early years of his personal and professional development -- the closest approximation readers will ever have to an autobiography of the poet.

Eliot Publishes The Varieties of Metaphysical Poetry: The Clark Lectures At Trinity College, Cambridge, 1926, And The Turnbull Lectures At The Johns Hopkins University, 1933/edited by Ronald Schuchard 1 January, 1993

Republished in (1994)

Eliot Publishes Inventions Of The March Hare: Poems 1909-1917/ edited by Christopher Ricks 1 January, 1996

This extraordinary trove of previously unpublished early works includes drafts of poems such as “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” as well as ribald verse and other youthful curios. “Perhaps the most significant event in Eliot scholarship in the past twenty-five years” (New York Times Book Review). Edited by Christopher Ricks.

Eliot Publishes The Waste Land: Authoritative Text, Contexts, Criticism 1 January, 2001

Eliot publishes the annotated waste land/edited by lawrence rainey 1 january, 2005.

Newly revised and in paperback for the first time, this definitive, annotated edition of T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land includes as a bonus all the essays Eliot wrote as he was composing his masterpiece. Enriched with period photographs, a London map of cited locations, groundbreaking information on the origins of the work, and full annotations, the volume is itself a landmark in literary history.

Eliot Publishes The Letters Of T.S. Eliot. Vol.2, 1923-1925/edited by Valerie Eliot and Hugh Haughton 1 January, 2009

The volume offers 1,400 letters, charting Eliot's journey toward conversion to the Anglican faith, as well as his transformation from banker to publisher and his appointment as director of the new publishing house Faber & Gwyer. The prolific and various correspondence in this volume testifies to Eliot's growing influence as cultural commentator and editor.

essay on elizabethan poetry

1962 Oil Painting by Sir Gerald Kelly.

National Portrait Gallery. Smithsonian Institution,

Washington D.C.

essay on elizabethan poetry

Headstone for T. S. Eliot.

The quote reads: "In my beginning is my end, In my end is my beginning".

Of your charity

Pray for the repose

Of the soul of


26th. September 1888- 4th. January 1965

essay on elizabethan poetry

Wyndham Lewis -- "T. S. Eliot"

Durban Art Gallery, South Africa

essay on elizabethan poetry

Home — Essay Samples — Geography & Travel — England — The Elizabethan Era in the English history


The Elizabethan Era in The English History

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essay on elizabethan poetry

Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History Essays

Elizabethan england.

Portrait of a Woman

Portrait of a Woman

Nicholas Hilliard


Portrait of Walter Devereux (1539–1576), First Earl of Essex

British Painter

Ewer from Burghley House, Lincolnshire

Ewer from Burghley House, Lincolnshire

Henry Frederick (1594–1612), Prince of Wales, with Sir John Harington (1592–1614), in the Hunting Field

Henry Frederick (1594–1612), Prince of Wales, with Sir John Harington (1592–1614), in the Hunting Field

Robert Peake the Elder

Standing salt with cover

Standing salt with cover

Portrait of a Woman

Armor Garniture of George Clifford (1558–1605), Third Earl of Cumberland

Made under the direction of Jacob Halder

Portrait of a Young Man, Probably Robert Devereux (1566–1601), Second Earl of Essex

Portrait of a Young Man, Probably Robert Devereux (1566–1601), Second Earl of Essex

James Voorhies Department of European Paintings, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

October 2002

Elizabeth I, daughter of King Henry VIII (r. 1509–47) and Anne Boleyn (ca. 1507–1536), ascended to the throne as queen of England (r. 1558–1603) with a fine balance of vigor and restraint that brought with it the official establishment of Protestantism in the Church of England (1558); the defeat of the Spanish Armada (1588); domestic peace in a previously divided country; and a flourishing environment for the humanities. Elizabeth I’s admiration for the arts, along with England’s economic buoyancy during her reign, provided ripe conditions for the production of enduring hallmarks in the visual, decorative, and performing arts.

During the age of Elizabeth, painting was dominated by portraiture , particularly in the form of miniatures, while elaborate textiles and embroidery prevailed in the decorative arts, and sculpture found its place within the confines of tomb and architectural decoration. Elizabeth I’s favored court painter, the Englishman Nicholas Hilliard (ca. 1547–1619), is best known for his miniature paintings. Following the tradition associated with Hans Holbein the Younger (1497/98–1543), Hilliard’s style emphasized distinctive line and reduced shadow. His Portrait of a Young Man, Probably Robert Devereux (1566–1601), Second Earl of Essex ( 35.89.4 ), delicately portrays the sitter with extraordinary attention to intricate patterning and fine line representing the precious, jewel-like objects sought after in Elizabethan England. Intended for private viewing, portrait miniatures were highly personal and intimate objects that often depicted lovers or mistresses. Isaac Oliver (ca. 1565–1617) studied under Hilliard, and together they became influential painters of miniature portraits.

Although painters of miniatures were en vogue with Elizabeth I, artists such as Robert Peake the Elder (ca. 1551–1619), Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger (Flemish, 1561–1635/36), John de Critz (before 1551–1642), and George Gower (1540–1596) also received commissions from the Crown, employing mild variations of the style developed by Hilliard and Oliver. In Henry Frederick (1594–1612), Prince of Wales, with Sir John Harington (1592–1614), in the Hunting Field  ( 44.27 ), Peake applies his light palette to a hunting scene in a highly decorative, patterned, and relatively flat format. Knowledgeable about European Mannerism and familiar with the artistic trends of the School of Fontainebleau , these artists made large-scale, full-length paintings that portray the noble class in richly decorative costumes with armor , embroidery, ruffs, hunting gear, weapons, and lace .

In the decorative arts, demand for domestic silver significantly increased during the mid-sixteenth century because of rapid growth in population and subsequent expansion of the middle and upper classes. The Museum’s silver salt ( 52.134.a-e ), characteristic of Elizabethan plate, is decorated with a melody of embossed sculptural vegetal forms, fruit, grotesque figures, and strapwork, topped with a figure finial to help vertically emphasize its placement on a table. These intricate designs of foliage and patterning were also applied to suits of armor ( 32.130.6 ) and domestic textiles, exemplified by the Metropolitan’s purse ( 1986.300.1 ), which is embroidered with colored silks and threads of gold and silver.

Voorhies, James. “Elizabethan England.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History . New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. (October 2002)

Further Reading

Glanville, Philippa. Silver in Tudor and Early Stuart England . London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1990.

Murdoch, John, et al. The English Miniature . Exhibition catalogue. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981.

Piper, David. The English Face . Rev. ed.. London: National Portrait Gallery, 1992.

Additional Essays by James Voorhies

  • Voorhies, James. “ Europe and the Age of Exploration .” (October 2002)
  • Voorhies, James. “ Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) .” (October 2004)
  • Voorhies, James. “ Francisco de Goya (1746–1828) and the Spanish Enlightenment .” (October 2003)
  • Voorhies, James. “ Paul Cézanne (1839–1906) .” (October 2004)
  • Voorhies, James. “ School of Paris .” (October 2004)
  • Voorhies, James. “ Art of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries in Naples .” (October 2003)
  • Voorhies, James. “ Alfred Stieglitz (1864–1946) and His Circle .” (October 2004)
  • Voorhies, James. “ Fontainebleau .” (October 2002)
  • Voorhies, James. “ Post-Impressionism .” (October 2004)
  • Voorhies, James. “ Domestic Art in Renaissance Italy .” (October 2002)
  • Voorhies, James. “ Surrealism .” (October 2004)

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Elizabethan Era

In this collection, you'll find expert analyses on major literary works from the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603) including William Shakespeare's plays, Michel de Montaigne's essays, and Philip Sidney's poems.

Amoretti: Sonnet XXXV

By edmund spenser.

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... Read Amoretti: Sonnet XXXV Summary

Arden of Faversham

By anonymous.

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Arden of Faversham is an Elizabethan play originally performed in 1592. The play’s authorship is disputed. While potential authors include Thomas Kyd, Christopher Marlowe, and Thomas Watson, computer stylometric analyses attribute probable authorship to William Shakespeare. The Oxford Shakespeare attributes the play to Shakespeare and an anonymous collaborator, potentially Watson.The play is the first extant example of English domestic tragedy, which would subsequently flourish throughout Elizabeth and Jamesian drama and be rekindled in the 1700s ... Read Arden of Faversham Summary

As You Like It

By william shakespeare.

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As You Like It is a pastoral comedy by William Shakespeare. The date of its first performance is unknown, but it is believed to have been written in 1599. As You Like It was first published in 1623 in the First Folio, the first of the posthumously published collections of Shakespeare’s plays.This summary refers to the 2019 Folger Shakespeare Library updated edition. Your edition’s line numbers and spellings may vary slightly.Plot SummaryWhen the play begins ... Read As You Like It Summary

Doctor Faustus

By christopher marlowe.

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In the play Doctor Faustus, an ambitious scholar sells his soul to the devil in exchange for knowledge and power. Written by Christopher Marlowe, the work was first produced in 1592 in London, where it caused a sensation, influenced Shakespeare’s plays, and launched a cottage industry in books, music, and other arts about the man who risked eternal damnation for the chance to control reality.Christopher Marlowe was born in Canterbury, England, in 1564 and died ... Read Doctor Faustus Summary

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Christopher Marlowe published the Elizabethan play Edward II in 1593, basing it on the life of the English king of the same name. The play, for the most part, is an accurate depiction of Edward II’s tragic reign and demise. It is highly stylized, however, according to the theatrical traditions of the time. Edward II is notable for its clever treatment of the homosexual relationship between the king and Gaveston, his consort. Over five acts ... Read Edward II Summary

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First performed in 1609, Hamlet is one of the best-known and most influential works of the playwright William Shakespeare (1564-1616). This summary refers to the 2001 Pelican edition of the play.Plot SummaryOn a dark night, sentinels see a ghost stalking the battlements of Elsinore Castle, the royal seat of Denmark. It is the dead king, who has returned to tell his son Hamlet to avenge him. He was murdered by his brother, Claudius, who then ... Read Hamlet Summary

by Maggie O’Farrell

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... Read Hamnet Summary

Henry IV, Part 1

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Henry IV, Part 1 is the second play in English playwright William Shakespeare’s Henriad tetralogy, preceded by Richard II. The play was written sometime prior to 1597, and it was a hit with critics and audiences. Henry IV, Part 1 introduces Sir John Falstaff, one of Shakespeare’s most enduringly popular characters, who also appears in Henry IV, Part 2 and The Merry Wives of Windsor. The play follows the wayward Prince Hal, the son of ... Read Henry IV, Part 1 Summary

Iambicum Trimetrum

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Along with his contemporary Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser is one of the most important literary figures from the English Renaissance (c. 1550-1660), also known as the Early Modern Period. Spenser’s work was greatly influenced by his studies of Classical and Italian Renaissance poets, including Virgil, Ludovico Ariosto, and Torquato Tasso. His faith and study of Christianity also informed his work. With Sidney, who was also an influence, and his friend Gabriel Harvey, Spenser belonged to ... Read Iambicum Trimetrum Summary

Julius Caesar

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The Tragedy of Julius Caesar is a history play and tragedy written by William Shakespeare and first performed in 1599. The play dramatizes the events surrounding the 44 BC assassination of Julius Caesar, a Roman general and statesman. Shakespeare’s main source material for the play was Plutarch’s Lives, a series of biographies of famous men, published in the second century, and translated into English by Thomas North in 1579. Shakespeare sometimes deviated from his source ... Read Julius Caesar Summary

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King Lear is a play written around 1606 by the English playwright William Shakespeare. Widely considered one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies, King Lear tells the story of a king who goes mad after bequeathing his fortune and power to his daughters. It is loosely based on the myth of Leir of Britain, a legendary monarch said to have ruled Ancient Britons in the eighth century B.C.This guide refers to the 1999 Pelican Shakespeare edition. Please ... Read King Lear Summary

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Macbeth is one of William Shakespeare’s most celebrated plays. Classified as a tragedy and thought to be performed for the first time in 1606, it tells the story of a Scottish nobleman who becomes obsessed with power and is driven mad by guilt.Plot SummaryThe play opens with three witches, who make plans to meet again. In a military camp, King Duncan of Scotland hears the news of his generals’ success. Macbeth and Banquo have defeated ... Read Macbeth Summary

Montaigne: Essays

By michel de montaigne.

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Montaigne: Selected Essays comes from the pen of Michel de Montaigne, a 16th-century French jurist, advisor, and diplomat whose many adventures would make a compelling autobiography. Instead, Montaigne writes a series of short works that examine his innermost thoughts and feelings, attitudes and beliefs, preferences and daily habits. This would seem a dull topic, but Montaigne’s charm, wit, and wisdom shine through and make the mundane seem fascinating. His attitude is tolerant and open-minded for ... Read Montaigne: Essays Summary

Much Ado About Nothing

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Much Ado About Nothing, a comedy dating from the mid-career period of William Shakespeare was probably written just prior to 1600. The play has the trappings of a theatrical farce with its use of assumptions and misunderstandings. Main characters Benedick and Beatrice are duped into announcing their love for each other while Claudio is fooled into spurning Hero at the altar when he mistakenly believes that she has not been faithful to him. The theme of lovers being tricked ... Read Much Ado About Nothing Summary

Nathan the Wise

By gotthold lessing.

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... Read Nathan the Wise Summary

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William Shakespeare’s Othello is a tragedy written in approximately 1603 and published in 1622. The play begins in Venice, where Iago, a subordinate of Othello’s and a captain in the Venetian defense forces, tells Roderigo that Othello has passed him over for promotion. Instead, Othello, a Moor, has chosen the noble and popular Michael Cassio to be his lieutenant. Iago tells Roderigo that he will have his revenge on Othello but behave as a loyal ... Read Othello Summary

Romeo and Juliet

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Romeo and Juliet is one of William Shakespeare’s best-known plays. First performed before 1597 (the date of its earliest known printing), it has been popular and influential ever since.This summary refers to the 2011 Folger Shakespeare Library edition. Your edition’s line numbers may vary slightly.Plot SummaryA feud between two noble families, the Montagues and the Capulets, is tearing apart the city of Verona. Young men allied with these households fight each other in the streets ... Read Romeo and Juliet Summary

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... Read Sonnet 116 Summary

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William Shakespeare is the best-known author of the English Renaissance—also known as the Early Modern Period and the Elizabethan Age. Though readers’ attention tends to be more riveted toward his plays, Shakespeare published 154 sonnets during his exceptionally prolific career, in addition to the longer-form poems Venus and Adonis (1593), The Rape of Lucrece (1594), and The Phoenix and the Turtle (1601). Fifteen editions of Venus and Adonis—a poem in the form of 199 six-line ... Read Sonnet 18 Summary

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... Read Sonnet 29 Summary

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“Sonnet 55” (1609) is an English love sonnet by renowned poet William Shakespeare (1564-1616). The sonnet is part of Shakespeare’s Fair Youth sonnet sequence, which makes up the first 126 of his sonnets. This sonnet follows a number of the Fair Youth sonnets in the way it praises the fair youth’s beauty and claims his beauty is eternal. In this sonnet specifically, Shakespeare claims that the subject’s beauty will outlive all monuments of princes and ... Read Sonnet 55 Summary

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... Read Sonnet 73 Summary

The Book of the Courtier

By baldassarre castiglione.

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Baldassare Castiglione, an Italian courtier, diplomat, soldier, and prominent Renaissance author, wrote The Book of the Courtier between 1513 and 1527. Principally an instructive work, the book takes place over the course of four evenings in the Italian court of Urbino in 1507. To entertain themselves, the courtiers discuss the nature and traits of the ideal courtier, dealing with topics of individual morals, behavior, and etiquette, particularly in situations involving royalty.The book begins with a ... Read The Book of the Courtier Summary

The Burning Babe

By robert southwell.

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... Read The Burning Babe Summary

The Defence of Poesy

By philip sidney.

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Sir Philip Sidney’s The Defence of Poesy, also called An Apology for Poetry, is one of the earliest works of English literary criticism. Presented in the format of a speech, as if it were a rhetorical exercise, this treatise responds to contemporary and ancient criticisms of poetry. Relying heavily on examples from ancient history and literature, Sidney argues in this work that poetry surpasses the other literary genres in its ability to stir its audience ... Read The Defence of Poesy Summary

The Merchant of Venice

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The Merchant of Venice is a play written in the 1590s by the English playwright William Shakespeare. It concerns a Jewish moneylender in Venice named Shylock who is determined to extract a pound of flesh from a merchant who fails to pay a debt on time. The play remains controversial due to the anti-Semitic stereotypes it perpetuated in its time and for centuries thereafter. Despite this, the play continues to be read and performed frequently ... Read The Merchant of Venice Summary

The Mirror and the Light

By hilary mantel.

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... Read The Mirror and the Light Summary

The Rape of Lucrece

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“The Rape of Lucrece,” written by William Shakespeare, was originally published in 1594 by Richard Field. This poem comes early in Shakespeare’s canon, with its original publication near the end of Queen Elizabeth I’s reign, shortly after Taming of the Shrew and around the time of A Midsummer Nights’ Dream. As a companion piece to “Venus and Adonis,” Shakespeare dedicates “The Rape of Lucrece” to the Earl of Southampton, Henry Wriothesley, his patron. It went ... Read The Rape of Lucrece Summary

The Second Shepherd's Play

By wakefield master.

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The Second Shepherd’s Play is a medieval mystery play written by an anonymous author known as the Wakefield Master that centers on a retelling of the Biblical story of the Nativity. The play is written in verse. At the beginning of the play, the 1st shepherd, Col, and the 2nd shepherd, Gib, are guarding their flocks and grumbling about the freezing weather. In his opening speech, Col complains about the fact that as poor shepherds ... Read The Second Shepherd's Play Summary

The Taming of the Shrew

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The Taming of the Shrew is one of William Shakespeare’s earliest comedies, probably first performed around 1593. While the play’s depiction of women is the subject of much debate among modern readers and scholars, its popularity endures, and the play continues to be reproduced in various mediums. Notable adaptations include the 1967 film starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, and the 1999 romantic comedy 10 Things I Hate About You.This guide refers to the 2014 ... Read The Taming of the Shrew Summary

The Tempest

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One of the most popular plays by William Shakespeare, The Tempest tells the comic tale of Prospero, the overthrown duke of Milan, who maroons his betrayers on a magical island. There, he creates spells and enchantments that toy with the evildoers until they promise to return him to his throne. The production, first staged in London in 1611, provides spectacle, elaborate effects, screwball comedy, intrigue, and romance in a story about ambition, revenge, remorse, love ... Read The Tempest Summary

Twelfth Night

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Exploring themes of love, gender, and identity, William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, or What You Will was first performed in England in 1602 and first published in 1623 after Shakespeare’s death. Twelfth Night takes its title from the twelfth night of Christmas, a raucous holiday marked with feasting and entertainment. The subtitle What You Will refers to freedom or a lack of restriction. This guide refers to the Folger Shakespeare Library edition of the text. Plot Summary The ... Read Twelfth Night Summary

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Plant Studies in Indian Literature

                                                                       Plant Studies in Indian Literature             Indian literature is a rich and diverse tapestry woven from the threads of countless languages, cultures, traditions, and encompasses a vast array of literary forms, genres, and themes, reflecting the complex tapestry of Indian society, its history, spirituality, and cultural heritage. From the ancient Vedas to contemporary works exploring modern Indian identity, Indian literature offers a window into the soul of a nation characterized by its diversity and complexity. Stretching back thousands of years, Indian literature is marked by its pluralism and inclusivity, drawing inspiration from a wide range of philosophical, religious, and cultural influences. Indian literature has served as a medium for the expression of diverse voices and perspectives, reflecting the myriad experiences of people. Currently, Indian literature occupies a prominent place on the global stage, with Indian writers garnering international acclaim and recognition for their contributions to world literature. Through its diversity, complexity, and depth, Indian literature continues to captivate and inspire readers around the world, inviting them on a timeless journey through the heart and soul of one of the world's ancient and most vibrant civilizations. Objective            This Call for Proposals (CFP) endeavours to compile a comprehensive and interdisciplinary anthology that delves into the intricate representations of plants and flora across various genres and time periods within Indian Writings in English. This publication seeks to facilitate a nuanced exploration of the profound role played by botanical imagery in shaping the emotional, cultural, and environmental landscapes depicted in Indian literary works. By fostering interdisciplinary dialogue and critical examination, this project aims to provide fresh insights into the multifaceted relationship between humans and plants, as portrayed in Indian Literature. Through this endeavour, we aim to enrich our understanding of the diverse botanical heritage embedded in Indian literary traditions and its relevance in contemporary discussions surrounding nature, culture, and ecology  Target Audience              In this Call for Proposals (CFP), the primary focus is on Indian writings in English. We seek contributions from scholars, researchers, and academicians specializing in the analysis of Indian literary works, both classic and contemporary. By delving into the profound interplay between humans and the natural world depicted in Indian literature, this CFP aims to attract individuals passionate about exploring the intricate relationship between plants and the cultural, environmental, and emotional aspects woven into various literary traditions, particularly within the realm of Indian writings in English.   Recommended topics include, but are not limited to, the following:  Plant metaphors and symbolisms in Indian Writings in English Comparative analysis of plant representation across different Indian literary periods The ecological and environmental perspectives in Indian literature through plant imagery  Cultural, social, and emotional dimensions of plant representations in     Indian literary texts  Plants as objects of allegory, metaphor, or fable in Indian literary contexts Depiction of flora in mythological narratives  Plants as symbols of love, longing, or spirituality in Indian literature Representation of plants in Indian folk tales, oral traditions, and folk songs Botanical gardens, herbal medicine, and plant cultivation practices depicted in Indian literary texts  Plants as markers of identity, belonging, or displacement in diasporic Indian literature Gendered perspectives on plant imagery and botanical metaphors in Indian literary discourse    Peer Review : All the accepted manuscripts will undergo a double-blind review before publication.    Submission Procedure Researchers and practitioners are invited to submit an abstract of 150 to 250 words with a brief note on the author's bio and contact information (including full name, affiliation, official e-mail address, and mobile number) on or before April 21, 2024. At least one author contributing to the chapter should possess a Ph.D. Send your abstracts to [email protected] or [email protected] .   Note : There are no submission or publication fees.   Publisher: This book series is associated with Dr. Douglas Vakoch’s ‘Critical Plant Series’ published by Lexington Books, a renowned publisher committed to advancing scholarly research and intellectual discourse across various fields. Lexington Books has established itself as an excellent platform for academics, researchers, and authors to disseminate their work to a global audience. It continues to publish high-quality peer-reviewed monographs and edited collections by established and emerging scholars who contribute to the humanities and social sciences. For additional information regarding the publisher, please visit .  Editorial Advisory Board Members  Jaishmitha Riny R, Research Scholar, Christ Deemed to be University, Bangalore, India. 

Prof. Nirmal Selvamony is former founding professor and Head of the department of English Studies, and Dean, School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Central University of Tamil Nadu. His major areas of interest, in the last four decades, have been alternative ( ti ṇai ) lifeway,  ti ṇai  studies,  tolkāppiyam , ecocriticism,  tami ḻ  musicology, poetics, and theory. Among his many endeavours to pioneer the  ti ṇ ai   movement ,  some significant ones are the launching of the group called " ti ṇ ai " in 1980 in Chennai, offering the first-ever ecocriticism course (then called "Tamil Poetics") in the Indian university system in the 1980s, and the formulation (in the 1980s) of a theory now known as " putti ṇ ai "  (formerly, Oikopoetics).

Dr. A. Edwin Jeevaraj, Associate Professor, Christ Deemed to be University, Bangalore, India. 

N. Depak Saravanan, Assistant Professor, Christ Deemed to be University, Bangalore, India.   


  1. English literature

    English literature - Elizabethan Poetry, Prose: English poetry and prose burst into sudden glory in the late 1570s. A decisive shift of taste toward a fluent artistry self-consciously displaying its own grace and sophistication was announced in the works of Spenser and Sidney. It was accompanied by an upsurge in literary production that came to fruition in the 1590s and 1600s, two decades of ...

  2. Elizabethan literature

    The Elizabethan age saw the flowering of poetry (the sonnet, the Spenserian stanza, dramatic blank verse), was a golden age of drama (especially for the plays of Shakespeare), and inspired a wide variety of splendid prose (from historical chronicles, versions of the Holy Scriptures, pamphlets, and literary criticism to the first English novels). From about the beginning of the 17th century a ...

  3. What Is Elizabethan Poetry

    Elizabethan poetry also brought with it an emphasis on the use of imagery and symbolism to express feelings and ideas. This is especially evident in the work of John Donne and William Shakespeare. The use of imagery and symbolism in Elizabethan poetry was a way to explore deeper philosophical ideas, as well as to express strong emotions.

  4. Elizabethan Period Poetry: Characteristics & Themes

    Introduction. The first great age of the English language was during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603) in England. Named after the monarch, the Elizabethan age, produced some of the biggest marvels of English Literature in history. The influence of Italy, France, and Spain on English literature continued in this age.

  5. What are the characteristics of Elizabethan poetry?

    Share Cite. The general characteristics of the Elizabethan poetry, given this genre typically focuses on creativity, is the use of metaphors, repetition, puns, and paradoxes. The metaphor is ...

  6. The English Renaissance

    The English Renaissance, an era of cultural revival and poetic evolution starting in the late 15th century and spilling into the revolutionary years of the 17th century, stands as an early summit of poetry achievement, the era in which the modern sense of English poetry begins. The era's influence—its enduring traditions, inspiring ...

  7. Elizabethan literature

    In the 20th century T. S. Eliot's many essays on Elizabethan subjects were mainly concerned with Elizabethan theatre, but he also attempted to bring back long-forgotten poets to general attention, like Sir John Davies, whose cause he championed in an article in The Times Literary Supplement in 1926 (republished in On Poetry and Poets in 1957).

  8. The Best Poems of the Elizabethan Era

    The Elizabethan era (1558-1603) was a golden age of English poetry, drama, and song-writing, with sonnets, madrigals, and pioneering plays all being produced. Below, we introduce ten of the greatest poems of the Elizabethan age. If these whet your appetite for more, we can highly recommend Elizabethan Lyrics edited by Norman Ault, a bumper collection…

  9. PDF Chief Characteristics of Elizabethan Poetry

    English Renaissance, and saw the full flowering of English literature and English poetry. This paper aims to find out the chief characteristics of Elizabethan Poetry. Keywords: Elizabeth, Poetry, Prose, Shakespeare, Marlowe, University Wits The Elizabethan Poetry (1558-1603): The age of Shakespeare or the Elizabethan Age witnessed of the

  10. 9

    6 Late medieval literature in Scotland: Henryson, Dunbar and Douglas; 7 Sixteenth-century poetry: Skelton, Wyatt and Surrey; 8 Spenser; 9 Sidney, Shakespeare and the Elizabethan sonnet and lyric; 10 The narrative poetry of Marlowe and Shakespeare; 11 Seventeenth-century poetry 1: poetry in the age of Donne and Jonson

  11. English literature

    English literature - Renaissance, Poetry, Drama: In a tradition of literature remarkable for its exacting and brilliant achievements, the Elizabethan and early Stuart periods have been said to represent the most brilliant century of all. (The reign of Elizabeth I began in 1558 and ended with her death in 1603; she was succeeded by the Stuart king James VI of Scotland, who took the title James ...

  12. Queen Elizabeth I

    Although the influence of Queen Elizabeth I on the literature of the period that bears her name has been much discussed, her own status as an author has been less recognized. Critics have traced her role as subject of or inspiration for such works as Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene (1590-1596), William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream (1600), and some Petrarchan sonnets, but have she ...

  13. Elizabethan Poetry: Modern Essays in Criticism

    Elizabethan Poetry: Modern Essays in Criticism A Galaxy book Volume 133 of Oxford paperbacks Volume 133 of Oxford paperbacks: Poetry: Editor: Paul J. Alpers: Publisher: Oxford University Press, 1967: Length: 524 pages : Export Citation: BiBTeX EndNote RefMan

  14. What are the main characteristics of Elizabethan lyric poetry?

    Expert Answers. Lyric poems are short poems that express emotion. An Elizabethan lyric poem usually had a regular meter and was often, but not always, written in iambic pentameter, meaning lines ...

  15. The Elizabethan Sonnet Sequence

    The phrase "Elizabethan sonnet sequences" refers to the series of English sonnets written by various prominent practitioners in the Elizabethan era, such as William Shakespeare, Sir Philip Sidney, and Edmund Spenser. Shakespeare's sonnet sequence includes 154 sonnets. Spenser's main sonnet series is a collection entitled Amoretti and ...

  16. Elizabethan Poetry Essay

    Poetry in Elizabethan time was based on courtly love conventions which included conceits and complements. Themes such as the unattainability of the lady, sleeplessness, constancy in love, cruelty of the beloved, renunciation of love, fine passion of the lover versus icy emotions of the beloved, praise of the beloved's beauty and ...

  17. Elizabethan Era Literature: Characteristics, Themes, and Authors

    Elizabethan Period is generally regarded as the greatest in the history of English Literature. Historically, we note in this age, the tremendous impetus received from the Renaissance from the Reformation & from the exploration of the new world.. It was marked by a strong national spirit, by patriotism, by religious tolerance, by social content, by intellectual progress & by unbounded enthusiasm.

  18. Elizabethan Lyric Poetry and Sonnets

    Elizabethan Lyric Poetry and Sonnets. Elizabethan Prose Fiction of Essay Writing. Renaissance broke the insularity of England and English scholars drank deep in the fountain of the Creek and Latin and continental literature. It was humanism which provoked the revival of English poetry with his invention of new vocabulary, new stanzaic forms ...

  19. T. S. Eliot

    Revised as Essays On Elizabethan Drama (1956) Republished as Elizabethan Dramatists (1963) Eliot Publishes Words For Music ... Three Essays On Poetry Of The Seventeenth Century. Eliot's The Letters Of T.S. Eliot. Vol.1, 1898-1922/edited by Valerie Eliot. Eliot's Journey Of The Magi.

  20. Looking At The Elizabethan Era English Literature Essay

    The Elizabethan Era is a period that took place since 1558 until 1625. England experienced an intense phase of economic and cultural development. It was one of the most interesting periods in the British history because it is characterized by explorations, cultural changes such as in literature or theatre, religion, education and politics.

  21. The Elizabethan Era in The English History

    The Elizabethan age saw the flowering of poetry (the sonnet, the Spenserian stanza, dramatic blank verse), was a golden age of drama (especially for the plays of Shakespeare), and inspired a wide variety of splendid prose (from historical chronicles, versions of the Holy Scriptures, pamphlets, and literary criticism to the first English novels).

  22. Elizabethan England

    Isaac Oliver (ca. 1565-1617) studied under Hilliard, and together they became influential painters of miniature portraits. Although painters of miniatures were en vogue with Elizabeth I, artists such as Robert Peake the Elder (ca. 1551-1619), Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger (Flemish, 1561-1635/36), John de Critz (before 1551-1642), and ...

  23. Elizabethan Era

    Publication year 1592 Genre Essay Collection, Nonfiction Themes Relationships: Friendship Tags Philosophy, Elizabethan Era, French Literature Montaigne: Selected Essays comes from the pen of Michel de Montaigne, a 16th-century French jurist, advisor, and diplomat whose many adventures would make a compelling autobiography.

  24. Weekend Edition Saturday for April 13, 2024 : NPR

    Callie Siskel on 'Two Minds', her new poetry collection about love and loss. by Scott Simon. 7 min. Callie Siskel on 'Two Minds', her new poetry collection about love and loss.

  25. cfp

    Selected papers will be published in the book titled Narratives of Disease in Literature and Culture. Co-Editors: Dr Viktorija Krombholc (University of Novi Sad, Serbia) & Dr Slađana Stamenković (University of Novi Sad, Serbia) Editorial Board: Dr Roberta Maierhofer (University of Graz, Austria) Dr Réka Cristian (University of Szeged, Hungary)

  26. cfp

    CALL FOR PAPERS: Esferas Literarias nº 7 (2024) Monograph: The monstrous mother in Literature The role of the mother is sacred to many cultures since prehistoric times, as it is regarded as the main generative and nurturing power for the origin of life as well as the main agent for childcare.

  27. cfp

    Plant Studies in Indian Literature Indian literature is a rich and diverse tapestry woven from the threads of countless languages, cultures, traditions, and encompasses a vast array of literary forms, genres, and themes, reflecting the complex tapestry of Indian society, its history, spirituality, and cultural heritage.