To gain a full understanding of the literature and history of early modern England, students need to study the prose of the period. Aiming to make early modern prose more visible to teachers, this volume approaches prose as a genre that requires as much analysis and attention as the drama and poetry of the time. The essays collected here consider the broad cultural questions raised by prose and explore prose style, showing teachers how to hone students' writing skills in the process.Noting that the inclusion of Renaissance prose in anthologies now makes it easier to teach texts discussed in this volume, the introduction considers the practical and historical reasons prose has been taught less often than poetry and drama. The essays call attention to the range of prose writing and to the variety of definitions that have been developed to describe it. In part 1, contributors outline broad issues concerning early modern prose, looking at rhetoric and pamphlet writing and asking how to classify nonfiction. Essays in part 2 discuss particular genres, such as sermons, martyrologies, autobiographies, and Quaker writings. The third part explores specific prose works, including Francis Bacon's scientific writing, Richard Hooker's prose, and the transcribed speeches of Queen Elizabeth I. The final part, "Crossings and Pairings," examines ways to use prose in teaching early modern attitudes toward issues such as education, imperialism, and the translation of the Bible.
Susannah Brietz Monta is John Cardinal O'Hara, C.S.C., and Glynn Family Honors Associate Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame. Her book Martyrdom and Literature in Early Modern England won the Book of the Year award from the Conference on Christianity and Literature. She has published articles on history plays, saints and martyrs, early modern women, and pedagogy and is the editor of Religion and Literature. Her current projects include work on Catholicism and time and research on miracles in early modern writing. Margaret W. Ferguson is Distinguished Professor of English at the University of California, Davis. She was chair of English from 2006 to 2009. The author of Trials of Desire: Renaissance Defenses of Poetry and Dido's Daughters: Literacy, Gender, and Empire in Early Modern England and France, she has coedited eleven volumes, among them Re-membering Milton: The Texts and the Traditions and Rewriting the Renaissance: The Discourses of Sexual Difference in Early Modern Europe. Her current project is a study of Aphra Behn's theory and practice of translation.