Department of English

The Art of English Poesy by George Puttenham (Cornell University Press, 2007)

Thu, November 8, 2007
George Puttenham’s Art of English Poesy is a foundational work of English Renaissance criticism and literary theory. Rich in detail about the nature, purpose, and functions of poetry as well as the poet’s character and goals, it is also a valuable historical document, offering generous insight into Elizabethan court culture.

This new critical edition of The Art of English Poesy contains the first modernized and fully annotated edition of Puttenham’s 1589 text; a substantial introductory essay, including a concise biography of Puttenham, by Frank Whigham and Wayne A. Rebhorn; a comprehensive bibliography; several glossaries and appendixes; and an index.

The editors’ introduction presents Puttenham to modern readers and situates The Art of English Poesy in the context of the rhetorical theory, poetics, and courtly conduct of its time.

''Frank Whigham and Wayne A. Rebhorn have done a major service to everyone seriously interested in English Renaissance literature and culture. Puttenham's curious, encyclopedic, and haunting book is of enormous interest and importance, and we have never had a usable and annotated edition of it. Whigham and Rebhorn have provided a readable and fully, usefully, and intelligently annotated text. That in itself would have been a major service. But their introduction is an extremely useful work of criticism and scholarship that is also a major contribution. We are all in their debt.''

—Richard Strier, Frank L. Sulzberger Distinguished Service Professor, University of Chicago
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