The English Renaissance: an anthology of sources and documents

Kate Aughterson (Editor)

Research output: Book/ReportBook - edited


This is a scholarly book, and an unusual one at that. Consisting, as it does, of more than 600 pages of quotations from original sources and documents, it will be of great interest and use to historians and students of the English Renaissance, which is here defined as happening between the years 1550 and 1660. The compiler of this anthology is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Central England, and she is a specialist who has already produced a source book entitled Renaissance Women, published by Routledge in 1995. Before probing into the book proper it is important to read Aughterson’s introduction. After those pages have been studied, it will then be found that her volume is presented in eight parts under the headings of Religion, Politics, Society and social life, Education, Literary and cultural theories, Science and magic, Gender and sexuality, and finally Exploration and trade. Under each of these heads come the quotations, usually twenty or more, from Renaissance writers and these, read with care and not a little patience, are certain to help students to expand their knowledge of this period. Most of the writers cited are well-known. A few random names include William Tyndale, John Foxe and William Laud in the field of religion; Hooker, Bacon and Hobbes in the political part; Elyot, Ascham and Cornelius on education; Sidney, Nashe, Spenser and Jonson on literary aspects; Raleigh and Hakluyt appear under exploration and trade. And so on. But one of the real merits of this collection is that Aughterson has cast her net very widely, and there are many quotations, equally significant, from lesser-known and sometimes anonymous writers. This makes the volume a real treasure-house for all those who are interested in how man’s knowledge developed during the Elizabethan and early Stuart years of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. At the end of the book Aughterson provides a helpful chronology, notes, select bibliographies, and the necessary index. Altogether, this is an anthology of original sources which no English historian can afford to ignore. (Article citation: K.C. Harrison, (1998) "The English Renaissance: An Anthology of Sources and Documents", Reference Reviews, Vol. 12 Iss: 8, pp.12 - 12)
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages607
ISBN (Electronic)6610332363
ISBN (Print)0415185548
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 1998


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