This is a comprehensive guide to a literary period characterized by
great variety and imagination, and vividly alert to the social
transformations overtaking society. Spanning almost two centuries,
it introduces the reader to a diverse range of authors writing for
a fast-developing readership of both men and women. Each chapter
focuses on a group of genres primarily associated with a particular
social class - from the Drama and Saints' Lives accessible to the
illiterate, to the sophisticated Romances of Love savoured by the
aristocracy and the Court. Lively historical narratives place each
group of texts in their social, political and cultural contexts.
Significant or typical texts are given more detailed analysis that
includes critical issues and questions to guide the reader's own
approach, and each section is supported by a detailed bibliography
of further reading.
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