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Imagining Death in Spenser and Milton assembles a collection of essays on the compelling topic of death in two monumental representatives of the early modern canon, Edmund Spenser and John Milton. The volume draws its impetus from the conviction that death is a central, yet curiously understudied, preoccupation for Spenser and Milton, contending that death--in all its early modern reformations and deformations--is an indispensable backdrop for any attempt to articulate the relationship between Spenser and Milton.
England became a centrally important maritime power in the early modern period, and its writers - acutely aware of their inhabiting an island - often depicted the coastline as a major topic of their works. However, early modern English versifiers had to reconcile this reality with the classical tradition, in which the British Isles were seen as culturally remote compared to the centrally important Mediterranean of antiquity. This was a struggle for writers not only because they used the classical tradition to legitimate their authority, but also because this image dominated cognitive maps of the oceanic world.
As the first study of coastlines and early modern English literature, Dire Straits investigates the tensions of the classical tradition's isolation of the British Isles from the domain of poetry. By illustrating how early modern English writers created their works in the context of a longstanding cultural inheritance from antiquity, Elizabeth Jane Bellamy offers a new approach to the history of early modern cartography and its influences on literature.
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