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Literary CriticismA New History$
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Gary Day

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780748615636

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748615636.001.0001

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English Renaissance Criticism

English Renaissance Criticism

(p.111) Chapter 3 English Renaissance Criticism
Literary Criticism

Gary Day

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter addresses the development of English Renaissance criticism. The development of the language is greatly indebted to William Tyndale's translation of the Bible. Protestantism's main contribution in literary criticism is the idea that readers should decide for themselves what a work means. A brief examination of the relation between feudalism and capitalism is then presented. The chapter also explores how politics shaped the character of criticism. There is a synergy between ideals of English and ideals of art. The political attempt to control the vernacular was countered by economic developments. The rise of Protestantism and the invention of the printing press both undermined the traditional hierarchy of reading. In the medieval world, tradition was largely a principle of continuity, the expression of a universal culture. If criticism was to defend poetry it had to develop an idiom capable of conveying its unique, as well as its universal, qualities.

Keywords:   English Renaissance criticism, William Tyndale, Bible, Protestantism, feudalism, capitalism, politics, vernacular, poetry

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