The Emergence of the English Author: Scripting the Life of the Poet in Early Modern England
The historical construction of literary authorship has long been of particular interest to literary scholars. Yet an important aspect of the historical emergence of the author, the literary biography or "life of the poet" has received scant attention. In The emergence of the English author, Kevin Pask studies the early life-narratives of five now-canonical English poets: Geoffrey Chaucer, Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser, John Donne and John Milton. By attending to the changing shape of the lives of these poets, Pask produces a history of the developing conception of literary authorship in England from the late medieval period to the end of the eighteenth century, and offers a long-term sociohistorical account of literary production. His book is the first full-scale history of the cultural construction of literary authority in early modern England.
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