Michael Payne's anthology gives extensive representation to the great classics of the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods, as traditionally defined. At the same time, responding fully to new historical revision, he includes a very broad range of marginalized work, notably by women.
Responding to the broadening of the canon in recent years, this accessible anthology makes available the most important poetry and prose from the period between the accession of Henry VIII in 1509 and the English Revolution of 1640. Arranged chronologically, generous selections of familiar Renaissance figures, such as More, Wyatt, Tyndale, Spenser, Sidney, Shakespeare, Bacon, and Donne, are complemented by a strong emphasis on women writers, including Queen Elizabeth, Aemilia Lanyer, Rachel Speght, Mary Sidney, Martha Moulsworth, Lady Mary Wroth, and Elizabeth Cary. A range of prose works, including biblical translations, illustrates the development of English prose style over the period. The volume also offers a copious selection of carols, ballads, songs, and hymns. Helpful introductions and annotations to the newly-edited texts reflect recent developments in cultural and critical theory as well as the current state of Renaissance scholarship. The anthology also contains cross-references to material available on the Internet.