Expanding the scholarly conversation about anonymity in Renaissance England, this essay collection explores the phenomenon in all its variety of methods and genres as well as its complex relationship with its alter ego, attribution studies. Contributors address such questions as these: What were the consequences of publishing and reading anonymous texts for Renaissance writers and readers? What cultural constraints and subject positions made anonymous publication in print or manuscript a strategic choice? What are the possible responses to Renaissance anonymity in contemporary classrooms and scholarly debate? The volume opens with essays investigating particular texts-poetry, plays, and pamphlets-and the inflection each genre gives to the issue of anonymity. The collection then turns to consider more abstract consequences of anonymity: its function in destabilizing scholarly assumptions about authorship, its ethical ramifications, and its relationship to attribution studies.
'It is true that anonymous works receive less attention than those works that can be attributed to a canonical author, and this collection succeeds in suggesting ways in which carefully selected anonymous works may be usefully approached thematically and historically, and as specific genres.' Renaissance Quarterly 'Anonymity in Early Modern England makes an important contribution to early modern studies, precisely because it addresses what many scholars have traditionally avoided. Anonymity is not an unfortunate condition for a book, pamphlet, or manuscript, nor is it merely a pragmatic device by which the author wishes to avoid arrest. The book argues persuasively that anonymity is an essential, if paradoxical, aspect of self-fashioning. Anonymity is a form of authorship in its own right.' Sixteenth Century Journal