Romance was criticized for its perceived immorality throughout the Renaissance, and even enthusiasts were often forced to acknowledge the shortcomings of its dated narrative conventions. Yet despite that general condemnation, the striking growth in English fiction in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries is marked by writers who persisted in using this much-maligned narrative form. In Renaissance Romance, Nandini Das examines why the fears and expectations surrounding the old genre of romance resonated with successive new generations at this particular historical juncture. Across a range of texts in which romance was adopted by the court, by popular print and by women, Das shows how the process of realignment and transformation through which the new prose fiction took shape was driven by a generational consciousness that was always inherent in romance. In the fiction produced by writers such as Sir Philip Sidney, Robert Greene and Lady Mary Wroth, the transformative interaction of romance with other emergent forms, from the court masque to cartography, was determined by specific configurations of social groups, drawn along the lines of generational difference. What emerged as a result of that interaction radically changed the possibilities of fiction in the period.
Table of Contents
Introduction; Chapter 1 Wandering Knights; Chapter 2 Sidney’s Arcadian Expectations; Chapter 3 Errant Scholars; Chapter 4 The Tales of ‘Robin Greene’; Chapter 5 Deviant Women; Chapter 6 ‘Dancing in a Net’; Chapter 101 Afterword;
Nandini Das is lecturer in Renaissance English literature at the University of Liverpool and the editor of Robert Greene's Planetomachia (1585).
'Nandini Das's Renaissance Romance is an erudite and illuminating study of Renaissance prose romance. Her brilliant and suggestive readings of Sidney, Greene and Wroth clarify the conceptual boundaries of history and literature, the precise status of "romance" as an early modern narrative form, and the historical evolution of English prose fiction. This book will be essential for scholars and students.' Steve Mentz, St. John's University, USA 'This compellingly readable book puts to rest at last the myth that Elizabethan romance was a belated fad, revealing anew why younger readers found the genre so fresh, and older thinkers found it so threatening. Six sparkling chapters illustrate how romance tropes generated the identities not just of key romance writers - Philip Sidney, Anthony Munday, Robert Greene, Mary Wroth - but also of high-placed public figures, including Queen Elizabeth herself.' Lori Humphrey Newcomb, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA 'In academic book reviewing, it is not a custom to say that a book is a page turner. Yet, this one is. Das manages to weave into her elegant and lively scholarly prose, tidbits of information from a variety of angles (and times) of political and cultural history, and from different corners of the world and literary heritage. This book will have a long shelf-life, and it will be an indispensible resource to anyone writing beyond the questions it encourages us to tackle in our future considerations of romance and its cultural transformations.' Review of English Studies '... one of the most attractive qualities of this book is the Janus-like position of the author herself, for she does an excellent job of mediating between older and newer criticism.' Renaissance Quarterly 'Nandini Das’s book is a worthy contributor to the field, and it has the distinction of covering the whole, diverse field of prose romance in the period 1570-1620.' Parergon 'Das provides a sophisticated intellectual framework for