Though printer Richard Tottel’s Songes and Sonettes (1557) remains the most influential poetic collection printed in the sixteenth century, the compiliation has long been ignored or misundertood by scholars of early modern English culture. Embracing a broad range of critical and historical perspectives, the eight essays within this volume offer the first sustained analysis of the many ways that consumers read and understood Songes and Sonettes as an anthology over the course of the early modern period. Copied by a monarch, set to music, sung, carried overseas, studied, appropriated, rejected, edited by consumers, transferred to manuscript, and gifted by Shakespeare, this muti-author verse anthology of 280 poems transformed sixteenth-century English language and culture. With at least eleven printings before the end of Elizabeth I’s reign, Tottel’s ground-breaking text greatly influenced the poetic publications that followed, including individual and multi-author miscellanies. Contributors to this essay collection explore how, in addition to offering a radically new kind of English verse, ’Tottel’s Miscellany’ engaged politics, friendship, religion, sexuality, gender, morality and commerce in complex-and at times, contradictory-ways.
Contents: Introduction: Songes and Sonettes reconsidered, Stephen Hamrick; Printing history and editorial design in the Elizabethan version of Tottel’s Songes and Sonettes, Paul A. Marquis; Profit and pleasure? The real economy of Tottel’s Songes and Sonettes, Catherine Bates; Tottel’s Troy, Alex Davis; Chaucer’s presence in Songes and Sonettes, Amanda Holton; Songes and Sonettes, 1557, Peter C. Herman; Songes and Sonettes and Shakespeare’s poetry, Tom MacFaul; Cultivation and inhumation: some thoughts on the cultural impact of Tottel’s Songes and Sonettes, Seth Lerer; ’Their Gods in verses’: the popular reception of Songes and Sonettes, 1557-1674, Stephen Hamrick; Bibliography; Index.