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.
’…a very stimulating volume, which will certainly encourage scholars to return to this ’Book of Riddles’ (131).’ Notes and Queries ’…these essays offer a range of illuminating new views on a work which was something of a publishing phenomenon’ Publishing History '[This book] offers a useful and critically informed survey of the miscellany's position in criticism so far … [the essays approach] Tottel's Miscellany from many different angles in textual, sociological, intertextual, or historical readings.' Spenser Review
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.
This series provides a forum for studies that consider the material forms of texts as part of an investigation into early modern English culture. The editors invite proposals of a multi- or interdisciplinary nature, and particularly welcome proposals that combine archival research with an attention to the theoretical models that might illuminate the reading, writing, and making of texts, as well as projects that take innovative approaches to the study of material texts, both in terms the kinds of primary materials under investigation, and in terms of methodologies. What are the questions that have yet to be asked about writing in its various possible embodied forms? Are there varieties of materiality that are critically neglected? How does form mediate and negotiate content? In what ways do the physical features of texts inform how they are read, interpreted and situated? Consideration will be given to both monographs and collections of essays. The range of topics covered in this series includes, but is not limited to:
-History of the book, publishing, the book trade, printing, typography (layout, type, typeface, blank/white space, paratextual apparatus)
-Technologies of the written word: ink, paper, watermarks, pens, presses
-Surprising or neglected material forms of writing
-Social space, context, location of writing
-Social signs, cues, codes imbued within the material forms of texts
-Ownership and the social practices of reading: marginalia, libraries, environments of reading and reception
-Codicology, palaeography and critical bibliography
-Production, transmission, distribution and circulation
-Archiving and the archaeology of knowledge
-Orality and oral culture
-The material text as object or thing