Lines of Authority: Politics and English Literary Culture, 1649-1689

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Cornell University Press, 1996 - 254 էջ
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Focusing on the turbulent years between the execution of Charles I and the triumph of William III, Steven N. Zwicker reads English literature as a series of brilliant and deeply engaged polemical contests. Zwicker juxtaposes overtly polemical writings--pamphlets, broadsides, and ballads--with canonical works, including epic, historical verse, tragedy, and satire, in order to demonstrate how literature not only reflected on political action but also formed an important site of political exchange. Zwicker maintains that the sources of Restoration culture lay within the civil war years of the 1640s and that the memory of those years shaped writing and politics for the remainder of the century. In sensitive readings of such classic texts as Walton's Compleat Angler, Marvell's First Anniversary and Last Instructions, Milton's Paradise Lost, Dryden's Annus Mirabilis and Absalom and Achitophel, and Locke's Two Treatises of Government, he shows how these texts both engaged with pamphlet, squib, and broadside and challenged one another over the possession of cultural authority. Zwicker's analysis provides a new understanding of the connections between politics and aesthetics in the later seventeenth century and an appreciation for the texture of this culture.
Successfully integrating literary history and political analysis, Lines of Authority will be valuable reading for a broad audience in the fields of Restoration and Protectorate literature, literary history, cultural and intellectual history, and the history of political thought.

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Steven N. Zwicker is Professor of English and Co-director of the Program in Literature and History at Washington University, St. Louis.

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