York Notes Companions: Renaissance Poetry and Prose

June Waudby  
Pearson Longman
Total pages
June 2010
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York Notes Companions: Renaissance Poetry and Prose


A fresh and exciting approach to the poetry and prose of the Renaissance which discusses the best-known writers and poets of the age – Shakespeare, Milton, Spenser and Donne – alongside writers much newer to the canon, such as Mary Sidney, Anne Locke and Aemilia Lanyer. The cultural context of the period is covered extensively in chapters focusing on religion, exploration and gender, and relevant modern critical theory is integrated throughout.


  • Analysis of key texts and debates
  • Extended commentaries provide further in-depth analysis of individual texts
  • Notes contain extra context and explanations of literary terms
  • Historical, social and cultural contexts explored in introductory chapters and alongside discussions
  • Modern critical theory and perspectives in practice
  • Timelines and annotated further reading

Table of Contents

Part One – Introduction


Part TwoA Cultural Overview                              



Part Three – Texts, Writers and Contexts


Sonnets and Love Poetry: William Shakespeare, Thomas Wyatt and Philip Sidney

            Extended commentary: Shakespeare, Sonnets


Renaissance Epyllion: Thomas Lodge, William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe

            Extended Commentary: Marlowe, Hero and Leander (c. 1593)


Pastoral to Epic: Andrew Marvell, Edmund Spenser and John Milton

            Extended Commentary: Spenser, The Faerie Queene (1590–6), Book Three


Religious Verse: Anne Locke, Mary Sidney and John Donne

            Extended Commentary: Locke, A Meditation (1560)


Humanist Prose and Rhetoric: Thomas More, Philip Sidney and Thomas Wilson

            Extended Commentary: More, Utopia (1516)


Conduct Books: Castiglione, Thomas Hoby and Whately

            Extended Commentary: Castiglione, The Book of the Courtier (1528)


Part Four: Critical theories and Debates


The Country and City


The Woman Debate


Exploration and New Worlds


Religion and Controversy



Part Five – References and resources




Further reading



Back Cover

The York Notes Companion to Renaissance Poetry and Prose examines the best-known writers and poets of the age – Shakespeare, Milton, Spenser and Donne – alongside writers much newer to the canon, such as Mary Sidney, Anne Locke and Aemilia Lanyer. Illuminating key cultural issues in the Renaissance world including religion, exploration and gender, the Companion offers close analysis of texts, and guides students through key literary theories and debates.  Connecting texts with their historical and scholarly contexts, this is essential reading for any student of Renaissance literature. 


Each York Notes Companion provides:

  • Analysis  of key texts and debates  
  • Extended  commentaries for further in-depth analysis of individual texts  
  • Exploration  of historical, social and cultural contexts
  • Annotations clarifying literary terms and events in history
  • Modern  theoretical perspectives in practice  
  • Timelines  and annotated further reading

June Waudby is a Lecturer with the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Hull.



Dr June Waudby has taught for ten years on the BA English Literature and BA Arts and Humanities programmes at the University of Hull. Her area of specialism is Renaissance literature, but she also teaches Restoration Drama, Children’s Literature and within the field of Women’s Writing, through from the seventeenth century to the twentieth. Her personal research interests mainly focus on and early modern women writers and the Reformation, in particular its impact on individual sense of identity and literary production. June is currently preparing the manuscript of a monograph on the early work of Anne Vaughan Locke for Brepols and co-editing a collection of essays entitled She’s Leaving Home in the series ‘European Intertexts: A Study of Women’s Writing in English As Part of a European Fabric’ for Peter Lang (forthcoming 2011). Published work includes essays on the Anne Locke’s poetry and prose, given as papers in Naples and Hungary, as part of the ‘European Intertexts’ series of conferences (2003, 2004), an article on Mary Sidney and Protestant concepts of literary pride (Dundee, 2009). Papers in progress include a defence of the central female character in Webster’s White Devil (New York 2010) and a study of Tudor London as a dystopia as represented in contemporary literary production (London 2010). She belongs to the Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy and is a member of the Renaissance Society of America.