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Doing Away with the Drab Age: Research Opportunities in Mid-Tudor Literature (1530–1580)

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Mike Pincombe


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This article surveys recent developments in the study of mid-Tudor literature; some of the problems the area has traditionally faced and still faces; and the opportunities for new research it offers, especially that which exploits new technology. It traces the deleterious effect that C. S. Lewis' epithet 'Drab Age' has had upon the field, and how this has been compounded by institutional and market pressures in university education and academic publishing in the second half of the twentieth century. Nonetheless, interest in mid-16th century literature is being revived by historicist readings. The article maps out a number of areas ripe for future study, including life-writing, women's writing, miscellanies, anonymous writing, cheap/ephemeral print, Inns of Court writing, translation, Tudor poetics, manuscripts, non-dramatic dialogue, paratext and anthologies of 'tragical tales'. It calls for an unprejudiced reassessment of the aesthetics of mid-Tudor literature and draws attention to its humour and generic hybridity.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Pincombe MJ, Shrank C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Literature Compass

Year: 2010

Volume: 7

Issue: 3

Pages: 160-176

Print publication date: 01/03/2010

ISSN (electronic): 1741-4113

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1111/j.1741-4113.2009.00687.x


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