Some Perspectives On The Development Of Sixteenth-Century English As A Literary Language

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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




This study undertakes a survey of the general political, economic, religious and social changes that took place in England during the sixteenth century, from 1485 to 1594, and of the intellectual changes that accompanied them in order to illustrate the shift in attitude from the medieval corporate outlook to the modern individualistic secular outlook. Then, a survey of sixteenth-century views of language and literature demonstrates that the shift in the intellectual framework was accompanied by a parallel shift in sixteenth-century theories of language and literature; specifically, that just when the latent individualism of the middle class burst forth and established itself as the dominant outlook in the 1570's, the more individualized use of language established itself as the dominant linguistic and literary outlook. The simultaneous occurrence of these two changes--one in the sphere of values and one in the sphere of language--then serves as the context against which to examine the uses of language as both matter and manner in some of the works of Edmund Spenser.


Literature, English

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