The publication of The Broadview Anthology of Seventeenth-Century Verse and Prose is a literary event; this comprehensive volume is the first anthology of the period to reflect the breadth of seventeenth-century studies in recent decades. Over one hundred writers are included, from John Chamberlain at the beginning of the century to Elisabeth Singer Rowe at its end. There are generous selections from the work of all major writers, and a representation of the work of virtually every writer of significance. The work of women writers figures prominently, with extensive selections not only from canonical writers such as Behn and Bradstreet, but also from other writers (such as Katherine Philips and Margaret Cavendish) who have been receiving considerable scholarly attention in recent years.
The anthology is broadly inclusive, with writing from America as well as from the British Isles. Memoirs, letters, political texts, travel writing, prophetic literature, street ballads, and pamphlet literature are all here, as is a full representation of the literary poetry and prose of the period, including the poetry of Jonson; the prose of Bacon; the metaphysical poetry of Donne, Herbert, Marvell, and others; the lyric verse of Herrick; and substantial selections from the poetry and prose of Milton and Dryden. (While Samson Agonistes is included in its entirety, Milton's epic poems have been excluded, in order to allow space for other works not so readily accessible elsewhere.)
The editors have included complete works wherever possible. A headnote by the editors introduces each author, and each selection has been newly annotated.