The Elizabethan Top Ten: Defining Print Popularity in Early Modern England (Material Readings in Early Modern Culture)

The Elizabethan Top Ten: Defining Print Popularity in Early Modern England (Material Readings in Early Modern Culture)

By: Emma Smith (author), Andy Kesson (editor), Dr. Adam Smyth (series_editor), Professor James Daybell (series_editor)Hardback

More than 4 weeks availability


Engaging with histories of the book and of reading, as well as with studies of material culture, this volume explores 'popularity' in early modern English writings. Is 'popular' best described as a theoretical or an empirical category in this period? How can we account for the gap between modern canonicity and early modern print popularity? How might we weight the evidence of popularity from citations, serial editions, print runs, reworkings, or extant copies? Is something that sells a lot always popular, even where the readership for print is only a small proportion of the population, or does popular need to carry something of its etymological sense of the public, the people? Four initial chapters sketch out the conceptual and evidential issues, while the second part of the book consists of ten short chapters-a 'hit parade'- in which eminent scholars take a genre or a single exemplar - play, romance, sermon, or almanac, among other categories-as a means to articulate more general issues. Throughout, the aim is to unpack and interrogate assumptions about the popular, and to decentre canonical narratives about, for example, the sermons of Donne or Andrewes over Smith, or the plays of Shakespeare over Mucedorus. Revisiting Elizabethan literary culture through the lenses of popularity, this collection allows us to view the subject from an unfamiliar angle-in which almanacs are more popular than sonnets and proclamations more numerous than plays, and in which authors familiar to us are displaced by names now often forgotten.

Create a review

About Author

Andy Kesson is Senior Lecturer in Renaissance Literature at the University of Roehampton, UK. Emma Smith is Fellow and Tutor in English at Hertford College, Oxford, UK.


Contents: Introduction: towards a definition of print popularity, Andy Kesson and Emma Smith; Part 1 Methodologies: What is print popularity? A map of the Elizabethan book trade, Alan B. Farmer and Zachary Lesser; 'O read me for I am of great antiquity': old books and Elizabethan popularity, Lucy Munro; 'Rare poems ask rare friends': popularity and collecting in Elizabethan England, Helen Smith; Shakespeare's popularity and the origins of the canon, Neil Rhodes. Part 2 The Elizabethan Top Ten: Almanacs and ideas of popularity, Adam Smyth; Print, popularity and the Book of Common Prayer, Brian Cummings; International news pamphlets, S.K. Barker; Spenser's popular intertexts, Abigail Shinn; Household manuals, Catherine Richardson; Damask papers, Juliet Fleming; Sermons, Lori Anne Ferrell; The psalm book, Beth Quitslund; Serial publication and romance, Louise Wilson; Mucedorus, Peter Kirwan; Bibliography; Index.

Product Details

  • publication date: 22/08/2013
  • ISBN13: 9781409440291
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 288
  • ID: 9781409440291
  • weight: 544
  • ISBN10: 140944029X

Delivery Information

  • Saver Delivery: Yes
  • 1st Class Delivery: Yes
  • Courier Delivery: Yes
  • Store Delivery: Yes

Prices are for internet purchases only. Prices and availability in WHSmith Stores may vary significantly