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January 1, 2013
9781421407227
English
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9781421407227
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Literature and Architecture in Early Modern England

Buildings tell stories. Castles, country homes, churches, and monasteries are "documents" of the people who built them, owned them, lived and died in them, inherited and saved or destroyed them, and recorded their histories. Literature and Architecture in Early Modern England examines the relationship between sixteenth- and seventeenth-century architectural and literary works. By becoming more sensitive to the narrative functions of architecture, Anne M. Myers argues, we begin to understand how a range of writers viewed and made use of the material built environment that surrounded the production of early modern texts in England.

Scholars have long found themselves in the position of excusing or explaining England’s failure to achieve the equivalent of the Italian Renaissance in the visual arts. Myers proposes that architecture inspired an unusual amount of historiographic and literary production, including poetry, drama, architectural treatises, and diaries. Works by William Camden, Henry Wotton, Ben Jonson, Andrew Marvell, George Herbert, Anne Clifford, and John Evelyn, when considered as a group, are texts that overturn the engrained critical notion that a Protestant fear of idolatry sentenced the visual arts and architecture in England to a state of suspicion and neglect.

About the Author

Anne M. Myers is an assistant professor of English at the University of Missouri.

Endorsements

"Myers’s careful reading of both the architectural and textual remains of early modernity will lead literary critics and art historians to reconsider the relationship between literature and architecture and the place of buildings themselves within the imaginative registers of the period."

- Julian Yates, University of Delaware

Reviews

"Literature and Architecture will tempt the knowledge of those interested in the impact of antiquarian literature on early modern architecture and vice versa."

- Emma J. Wells - Sixteenth Century Journal

"A fresh, nuanced study of the intersections between architecture, architectural historiography, and literature in England... Myers's study is lively, original, and exceptionally well researched. It is a significant addition to our understanding of the early modern built environment and the role of the literary imagination in its creation, extending in itself the tradition of architectural historiography to which the study is devoted."

- Marta Straznicky - Review of English Studies

"Myers's book is a fascinating exploration of the stories that accrue around buildings and how they become foci for memory in literary narratives... The whole book is valuable."

- Leah S. Marcus - Studies in English Literature
Johns Hopkins University Press
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