In accordance with our meta agreement to have topic challenges, and since the list of suggestions has a single highest-voted entry at the start of this month (+6, -1), it is time to announce the next topic challenge! Throughout June 2019, our topic challenge, proposed by Christophe Strobbe, will be
What's a topic challenge?
See the meta posts linked above, and also this main meta post. In short, during June we should all try to read any stories, novels, pamphlets or other prose work that are part of Elizabethan literature (i.e. published between 1558 and 1603).
Participation is not obligatory in any sense, but those who participate will be forever remembered in the annals of our history. And of course it goes without saying that questions on other works are more than welcome during June too; they just won't count as part of this topic challenge.
Below is the original presentation of this topic challenge, which contains several reading suggestions:
Elizabethan prose fiction is a relatively neglected genre compared to drama (Shakespeare, Marlowe etc.) and poetry (Shakespeare, Spenser, Sidney, etc.). It includes works such as
- Euphues: The Anatomy of Wit (1578) and Euphues and His England (1580) by John Lyly (leading to the term "euphuism", which refers to a mannered prose style);
- The Unfortunate Traveller, a picaresque novel, and Pierce Penniless, a prose satire, by Thomas Nashe;
- A Discourse of the Adventures of Master FJ by George Gascoigne;
- Pandosto: The Triumph of Time (a prose remance that Shakespeare used as a source for The Winter's Tale) by Robert Greene; and
- Jack of Newbury by Thomas Deloney.
The term "novel" is hard to apply to these works. Elizabethan prose also includes non-fiction such as George Puttenham's The Arte of English Poesie (an influential handbook on poetry and rhetoric), The School of Abuse by Stephen Gosson and An Apology for Poetry by Philip Sidney.
Elizabethan authors also wrote tracts and pamphlets, such as Greene's Groats-Worth of Wit (famous for its allusion to Shakespeare as an "upstart crow"), The Murder of John Brewen (possibly by Thomas Kyd) and Have with You to Saffron-Walden by Thomas Nashe.
Finally, Of the Lawes of Ecclesiastical Politie by Richard Hooker is a great piece of prose characterised by a dignity that I have not yet seen anywhere else.
- Vote here for the next topic challenge, or propose your own!