Illustrating the Past in Early Modern England: The Representation of History in Printed Books
Through a close examination of the relationship of image to text in light of contemporary discussions of poetic and aesthetic practice, Illustrating the Past in Early Modern England demonstrates that the struggle between the image and the word played a profoundly important role in early modern England's emergent historical self-awareness.
The discussion focuses on the publication history of several important illustrated books printed during the second half of the sixteenth century-including Holinshed's Chronicles (1577) and Foxe's Book of Martyrs (1563, 1570) -in relation to contemporary works on history and poetics, such as Sir Philip Sidney's Apology for Poetry and Thomas Blundeville's The true order and Method of wryting and reading Hystories. Illustrating the Past in Early Modern England specifically answers two important questions concerning the resultant production of literary and historical texts in the period: Why did the use of images in printed histories suddenly become unpopular at the end of the sixteenth century? And what impact did this publishing trend have on writers of literary and historical texts?
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