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The Age of Milton: An Encyclopedia of Major 17th-Century British and American Authors
Publisher: Greenwood Press | ISBN: 0313310084 | edition 2004 | PDF | 416 pages | 1,22 mb

This encyclopedia provides 79 entries detailing the works and lives of innovators of the intellectually fervent late Renaissance-early Enlightenment period. Authors is defined broadly to include composers and scientists as well as diarists, novelists, playwrights, poets, essayists, and philosophers. Though most are British or American, some European writers and artists "who significantly influenced British and American literary culture" are included. Alphabetical entries average three to five pages, with longer ones devoted to major figures like Thomas Hobbes, John Milton, and William Shakespeare. Each entry is consistently divided into "Biography," "Major Works and Themes," "Critical Reception" (including both contemporary and later reactions over the centuries), and "Bibliography." Most bibliographies are about half a page long and are subdivided into "Works by" and "Studies of" sections. Cross-references are included.

Recognizable names abound, including some whose entries may surprise. For example, Oliver Cromwell is included on the basis of his numerous letters, compiled and edited by historian Thomas Carlyle 200 years after his death. Fourteen female authors appear, including Aphra Behn, "the first recognized professional woman writer in English," and Mary Rowlandson, author of "the first book by an Anglo-American woman." Artists such as Rembrandt, Reubens, and Van Dyck are included for the influence exerted by their work on the writers and thinkers of the period, although the connection is not always made clear.


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