Remapping early modern literature
in Aesthetics of contingency
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The argument of this book follows two main themes: the first has to do with periodicity; the second with politics, especially as a framework within which to view seventeenth-century literature. This chapter maps the disciplinary paradigms which have long produced a view of the seventeenth century saturated by high-definition contrasts: between the earlier and later Stuart periods, but also between factions and ideologies. It then asks what it would look like to write the history of seventeenth-century literature anew, to tell a story about imaginative and polemical writing in this age that remained open to accident and unevenness, to contradiction and uncertainty. Giving illustrative consideration to John Dryden, Andrew Marvell, and John Milton, the chapter begins to suggest some new ways of conceiving how these writers might relate to one other and to the politics and aesthetics of a long seventeenth century.

Aesthetics of contingency

Writing, politics, and culture in England, 1639– 89


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