Introduction
in English literary afterlives
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The introduction begins by outlining trends in studies of authorial careers and authorship, which, owing to the influence of New Historicism, have mostly focused on the ways in which early modern authors created themselves during their own lifetime. It then provides an overview of milestone publishing events in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (including Tottel’s Miscellany, Jonson’s Workes and the Shakespeare folios) and moves on to argue that authorial careers did not always end with their deaths, as both readers and publishers would retrospectively seek to evaluate an author’s complete works and produce definitive editions. This retrospective view on the works was often accompanied by a desire to put them in a logical-seeming sequence that mirrored the author’s life and to supplement the text with a prefatory life of the author and/or a portrait.

English literary afterlives

Greene, Sidney, Donne and the evolution of posthumous fame

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