Authorship
in The epigram in England, 1590–1640
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Chapter 7 explores the continuing tension between anonymity and acknowledged or even emphatic authorship of epigrams. The epigram tradition had always more fully connected these poems with their subjects than their authors. The free-floating transmission of these poems meant that they might be either disavowed by their author and left as "bastards" or taken by another and worn as "stolen feathers". A special case was "illustrious authorship", where epigrams came to be "fathered upon" notable public figures as a way of enhancing interest in them. There were, however, English authors such as Ben Jonson and Sir John Harington who more fully asserted their claim over the epigrams they circulated or published. In this they were similar to the more prestigious Neo-Latin epigrams, which tended to be closely associated with their authors.

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