William Webbe, A Discourse of English Poetry (1586)

Edited by Sonia Hernández-Santano

Critical Texts 47

Modern Humanities Research Association

4 March 2016  •  178pp

ISBN: 978-1-781881-25-5 (paperback)  •  RRP £10.99, $17.50, €13.99

ISBN: 978-1-781882-69-6 (JSTOR ebook)

ISBN: 978-1-781882-73-3 (EBSCO ebook)

Access online: Books@JSTOR

RenaissanceEnglishPoetry


William Webbe’s A Discourse of English Poetry (1586) is the first printed treatise exclusively dedicated to devising a canon for the definition of poetry in England. Traditionally eclipsed by the academic centrality of Philip Sidney’s The Defence of Poesy (c. 1580; published 1595) and George Puttenham’s The Art of English Poesy (1589), this is the first critical edition of the essay in over a hundred years.

This volume presents a modern-spelling text and a critical apparatus derived from the collation of the first printed document with subsequent editions. The explanatory notes incorporate recent research on Elizabethan literary theory and aim at substantiating Webbe’s contribution within the academic and literary spheres of sixteenth-century England. A Discourse offers an enlightening testimony of the main concerns of Tudor humanism, and it also sheds light on the ideological foundations of the acclaimed quantitative reformation of metre launched by Sidney, Harvey, Spenser and other contemporary scholars.

Sonia Hernández-Santano is Tenured Senior Lecturer in the English Department at the University of Huelva (Spain).

Reviews:

  • ‘William Webbe’s A Discourse of English Poetry, the ‘first published treatise exclusively dedicated to the theory of poetry’ in England but not edited in full in over a century, is conveniently presented in Sonia Herna ́ndez-Santano’s edition. She provides us with an extensively glossed and annotated modern-spelling text that situates Webbe’s treatise both in its early modern context and in terms of contemporary scholarship... Hopefully Herna ́ndez-Santano’s fine treatment of Webbe’s Discourse will inspire editions of other such fascinating early modern poetic treatises.’ — Sarah Case, Review of English Studies Advance Access 4 October 2016
  • ‘Webbe will be well served by the ready availability of a modernized text, and by the detailed introduction... The materials are here for a fuller reintegration of Webbe’s Discourse into our understanding of Elizabethan humanism, poetics, and cultures of reading.’ — Michael Hetherington, Spenser Review 47.1.14, Winter 2017
  • ‘Sonia Hernández-Santano’s edition of William Webbe’s 'A Discourse of English Poetry (1586)', is an unexpected treasure: an affordable, well-introduced, paperback edition of a text companionate to George Gascoigne’s, George Puttenham’s, and Philip Sidney’s discourses on poetry and poetics.’ — Katherine Eggert, English Literature 57, 2017, 183

Contents:

i-iv
Front Matter
Sonia Hernández-Santano
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v-v
Table of Contents
Sonia Hernández-Santano
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vi-vii
Acknowledgements
Sonia Hernández-Santano
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viii-xii
Abbreviations
Sonia Hernández-Santano
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1-52
Introduction
Sonia Hernández-Santano
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57-60
The Epistle
William Webbe
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61-64
A Preface To the Noble Poets of England
William Webbe
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65-140
A Discourse of English Poetry
Sonia Hernández-Santano
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141-144
Textual Notes
Sonia Hernández-Santano
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145-150
Glossary
Sonia Hernández-Santano
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151-159
Bibliography
Sonia Hernández-Santano
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160-164
INDEX
Sonia Hernández-Santano
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165-166
Back Matter
Sonia Hernández-Santano
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Bibliography entry:

Hernández-Santano, Sonia (ed.), William Webbe, A Discourse of English Poetry (1586), Critical Texts, 47 (Cambridge: MHRA, 2016)

First footnote reference: 35 William Webbe, A Discourse of English Poetry (1586), ed. by Sonia Hernández-Santano, Critical Texts, 47 (Cambridge: MHRA, 2016), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Hernández-Santano, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Hernández-Santano, Sonia (ed.). 2016. William Webbe, A Discourse of English Poetry (1586), Critical Texts, 47 (Cambridge: MHRA)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Hernández-Santano 2016: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Hernández-Santano 2016: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)


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