Henry Howard, the Poet Earl of Surrey: A Life

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9780198186250: Henry Howard, the Poet Earl of Surrey: A Life

The first comprehensive biography of Henry Howard, this book fills a major gap in the history of early modern British culture. Sessions's narrative combines historical scholarship with close readings of poetic texts and Tudor paintings to reveal the unique life of the first Renaissance courtier and a poet who wrote and created radically new forms (such as the English sonnet and blank verse).

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About the Author:

W. A. Sessions is Regents' Professor of English, Georgia State University.

Review:


"...an ambitious, sprawling biography....[a] major achievement in historical biography and literary history.... Both for its thorough study of Surrey's life and legacy, and for the bold enterprise of its aims and methods, Henry Howard, the Poet Earl of Surrey is necessary reading for scholars of the Tudor period."--Moreana


"Intriguing...gives ample analysis of Surrey's verse and its importance to English letters...[Sessions attempts] to write more than just a literary biography, he wants to re-create the mentalite of Surrey and his world"--Sewanee Review


"Sessions's new biographypersuasively redefines Surrey's importance for Renaissance literature and politics, dramatically raising the profile of this somewhat neglected figure... A rich account of Surrey's influential political ideals and poetic legacy."--Studies in English Literature 1500-1900


"This book fills a 450-year-old gap as it represents the apotheosis of Henry Howard, earl of Surrey... [It] is far superior to any of its limited predecessors and through its careful delineation of Surrey's life and literature reenacts the dialectic of self and history that Sessions finds in the poet earl.... [The] degree to which Sessions succeeds on the merits of his book must not be underestimated. It is difficult to catalogue the riches he presents."--Sixteenth Century Journal


"William Session's biography of the Earl of Surrey is one of the richest books on early modern England that I have read. It offers not only a comprehensive account of Surrey's life but also a profound meditation on the decline of the English aristocracy during the reign of Henry VIII.... The local virtues of Session's biography are almost too numerous to tally. Sessions does a particularly fine job of situating Surrey's story in a broader European context."--John Watkins, The Spenser Review


"The achievement of Session's fine biography is to remind us that what matters about human beings in this world lies in the realms of morality and imagination...[Sessions] looks at the incidents of the poet's life and the poems associated with his personal losses and political struggles from a variety of perspectives. Political and social history, semiotics, and feminist theory are all invoked to gain a purchase on the mysterious life of this man who was a soldier, a courtier, and apparently a devoted husband as well as a poet in a treacherous and violent age; and there is no doubt that the effort enhances our sense of both the writer and his work."--South Atlantic Review


"This is a stimulating book that succeeds in setting both Surrey and his work in the times that made them.... The range of sources Sessions considers and the range of skills he brings to bear on their interpretation are consistently impressive."--Albion


"Reveals a Surrey far more complex than previously depicted...carefully argued." Renaissance Quarterly


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Sessions, W. A.
Editorial: Oxford University Press (2003)
ISBN 10: 0198186258 ISBN 13: 9780198186250
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