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Research at St Andrews

Common: The Development of Literary Culture in Sixteenth-Century England

Research output: Book/ReportBook


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This book is the first attempt for many years to see the development of literary culture in sixteenth-century England as a whole and seeks to explain the relationship between the Reformation and the literary renaissance of the Elizabethan period. Its central theme is the ‘common’ in its double sense of something shared and something base, and it argues that making common the work of God is at the heart of the English Reformation just as making common the literature of antiquity and of early modern Europe is at the heart of the English Renaissance. Its central question is ‘why was the Renaissance in England so late?’ That question is addressed in terms of the relationship between Humanism and Protestantism and the tensions between democracy and the imagination which persist throughout the century.


Original languageEnglish
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages345
Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Research areas

  • commonwealth, pure and common, imagination, translation, Greek, Italian, Erasmus, Lucian, Spenser, Shakespeare

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  1. Erasmus in English, 1523-1584

    Rhodes, N. P. P., Davis, A. L., Kendal, G. M. & Archer, H., 2021, (In preparation) MHRA.

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  2. Punctuation as rhetorical notation? From colon to semicolon

    Rhodes, N., 2019, In : Huntington Library Quarterly. 82, 1, p. 87-106

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  3. Translation

    Rhodes, N. P. P., 2018, Editing Early Modern Texts: A Handbook. Phillips, H. & Williams, C. B. (eds.). Ashgate

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  4. Afterword

    Rhodes, N., Jan 2015, Translation and the book trade in early modern Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 217-226

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  5. 'Time'

    Rhodes, N., 2015, The Ashgate Research Companion to Popular Culture in Early Modern England. Ashgate, p. 283-94

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