The Miscellanies

Tottel’s Miscellany is a foundational book in the history of English poetry. Its publication in 1557 established a tradition of anthologising English lyric poetry in print which was consolidated by the printed poetry miscellanies that appeared in its wake. These collections, published from the mid-sixteenth into the seventeenth centuries, are crucial to establishing a vernacular lyric tradition in England and provide unique insights into how books of poetry were made and used during this formative period of literary history. They are a particularly rich source for exploring key questions in literary studies, from how books were produced and consumed to the transmission of lyric verse and developments in poetics. This edition includes seven of these miscellanies: Tottel’s Miscellany (1557-87), Paradise of Dainty Devises (1576-1606), Gorgeous Gallery of Gallant Inventions (1578), Handful of Pleasant Delights (1584), Phoenix Nest (1593), England’s Helicon (1600, 1614), and Poetical Rhapsody (1602-21). Together, these volumes provide an overview of nearly one hundred years of English poetical culture in print.

Further Reading

Elizabeth Heale, ‘Misogyny and the Complete Gentleman in Early Elizabethan Printed Miscellanies’, Yearbook of English Studies, 33 (2003), 233-47.

Seth Lerer, Courtly Letters in the age of Henry VIII: Literary Culture and the arts of deceit. Cambridge University Press, 1997.

Arthur Marotti, ‘Malleable and Fixed Texts: Manuscript and Printed Miscellanies and the Transmission of Lyric Poetry in the English Renaissance, in W. Speed Hill ed., New Ways of Looking at Old Texts (Binghamton, NY: Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies (1993), 159-74

Arthur Marotti, Manuscript, Print, and the English Renaissance Lyric. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1995.

Winifred Maynard, Elizabethan Lyric Poetry and Its Music. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986.

Elizabeth W. Pomeroy, The Elizabethan Miscellanies: Their Development and Conventions. University of California English Studies 36. Berkeley, Los Angeles and London: University of California Press, 1973.