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Lying in Early Modern English Culture


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Table of Contents

Introduction: Being Economical with the Truth in Early Modern England Part One: Lying and the Culture of Oaths 1: The Oath of Supremacy 2: The Oath of Allegiance Part Two: Modes of Lying in Early Modern England 3: The Religious Culture of Lying 4: Rhetoric, Commonplacing, Poetics 5: Courtesy, Lying, and Politics 6: Testimony 7: Othello and the Culture of Lies between Conscience and Reputation

About the Author

Andrew Hadfield is Professor of English at the University of Sussex and visiting professor at the University of Granada. He is the author of a number of studies of early modern literature and culture including Edmund Spenser: A Life (2012), which was awarded the Elizabeth Dietz Memorial Award and Shakespeare and Republicanism (2005), which was awarded the Roland H. Bainton Prize for Literature. He is currently co-editing the Complete Works of Thomas Nashe and is chair of the Society for Renaissance Studies.


The book's greatest strength is its remarkable detail. Hadfield's expansive approach is the wealth of many years as one of the most productive scholars in the early modern period. Frequently he cites a single page or a short section in a book that is for the most part on another topic-such references demonstrate a remarkable synthesis of his extensive reading in early modern culture and criticism . . . a flowing and erudite tour through the period's influential culture of lying * Renaissance Quarterly *
A book that wonderfully fulfils new historicism's early promise to read history as literature and not only vice versa... As Hadfield compellingly argues, we badly need a strategy for questioning the historical events that are known to us "through documents full of lies," and the only way to do this is to understand the period's pervasive culture of lying since this alone will properly determine "what we uncover in the written records left behind" (p. 4). Setting its discussions within the context of the 1534 Treason Act (which made seditious words as liable to punishment as seditious acts) and the Reformation (which encouraged specific modes of equivocation), the book proceeds to a series of case studies as it takes in works by William Baldwin, Ben Jonson, Foxe, Robert Southwell, Spenser, Donne, Michel de Montaigne, George Puttenham, Sidney, Marlowe, Thomas Nashe, Shakespeare, and others. * SEL Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 *
Andrew Hadfield is at his analytical best on treason trials. ... These grippingly expounded narratives, case studies in lying and its justifications, stand at either end of a period in which, the book proposes, conceptions of lying were culturally transformed by a variety of means. ... profoundly sympathetic, enjoyable and extremely wide-ranging. * Lorna Hutson, Times Literary Supplement *
it is impossible in the space of this review to give justice to the abundance of insights emerging from the author's masterful textual analysis [...] this book should be required reading for any historian or literary scholar interested in the epistemological and cultural significance of the relationship between truth and lying in any time period. * Stefania Tutino, Review of English Studies *

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