Friday, March 27, 2009

1500 to 1599: Rabelais, The Ringing Island to Roger Ascham, The Schoolmaster

Francois Rabelais. French. 1562. Fiction. The Ringing Island (Book V of Gargantua and Pantagruel). Transparent satire on the luxurious living of the Roman Catholic clergy.

John Foxe. British. 1563. Nonfiction. The Book of Martyrs (Actes and Monuments of These Later Perilous Days). Twice the size of Gibbon’s Decline and Fall. Emphasizes martyrs during Mary’s reign. Credulous acceptance of stories of martyrdom. Vivid dialogues between persecutors and victims.

William Stevenson. British. 1566. Play. Gammer Gurton’s Needle. Lost needle is found, painfully, in the seat of Hodge’s pants.

Alfonso de Ercilla y Zuniga. Spanish. 1569/90. Poetry. La Araucan. Stubborn resistance of the Chilean Araucanian Indians against the Spanish. The nobility and valor of the Indians and their leaders.

Roger Ascham. British. 1570. Nonfiction. The Schoolmaster. Favors athletics in the curriculum and English prose to English verse.

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