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The Epigram in England, 1590-1640$
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James Doelman

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780719096440

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719096440.001.0001

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The classical, medieval and Renaissance inheritance

The classical, medieval and Renaissance inheritance

(p.15) 1 The classical, medieval and Renaissance inheritance
The Epigram in England, 1590-1640

James Doelman

Manchester University Press

This chapter outlines the tradition of the epigram in the Classical, Medieval and Renaissance periods, with particular focus on the influence of Martial, Catullus, and the Greek Anthology. Despite the genre’s reputation for licentiousness and cynicism, it came to be used for a wide variety of subjects. However, a commitment to brevity and sharpness of wit distinguished the genre regardless of subject and was often noted by Renaissance theorists. The chapter also explores some more limited influences, such as the medieval proverbial epigram, on the Renaissance use of the genre.

Keywords:   Martial, Greek Anthology, licentiousness, cynicism, Catullus, brevity, wit, proverbial epigram

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