Should we assume that people who lived some time ago were quite similar to us or should we assume that they need to be thought of as alien beings with whom we have little in common? This specially commissioned collection explores this important issue through an analysis of the lives and work of a number of significant early modern writers. Shakespeare is analysed in a number of essays as authors ask whether we can learn anything about his life from reading the Sonnets and Hamlet. Other essays explore the first substantial autobiography in English, that of the musician and poet, Thomas Wythorne (1528-96); the representation of the self in Holbeinâs great painting, The Ambassadors; whether we have a window into men's and women's souls when we read their intimate personal correspondence; and whether modern studies that wish to recapture the intentions and inner thoughts of early modern people who left writings behind are valuable aids to interpreting the past.
This book was originally published as a special issue of Textual Practice.
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