Author(s): James Doelman
A broad reading of the period's rich trove of funeral elegies, in both manuscript and print, which daringly use individual deaths as opportunities for ethical reflection, political comment, and even satire. The early Stuart funeral elegy was a copious and digressive genre, and exceptional deaths pressed elegists to stretch beyond the usual rhetoric of grief and commemoration. This book engages in a broad reading of the period's rich trove of funeral elegies, in both manuscript and print, and by poets ranging from the canonical to the anonymous. The book stands apart from earlier studies by its greater focus upon the subjects of funeral elegies (rather than the poets), and how the particular circumstances of death and the immediate contexts affected the poetic response. Individual deaths are understood in relation to each other and other prominent events of the time. While the book covers the period 1603 to 1640, the 1620s stand out as a tumultuous decade in which the genre most fully engaged in matters of political controversy and satire.