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I think I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings is a very touching novel.The Schoole of Abuse by Stephen Gosson This pamphlet was published in 1579 and dedicated to Master Philip Sidney and its full title was:"The Schoole of Abuse, Conteining a plesaunt invective against Poets, Pipers, Plaiers, Iesters and such like Caterpillers of a commonwealth; Setting vp the Flagge of Defiance to their mischieuous exercise, and ouerthroing their Bulwarkes, by Prophane Writers, Naturall reason, and common experience”Gosson has been described as a satirist, a playwright and a pastoralist, but only incomplete versions of his plays survive and none of his pastorals and so we are left with his The Schoole of Abuse into which Philip Sidney is asked to enter.
The second thing that stands out is the overwhelming number of references to classical authors; if Gosson was intent on showing his humanist education and background then he certainly does this in this pamphlet.I expected to read a rant against the evils and corrupting influence of poetry and plays from the standpoint of an advocate of the new protestant religion bordering on Puritanism.However while there are plenty of arguments as to how 16th century culture in respect of poetry and plays was undermining the moral fabric of society there is very little evidence taken from/or reference to the bible. First was the style of writing which draws heavily on John Lyly’s euphuistic approach, with its extended sentences containing any number of example, some of which appear almost contradictory and certainly hint at dualism.The age old problem of ‘What to read next’ is circumvented.
Everything Tudor - Literature, History, Drama: The School Of Abuse - Stephen Gosson The Growth and Structure of Elizabethan Comedy - M C Bradbrook The Shepherds Calendar - Edmund Spenser Zelauto - Anthony Munday The True Tragedy of Richard III - anonymous Poetry and Courtliness in Renaissance England - Daniel Javitch1580 - Robert Greene Mamillia (on line books)Mamillia - Robert Greene Barnaby Riche, his farewell to militaire proffesion (online books)George Peele - The Arraignement of Paris The English Novel in the time of Shakespeare - J J Jusserand Campapsi, Sapho and Phao - John Lyly Voyages and Discoveries - Richard Hakluyt Portuguese Voyages 1498-1663 edited by C. Ley The Spanish Armada - Colin Martin & Geoffrey Parker English Romayne life - Anthony Munday Meleager - William Gager Hecatomphthia or passionate century of love - Thomas Watson The Anatomy of Abuses - Philip Stubbs Philip Sidney: A double life - Alan Stewart Astrophel and Stella - Philip Sidney The Countess of Pembrokes Arcadia - Philip Sidney An apology for poetry - Philip Sidney Also a couple of essential books from the Continent published in the 16th century: Essays - Michel de Montaigne Jerusalem Delivered - Torquato Tasso Books from my Shelves From the top left hand corner of my shelves books that I have not read, I am thinking that there must be a reason why I have kept these books.
There are chapters featuring characters from Pilgrims progress and Alice in Wonderland, Great Expectations and a meeting with Charles Dickens, The famous Detective Austin Smallwood who is a dead ringer for Sherlock Holmes, an adventure on Robinson Crusoe’s island, he has a music lesson with William Byrd, he walks the streets of London with Hogarth in search of the perfect line of beauty, He enters into a landscape by Thomas Gainsborough which morphs into one by Constable and then Turner and meets characters from Wuthering Heights and Mill on the Floss, after reading William Blake he composes his own Blake like poem and finally he is in the world of Mallory and Morte D’Arthur with echoes of T S Elliots Waste land.