Reading in Tudor England

Kintgen captures the oft-missed reality that reading in early modern Europe was much more active and potentially dangerous than in our own times. . . . This work draws useful conclusions about an exceedingly difficult topic from an admittedly small source base. Kintgen's clearly written and carefully constructed text should prove useful to anyone who wishes to explore the mental world of Elizabethan Englishmen.
Virginia Quarterly Review

Readers in the sixteenth century read (that is, interpreted) texts quite differently from the way contemporary readers do; they were trained to notice different aspects of a text and to process them differently.

Using educational works of Erasmus, Ascham, and others, commentaries on literary works, various kinds of religious guides and homilies, and self-improvement books, Kintgen has found specific evidence of these differences and makes imaginative use of it to draw fascinating and convincing conclusions about the art and practice of reading. Kintgen ends by situating the book within literary theory, cognitive science, and literary studies.

Among the writers covered are Gabriel Harvey, E. K. (the commentator on The Shepheardes Calendar), Sir John Harrington, George Gascoigne, George Puttenham, Thomas Blundeville, and Angel Day.

about the author

Eugene R. Kintgen

Eugene R. Kintgen is professor emeritus of English, and associate dean emeritus of the graduate school at Indiana University. He is the author of The Perception of Poetry, and coauthor of several books, including Perspectives on Literacy.

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Eugene R. Kintgen