This is the first book-length history of the range of seventeenth-century English prose writing. Roger Pooley's study begins with narrative, ranging from the fiction of Bunyan and Aphra Behn to the biographical and autobiographical work of Aubrey and Pepys. Further sections consider religious prose from the hugely influential Authorised Version to Donne's sermons, the political writing of figures as diverse as Milton, Hobbes, Locke and Marvell, cornucopian texts and the writings of the new scientists from Bacon to Newton. At a time when the boundaries of the `canon' are being increasingly revised, this is not only a major survey of a series of great works of literature, but also a fascinating social history and a guide to understanding the literature of the period as a whole.

part |2 pages

Part One: Narrative

chapter 1|19 pages

Elizabethan Fiction

chapter 2|15 pages

Restoration Fiction

chapter 3|12 pages


chapter 4|11 pages


chapter 5|17 pages


part |2 pages

Part Two: Religious Prose

chapter 6|10 pages

The English Bible

chapter 7|20 pages

The Sermon

chapter 8|9 pages

Devotions and Meditations

chapter 9|39 pages

Politicised Religion

part |2 pages

Part Three: Essays and Cornucopian Texts

chapter 10|18 pages

The Essay

chapter 11|24 pages

The Cornucopian Text

part |2 pages

Part Four: The Discourse of Modernity: New Idioms in Science and Politics

chapter 12|27 pages

The Great Instauration and the Royal Society

chapter 13|39 pages

Power and Idiom in Politics