ABSTRACT

The subject-matter covered romance, crime, traditional songs, strange happenings; marvels and portents were widely enjoyed in a credulous age: it was a mirror to the times, with well-tried themes finding a ready market, and few innovations. What was new was the emergence of the first best-selling popular author who depended for his fame not merely upon what he wrote but equally upon his reputation amongst his contemporaries as a 'character'. This was John Taylor, the 'Water Poet', and some aspects of his life and work will be considered later in this chapter.