chapter  7
16 Pages

Cultivation and Inhumation: Some Thoughts on the Cultural Impact of Tottel’s Songes and Sonettes

BySeth Lerer

Any essay with this title needs to clarify its purview. “Cultural impact” implies many things: it suggests a widespread culture of reading that crossed boundaries of geography, class, and gender; it provokes an inquiry into a range of popular as well as educated audiences; it calls for a reassessment of the ways in which the poems of the book were models for contemporary literary practice; and it invites us to set the Miscellany side-by-side the major poets, dramatists, and prose writers of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries (perhaps from Spenser and Shakespeare through Jonson and the Metaphysicals) to find allusions and quotations that enable us to trace the literary imaginations figured over its pages.1