The advent of relatively cheap printed editions of verse in the mid-sixteenth century produced an explosion of verse, much of which represented the first person speaker as a version of the author. This book examines the way in which writers, often seeking advancement in their careers, harnessed the powers of verse and print for self-promotional purposes. Close attention to the self-constructions of these writers reveals conflicts and contradictions in available models of the self, as well as doubts about the powers of verse to express the inner self. Texts studied include: an extraordinary manuscript autobiography by Thomas Whythorne; printed verse by a woman, Isabella Whitney; an erotic romance by George Gascoigne, hailed as the first 'novel' in English; little known but memorable narratives of travel to Russia and Africa, and of the experience of war; as well as more canonical works by Spenser, Sidney and Shakespeare

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