Beresford, John, ed. The Poems of Charles Cotton, 1630-1687. New York: Boni and Liveright, 1923. The introduction to this selection contains a lengthy biography, with primary source material, and draws on the poems themselves as biographical sources. Includes an overview of the poet’s general qualities and the range of his subjects. Examines the publication history and the credibility of the original 1689 edition of the poems.
Buxton, John, ed. The Poems of Charles Cotton. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1958. The introduction updates and expands on John Beresford’s earlier biographical notes. Explains the editor’s selections, which include important material from a previously lost manuscript. A section of critical commentary on Cotton contains notes, verse tributes, and references by other writers. The introductory material accompanies a good selection of the poet’s work.
Cotton, Charles. Charles Cotton’s Works, 1663-1665: Critical Editions of “The Valiant Knight” and “Scarronides.” Edited by A. I. Dust. New York: Garland, 1992. Editor Dust provides a close look at two burlesques by Cotton.
Hartle, P. N. “Mr. Cotton, of Merry Memory.” Neophilologus 74 (October, 1989): 605-619. This excellent essay examines the range of styles and the high quality found in Cotton’s poetry. Points out Cotton’s particular skill as a writer of burlesques and his sometimes obscene sense of humor. Contains quotations from Scarronides and Burlesque upon Burlesque. This lively piece captures the spirit of the writer in a most engaging way.
Nicolson, Marjorie Hope. Mountain Gloom and Mountain Glory. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1959. The author explores the reasons behind the differing perceptions of mountains in seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth century thought. The short reference to Cotton concerns only one poem, The Wonders of the Peake, and examines his attitude toward nature.
Robinson, Ken, ed. Charles Cotton: Selected Poems. Manchester, England: Fyfield Books, 1983. This representative selection of poems includes a handy chronological table and an introduction with explanatory textual notes. Places Cotton in a historical, social, and intellectual context, characterizing him as a classical skeptic. The author also looks at the simplicity in both his style and his worldview.
Sembower, Charles Jacob. The Life and the Poetry of Charles Cotton. 1911. Reprint. New York: New Library Press, 2007. This work examines Cotton’s life and how it shaped his poetry.