Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
The evidently unauthorized publication of a portion of Samuel Daniel’s sonnet sequence Delia in 1591, as part of Sir Philip Sidney’s Astrophel and Stella, marked the introduction of the perfected version of a major poetic form that, within a few years, had become one of the dominant methods of expression in English poetry. While Daniel may be relatively unknown in comparison to Sidney, Edmund Spenser, or William Shakespeare, with Delia, first published in complete form in 1592, he became one of the important contributors to the development and growth of English poetry, and he remains a central figure in Elizabethan intellectual life.
One of the most notable features about the English Renaissance is the extremely rapid intellectual, cultural, and artistic development of the period. Two of the major cultural and artistic accomplishments of the English Renaissance, the blank verse play and the sonnet sequence, were innovations that were introduced relatively suddenly and perfected rapidly. The forms, once available, were utilized by artists ranging across the full intellectual spectrum, and, within a single generation, often within a period of a few years, English authors produced enduring masterpieces in both forms.
For example, Gorboduc (1561), by Thomas Sackville and Thomas Norton, is credited with being the first English play written in blank verse; it also served as the prototype for the five-act,...
(The entire section is 1572 words.)
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