Henry Wotton Criticism - Essay

Izaak Walton (essay date 1651)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Walton, Izaak. “The Life of Sir Henry Wotton, Late Provost of Eaton College.” In The Lives of John Donne, Sir Henry Wotton, Richard Hooker, George Herbert & Robert Sanderson, pp. 93-151. Oxford: Humphrey Milford/Oxford University Press, 1927.

[In following essay, which was originally published in 1651, Walton, a friend of Wotton's, provides an overview of Wotton's life and career.]

Sir Henry Wotton (whose Life I now intend to write) was born in the Year of our Redemption 1568. in Bocton-Hall (commonly called Bocton, or Bougton-place, or Palace) in the Parish of Bocton Malherb, in the fruitful Country of Kent:...

(The entire section is 17651 words.)

Logan Pearsall Smith (essay date 1907)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

Smith, Logan Pearsall. Preface to The Life and Letters of Sir Henry Wotton, Vol. 1, pp. iii-xvi. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1966.

[The following excerpt is taken from a two-volume work that was first published in 1907. The first volume offers an extensive biography of Wotton, and the second volume reprints many of his letters. Here, Smith surveys the scope of Wotton's correspondence, both personal and diplomatic, and declares him “the best letter-writer of his time.”]

Among the contemporaries of Shakespeare an interesting but little-known figure is that of the poet and ambassador, Sir Henry Wotton. It is still remembered that he was the author of two or three...

(The entire section is 2604 words.)

Gilbert Coleridge (essay date 1923)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Coleridge, Gilbert. “Sir Henry Wotton.” The Nineteenth Century and After 94, No. 559 (September 1923): 370-78.

[In the following essay, Coleridge summarizes Wotton's life and offers commentary on his major works.]

Not many years ago the street of the Holy Well, narrow and mediæval in its aspect, ran parallel with the Strand between St. Clement Danes and St. Martin's. As everyone knows, it was swept away in a so-called improvement scheme promoted by the London County Council in its salad days, when that body wished to show what it would do for London. The scheme as a whole may have been desirable, but no exceptions were made, and thus one of the most...

(The entire section is 4142 words.)

J. B. Leishman (essay date 1945)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Leishman, J. B. “‘You Meaner Beauties of the Night’: A Study in Transmission and Transmogrification.” The Library, fourth series 26, Nos. 2-3 (September-December 1945): 99-121.

[In following essay, Leishman analyzes several versions of Wotton's “You Meaner Beauties of the Night,” arguing that changes in the poem were made as it circulated in manuscript and print, and that there was no definitive version during Wotton's lifetime.]

‘I expect Sir Henry Wotton at Dover’, wrote, on the 12th of June 1620, the reformed pirate Sir Henry Mainwaring to Lord Zouche; ‘I expect Sir Henry Wotton at Dover the latter end of this week. Being in Greenwitch...

(The entire section is 8646 words.)

John S. Weld (essay date 1948)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Weld, John S. “Some Problems of Euphuistic Narrative: Robert Greene and Henry Wotton.” Studies in Philology 45, No. 2 (April 1948): 165-71.

[In the following essay, Weld argues that Courtlie Controuersie of Cupid's Cautels, Wotton's translation of Jacque D'Yer's Le Printemps D'Yver, is a source for Robert Greene's Mamillia, and he delineates what form this influence takes.]

Among the sources for Robert Greene's first novel, the first part of Mamillia (1580), is one which has remained unnoticed, Henry Wotton's Courtlie Controuersie of Cupid's Cautels (1578).1 The source is important because what Greene borrowed...

(The entire section is 2930 words.)

C. F. Main (essay date 1955)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

Main, C. F. “Wotton's ‘The Character of a Happy Life’.” The Library, fifth series 10, No. 4 (December 1955): 270-74.

[In the essay below, Main analyzes several versions of Wotton's “The Character of a Happy Life” and determines that no definitive version of the poem exists.]

Mr. J. B. Leishman's study of the transmission and transmogrification of Sir Henry Wotton's ‘You Meaner Beauties of the Night’1 suggests the possibility of subjecting Wotton's equally famous ‘Character of a Happy Life’ to a similar scrutiny. Although the history of the ‘Character’ is not nearly so complex as that of ‘You Meaner Beauties’, both poems present...

(The entire section is 2062 words.)

Ted-Larry Pebworth (essay date 1977)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Pebworth, Ted-Larry. “Sir Henry Wotton's ‘Dazel'd Thus, with Height of Place’ and the Appropriation of Political Poetry in the Earlier Seventeenth Century.” Papers of the Bibliographic Society of America 71, No. 2 (April-June 1977): 151-69.

[In the essay below, Pebworth examines several versions of Wotton's “Dazel'd Thus, with Height of Place,” contending that this poem about the fall of a courtier was repeatedly appropriated and applied to various disgraced political figures.]

That the poems of Sir Henry Wotton present intriguing problems of transmission and text there is no doubt.1 Two of the sixteen poems now attributed with some...

(The entire section is 7082 words.)

Ted-Larry Pebworth and Claude J. Summers (essay date 1984)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Pebworth, Ted-Larry and Claude J. Summers. “‘Thus Friends Absent Speake’: The Exchange of Verse Letters between John Donne and Henry Wotton.” Modern Philology 81, No. 4 (May 1984): 361-77.

[In the following essay, Pebworth and Summers analyze a sequence of verse epistles between Wotton and John Donne, emphasizing the historical and biographical contexts for the letters.]

John Donne's profession of friendship as his “second religion” is well known, as is his concomitant belief that the writing of letters to a friend is “a kind of extasie, and a departure and secession and suspension of the soul, which doth then comunicate it self to two...

(The entire section is 9499 words.)