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A critical edition of George Whetstone’s An Heptameron of Civill Discourses (1582) Shklanka, Diana

Abstract

This dissertation provides a critical old-spelling edition of George whetstone's An Heptameron of Civill Discourses (1582). The text follows the principles formulated by McKerrow, Greg, and Bowers. Ten known extant copies of the Heptameron have been collated: the Folger Shakespeare Library STC 25337, copy 3, has been used as the control text. The textual apparatus includes a textual introduction, a bibliographical description of the Heptameron, and lists of substantive emendations, emendations of accidentals, press variants, and variants in the 1593 edition, entitled Aurelia, The Paragon of Pleasure and Princely Delights. The critical introduction summarizes Whetstone's life and works; relates the Heptameron to the Renaissance interest in Italy, to the ideal of civility, to courtesy literature, to dialogue literature, to marriage literature, and to Renaissance prose fiction; discusses Whetstone's sources; and examines the book's structure. The notes explain mythological, historical, literary, and contemporary allusions; identify proverbs; suggest sources; and illustrate the accuracy of Whetstone's observations on Italy. A bibliography, a glossary, and indices of proper nouns, stories, and first lines of poems complete the critical apparatus. The dissertation shows that Whetstone, drawing both on his own experience of Italy and on a variety of literary traditions and sources, fuses fact and fancy into a carefully constructed literary work, in which discussions, dramatic entertainments, poems, and tales are thematically integrated, progressing towards a definite resolution in the Seventh Day's Exercise.

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