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Read Me What to read, 1401-1600

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\/ 16th Century

Pedro CALDERON de la Barca (1600-1681) Etext: The Online Books Page Reference: Theatre History
Comment: he can be said to lack something of the wilder lyrical fantasy that we enjoy in Lope. He is more serious, didactic, even more doctrinal ... . This disadvantage in a secular drama becomes a positive asset in the autos sacramentales... --Philip Ward
The Doctor of His Own Honor (El medico de su honra 1635)
One star: Life is a Dream (La Vida es Sueno 1636)
The Mighty Magician (El Magico prodigioso 1637)
The Mayor of Zalamea (El Alcalde de Zalamea 1640)

TANG Xianzu (1550-1616) Etext: The Online Books Page Reference: China Culture
Note: a Chinese playwright of the Ming Dynasty. --Wikipedia
The Peony Pavilion (1598) Reference: Lincoln Center
Comment: famous love story. --A Guide to Oriental Classics
(Cyril Birch translation, 1980)

Rene DESCARTES (1596-1650) Etext: The Online Books Page Criticism: post
Note: a French philosopher, mathematician, and writer... He has been dubbed The Father of Modern Philosophy --Wikipedia
Rules for the Direction of the Mind (Regulae ad directionem ingenii, 1626-1628)
Four stars: Discourse on the Method (Discours de la methode, 1637)
Comment: He did not cry 'Fire!' nor did he make it a duty for everyone to doubt; for Descartes was a quiet and solitary thinker, not a bellowing night-watchman; he modestly admitted that his method had importance for him alone and was justified in part by the bungled knowledge of his earlier years. --S. Kierkegaard
Comment: With Descartes' new stress on self-consciousness as the only immediately certain knowledge, the question of how we know external reality became a knotty and disturbing question for philosophical thought. --Seymour Cain
Comment: Descartes's method was not philosophical but rhetorical. He was a sophist and, perhaps, the most clever one of all. --James Mesa
Comment: he saw the universe as a gigantic machine in which everything is measurable; that which cannot be translated into mathematical terms is therefore unreal. According to this premise, the entire universe can be explained by mechanical and mathematical laws. --Robert B. Downs
Geometry (La Geometrie, 1637)
Meditations on First Philosophy (Meditationes de prima philosophia, 1641)
Comment: instead of direct confrontation, he chooses to allow the process of doubt to run its course until it arrives at an (allegedly) indubitable truth: 'I think therefore I am.' --Raphael and McLeish
Objections and Replies (1641)
Note: Descartes submitted his manuscript to many philosophers, theologians and a logician before publishing the Meditations. Their objections and his replies (many of which are quite extensive) were included in the first publication of the Meditations. --Wikipedia
Principles of Philosophy (Principia philosophiae, 1644)
Letter to the Marquis of Newcastle (November 23, 1646)
Letter to Henry Moore (February 5, 1649)
Comment: We cannot prove that animals have minds, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t because we can’t get inside an animal’s head (or heart). Since we can’t know whether animals have minds, Descartes appears to be willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. --Theodore Schick and Lewis Vaughn
Passions of the Soul (Les passions de l'ame, 1649)
also
Parenthetic Doubt (Andrew Besley translation 1991) Etext: Philosophy Now (Winter 1991)

Thomas CAREW (1595-1639) Etext: The Online Books Page | Luminarium
Note: an English poet, among the 'Cavalier' group of Caroline poets. --Wikipedia
Poems (1640)

George HERBERT (1593-1633) Etext: The Online Books Page | Luminarium
Note: a Welsh-born English poet, orator and Anglican priest. Herbert's poetry is associated with the writings of the metaphysical poets --Wikipedia
The Temple (1633)
Comment: Whatever was best in the English temperament and in the Church of England between the times of Elizabeth I and Cromwell is present in these strong and lovable poems. --Raphael and McLeish

Izaak WALTON (1593-1685) Etext: The Online Books Page Reference: Petri Liukkonen biography
Note: an English writer. Best known as the author of The Compleat Angler, he also wrote a number of short biographies that have been collected under the title of Walton's Lives. --Wikipedia
One star: The Compleat Angler (1653) Criticism: Kenneth Rexroth essay
Comment: A catch for any lucky reader. --Raphael and McLeish

Johann Amos COMENIUS (1592-1670) Etext: The Online Books Page
The Labyrinth of the World (c. 1622)

Robert HERRICK (1591-1664) Etext: The Online Books Page | Luminarium
Note: a 17th-century English poet and cleric. --Wikipedia
One star: Hesperides (1648, includes His Noble Numbers, 1647)
Comment: celebrates the fragility of life and love, and with the lightest of touches. His poems are noted for their rhythmic beauty and their skillfully-worked grace. --Raphael and McLeish

Thomas HOBBES (1588-1679) Etext: The Online Books Page Reference: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Criticism: post
Note: an English philosopher, best known today for his work on political philosophy. His 1651 book Leviathan established the foundation for most of Western political philosophy from the perspective of social contract theory. --Wikipedia
Answer to Sir William D'Avenant's Preface before 'Gondibert' (1650)
Elements of Law (1650)
Elements of Philosophy (1651)
Three stars: Leviathan (1651)
Comment: Hobbes does not glorify absolute power. He sees it as a matter of necessity for individual self-preservation. --Peter Wolff
Comment: private persons are bound to obey the supreme civil power in all public matters, and that power is derived directly from God. --Seymour Cain
Comment: Hobbes denies what Aquinas had affirmed, that as social creatures we have a natural inclination toward the good of others. --J. Daryl Charles
Comment: We owe to Rousseau the insight that if there were no nation-states there would be no wars, and to Hobbes the insight that without nation-states there would be no domestic order. --Robert Delahunty and John Yoo
Comment: Possessing absolute power and incorporating in a single 'Will' the wills of all men, the sovereign is charged with preserving order and protecting life and property. Hobbes' assertion is that peace, the common goal of all men, can never be had unless this supreme power is firmly established and dutifully obeyed. --Robert B. Downs
- (Noel Malcolm, editor, 2012) Criticism: The Economist review

John FORD (1586-c. 1639) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an English playwright and poet of the Jacobean and Caroline eras --Wikipedia
'Tis Pity She's a Whore (1633)

Cardinal RICHELIEU (1585-1642) Etext: The Online Books Page Reference: Notable Names Database
Note: a French clergyman, noble and statesman. Consecrated as a bishop in 1608, he later entered politics, becoming a Secretary of State in 1616. ... a Cardinal in 1622, and King Louis XIII's chief minister in 1624. --Wikipedia
Comment: In the impassioned belief that France was the surrogate for Christendom, Richelieu created the nationalist model, and the Peace of Westphalia imposed it on Europe—which suggests that it was not the Reformation but rather the Francophile mysticism of Richelieu and Joseph du Tremblay that delivered the death blow to Christian universal empire. --David Shushon
Political Testament (Testament politique, 1687) Etext: Hanover Historical Texts Project
Comment: survives as an important legacy to posterity, and is made interesting by its revelation of the character of the author. --J. A. Hammerton

John SELDEN (1584-1654) Etext: The Online Books Page
Table Talk (1689)

Francis BEAUMONT (1584-1616) Etext: The Online Books Page Reference: Wikipedia
and John FLETCHER (1579-1635) Etext: The Online Books Page Reference: Wikipedia
Note: ... English dramatists ... who collaborated in their writing during the reign of James I (he reigned in England 1603-1625). --Wikipedia
Plays (1647; 1679)

Philip MASSINGER (1583-1640) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an English dramatist. His finely plotted plays, including A New Way to Pay Old Debts, The City Madam and The Roman Actor, are noted for their satire and realism, and their political and social themes. --Wikipedia
A New Way to Pay Old Debts (c. 1625)

Hugo GROTIUS (1583-1645) Etext: The Online Books Page
One star: On the Law of War and Peace (1625)

Edward HERBERT (1581-1648, 1st Baron Herbert of Cherbury) Etext: The Online Books Page | Poem Hunter
Note: an Anglo-Welsh soldier, diplomat, historian, poet and religious philosopher of the Kingdom of England --Wikipedia
Autobiography (1764)

John WEBSTER (c. 1580-c. 1634) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an English Jacobean dramatist --Wikipedia
One star: The White Devil (1612)
Comment: Violent and macabre; all-pervasive evil and darkness relieved by passages of fiercely brilliant poetry. --Raphael and McLeish
One star: The Duchess of Malfi (c. 1618)
Comment: a duke goes mad and believes himself transformed into a ravenous wolf. --Michael Dirda

Francisco de QUEVEDO (1580-1645) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a Spanish nobleman, politician and writer of the Baroque era. ... His style is characterized by what was called conceptismo. This style existed in stark contrast to Gongora's culteranismo. --Wikipedia
Satirical Letter of Censure (Sermon estoico de censura moral, 1625)
Paul the Sharper or The Scavenger or The Swindler (El Buscon, (1626)
One star: Visions (Suenos y discursos, 1627)

Thomas MIDDLETON (1580-1627) Etext: The Online Books Page
and William ROWLEY (1585-1642) Etext: The Online Books Page
The Changeling (1622)

TIRSO de Molina (1579-1648) Etext: The Online Books Page | Association for Hispanic Classical Theater
Note: a Spanish Baroque dramatist, a poet and a Roman Catholic monk. --Wikipedia
Note: one of the outstanding dramatists of the Golden Age of Spanish literature. --Encyclopaedia Britannica
One star: The Trickster of Seville (El burlador de Sevilla y convidadode piedra, 1630)
Comment: written against the unprincipled young noblemen of his day, in which a young seducer (also guilty of trachery, murder, defilement of the sacrament of marriage, lese-mageste, and violation of the laws of hospitality) is drawn down to Hell by a 'stone guest', the taunted statue of the father of one of Juan's victims. --Philip Ward

Luis VELEZ de Guevara (1579-1644) Etext: The Online Books Page | Project Gutenberg
Note: a Spanish dramatist and novelist. --Wikipedia
El diablo cojuelo (1641)

William HARVEY (1578-1657) Etext: The Online Books Page
One star: On the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals (Exercitatio Anatomica de Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus 1628)
Comment: Harvey's discovery compelled an entirely new orientation in medicine and set a magnificent example of the correct method to be adopted in attempting further advances. More than anyone else, Harvey introduced the scientific spirit into medicine, and his influence was widely felt. --Sir Zachary Cope
Comment: The momentous discovery, in short, was that the same blood is carried out by arteries and returned by veins, performing a complete circulation. --Robert B. Downs
Disquisition to John Riolan (Exercitatio anatomica de circulations sanguinis 1649)
On the Generation of Animals (Exercitationes de Generatione Animalium 1651)

Robert BURTON (1577-1640) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an English scholar at Oxford University --Wikipedia
One star: Anatomy of Melancholy (1621)

Samuel PURCHAS (1577?-1626) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an English cleric, published several volumes of reports by travelers to foreign countries. --Wikipedia
Purchas, His Pilgrimes (1625)
Comment: Much of it we now know to be fabulous; inaccuracies are frequent. On the other hand, Purchas has made known to us much matter concerning early exploration that is not only valuable, but unobtainable elsewhere. --J. A. Hammerton

John MARSTON (1575-1654) Etext: The Online Books Page | Poem Hunter
Note: an English poet, playwright and satirist during the late Elizabethan and Jacobean periods. His career as a writer lasted a decade, and his work is remembered for its energetic and often obscure style, its contributions to the development of a distinctively Jacobean style in poetry, and its idiosyncratic vocabulary. --Wikipedia
The Malcontent (1603-04)

Cyril TOURNEUR (1575-1626) Etext: The Online Books Page | Poetry Archive
The Revenger's Tragedy (1607)

John DONNE (1572-1631) Etext: The Online Books Page | Poetry Foundation | Academy of American Poets Reference: Luminarium Criticism: Carol Iannone essay | Jeremy Bernstein essay | Izaak Walton biography | Thomas Carew elegy
Note: an English poet, satirist, lawyer and a cleric in the Church of England. He is considered the pre-eminent representative of the metaphysical poets. --Wikipedia
Comment: Pure distillation of early-17th-century intelligence--troubled, multiple, leaping and swooping, raising self-love to the height of compassion. --Raphael and McLeish
Three stars: Holy Sonnets (1607-1631)
Two stars: A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning (1611)
Three stars: First and Second Anniversary (1611, 1612)
Three stars: Songs and Sonnets (to 1615)
Three stars: Elegies (to 1615)
Comment: We are seldom reminded as forcefully as by these poems that in the Latin poetry which underlies them the idea of rhetorical figuration is itself imaged as the application of cosmetics. --Paul Dean
One star: Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions (1624)
One star: Sermons (1625, 1626)
Two stars: The Canonization (1633)
Two stars: Lecture upon the Shadow (1635)

Thomas DEKKER (1572-1632) Etext: The Online Books Page
The Shoemaker's Holiday (1600)

Ben JONSON (1572-1637) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a playwright, poet, and literary critic of the seventeenth century, whose artistry exerted a lasting impact upon English poetry and stage comedy. He popularised the comedy of humours. --Wikipedia
One star: Volpone, or The Fox (1606)
The Alchemist (1610)
Masques (1614-1634) Reference: Wikipedia
Come, My Celia (The Forest, 1616)
One star: Epicene (1609)
On My First Son (The Works of Benjamin Jonson, 1616)
Epitaph on Elizabeth (The Works of Benjamin Jonson, 1616)
To the Memory of My Beloved Master William Shakespeare (1623)
Discoveries, or Timber; a commonplace book (1641)

Johannes KEPLER (1571-1630) Etext: The Online Books Page Reference: The MacTutor History of Mathematics archive Criticism: post
Note: a German mathematician, astronomer and astrologer. A key figure in the 17th century scientific revolution, he is best known for his eponymous laws of planetary motion --Wikipedia
Comment: After tremendous search, the conjecture that the orbit [of a planet] was an ellipse with the sun at one of its foci was found to fit the facts. Kepler also discovered the law governing the variation in speed during one revolution, which was that the line sun-planet sweeps out equal areas in equal periods of time. Finally he also discovered that the squares of the periods of revolution round the sun vary as the cubes of the major axes of the ellipses. --Albert Einstein
The New Astronomy (Astronomia nova, 1609)
One star: Epitome of Copernican Astronomy (Epitome astronomiae Copernicanae, 1618-21)
Comment: Whereas astronomers for hundreds of years had seen nothing but circles in the heavens, Kepler could see that the planets moved in ellipses. --Peter Wolff
One star: Harmony of the Worlds (Harmonice Mundi, 1619)

Tommaso CAMPANELLA (1568-1634) Etext: The Online Books Page
The City of the Sun (1602)
Sonnets (2010)

Thomas NASHE (1567-1601) Etext: The Online Books Page | Luminarium
Note: an English Elizabethan pamphleteer, playwright, poet and satirist. --Wikipedia
The Unfortunate Traveller (1594)

Thomas CAMPION (1567-1620) Etext: The Online Books Page
A Booke of Ayres (1601)
Two Bookes of Ayres (c. 1613)
Comment: The best Elizabethan words are given a seductive, syncopated overtone by the best Elizabethan music. --Raphael and McLeish
The Third and Fourth Booke of Ayres (1617)

GALILEO Galilei (1564-1642) Etext: The Online Books Page | Great Books and Classics Bookseller: The Galileoscope Reference: Alec MacAndrew on Geocentrism | Paul Newell on the trial Criticism: post
Note: an Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher who played a major role in the Scientific Revolution. His achievements include improvements to the telescope and consequent astronomical observations and support for Copernicanism. --Wikipedia
The Starry Messenger (Siderius Nuncius, 1610)
(Albert Van Helden translation, 1989)
Authority of the Scripture (letter to Grand Duchess Christina, Duchess of Tuscany, 1614) Reference: Robert Bellarmine letter to Paolo Foscarini
Note: Galileo stated that the Copernican theory was not just a mathematical calculating tool, but a physical reality. --Wikipedia
Two stars: Dialogue on the Two Chief Systems of the World, the Ptolemaic and the Copernican (Dialogo sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo, 1632)
Comment: In the beginning of the discussion the old concept of a perfect and unchangeable heaven is challenged on the basis of evidence furnished by new stars and sunspots, and similarities are pointed out between the earth, moon, and planets. There follow propositions relating to the earth's rotation and to the revolution of the earth about the sun. In each argument the Copernican doctrine emerges triumphant as constituting the simplest and most logical explanation of astronomical phenomena. --Robert B. Downs
One star: Discourses and Mathematical Demonstrations Relating to Two New Sciences (Discorsi e Dimostrazioni Matematiche, intorno a due nuove scienze, 1638)

Christopher MARLOWE (1564-1593) Etext: The Online Books Page Criticism: post
Note: an English dramatist, poet and translator of the Elizabethan era. Marlowe was the foremost Elizabethan tragedian of his day. --Wikipedia
Comment: With him the technique of English verse begins to have a continuous history; his influence in immense, even on Shakespeare. --Raphael and McLeish
Comment: our great master of the material imagination; he writes best about flesh, gold, gems, stone, fire, clothes, water, snow, and air. --C. S. Lewis
Tamburlaine (part 1, c.1587; part 2, c.1587–1588)
Comment: This vast two-part historical extravaganza established blank verse--what Ben Jonson called 'Marlowe's mighty line'--as a medium for drama, and related its hero's whirlwind career with subtlety and feeling. --Michael Dirda
The Jew of Malta (c.1589)
Comment: might well be regarded as Marlowe's meditation on espionage, since Barabas practices all the skills of the spy and the double agent. --Michael Dirda
Edward II (c.1592)
Comment: Some have held that Edward II--about that king's passion for his minion Gaveston--is a better-made play than Dr. Faustus; certainly its scene of Edward's murder, hinting of violation with a red-hot poker, makes for horrifying and powerful theater. --Michael Dirda
Two stars: Doctor Faustus (1604)
Comment: the story of the scholar who sells his soul to the devil and then doesn't quite know what to do with the power and knowldege he acquires. --Michael Dirda
Complete Poems (2003)

William SHAKESPEARE (1564-1616) Etext: The Online Books Page Criticism: George Santayana essay | Samuel Johnson preface | see Samuel Taylor Coleridge Writings | see Ben Jonson Memorial | post
Note: an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. --Wikipedia
He lived in the period just before the era of economic liberalism--with the market as its master model of society--split off 'liberty' and 'individuality' from community and finally from the social self. His direct and publicly cognizable transformations of the irrational into art were therefore still possible. --Philip Rieff
Comment: Coming at the hinge point of European history, Shakespeare internalises the crisis: his mind is where the old sacred powers of nature and the new enlightened forces of sterility and destruction collide, and the complete cycle of his works articulates what [Ted] Hughes calls 'the prevailing psychic conflict of his times in England'– which is to say our times too, the battle between life and the Reformation, 'together with its accompanying materialist and democratising outlook and rational philosophy'. --Seamus Perry
Comment: we see how Shakespeare remains politically relevant to a wide variety of situations around the world; he seems to be taken most seriously by people who find themselves in the middle of a crisis and, in particular, who feel their liberties threatened. --Paul A. Cantor
Comment: It is, of course, the protean nature of Shakespeare's personality, as manifested in his plays, which has lead critics and writers to conscript him for various positions, from crypto-Catholic to conservative to agnostic humanist to nihilist. --Anthony O'Hear
Note: Dates of plays are of first performance rather than first publication. --ed.
Three stars: King Henry VI, Parts I, II, and III (1590)
Three stars: Romeo and Juliet (1591-1596)
Three stars: King Richard III (1592)
Three stars: The Taming of the Shrew (1593)
Three stars: Titus Andronicus (1593)
Three stars: Love's Labour's Lost (1594)
Three stars: The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1594) Humor: Adam Bertocci parody
Three stars: The Winter's Tale (1594-1610)
Three stars: King Richard II (1595)
Three stars: A Midsummer Night's Dream (1595)
Four stars: The Merchant of Venice (1596)
Comment: This is a 'controversial' play--so much so that some people contend it should never be read or presented on the stage, while others consider it perfectly harmless and ascribe the former view to the anxieties of our age. --Peter Wolff
Three stars: King John (1596)
Four stars: King Henry IV, Parts I and II (1597, 1598) Criticism: see Maurice Morgann Essay
Comment: great treatises on politics, maturity and responsibility. --Sidney Verba
Three stars: The Merry Wives of Windsor (1597-1600)
Four stars: As You Like It (1599)
Three stars: Julius Caesar (1599)
Comment: Fearful that Caesar will become Emperor of Rome, fellow senators Cassius and Brutus conspire against him. Caesar ignores warnings to lie low, heads to the Senate and is brutally stabbed. Caesar's right-hand man, Mark Antony, rallies the public against the conspirators, who flee Rome--with Antony's army hot on their heels. --Netflix
Comment: they are inspired first to hate Caesar by Brutus’ speech and then to love him by Antony’s, in the space of minutes. This scene is terrifying because it reveals that even though Caesar has just been assassinated to preserve the Republic, the Republic is already dead. Its people are unfit for it. --Eve Fairbanks
Three stars: King Henry V (1599) Criticism: Judith Shulevitz essay
Comment: Shakespeare's dramatization of Henry's supreme leadership and martial valor (particularly in the battlefield speeches) can hardly fail to stir even the most churlish and disapproving, which is perhaps why the play is often treated in our less patriotic times with caution or even suspicion. --Anthony O'Hear
Three stars: Much Ado about Nothing (1599)
One star: The Passionate Pilgrim (1599)
Comment: an unauthorized anthology of poems by various authors... and attributed on the title page to William Shakespeare. --Philip Ward
Five stars: Hamlet (1599-1600) Criticism: Carol Zaleski review | Stephen Greenblatt essay Humor: Stephan Pastis comic strip
Comment: For the puzzle of the play is the character of Hamlet. Almost anything that we might be tempted to say concerning him can as easily be denied as affirmed. --Peter Wolff
Comment: Some of what Hamlet does presupposes the sacred order assumed by medieval and even Reformation Christianity, and the action of the play makes little sense outside that context, and to that extent the play is unmodern; but there are within Hamlet's personality and character feelings and thoughts which put the old order in question, and it is these aspects of 'Hamlet' which have fascinated readers and commentators ever since, particularly since the Romantic era. --Anthony O'Hear
Comment: His mother wed his / dead murdered father's brother! / Next Jerry Springer. --David M. Bader
Three stars: Troilus and Cressida (1602)
Three stars: Twelfth Night, or, What You Will (1602)
Four stars: Othello (1603)
Comment: Othello is one of the most accessible of his greatest plays: poetry, form and spectacle are kept in perfect balance. --Raphael and McLeish
Comment: He is lead to this tragic end by the machinations of Iago, perhaps to most masterful of Shakespeare's creations of human villainy. But his downfall is also caused by his own passion, impetuousity, and pride. --Seymour Cain
Three stars: All's Well That Ends Well (1603)
Three stars: Measure for Measure (1603)
Four stars: King Lear (1603-1606)
Comment: The power of speech to evoke man's most subtle and contradictory insights, the interplay of good and evil in the world, the terror of the irrational and the unknown and the healing power of hope and love are all woven into a single dream. --Zeph Stewart
Five stars: Macbeth (1603-1606) Criticism: Harry V. Jaffa essay | Tom Strini review | Damien Jaques review
Comment: It derives much of its impact from its deep insights into human character and motivations, akin to the interpretations of modern depth psychology, and also from the sense it conveys of the tremendous change that follows from the commitment of an single act, the catastrophic weight of the present moment. --Seymour Cain
Comment: It is an introduction to the richness of genius, and the richness of something at the disposal of persons who are not geniuses--the English language. --George F. Will
Comment: secretly, I confess, I rooted for MacBeth, and hated to have him die, even if I did see the justice of it. --John Simon
Three stars: Antony and Cleopatra (1606)
Three stars: Coriolanus (1607) Criticism: Roger Sandall essay
Three stars: Timon of Athens (1607)
Three stars: Pericles (1608)
Four stars: Cymbeline (1609) Criticism: Aisha Motlani review
Three stars: The Sonnets (1609)
Comment: the homosexual Sonnets (rearranged and altered in the edition entitled Poems of 1646 to imply they were addressed to a woman) are the best-known of Shakespeare's lyrics. --Philip Ward
Five stars: The Tempest (1611)
Comment: Shakespeare, however had clearly read Montaigne and disagreed with him. Some critics think that The Tempest was a challenge to On the Cannibals. --Merrie Cave
Comment: Following Coleridge, it is now more often seen as a "romance," along with other late plays ('The Winter's Tale', 'Pericles', 'Cymeline'), in which we also find scenes of the reconciliation of age-old disputes, with the disputants fortuitously brought together and lost children found. --Anthony O'Hear
Three stars: King Henry VIII (1612)

Michael DRAYTON (1563-1631) Etext: The Online Books Page
One star: The Battle of Agincourt (Odes 1619)
One star: To the Virginian Voyage (Odes 1619)

Guru ARJAN (1563-1606)
Note: the fifth of the eleven Sikh Gurus --Wikipedia
Adi Granth (1604) Etext: The Online Books Page | Kawaldeep Singh fan site
Note: Guru Gobind Singh (1666–1708), the tenth guru, after adding Guru Tegh Bahadur's bani to the Adi Granth affirmed the sacred text as his successor, elevating it to Guru Granth Sahib. --Wikipedia
also
Sri Guru Granth Sahib (1704-1706) Etext: Sikhism

Samuel DANIEL (1562-1619) Etext: The Online Books Page
A Defence of Ryme (1603)
Poems (in Selected Poetry and A Defence of Rhyme 1998)

LOPE de Vega (1562-1635) Etext: The Online Books Page | Golden Age Spanish Sonnets
Note: a Spanish playwright and poet. He was one of the key figures in the Spanish Golden Century Baroque literature. --Wikipedia
Comment: The phrase 'Es de Lope' ('it is by Lope') is still used to commend a prodigy of perfection ... Lope de Vega is considered the Spanish Shakespeare. --Philip Ward
Peribanez and the Comendador of Ocana (Peribanez y El Comendador de Ocana, 1610?)
One star: All Citizens Are Soldiers (Fuentovejuna, 1612-1614)
The Dog in the Manger (El Perro del Hortelano 1613-1615)
One star: The Knight of Olmedo (El Caballero de Olmedo, 1620-1625?)
One star: Lost in a Mirror (El Castigo sin Venganza, 1631)
La Dorotea (1632)

Francis BACON (1561-1626) Etext: The Online Books Page Criticism: Theodore K Rabb review | post
Note: an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, jurist, orator, essayist, and author. --Wikipedia
Letter to Lord Burghley (1592)
Two stars: Essays; Or, Counsels Civil and Moral (1597)
Comment: Pungent observations on his own changing world, on man and society, on politics, ambition, marriage, youth and age, education: all the major issues which concern Bacon as much as they do us. --Raphael and McLeish
Two stars: Of the Proficience and Advancement of Learning, Divine and Human (1605)
Comment: Bacon ranks as the earliest prominent methodologist of scientific inquiry. He represents an effort to proceed beyond the crude and slovenly inductive procedure of a simple enumeration of affirmative observations. --Robert B. Downs
Wisdom of the Ancients (1619)
One star: Novum Organum (1620)
Comment: The novelty—according to Bacon's vision—lies in a new correlation between science and praxis. This is also given a theological application: the new correlation between science and praxis would mean that the dominion over creation —given to man by God and lost through original sin—would be reestablished. --Benedict XVI
Apophthegms (1625)
One star: New Atlantis (1626)
Comment: Where Leviticus ritually separates pure from impure with an eye to what is divine in man, Bacon's New Atlantis vivisects and recombines everything for the sake of healing man's animal body. --Eric Cohen
Sylva Sylvarum (1627)

Luis de GONGORA (1561-1627) Etext: The Online Books Page | Poetry Archive
Note: a Spanish Baroque lyric poet. Góngora and his lifelong rival, Francisco de Quevedo, are widely considered the most prominent Spanish poets of all time. --Wikipedia
Sonnets Etext: A. S. Kline fan site
Solitudes (Soledades, 1613)

George CHAPMAN (1559-1634) Etext: The Online Books Page | Poetry Foundation
Note: an English dramatist, translator, and poet. He was a classical scholar whose work shows the influence of Stoicism. ... best remembered for his translations of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, and the Homeric Batrachomyomachia. --Wikipedia
The Poems (1941)
The Comedies (1970)
The Tragedies (1987)

Thomas KYD (1558-1594) Etext: The Online Books Page
The Spanish Tragedy (1592)

Philip SIDNEY (1554-1586) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an English poet, courtier and soldier, and is remembered as one of the most prominent figures of the Elizabethan age. --Wikipedia
Comment: I shall not want Honour in Heaven / For I shall meet Sir Philip Sidney / And have talk with Coriolanus / And other heroes of that kidney. --T. S. Eliot
The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia (1590)
Comment: It has to be skimmed, and the original version is far more readable than the revision. Still, it is a remarkable fusion of political philosophy, picaresque adventure, chivalric romance, and tragicomedy... --Paul Dean
Astrophel and Stella (1591)
An Apology for Poetry (1595)
Comment: unites prodigious learning to a style at once sinewy and supple, airy and weighty. --Paul Dean

Walter RALEIGH (1554-1618) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an English aristocrat, writer, poet, soldier, courtier, spy, and explorer. --Wikipedia
The Discovery Of Guiana (1595)
History of the World (1614)
Poems (Collected Poems, 1813)

Fulke GREVILLE (1554-1628, 1st Baron Brooke) Etext: The Online Books Page | Poetry Foundation
Note: an Elizabethan poet, dramatist, and statesman --Wikipedia
Selectd Poems (1968)

Lazarillo de Tormes (anonymous, 1554) Etext: The Online Books Page | Fan site
Note: a Spanish novella, published anonymously because of its heretical content. --Wikipedia

Agrippa d'AUBIGNE (1552-1630) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a French poet, soldier, propagandist and chronicler. --Wikipedia
Les Tragiques (1616)

Edward COKE (1552-1634) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an English barrister, judge and politician, considered to be the greatest jurist of the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras. --Wikipedia
Commentary Upon Littleton (1628, Institutes of the Lawes of England, vol. 1)

Edmund SPENSER (1552 or 1553-1599) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an English poet best known for The Faerie Queene, an epic poem and fantastical allegory celebrating the Tudor dynasty and Elizabeth I. --Wikipedia
Shepheardes Calendar (1579)
Complaints (1591)
Amoretti and Epithalamion (1595)
An Hymne of Heavenly Beautie (Fowre Hymnes, 1596)
One star: The Faerie Queen (1590, )

Richard HAKLUYT (c. 1552-1616) Etext: The Online Books Page
The Principal Navigations of the English Nation (1589)

JUANA Ines de la Cruz (1551-1595) Etext: The Online Books Page | Sor Juana Project
Note: a self-taught scholar and poet of the Baroque school, and Hieronymite nun of New Spain. --Wikipedia
Poems (1985)

Book of DEDE KORKUT (Kitab-i Dede Korkut, 16th Century) Etext: The Online Books Page | Wikisource | Ohio State
Note: Various dates have been proposed for the first written copies. ... two 16th-century scribes ... authored the oldest extant manuscripts. --Wikipedia
Comment: Twelve epic tales in prose and verse as presented in sixteenth-century manuscripts. An Islamic coloring is superimposed on a setting tht reflects the pre-Islamic heroic age of the Oghuz Turks. --A Guide to Oriental Classics

Book of COMMON PRAYER (1549) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: the short title of a number of related prayer books used in the Anglican Communion, as well as by the Continuing Anglican, "Anglican realignment" and other Anglican churches. --Wikipedia
Comment: The simple beauty of the Prayer Book's prose, especially in its collects (generally thought to have been composed by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer), displays perfect pitch for sound and rhymed balance... . --Michael Dirda

Giordano BRUNO (1548-1600) Etext: The Online Books Page | Esoteric Archives | Radical Adademy Criticism: post
The Expulsion of the Triumphant Beast (Spaccio de la Bestia Trionfante, 1584)

Miguel de CERVANTES (1547-1616) Etext: The Online Books Page Criticism: Walter Alexander Raleigh essay | post
Note: a Spanish novelist, poet, and playwright. His magnum opus, Don Quixote, considered to be the first modern European novel --Wikipedia
Five stars: Don Quixote (1604, 1615)
Comment: Don Quixote, a gaunt country gentleman crazed by reading books of knight-errantry, sets out to redress the evils of the 17th-century world. --Raphael and McLeish
Exemplary Stories (Novelas ejemplares, 1613)

Francis DRAKE (c. 1545-1595) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an English sea captain, privateer, navigator, slaver, and politician of the Elizabethan era. --Wikipedia
Sir Francis Drake Revived (1653)

Francis PRETTY Etext: The Online Books Page
Sir Francis Drake’s Famous Voyage Round the World (1580)

Walter BIGGES (d. 1586) Etext: The Online Books Page
Sir Francis Drake's West Indian Voyage or Drake's Great Armada (1589) Etext: Father Theo's Blog

William GILBERT (1544-1603) Etext: The Online Books Page Reference: Institute and Museum of the History of Science | David P. Stern fan site
Note: an English physician, physicist and natural philosopher. ... is credited as one of the originators of the term "electricity". --Wikipedia
One star: On the Magnet and Magnetic Bodies, and on That Great Magnet the Earth (De Magnete, Magneticisque Corporibus, et de Magno Magnete Tellure, 1600)

Torquato TASSO (1544-1595) Etext: The Online Books Page
Comment: Why is it that the Renaissance Italian poet Tasso, who fired imaginations from Milton and Dryden to Shelley, Byron, and Goethe, should now subsist as a decoration in scholarly footnotes instead of as a living presence? --Roger Kimball, The New Criterion, December 2000, p. 4
One star: Jerusalem Delivered (1580)
Comment: A certain kind and degree of artificility, a certain very skilful balance of unity and variety, a certain tone of disciplined ardour--these prevail from the first line to those wholly satisfactory last words e scioglie il voto which Tasso had in mind before he first put pen to paper. --C. S. Lewis, from 'Tasso' in 'Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Literature'

Robert GARNIER (1544-1590) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a French tragic poet. ... In 1582 and 1583 he produced his two masterpieces Bradamante and Les Juives. --Wikipedia
Mark Antony (Marc-Antoine, 1578)
The Jewesses (Les Juives, 1583)

JOHN of the Cross (1542-1591) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a major figure of the Counter-Reformation, a Spanish mystic, a Roman Catholic saint, a Carmelite friar and a priest ... Both his poetry and his studies on the growth of the soul are considered the summit of mystical Spanish literature and one of the peaks of all Spanish literature. --Wikipedia
One star: Poems (1993)
Comment: They are concerned with the path to perfect union with God, and Juan saw that he was forunate in his suffering, which made solitude and contemplation necessary. Frequent references to carnal love make the poems immediately attractive to secular readers. --Philip Ward
Comment: Good translation: Campbell. --Raphael and McLeish

Garcilaso de la VEGA (1539-1616) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a chronicler and writer from the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru. ... he is recognized primarily for his contributions to Inca history, culture, and society --Wikipedia
Comment: not to be confused with the poet Garcilaso de la Vega [(c. 1501–1536)] --Philip Ward
The Incas (Comentarios Reales de los Incas, 1609)
Comment: abridged in English by Maria Jolas (Avon, 1961). --Philip Ward

Edward HAIES (c. 1539-[?]) Etext: The Online Books Page
Sir Humphrey Gilbert's Voyage To Newfoundland (1583)

Michel de MONTAIGNE (1533-1592) Etext: The Online Books Page Reference: Petri Liukkonen biography | Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Criticism: Kenneth Rexroth review | post
Note: one of the most influential writers of the French Renaissance, known for popularizing the essay as a literary genre, and commonly thought of as the father of modern skepticism. --Wikipedia
Five stars: Essays (Essais, 1580)
Comment: The question of how a skeptic can live his life as a social and political agent is often asked, and here it is examined in 'attempts', or thought experiments. Nothing is asserted and everything can be doubted without despair or destructiveness. --Judith Shklar

Jean BODIN (1530-1596) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a French jurist and political philosopher ... He is best known for his theory of sovereignty --Wikipedia
The Six Books on the State (1576)
Comment: [O]ne religious denomination could not be imposed by force. Religion, he saw, was greater than the symbolization used to contain it. --Jene M. Porter

Raphael HOLINSHED (1529-1580) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an English chronicler, whose work, commonly known as Holinshed's Chronicles, was one of the major sources used by William Shakespeare for a number of his plays. --Wikipedia
The Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland (1577)

Antonio FERREIRA (c. 1528-1569) Etext: The Online Books Page | Projecto Vercial
Poetry

Joachim DU BELLAY (1525-1560) Etext: The Online Books Page | Every Poet | Sonnet Central | Poetry in Translation
Note: a French poet, critic --Wikipedia
Note: leader with Pierre de Ronsard of the literary group known as La Pleiade. Du Bellay is the author of the Pleiade’s manifesto, La Defense et illustration de la langue francaise (The Defence & Illustration of the French Language). --Encyclopaedia Britannica
Regrets (Les Regrets, 1558)

Pierre de RONSARD (1524-1585) Etext: The Online Books Page | Poem Hunter
Note: a French poet and "prince of poets" (as his own generation in France called him). --Wikipedia
Odes (Les Odes, 1550, 1552)
Elegies (Elegies, mascarades et bergeries, 1565)
Sonnets pour Helene (1578; Humbert Wolfe trans. 1934)

Luis Vaz de CAMOES [or CAMOENS] (1524-1580) Etext: The Online Books Page
One star: The Lusiads (William C. Atkison translation 1952; Os Lusiadas 1572)
Comment: tells the story of the Portuguese overseas empire to its apogee in 1548... --Philip Ward

Gaspara STAMPA (1523-1554) Etext: The Online Books Page | Poetry Foundation | Poem Hunter
Note: an Italian poet. She is considered to have been the greatest woman poet of the Italian Renaissance, and she is regarded by many as the greatest Italian woman poet of any age. --Wikipedia
Selected Poems (1994)

LUIS de Leon (1520-1591) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a Spanish lyric poet, Augustinian friar, theologian and academic, active during the Spanish Golden Age. --Wikipedia
The Unknown Light (Willis Barnstone translation, 1979)

Pedro CIEZA DE LEON (c. 1520-1554) Etext: The Online Books Page | Then Again... | Modern History Sourcebook Reference: Juan J. Zaro essay
Note: a Spanish conquistador and chronicler of Peru. He is known primarily for his history and description of Peru, Cronicas del Peru. --Wikipedia
Chronicle of Peru (Cronicas del Peru, First Part 1553, Second Part 1871, Third Part 1979, Fourth Part 1909)

Henry HOWARD (1517-1547, Earl of Surrey) Etext: The Online Books Page | Luminarium
Note: an English aristocrat, and one of the founders of English Renaissance poetry. --Wikipedia
Selected Poems (1985)

TERESA of Avila (1515-1582) Etext: The Online Books Page Criticism: Charlotte Allen review
Note: a prominent Spanish mystic, Roman Catholic saint, Carmelite nun, an author of the Counter Reformation, and theologian of contemplative life through mental prayer. --Wikipedia
Autobiography (Vida, 1588)
Comment: It was in 1562 that she founded her first convent (in Avila) and during the next three years she set down the story of her life at the request of her spiritual director, Francisco de Soto y Salazar. She writes pungently and frankly, as she speaks, with no idea of punctuation and little of grammar. --Philip Ward

Agustin de ZARATE (1514-1560) Etext: The Online Books Page Reference: University of Virginia
The Discovery and Conquest of Peru (Historia del descubrimiento y conquista del Peru, 1555)
- (J. M. Cohen, translation, 1968)

Andreas VESALIUS (1514-1564) Etext: The Online Books Page | Northwestern University
Note: a Brabantian (in modern-day Belgium) anatomist, physician, and author of one of the most influential books on human anatomy --Wikipedia
On the Fabric of the Human Body (De humani corporis fabrica, 1543)
Comment: Here is depicted the birth of scientific anatomy, man's first clear and accurate knowledge of the foundation stone of medical science and of the whole science of the human body. --Robert B. Downs

Giorgio VASARI (1511-1574) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an Italian painter, architect, writer and historian, most famous today for his Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, considered the ideological foundation of art-historical writing. --Wikipedia
One star: Lives of the Painters (Le Vite de' piu Eccellenti Pitttori, Scultori e Architettori, 1550) Reference: Illustrated
Comment: traveled throughtout the length and breadth of Italy to collect oral testimony, written documents and manuscripts, and to see the paintings which he then described at first hand. --Philip Ward

John CALVIN (1509-1564) Etext: The Online Books Page Reference: Christian Classics Ethereal Library Criticism: post
Note: an influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation. He was a principal figure in the development of the system of Christian theology later called Calvinism. --Wikipedia
Comment: He denied God's will to save all mankind, taught that God created some to be saved--to the glory of His mercy--others to be eternally lost--to the glory of His justice, or rather of His vengeance; for Calvin denied the freedom of man's will and held that men were damned for sins which they were utterly unable to avoid committing. Like Luther, he taught that faith, in the new sense of man's confidence in hsi own election to eternal life, was the only means of salvation. Moreover, this faith was caused in a sinner's soul by God alone without any co-operation on his own part, the sinner being entirely passive. --M. L. Cozens
Two stars: Institutes of the Christian Religion (1536)
Comment: Theologians ground their systems in some specific aspect of divine revelation. Thomas Aquinas centered the Summa on the perfection of nature by grace; Calvin based his Institutes on the doctrine of the absolute sovereignty of God. --Christopher Levenick

Ambroise PARE (1509-1590) Etext: The Online Books Page Reference: post
Note: a French barber surgeon who served in that role for kings Henry II, Francis II, Charles IX and Henry III. He is considered one of the fathers of surgery and modern forensic pathology and a pioneer in surgical techniques and battlefield medicine --Wikipedia
Journeys in Diverse Places (1537-1569) Etext: Bartleby

WU Ch'eng-en (c. 1506-1581)
Note: a Chinese novelist and poet of the Ming Dynasty --Wikipedia
One star: The Journey to the West or Monkey (Hsi-yu chi, c. 1570s) Reference: Haiwang Yuan essay
Comment: The work is a mixture of satire and folk tale, fictionalized history and religious allegory. Though it should be read as fantasy, not as a profound religious treatise, there is a serious meaning in Wu's treatment of society and bureaucracy. --G. L. Anderson, Masterpieces of the Orient (1961) p. 236
Comment: A highly imaginative fictional account of the epic pligrimages to India of the Buddhist monk Hsuan-tsang ... --A Guide to Oriental Classics

Thomas WYATT (1503-1542) Etext: The Online Books Page | Luminarium
Note: a 16th-century English ambassador and lyrical poet. He is credited with introducing the sonnet into English. --Wikipedia
Selected Poems (Harriman Scott, ed. 2003; Michael Smith, ed. 1974)

Gerolamo CARDANO (1501-1576) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an Italian Renaissance mathematician, physician, astrologer and gambler. ... His gambling led him to formulate elementary rules in probability, making him one of the founders of the field. --Wikipedia
The Book of My Life (De vita propria, 1576; De Propria Vita Liber, 1654))
Comment: Throughout, Cardano presents his past and present factually, almost matter-of-factually, in a scientific spirit that spares himself nothing, while revealing a winning, if dour, personality. --Michael Dirda

/\ 16th Century
\/ 15th Century

Benvenuto CELLINI (1500-1571) Etext: The Online Books Page
One star: Life of Benvenuto Cellini (1558-1564)
Note: first published 1728
Comment: The artist as bohemian, free to disregard the laws and customs of ordinary men. --Raphael and McLeish

Maurice SCEVE (c. 1501-c. 1564) Etext: The Online Books Page | REC Music Foundation
Note: a French poet active in Lyon during the Renaissance period. He was the centre of the Lyonnese côterie that elaborated the theory of spiritual love --Wikipedia
The Delie (Delie, 1564)

Portuguese Voyages (1498-1663) (1953)
Note: Portuguese discoveries is the name given to the intensive maritime exploration by the Portuguese during the 15th and 16th centuries. --Wikipedia
Note: The seven texts are: "The Route to India" 1497-8 from "Vasco da Gama's First Voyage"; "The Discovery of Brazil" 1500; "The Lands of Prester John" 1520-6; "The Furthest East, 1537-8" from "The Voyages and Adventures of Fernand Mendes Pinto"; "The Tragic History of the Sea" 1552 and 1585; "The Jesuits in Abyssinia" from "A Voyage to Abyssinia"; and "Overland Return from India", 1663. --Amazon
Charles David Ley, Editor

Francois RABELAIS (c. 1495-1553) Etext: The Online Books Page Criticism: D. S. Carne-Ross essay
Note: a major French Renaissance writer, doctor, Renaissance humanist, monk and Greek scholar. --Wikipedia
Four stars: Gargantua and Pantagruel (1535-1552)
Comment: Relish for excess, the French appetite, is here displayed at its most gluttonous, not only for food and sex but for ideas and the display of rhetorical virtuosity; the 16th century is anatomized literally and metaphorically--though at a length which inclines one (to one's loss) to make a chapter or two stand for the whole. --Raphael and McLeish

MARGARET of Valois (1492-1549) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: Queen of France and of Navarre during the late sixteenth century. ... She was also a gifted poet and writer, notable for both her own scandalous behavior and for revealing that of others. --Wikipedia
Heptameron (Les Marguerites de la marguerite des princesses, 1558)

Bernal DIAZ del Castillo (1492-1581) Etext: The Online Books Page Reference: Rashkin, Sarnoff, and Bagdasarian PowerPoint
Note: a Spanish conquistador, who participated as a foot soldier in the conquest of Mexico with Hernan Cortes. --Wikipedia
The True History of the Conquest of New Spain (Historia verdadera de la conquista de la Nueva Espana, 1632)

FUZULI (c. 149r-1556) Etext: The Online Books Page Reference: Poetry Magic
Note: the pen name of the Azerbaijani or the Bayat branch of Oghuz Turkic and Ottoman poet, writer and thinker Muhammad bin Suleyman --Wikipedia
One star: Leyla and Mecnun (Dastan-i Leyli vu Mecnun, 1535-1536)
Comment: ...stems from an old Arabic legend of unrequited love among the Bedouins. ... Fuzuli's beautiful treatment of it as a mystic allegory is the best-known Turkish version of the romance. --A Guide to Oriental Classics

Comment: 1492 and All That

Francesco GUICCIARDINI (1483-1540) Etext: The Online Books Page Reference: eNotes
Note: an Italian historian and statesman. A friend and critic of Niccolò Machiavelli, he is considered one of the major political writers of the Italian Renaissance. --Wikipedia
The History of Italy (Storia d'Italia, 1561)

Martin LUTHER (1483-1546) Etext: The Online Books Page | The Small Catechism Reference: Project Wittenberg Criticism: post
Note: a German monk, former Catholic priest, professor of theology and seminal figure of a reform movement in 16th century Christianity, subsequently known as the Protestant Reformation. --Wikipedia
Comment: In one sentence: The Church teaches that God for Christ's sake imparts holiness: Luther taught that God for Christ's sake imputes holiness to the sinner. --M. L. Cozens
the doctrine of justification by faith alone derives from Luther's effort to correct the individualist turn of Catholic theology, and from his sensitivity to the overwhelming need of man to love himself in the world, as God had loved him. --Philip Rieff
Comment: Luther had what Wycliffe and Hus did not: technology. --Hugh Hewitt
Comment: In the west, identity politics began in earnest with the Reformation. Martin Luther argued that salvation could be achieved only through an inner state of faith, and attacked the Catholic emphasis on works--that is, exterior conformity to a set of social rules. The Reformation thus identified true religiosity as an individual's subjective state, dissociating inner identity from outer practice. --Francis Fukuyama
Comment: Luther & Zwingli / Should be treated singly; / L hated the peasants, / Z the Real Presence. --W. H. Auden
One star: To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation (An den christlichen Adel deutscher Nation, 1520)
Comment: was written by Luther after his realization that the breach between him and the papal church was complete and likely to be permanent. He wrote as a patriotic German rather than as a churchman or theologian. --Robert B. Downs
One star: On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church (Von der babylonischen Gefangenschaft der Kirche, 1520)
On the Freedom of a Christian (Von der Freiheit eines Christenmenschen, 1520)
On the Bondage of the Will (De Servo Arbitrio, 1525)
Commentary on Psalm 2 (1532)
Commentary on Psalm 110 (1539)
One star: Table Talk (Tischreden, 1566)

Baldassare CASTIGLIONE (1478-1529) Etext: The Online Books Page
One star: The Book of the Courtier (Sir Thomas Hoby, trans., 1561; Il libro del Cortegiano, 1528)

Thomas MORE (1477-1535) Etext: The Online Books Page Criticism: post
Note: an English lawyer, social philosopher, author, statesman and noted Renaissance humanist. ... More later opposed the King's separation from the Catholic Church and refused to accept him as Supreme Head of the Church of England .. Tried for treason, More was convicted on perjured testimony and beheaded. --Wikipedia
Comment: If only he had left theology to the theologians. --Erasmus
Comment: a model layman, living the Gospel to the full. He was a fine scholar and an ornament to his profession, a loving husband and father, humble in prosperity, courageous in adversity, humorous and godly. --Pope John Paul II, Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, May 28, 1982, Vol. V, 2, p. 1899
Comment: it was determination to avoid damnation for heresy which took Thomas More to the block. --Paul Dean, Donne's 'dialogue of one', The New Criterion, January 2007, p. 70
Four stars: Utopia (1516)
Comment: unfolds the picture of a frugal, moral and equalitarian society that was the exact opposite of English society in More's day. --Joseph Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy (3rd ed. 1950) Ch. XXIV p. 306
Comment: he envisioned the authoritarian communist world of his 'Utopia,' with its universal requirement of six hours' labor a day and a population that flocked voluntarily to improving pre-dawn lectures, as a detailed and practical alternative... --Anthony Grafton, Over the Rainbow, The New York Review of Books, November 30, 2000 p. 4
Comment: During his travels, the sailor had accidentally found the mythical island of Amaurote (Utopia), had lived there for five years, and was returning home with news of the perfect state. Highly unfavorable comparisons are drawn by the narrator between the inhabitants of this blessed isle and the people of England. --Robert B. Downs

MICHELANGELO (1475-1564) Etext: The Online Books Page Reference: Neil R. Bonner fan site | see Giorgio Vasari Lives Criticism: Gregory Wolfe review | Robert Royal review | Creighton Gilbert review
Note: an Italian sculptor, painter, architect, poet, and engineer of the High Renaissance who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art. --Wikipedia
One star: Sonnets and Madrigals (1623)
Comment: The first edition in 1623, by a grand-nephew, was heavily revised and bowlderized, and fragments were completed. ... The original texts were published in 1863 --Creighton Gilbert

Ludivico ARIOSTO (1474-1533) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an Italian poet. He is best known as the author of the romance epic Orlando Furioso --Wikipedia
Comment: the most prodigal imagination ever possessed by man. --Lord Acton
One star: Orlando Furioso (1516)
Comment: From a poet of such fame and such mighty gifts we would gladly receive something better than the adventures of Orlando. --Jacob Burckhardt
Comment: He has been able to fill poetic dreams with experience and wisdom, hope and determination. --Dante Della-Terza

Nicolaus COPERNICUS (1473-1543) Etext: The Online Books Page | World History Center Reference: History of Mathematics Archive Criticism: post
Note: a Renaissance mathematician and astronomer who formulated a heliocentric model of the universe which placed the Sun, rather than the Earth, at the center. --Wikipedia
Comment: In an age when experimental method has achieved the dignity of dogma, it is worth emphasizing that astronomers and physicists undertook closer observations and more exact measurements only after Copernicus (d. 1543) had put an alternative to traditional Ptolemaic and Aristotelian theories before the learned world; and Copernicus did so, not on the basis of observations and measurements, but on the grounds of logical simplicity and aesthetic symmetry. --William H. McNeill
Two stars: On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres (De revolutionibus orbium coelestium, 1543)
Comment: Copernicus had opened the eyes of the most intelligent to the fact that the best way to get a clear grasp of the apparent movements of the planets in the heavens was to regard them as movements round the sun conceived as stationary. --Albert Einstein

WANG Yangming (1472-1529) [Wang Shou-Jen] Etext: The Online Books Page Reference: Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Note: a Chinese idealist Neo-Confucian philosopher, official, educationist, calligraphist and general during the Ming dynasty. --Wikipedia
Comment: The principal Neo-Confucian philosopher of the fifteenth-sixteenth centuries, his philosophy of the mind drew on that of Chu Hsi, yet also provided the principal alternative to Chu Hsi's intellectualism in later Chinese thought, in regard to the role of moral intuition versus cognitive learning. --A Guide to Oriental Classics
One star: Instructions for Practical Living (Chuan Xi Liu; in Instructions for Practical Living and other neo-Confucian Writings, Chan Wing-tsit translation, 1963)
One star: Inquiry on the Great Learning (Da Xue Wen; in Instructions for Practical Living and other neo-Confucian Writings, Chan Wing-tsit translation, 1963) Etext: Humanistic Texts Criticism: Robert Neville essay

Niccolo MACHIAVELLI (1469-1527) Etext: The Online Books Page Study: The History Guide Criticism: Isaiah Berlin essay [Library] | Isaiah Berlin essay [NYRB] | post
Note: an Italian historian, politician, diplomat, philosopher, humanist and writer based in Florence during the Renaissance. ... "Machiavellianism", is a widely used negative term to characterize unscrupulous politicians of the sort Machiavelli described in The Prince. --Wikipedia
Comment: What unites Machiavelli's personal and political sides is his desire that one's beliefs reflect life as it is actually lived rather than as we think it should be lived. --Alexander Stille, The New York Times Book Review, December 3, 2000 p. 90
One star: Discourses on the First Ten Books of Livy (Discorsi sopra la prima deca di Tito Livio, c. 1517)
The Mandrake (Mandragola, 1518)
Florentine History (Istorie fiorentine, 8 volumes, 1520-1525)
Five stars: The Prince (Il Principe, 1532) Criticism: Kenneth Rexroth review
Comment: His realistic acceptance of the evil in political means and its inevitability, indeed indispensability, in striving for heroic ends has shocked critics of politics for five hundred years, yet gain the book its status as what Isaiah Berlin called the first work of political science. --Richard E. Neustadt

Desiderius ERASMUS (1466-1536) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a Dutch Renaissance humanist, Catholic priest, social critic, teacher, and theologian. ... He was a proponent of religious toleration, and enjoyed the sobriquet "Prince of the Humanists" --Wikipedia
Comment: someone who never made the mistake of putting ideas before flesh and blood... --Paul Johnson
Four stars: The Praise of Folly (Moriae encomium [Greek], Laus stultitiae [Latin], 1511)
Comment: What makes The Praise of Folly somewhat enigmatic is its yoking together of a number of incongruous aspects of 'folly'. --Michael Dirda
Colloquies (Colloquia, 1518-1533)

Gil VICENTE (c. 1465-c. 1536) Etext: The Online Books Page | Poetry Archive
Note: a Portuguese playwright and poet who acted in and directed his own plays. Considered the chief dramatist of Portugal --Wikipedia
Quem tem farelos? (1508)
Auto da India (1509)
Farso do Velho da Horta (1512)
Auto dos Fisicos (1512)
Comment: The two 1512 plays are both comic triumphs, the one ridiculing an old man looking for a mistress, and the other on a a priestly buffoon who falls ill with love and is treated by a succession of outrageous doctors. --Philip Ward

Fernando de ROJAS (c. 1465-1541) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a Spanish author and dramatist, known for his only surviving work, La Celestina ... It is variously considered "the last work of the Spanish Middle Ages or the first work of the Spanish Renaissance". --Wikipedia
One star: La Celestina (La Comedia de Calisto y Melibea, 1499)
Comment: concerns the love of the nobly-born youth Calisto for Melibea, the lovely daughter of the Jew Pleberio. She rejects Calisto, so his servant Sempronio advises making use of the old go-between Celestina. --Philip Ward
- The Spanish Bawd (J. M. Cohen translaton, 1964)
- Celestina (Lesley B. Simpson translation, 1955)

William DUNBAR (1460-1520) Etext: The Online Books Page | Poetry Foundation | Poem Hunter
Note: a Scottish makar active in the late fifteenth century and the early sixteenth century. He was closely associated with the court of King James IV of Scotland --Wikipedia
Selected Poems (Harriet Harvey Wood, ed., 2006)

John SKELTON (1460-1529) Etext: The Online Books Page
Selected Poems (John Skelton and Gerald Hammond, eds., 2003)

LEONARDO Da Vinci (1452-1519) Etext: The Online Books Page Criticism: T. J. Clark review | post
Note: an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer. --Wikipedia
One star: Notebooks (1970; The Literary Works of Leonardo da Vinci 1883)
Comment: An indispensable treasury of original insights, jokes, inventions, and observations by one of the most remarkable men the world has ever known. --Philip Ward

Christopher COLUMBUS (1451-1506) Etext: The Online Books Page Reference: Columbus Navigation Criticism: post
Note: an Italian explorer, navigator, and colonizer, born in the Republic of Genoa (Italy). Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents. --Wikipedia
Comment: the greatest of a long list of Italians who, in the service of the western nations, sailed into distant seas. --Jacob Burckhardt
Comment: It was the achievement of Columbus to convert conjecture into certainty, to substitute knowledge for hypothesis, and to open a way across the Atlantic which has never since been closed. --Cecil Jane
Letter Concerning Newly Discovered Islands (1493)

KABIR (c. 1440–c. 1518) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a mystic poet and saint of India, whose writings have greatly influenced the Bhakti movement. --Wikipedia
One Hundred Poems of Kabir (1915, Rabindranath Tagore, with Evelin Underhill, translation)

Jorge MANRIQUE (1440-1479) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a major Spanish poet --Wikipedia
Stanzas about the Death of his Father (Coplas a la muerte de su padre, 1477)

Matteo Maria BOIARDO (1440/1-1494) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an Italian Renaissance poet. --Wikipedia
Orlando in Love (Orlando innamorato, 1486)

Diego de SAN PEDRO (c. 1437–c. 1498) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a Castilian writer --Wikipedia
The Prison of Love (Carcel de amor, 1492)

VILLON (Francois de Montcorbier, 1431-after 1462) Etext: The Online Books Page
Two stars: The Great Testament (1461) Criticism: Eric Ormsby review
Comment: a great poem of 2,000 or so lines which develops the 'legacy' theme but also interpolates the great ballads (some written earlier) by which he is remembered... --Philip Ward

Thomas MALORY (1416/7-1471) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: the author or compiler of Le Morte d'Arthur. --Wikipedia
Two stars: Le Morte D'Arthur (1485)
Comment: No one wants the Grail to overthrow the Round Table directly, by a fiat of spiritual magic. What we want is to see the Round Table sibi relictus, falling back from the peak that failed to reach heaven and so abandoned to those tendencies within it which must work its destruction. And that is what we are shown. --C. S. Lewis
Comment: Into the narrative of the adventures of Arthur and his court and the originally distinct story of the Quest for the Holy Grail, Malory, working in his prison with his French books about him, poured all the shadow life of bygone Medieval Europe. --Kenneth Rexroth

JAMI (1414-1492) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a scholar, mystic, writer, composer of numerous lyrics and idylls, historian, and the greatest Persian and Tajik Sufi poets of the 15th century. --Wikipedia
Baharistan (1481; Edward Rehatsek translation 1887)

CHANDIDAS (b. 1408) Etext: Poet Seers
Note: Chandidas ... refers to (possibly more than one) medieval poet of Bengal. --Wikipedia
Love Songs of Chandidas (1916; Srikrishna Kirtan)

Mabinogion Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: The stories of the Mabinogion appear in either or both of two medieval Welsh manuscripts, the White Book of Rhydderch or Llyfr Gwyn Rhydderch, written circa 1350, and the Red Book of Hergest or Llyfr Coch Hergest, written about 1382–1410 --Wikipedia

/\ 15th Century

\/ 1101-1400 | 1601-1700 /\



Revised March 21, 2014.

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