G.W. Pigman III
For most of the sixteenth century, English poets were clearly anxious about the grief expressed in their funeral poems and often rebuked themselves for indulging in it, but towards the end of the century this defensiveness about mourning became less pressing and persistent. The shift is part of a wider cultural change which has escaped recognition: the emergence of a more compassionate attitude towards the process of mourning. In charting the development of elegy this book analyses poems by Surrey, Spenser, Jonson, Henry King and Milton, and also surveys a wide range of forgotten verse, both English and neo-Latin, as well as letter-writing handbooks and moral-theological tracts. The book culminates in a detailed study of the most famous elegy in the language, Milton's Lycidas.