Provides students of literature with a critical introduction to the major genres in their historical and cultural context. Each volume gives a coherent account of a clearly defined area and, when complete the series will offer a practical and comprehensive guide to literature written in English from Anglo-Saxon times to present. In this substantially rewritten second edition, Gary Waller presents a distinctive and stimulating analysis of one of the great periods of poetry in British literary history. He provides both a lively and lucid introduction to some of the best known poetry in English and a model for the application of contemporary theories of reading and criticism to the literature of the past. Explores the poetry of the Renaissance, from Dunbar in the late fifteenth century to the "Songs and Sonnets" of John Donne in the early seventeenth century. Helps make an often difficult and remote period of poetry accessible to the modern reader. Includes a new chapter on the emergence of women's poetry and incorporates recent discoveries in the poetry of the period.