Rogues and Pilgrims: Two Restoration Bestsellers

  • Natasha Simonova
Part of the Early Modern Literature in History book series (EMLH)


Despite the conflation attempted in this passage, Jonson knew that it was a very different thing for Sidney to ‘liue by his verses’ as a posthumously-published aristocratic author than to be an active professional attempting to earn his keep. The question arose: could writers hope for both immortality and a ‘living’ from their works, or were they required to feel ‘asham’d’ of them? Richard Helgerson divides the ‘matrix’ of possible ‘authorial roles’ available to writers at the turn of the seventeenth century into ‘amateur’, ‘professional’, and, set against them both, the limited and classically-influenced category of ‘laureate’ that Jonson tried to claim for himself (16, 21). An author’s position within this matrix was far from stable, however: Sidney himself lived as an amateur and was recast as a laureate (though never a professional) following his death (104). By depending on oppositions, self-definition by authors within this emerging system required constant assertions of difference. This is clear in Jonson’s dismissal of Markham as ‘not of the number of the Faithfull, i.e. Poets’; Jonson had previously levelled the same insult at Samuel Daniel from the opposite direction, carving out a space for himself between these ‘dilettantes and hacks’ (Helgerson 21). As Helgerson writes, ‘The readiness with which such anathemas come to Jonson’s lips testifies to his sense of the perilous exclusivity of the term’ (23).


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  1. 2.
    For some of Head’s sources, see Moseley, and A. H. Lanner, ‘Richard Head’s Theophrastan Characters’ (Notes and Queries 215 [1970]: 259).Google Scholar
  2. 6.
    See James F. Fonest and Roger Shanock, ‘Introduction’ to The Holy War (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980), xviGoogle Scholar
  3. Roger Shanock, ‘Introduction’ to Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners (Oxford: Clarendon, Press, 1962), xxvii.Google Scholar
  4. 8.
    A summary of the court case is given by Frank Mott Harrison; it is also in John Lilly’s Modern Entries (London: D. Browne et al., 1741, 67)Google Scholar

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© Natasha Simonova 2015

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  • Natasha Simonova

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