George Puttenham

(1529—1590) writer and literary critic

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(c. 1529–91),

was almost certainly author of The Arte of English Poesie (1589), sometimes ascribed to his brother Richard. It is a critical treatise in three books, Of Poets and Poesie, Of Proportion, and Of Ornament, important as a record of Elizabethan taste and theory. The author's tone is personal, and he mingles anecdotes with serious appraisal. In the second book he discusses ‘courtly trifles’ such as anagrams, emblems, and posies. The third book defines and illustrates various figures of speech. He attacks excessive use of foreign words, but was aware of the rapidly changing vernacular. George Puttenham may also be the author of a royal panegyric, Partheniades.

Subjects: Literature.

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