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Stephen Orgel, Wit’s Treasury: Renaissance England and the Classics.

If there are any preconceived notions of a poet who refrains from sassy defamation of a critic or an academic who manages not to say something controversial, Wit’s Treasury shatters such notions. At the heart of the book is the organic development of the understanding and appreciation of literary classics, many of them appearing as various translations throughout the Jacobean and Elizabethan periods and beyond. The book gives special attention to adaptations of the classics rendered as poetry, dramatic performance, and other written and visual modes of art. Not only were the classics, such as the narrative and philosophical writings of the ancient Greeks and Romans, translated in ever-more-updated editions with plentiful illustrations, produced for the elite and popular culture, but the trappings, the settings, and the aesthetics of “the classics” also rubbed off on the books and plays of the whole Renaissance.