Date of Award

4-20-2009

Degree Type

Closed Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

Dr. Paul Voss - Chair

Abstract

Thomas Churchyard served his country as a soldier and a poet, and he was the only poet besides Edmund Spenser to earn a pension from Queen Elizabeth I. Churchyard maintained a very active literary career: he began publishing during the reign of King Edward VI and continued to do so through the first year of King James I’s reign. Churchyard uses his poetry as a mirror to reflect his preoccupation with the moral fabric of his society. In order to understand Churchyard’s didactic tendencies, readers must become familiar with his poem A Praise of Poetrie, for this poem explores his theory of poetry and the duty of poets to entertain and to teach their readers. He composes poems of different genres, such as the country house poem (the earliest known example of this genre in English), fable, fabliau, and friendship poems, to entertain his audience while he simultaneously teaches them the virtues of charity and temperance.

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