Elizabethan Pulp Fiction

The Example of Richard Johnson

in Critical Survey
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Richard Johnson, sometime apprentice and later producer of a baker’s dozen of very popular works of prose and verse, would today be dismissed as a hack. That he was noticed at all in his day and since then, however, suggests that his work has an important place in the record of how, and why, reading became not only a leisure-time activity of a late Elizabethan and Jacobean citizenry, but also both a marker and maker of an emerging English bourgeois self-consciousness. His Most Famous History of the Seven Champions of Christendom (Part 1: STC 14677; Part 2: STC 14678), a prose romance of epic proportions regarding the exploits of St George, with token attention to the other six, was one of the more popular works of the late Elizabethan and Jacobean periods.

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