Renaissance Literature (1510-1660): resources in Special Collections

The period known as the English Renaissance saw the creation of some of the most seminal and important texts in English Literature. It can be useful for students studying literature from this period to encounter texts in the same format as early readers. Viewing differences in the printing process, spelling and layout can enhance the modern reader’s appreciation of how the text was first experienced. Annotations by generations of readers can give modern readers an indication of how the text has been used and received.

Featuring early editions of some of the key texts considered at English Literature Honours level, the following pages aim to give students some indication of the relevant primary resources available in the Special Collections Department. This is by no means an exhaustive list, nor restricted to those studying English Literature. Anyone interested in the volumes held by the University of Glasgow's Special Collections Department is encouraged to carry out their own search of our rare books and to visit the department in order to examine these texts for themselves.

With the exception of Paradise Lost, all texts discussed in these pages were printed between 1510 and 1660. Special Collections holds many editions of these texts and it is possible to compare copies printed throughout the subsequent centuries.

Find out more about our resources by selecting the text beneath the thumbnails below, or read about the books as follows: go to the first book, Paradise Lost.

Renaissance Literature pages created by Lara Burton (Graduate Trainee): November 2010