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Platt, Hugh


Subject Literature » Renaissance Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405194495.2012.x


Hugh Platt (Plat) (1552–1608) was a scientist, medical practitioner, socio-economic analyst, trader, and poet who addressed diverse subjects from the discovery of food and fuel substitutes to alchemical procedures. His occupational range has invited varied evaluations: he has been reviled as a ‘quack’, praised as a ‘virtuoso’, and described as an imitative poet, professor of secrets, agricultural expert, gardening authority, forerunner of Francis Bacon because of his emphasis on experimental science, and ‘dearth scientist’ for his zeal in remedying socio-economic crises. Born in 1552, Platt was the son of a wealthy brewer and managed his family estates in London, Middlesex, and Hertfordshire. Educated at St John's College, Cambridge, he graduated BA in 1571–72, and was admitted to Lincoln's Inn. Platt was married first to Margaret Younge (1573) and then, upon her death, to Judith Albany (1584), an intriguing and much-admired figure in her husband's writing. In 1572 Platt published Floures of philosophie , a compilation of Senecan precepts with a collection of poems entitled ‘Pleasures of poetrie’ which sharply satirized contemporary socio-economic practices such as the racking of rents, enclosures, poor husbandry, and covetousness. This work engaged in the rapidly developing contemporary discourse of social criticism: verse satire. An alphabetical index categorized the precepts ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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