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Cotton, Charles, the younger


Subject Literature » Renaissance Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405194495.2012.x


Charles Cotton (1630–87) was a Royalist poet, translator, and bibliophile. His literary reputation is based largely on the considerable commercial success he enjoyed (and, judging by his perennial impecuniousness, needed) after the Restoration, notably with his much imitated and reprinted Scarronides (1664–65), a burlesque of Virgil's Aeneid , and his co-authorship (with his close friend and protégé Izaak Walton) of the highly acclaimed fifth edition of The compleat angler (1676), a touchstone of Royalist and Anglican literature of contemplative retreat. To these well-received later works may be added The scoffer scoft (1675), a witty burlesque of Lucian, a zestful three-volume translation of Michel de Montaigne's Essays (1685–86) which remained the standard text for more than two centuries, and a translation from the French of Pierre Corneille's tragedy Horace (1671). Though often overlooked, Cotton's pre-1660 corpus has merit and significance, and regardless of his later accomplishments would most likely have secured for him a reputation as a writer of stature. Nearly all of Cotton's original verse was published posthumously in Poems on several occasions (1689), but internal evidence suggests that many of these pieces, which include elegies, epistles, epitaphs, epigrams, love poems, drinking songs, and burlesques, were written during this earlier period, after which ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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