By tracing classical resources and the intertextuality of major English works from More's Utopia to Lodge's Rosalynde and Nashe's Unfortunate Traveller, Kinney not only locates basic Elizabethan habits of mind but also shows where the roots of the English novel may ultimately lie.
"This is, I think, a very bright piece. Unlike the work of one or two recent academicians, it acknowledges the merging of rhetoric and poetics with its recognized fictive basis; in showing how the reader is compelled to reach a conclusion, it explains in addition how Elizabethan fiction could 'outstretch its place, its age.'—Elizabeth Story Donno
"Kinney manages to connect a vast array of different materials—school records, classical and Renaissance treatises on rhetoric and related subjects, Renaissance poetry and fiction—and to make the connections not only valid but mutually illuminating. The readings of individual authors are always solid and light up the texts."—Walter R. Davis, Brown University
"Kinney already has considerable accomplishment to his credit, both as editor and author, but this is surely his best."—James J. Murphy, University of California, Davis