Edmund Spenser's poetry remains an indispensable touchstone of English literary history. Yet for modern readers his deliberate use of archaic language and his allegorical mode of writing can become barriers to understanding his poetry. This volume of thirty-seven essays, written by distinguished scholars, offers a rich introduction to the literary, political and religious contexts that shaped Spenser's poetry, including the environment in which he lived, the genres he drew upon, and the influences that helped to fashion his art. The collection reveals the multiple personae that Spenser constructs within his work: to read Spenser is to read a rich archive of literary forms, and this volume provides the contexts in which to do so. A further reading list at the end of the volume will prove invaluable to further study.
Table of Contents
Introduction Andrew Escobedo; Part I. Spenser's Environment: 1. Pedagogy, education, and early career Andrew Wallace; 2. Laureate career-fashioning William A. Oram; 3. Patrons Richard McCabe; 4. Church controversy Gregory Kneidel; 5. Figures of Elizabeth Anna Riehl Bertolet; 6. Publication and the book marketplace Andrew Zurcher; 7. Colonialism and the New World Brian Lockey; 8. Colonialism and Irish plantation Thomas Herron; 9. Spenser's Irish circle Willy Maley; 10. Land, boundaries, and borders Philip Schwyzer; Part II. Genre and Craft: 11. Epic David Quint; 12. Pastoral Katherine Little; 13. Romance Clare Kinney; 14. The Bible and biblical hermeneutics Jamie Ferguson; 15. Allegory: theory and practice Judith H. Anderson; 16. Complaint and satire William Kerwinl; 17. Renaissance literary theory Gordon Teskey; 18. Renaissance rhetorical theory Michael Hetherington; 19. Poetry and the Commonwealth Cathy Shrank; 20. Poetical history John E. Curran, Jr; 21. Premodern literary character Andrew Escobedo; 22. Prosody Paul J. Hecht; Part III. Influences and Analogues: 23. Virgil David Scott Wilson-Okamura; 24. Ovid Syrithe Pugh; 25. Petrarch Patrick Cheney; 26. Chaucer Craig A. Berry; 27. The Sidney circle Mary Ellen Lamb; 28. Spenser's French connection Anne Lake Prescott; 29. Plato and Platonism William Junker; 30. Aristotle and the virtues Joe Moshenska; 31. Protestant theology and devotion Beth Quitslund; 32. Emblem and iconography Sarah Howe; 33. Saints, legends, and calendars Susannah Brietz Monta; 34. Cosmology and cosmography Ayesha Ramachandran; 35. Early modern ecology Julian Yates; 36. Sex and eroticism in the Renaissance Melissa E. Sanchez; 37. Gender in the 1590 Faerie Queene Kimberly Anne Coles; Further reading; Index.