Edmund Spenser (1554-1599) was the greatest Elizabethan poet, whose Shepheardes Calendar (1579) inaugurated a revolution in English poetry, and whose unfinished Faerie Queene (1590-96) was the longest and most accomplished poem written in the sixteenth century. Readers have always been immediately attracted by the fluid grace of is language, and by the magical world of dwarfs, hermits, knights and dragons evoked in The Faerie Queene, but have often been bewildered and overawed by the bulk and complexity of his writing. In this approachable and informative book, Colin Burrow clarifies the genres and conventions of work in Spenser’s poem. He explores the poet’s taste for archaism and allegory, and the native of epic and of heroism in The Faerie Queene. He presents Spenser as a ‘Renaissance’ poet, who is drawn at once to images of vital rebirth and to images of mortal frailty. In clear, jargon-free prose he explores Spenser’s equivocal relationship with his Queen and with the Irish landscape in which he spent his mature years. Spenser emerges from this book a less orthodox and harmonious poet that he is often thought to be, but as a complex, thoughtful and attractive writer.
Colin Burrow is Fellow, Tutor and College Lecturer in English at Gonville Caius College, Cambridge from which he graduated with a double starred first. Dr Burrow has taught and written extensively on Renaissance literature including contributions to: Epic Romance: Homer to Milton (Oxford, 1993), The Cambridge History of Medieval English Literature and The Cambridge History of Literary Criticism in the Renaissance.
216 × 138 mm
June 1, 1996
Writers and their Work