Edmund Spenser: Shepheardes Calender

(3371 words)
  • Rachel Willie (Bangor University)

Edmund Spenser’s first foray into print is laden with incongruities. Supposedly the poem to launch the public career of England’s newest poet and Chaucer’s literary inheritor, The Shepheardes Calender was first published anonymously in 1579. While the politically sensitive subject matter of the allegory may have encouraged an anonymous authorship, there is a disjunction between the vaunting of the poet’s prowess as a writer and the insistence upon keeping the poet’s name concealed. The preliminary poem highlights the enigma of an anonymous poet championing their verse while simultaneously emphasising that language takes precedence over authorship:

Goe little booke: thy self …

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Willie, Rachel. "Shepheardes Calender". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 September 2014
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=2104, accessed 05 July 2015.]