Edmund Spenser

Matthew Woodcock (University of East Anglia)
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In his dedication to the 1596 edition of

The Faerie Queene

Edmund Spenser addresses Queen Elizabeth, his ultimate implied reader, claiming that in writing his great poem for her as well as about her he might “live with the eternitie of her fame”. Such a statement now seems prescient, given Spenser's modern canonical status as one of the greatest Elizabethan poets. But the idea that Spenser and Elizabeth should forever be associated by the poet's mythopoeic fashioning obscures Spenser's modest origins and the fact that much of his life was one of service.

An imprecise chronological allusion in sonnet 60 of his sequence Amoretti (published 1595) allows us to date Spenser's birth to between 1552 and 1554. In Prothalamion (1596) he refers to London as his “most kyndly Nurse” though

3262 words

Citation: Woodcock, Matthew. "Edmund Spenser". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 11 May 2004 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=4171, accessed 25 April 2024.]

4171 Edmund Spenser 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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