Edmund Spenser, Shepheardes Calender

Rachel Willie (Liverpool John Moores)
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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 present, As childe whose parent is unkent: To him that is the president Of noblesse and of cheualree, And

3161 words

Citation: Willie, Rachel. "Shepheardes Calender". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 September 2014 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=2104, accessed 25 May 2024.]

2104 Shepheardes Calender 3 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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