E 392M • Edmund Spenser
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
This course will offer an introductory reading of the works of Edmund Spenser. Special emphasis will fall on his epic masterwork, The Faerie Queene, but we will also deal in detail with The Shepheardes Calender, Amoretti and Epithalamion, Colin Clouts Come Home Again, and the notorious View of the State of Ireland (and possibly other lesser-known works). We will also engage certain works by relevant contemporaries, among them possibly Sir Henry Sidney, Sir Philip Sidney, George Puttenham, Sir Walter Ralegh, Lodowyck Bryskett, Giovanni Battista Nenna, and others. Secondary material on contemporary historical, religious, and Irish matters will play an important role: work by Keith Wrightson, Lawrence Stone, Nicholas Canny, Richard Helgerson, Louis Montrose, et al.
Central issues: Religio-political conflict (Protestant vs. Catholic, Anglican vs. Puritan, England vs. Spain, England vs. Ireland); courtly faction; classical and Neoplatonist influences; allegory; Queen Elizabeth and erotic figuration; Spenser and Renaissance poetics;
Tentative list of texts: Spenser, Edmund. The Faerie Queene Spenser, Edmund. Shorter Poems Spenser, Edmund. A View of the State of Ireland Sidney, Henry. A Viceroy's Vindication? Puttenham. The Art of English Poesy Sidney, Philip. A Defence of Poesy Nenna. A Treatise of Nobility Vergil. Aeneid. Ovid. Metamorphoses Castiglione. The Book of the Courtier Rivers. Classical and Christian Ideas in English Renaissance Poetry Hadfield (ed.). The Cambridge Companion to Spenser Luther. The Babylonian Captivity of the Church Stubbes. An Anatomy of Abuses Foxe. Acts and Monuments Harrison. The Description of England An Admonition to the Parliament A substantial packet of critical and hard-to-find materials