Edmund Spenser A Life Edmund Spenser was a strikingly innovative and experimental writer and until the eighteenth century was far influential than Shakespeare in defining the course of English literature His magi

  • Title: Edmund Spenser: A Life
  • Author: Andrew Hadfield
  • ISBN: 9780199591022
  • Page: 328
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Edmund Spenser 1554 99 was a strikingly innovative and experimental writer and, until the eighteenth century, was far influential than Shakespeare in defining the course of English literature His magisterial work, The Faerie Queene, is one of the most widely read English poems, but it should not overshadow the range and brilliance of his work in The Shepheardes CalEdmund Spenser 1554 99 was a strikingly innovative and experimental writer and, until the eighteenth century, was far influential than Shakespeare in defining the course of English literature His magisterial work, The Faerie Queene, is one of the most widely read English poems, but it should not overshadow the range and brilliance of his work in The Shepheardes Calender, The Complaints, and The Atti and Epithalamion In Edmund Spenser A Life, Andrew Hadfield offers the first biography in sixty years of the most important non dramatic poet of the English Renaissance As Hadfield reminds us, Spenser is often painted as a morally flawed, self interested sycophant complicit in England s ruthless colonization of Ireland in Karl Marx s words, Elizabeth s arse kissing poet a man on the make who aspired to be at court and who was prepared to exploit the Irish to get what he wanted But Hadfield presents a complex and subtle portrait of Spenser How did a man who seemed destined to become a priest or a don become embroiled in politics If he was intent on social climbing, why was he so astonishingly rude to the good and the great Lord Burghley, the earl of Leicester, Sir Walter Raleigh, Elizabeth, and James VI Why was he at home with the middling sort writers, publishers and printers, bureaucrats, soldiers, academics, secretaries, and clergymen than with the mighty and the powerful How did the appalling slaughter he witnessed in Ireland shape his imaginative powers How did his marriage and family life influence his work And what personal strains preceded his death at age 44 In this impressive new biography, Andrew Hadfield sets Spenser in complicated and fractious times to present this key literary figure in a balanced and positive light.

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    One thought on “Edmund Spenser: A Life”

    1. Five years ago, looking for modern biographies of Wyatt, Jonson and Spenser, there weren’t any. In the last two years all three writers have been the subject of substantial scholarly treatment. The author may be dead, facts unfashionable, and History just another form of fiction but the literary biography is alive and well and so, thankfully, is the kind of dedicated scholarship that makes it possible. Hadfield’s new life of Spenser is “scholarly” rather than “enjoyable to read”. The [...]

    2. Fairly readable for a scholarly focus, nonetheless there isn't much there to Spenser's life to warrant the durability required for a 400+ page text. I found myself skimming through large parts of it and slowing down when the discussion revolved around the connections to real life in The Fairie Queen. Nevertheless, this is the book for a biography of Spenser. Ultimately, its pleasure will be derived by scholars and not the general reader. A good library read if you are interested but don't plunk [...]

    3. Literary biography is very, very difficult to do well. The biographer must balance the narrative of the writer's life with the narrative of their career. The life should inform the reading of the work, in the first instance, and then illuminate other historical, cultural and ethical issues.Spenser's life poses serious problems as well--16th century life records are scant, even for the prominent, and there are substantial gaps in the evidence. Meanwhile, his writing appeared in bursts, rather tha [...]

    4. Good for what there is to work with, but most of that isn't very interesting. One of the few cases where the poet's life doesn't at all approach the level of interest that the poet's work commands.

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