Edmund Spenser: A Life

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9780199591022: Edmund Spenser: A Life

Edmund Spenser (1554-99) was a strikingly innovative and experimental writer and, until the eighteenth century, was far more 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 Amoretti 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 more 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 more 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 more balanced and positive light.

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Edmund Spenser's innovative poetic works have a central place in the canon of English literature. Yet he is remembered as a morally flawed, self-interested sycophant; complicit in England's ruthless colonisation 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.

In his vibrant and vivid book, the first biography of the poet for 60 years, Andrew Hadfield finds a more complex and subtle 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 Ralegh, Elizabeth I and James VI? Why was he more 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 impact on his imaginative powers? How did his marriage and family life shape his work?

Spenser's brilliant writing has always challenged our preconceptions. So too, Hadfield shows, does the contradictory relationship between his between life and his art.

From the Back Cover:

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General Editor: Stan Smith
Professor of English, University of Dundee

This important series takes full account of contemporary literary theory, providing collections of key modern readings of major authors, genres and critical approaches. Prefaced by a wide-ranging editorial introduction setting the readings in context and exploring the issues they raise, individual volumes in the series offer the student authoritative and stimulating guides to the best theoretically-informed critical work on subjects from Chaucer to the present.

This collection represents some of the best recent critical writing on Edmund Spenser, a major Renaissance English poet who has helped to inspire some of the most vigorous critical movements within recent English studies. The essays cover the whole range of Spenser's work, from his early literary experiments such as the Shepeardes Calender, to his unfinished crowning work, The Faerie Queene, and his controversial treatise, A View of the Present State of Ireland. The collection presents a wide range of critical responses, including the important new historicist work of Stephen Greenblatt, Louis Montrose and Richard Helgerson, the post-structuralist and psychoanalytic readings of Jonathan Goldberg and David Lee Miller and the femminist analyses of Pamela Benson and Lauren Silberman, as well as other essays by leading American, British and Irish scholars.

The introduction provides an overview of critical responses to Spenser, setting his work and the debates which it has generated in their respective contexts. Further guidance for the reader is provided by the headnotes to the essays and the annotated bibliography.

This volume will be of value to students of English literature at undergraduate and postgraduate levels as well as to lecturers.

Andrew Hadfield is Lecturer in English at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. He has published widely on Spenser in articles for academic journals and books.

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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2012. Hardback. Book Condition: New. 234 x 160 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Edmund Spenser s innovative poetic works have a central place in the canon of English literature. Yet he is remembered as a morally flawed, self-interested sycophant; complicit in England s ruthless colonisation 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. In his vibrant and vivid book, the first biography of the poet for 60 years, Andrew Hadfield finds a more complex and subtle 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 Ralegh, Elizabeth I and James VI? Why was he more 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 impact on his imaginative powers? How did his marriage and family life shape his work? Spenser s brilliant writing has always challenged our preconceptions. So too, Hadfield shows, does the contradictory relationship between his between life and his art. Bookseller Inventory # AOP9780199591022

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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2012. Hardback. Book Condition: New. 234 x 160 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Edmund Spenser s innovative poetic works have a central place in the canon of English literature. Yet he is remembered as a morally flawed, self-interested sycophant; complicit in England s ruthless colonisation 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. In his vibrant and vivid book, the first biography of the poet for 60 years, Andrew Hadfield finds a more complex and subtle 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 Ralegh, Elizabeth I and James VI? Why was he more 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 impact on his imaginative powers? How did his marriage and family life shape his work? Spenser s brilliant writing has always challenged our preconceptions. So too, Hadfield shows, does the contradictory relationship between his between life and his art. Bookseller Inventory # AOP9780199591022

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