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Spenser's life and the subject of biography /
edited by Judith H. Anderson, Donald Cheney, David A. Richardson.
imprint
Amherst : University of Massachusetts Press, c1996.
description
xiv, 215 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
ISBN
1558490507 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Amherst : University of Massachusetts Press, c1996.
isbn
1558490507 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
996165
 
Includes bibliographical references (pages 201-215).
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1997-05:
This volume in the "Massachusetts Studies in Early Modern Culture" series merits a place in all Spenser collections. Anderson's foreword identifies the problem of historical reference and connections between Spenser's work and his sparingly documented life. Since Judson's biography, The Life of Edmund Spenser (1945), ways of reading the few Spenser records have changed. Checking claims about Spenser's life and testing a variety of approaches to them must include relevant data from recent social and political histories and from the better-documented lives of Spenser's contemporaries. Several of the essays in this volume directly address historical questions. Throughout, the focus is on the bearing the poetry might have on Spenser's biography. Answers to questions about the problematics of biography and the documentation of Spenser's life must precede what can only be an open and ambiguous major biography. These essays show valid differences in emphasis on and interpretation of the biographical materials. They concentrate either on Spenser's initial posting to Ireland--preferment or exile?--or on the relation of his writing to its publication. Largely skeptical of a traditional biographical project, the writers have looked for alternative approaches. Cheney's afterword holds that evidence for Spenser's life calls "its own authority into question and [demands] that we question it." Upper-division undergraduate and above. L. M. Tenbusch; emeritus, Immaculata College
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, May 1997
Reference & Research Book News, May 1997
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Unpaid Annotation
On the 400th anniversary of The Faerie Queene, this book challenges the received tradition of Spenser's biography. The first "life" of Edmund Spenser (c. 1552-99) was written by the poet himself, in allegorical fictions of poetic ambition, envy, and anxiety. Over succeeding centuries, readers have tried to revise and elaborate this life with reference to a handful of surviving records and a wealth of dubiously pertinent historical fact and gossip. The nine essays in this volume examine the history of Spenser biography and suggest strategies for reinterpreting it to an audience newly sensitive to problems of artistic self-presentation.
Table of Contents
Contributors and Editorsp. vii
Forewordp. ix
Spenser's Lives, Spenser's Careersp. 1
Disenchanted Elves: Biography in the Text of Faerie Queene Vp. 18
Fac+t+&U0311ions and Fic+t+&U0311ions: Spenser's Reflec+t+&U0311ions of and on Elizabethan Politicsp. 31
""""All His Minde on Honour Fixed"""": the Preferment of Edmund Spenserp. 45
Spenser and Court Humanismp. 65
Questionable Evidence in the Letters of 1580 Between Gabriel Harvey and Edmund Spenserp. 81
Spenser's Retrography: Two Episodes in Post-Petrarchan Bibliographyp. 99
Spenser (re) Reading Du Bellay: Chronology and Literary Responsep. 131
The Earl of Cork's Lutep. 146
Afterwordp. 172
Notesp. 179
Works Citedp. 201
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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