A selection of the great poems by Edmund Spenser.
Edmund Spenser created a drama of England in his poetry. The 'dream' occurs throughout his poetry, but finds its most concentrated expression in The Faerie Queene, with its epic treatment of the 'dream of Albion', a myth-making vision ofBlighty as the expression of Elizabeth I's magnificence, and vice versa. The Faerie Queene is an astonishing work, by anystandards, and it dwarfs, at times, even those other creations ofthe Renaissance that are so revered by readers and critics - Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus, William Shakespeare's plays and Sir Philip Sidney's Astrophel and Stella.
Technically, Edmund Spenser knew everything about poetry. He wrote many sonnets, and in his The Faerie Queene he composed hundreds of nine-line stanzas. There is a stately progress to Spenser's poesie: he did not rush things. He took his time. William Wordsworth spoke of the 'Sweet Spenser, moving through his clouded heaven with the moon's beauty and the moon's soft pace'.
In the Amoretti, is cycle of love sonnets, Spenser tackled his target, his beloved, from many directions. Spenser is unsurpassed in the art of poetic exaltation - no other poet of the era - and of subsequent or previous eras - Spenser's sense of the superlative and the exalted. Spenser's poetry is a litany of paeans: 'Epithalamion', 'A Hymn in Honour of Love', 'A Hymn in Honour of Beauty', 'A Hymn of Heavenly Beauty', 'A Hymn of Heavenly Love', 'Prothalamion', 'The Calendar' and of course The Faerie Queene all contain passages of lyrical praise.
As with William Shakespeare, Edmund Spenser's view of the world was crystallized in his poetry is an expansive, dramatic, encyclopaedic vision. The sheer amount of work by Spenser - the copious letters, 'Complaints', 'Hymns', sonnets, and stanzas in The Faerie Queene - attest to his love of writing. The length of The Faerie Queene is not the least astonishing thing about it. Spenser clearly had a lot to say, and would not stop until he had said it.
Illustrated, with a revised text, and introduction and notes.
This edition contains a new gallery of pictures of Spenser and his art.
British Poets Series.