Spenser

Spenser

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Spenser

Spenser

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Excerpt

Spenser marks a beginning in English literature. He was the first Englishman who, in that great division of our history which dates from the Reformation, attempted and achieved a poetical work of the highest order. Born about the same time as Hooker (1552-1554), in the middle of that eventful century which began with Henry VIII., and ended with Elizabeth, he was the earliest of our great modern writers in poetry, as Hooker was the earliest of the great modern writers in prose. In that reviving English literature, which, after Chaucer's wonderful promise, had been arrested in its progress, first by the Wars of the Roses, and then by the religious troubles of the Reformation, these two were the writers who first realized to Englishmen the ideas of a high literary perfection. These ideas vaguely filled many minds; but no one had yet shown the genius and the strength to grasp and exhibit them. in a way to challenge comparison with what had been accomplished by the poetry and prose of Greece . . .

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