Spenser's Shepheardes Calender: A Study in Elizabethan Allegory

Spenser's Shepheardes Calender: A Study in Elizabethan Allegory

Spenser's Shepheardes Calender: A Study in Elizabethan Allegory

Spenser's Shepheardes Calender: A Study in Elizabethan Allegory

Excerpt

In spite of its great importance in the history of literature, the Shepheardes Calender has never been closely or accurately studied in relation to the age that produced it. In particular, it has never been so studied in relation to Spenser's closest friends and associates and the political and religious events of the year in which it was published. Furthermore, allegory is a genre much misunderstood today, for we no longer instinctively comprehend the allegorical mode as did the Elizabethans. Then, too, scholars have been constantly extending our knowledge of the Elizabethan period, and we are now able to better understand early works of literature. For these reasons a reinterpretation of the Calender as historical allegory has long been needed, and this book has been designed to fill that need.

The arrangement of my material is that which seemed most practical to me. After justifying my interpretation of the Calender as allegory, I give the necessary background just before the chapters on the political and religious allegory. Because of the complex and confusing state of religion in the decade that produced the Calender--and the consequent misinterpretation--I

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