Spenser's Life and the Subject of Biography

By Judith H. Anderson; Donald Cheney et al. | Go to book overview

Notes

Spenser's Lives, Spenser's Careers
1.
The ionscription on his Westminster funerary monument accords Spenser the place of "the prince of poets." He is named "Englands Arch-Poet" on the title page of the 1611 folio edition of his collected works. "[O]ur new Poete" is one of E. K.'s designations for the unnamed author of The Shephedrdes Calender. The nomination of Spenser as "the poet's poet" is discussed by Paul Alpers in an entry under that heading in The Spenser Encyclopedia ( 1990). According to Alpers, the phrase, although traditionally credited as the coinage of Charles Lamb, was first used by Leigh Hunt in Imagination and Fancy, his anthology of select English poetry complete with commentary. My concern with this nomination has to do with the ways it has accorded Spenser and his poetics a (unique) measure of aesthetic transcendence at the cost of effacing some of the historical and material contexts in which his verse was produced. Also relevant here is the figuration of Spenser as "the poets' poet" -- that is, a poet for poets -- which may be taken to mean that his verse is much cited and much imitated by other poets, or that his verse is so densely allusive and so encyclopedically intertextual that it can best be appreciated by poets. That these two figurations are closely related is evident in Hunt's formative account, which signals both how much Spenser is esteemed by other poets and how he "is the farthest removed from the ordinary cares and haunts of the world of all the poets that ever wrote, except perhaps Ovid" ( 1845, 74).
2.
Thus Eliot's glowing introduction to Knight's Shakespearean-derived but Wagnerian-sounding The Wheel of Fire commends the book in its "search for the pattern below the level of 'plot' and 'character,'" its efforts to discern the "subterrene or submarine music" of each play ( Eliot 1946, xviii-xix). With the plays now being treated in terms of what John Dover Wilson calls "dramatic symphonies" ( 1936, 12), the new vocabulary of Shakespeare criticism became musicalized as that of theme (and variation), exposition, melody, counterpoint, rhythm, tone, and dissonance.
3.
See Henley 1928, Carpenter 1921-22, Gray 1930, Gottfried 1939, Judson 1933, and Hulbert 1936-37 for other representative examples of historicist scholarship from this period focused on Spenser in Ireland.
4.
Consider in this framework one of the most recent scholarly endeavors in the field of Spenserian biography, the work of Willy Maley. Eschewing "inference, surmise, and conjecture" ( Maley 1994, xiv-xv), Maley doesn't compose a biography but instead plots A Spenser Chronology, a reference work rather than a narrativized "life of the poet." In this respect, he revives and updates the form of Carpenter 1923 Reference Guide.
5.
"On this journey through Wexford, Spenser, who like Shakespeare seems ever to have had an eye for profitable investments, probably examined the castle and manor of Enniscorthy as well as the monastery of St. Augustine's in New Rosse" ( Jenkins 1937, 346). Compare Taylor 1989, 215-16, on how Shakespeare's life became in the hands of a

-179-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Spenser's Life and the Subject of Biography
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 215

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.