The early Spenser, 1554-80: Minde on honour fixed' (Manchester Spenser) (Hardcover)

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This revisionary biographical study documents that Spenser was the prot g of a circle of churchmen, not the son of a journeyman merchant tailor. As a young man, he was expected to take holy orders, but between 1574, when he left Pembroke College, and 1579, when he published the Shepheardes Calender, Spenser decided against a career in the church. At Pembroke College and in London, Spenser watched the Elizabethan establishment crack down on independent thinking. The sequestration of Edmund Grindal was a watershed event in his early life as was his encounter with Philip Sidney, the dedicatee to the Shepheardes Calender. Once Spenser exchanged the role of shepherd-priest for that of shepherd-poet, he understood that his role was to celebrate the victories of Protestant England over the Spanish empire and 'fashion a noble person in vertuous and gentle discipline'.

The received biography of the early Spenser emphasises Gabriel Harvey, who is reported to have been Spenser's tutor. Brink shows that Harvey could not have been Spenser's tutor and argues that Harvey published Familiar Letters (1580) to promote his chances of being named University Orator at Cambridge. Familiar Letters also portrays Spenser as Harvey's admiring disciple, a portrait Harvey invented.

Brink's provocative study, based upon a critical re-evaluation of manuscript and printed sources, emphasises the Sidneys over Harvey and shows that Spenser's appointment as Secretary to Lord Grey, Lord Deputy of Ireland, was an extraordinary preferment for a twenty-five-year old poet; an appointment celebrated even years later by Camden.

About the Author

Jean R. Brink is a Research Scholar at Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA, Professor Emeritus at Arizona State University, and the founding director of the Az Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies

Product Details
ISBN: 9781526142580
ISBN-10: 1526142589
Publisher: Manchester University Press
Publication Date: October 14th, 2019
Pages: 256
Language: English
Series: Manchester Spenser
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