As Gosson might have anticipated, the monstrous fictions of the 1570s had many offspring. The volumes of energetic prose produced by Greene and Lodge in the 1580s are only the most self-conscious of their literary descendants; but it is also tempting to see the distinguishing features of Gascoigne's, Pettie's, and Lyly's textual progeny more or less distinctly reproduced in the ambitious literary projects of more familiar writers. But a few important texts of the late 1570s and early 1580s offer more detailed perspectives on the shifty literary territory that prose fiction had helped to open up. One of these is Spenser's The Shepheardes Calender. There are many reasons why texts get devalued and forgotten, and it is often a laborious task to recover or to reconstruct them. The writers of the self-consciously ephemeral narratives of the 1570s fiction were well aware of this.
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