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The ‘Shepheards Nation’Jacobean Spenserians and Early Stuart Political Culture 1612-25$
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Michelle O'Callaghan

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198186380

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198186380.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
The ‘Shepheards Nation’

Michelle O'Callaghan

Oxford University Press

Spenser, as he was buried next to Chaucer in Westminster abbey, and although the monument that Elizabeth ordered to commemorate his contributions was never erected, is nonetheless recognized as one of the nation's great poets. While Spenser left the next generations to contemplate about what it would mean to speak for the nation, his own answer to such questions involves certain tensions between planning a national community that is unified and acknowledging divisions within a nation. After his death in 1599, Spenser was recognized in two different personas: the laureate poet who willingly served his king and the oppositional poet who mistreated critics of besmirched times. As Christopher Brooke, William Browne, and George Wither revived Spenser's notion of ‘shepheards nation’, this study attempts to examine the ways in which these prominent writers immersed themselves in an oppositional community.

Keywords:   Spenser, nation, unified nation, divisions, oppositional community, Christopher Brooke, William Browne, George Wither

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