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Poetry and Politics in the English RenaissanceRevised Edition$
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David Norbrook

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199247189

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199247189.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 29 November 2021

The Shepheardes Calender: Prophecy and the Court

The Shepheardes Calender: Prophecy and the Court

(p.53) 3. The Shepheardes Calender: Prophecy and the Court
Poetry and Politics in the English Renaissance

David Norbrook

Oxford University Press

Edmund Spenser's The Shepheardes Calender marked a revolution in English poetry. The volume was a virtuoso display of the stylistic and metrical skill of this ‘new poet’ who assimilated and imitated a great many Continental and classical literary models. Despite these innovations, however, Spenser also paid tribute to English traditions, including the tradition of reforming, prophetic poetry. Spenser's poetic persona, Colin Clout, carries similar associations with the poetry of social and religious protest. One of his protagonists is named Piers and his attack on ecclesiastical luxury evokes memories of Piers Plowman. That poem's contemporary editor, Robert Crowley, was still a prominent figure in London when Spenser published his eclogues. Spenser's personae are shepherds rather than ploughmen, but in the Middle Ages the two figures had similar associations.

Keywords:   Edmund Spenser, The Shepheardes Calender, revolution, English, poetry, Colin Clout, Robert Crowley

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