Thursday, January 13, 2011

Building up Gloriana

Edmund Spenser died on January 13, 1599. His great allegorical poem, The Faerie Queene is one of the great works of the Elizabethan era, while his Shepherd's Calendar pays homage to Chaucer and rustic seasons.

In his own day, Spenser was known as the "prince of poets." He helped build up the image of Gloriana and the high ideals of the Renaissance in England, especially with his allegory of virtues.

His great prose work is the View of the State of Ireland (not printed until 1633) in which he proposes the total eradication of Celtic and Catholic culture in Ireland as the only means for the English to conquer and control Ireland. He lived most of his adult life in Ireland, returning to England only for visits, until his castle in Ireland was destroyed and he was sent to England with reports from the revolts in 1598. He died in Westminster and was buried in the Poet's Corner, next to Chaucer, in Westminster Abbey.

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