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date: 23 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Attacks on English poetry as unlearned and immoral increased in the 1570s. Most worrying may have been George Gascoigne's experience. Gascoigne's collection of verse, A Hundreth Sundrie Flowres (1573), seems to have provoked criticism and even censorship. When he reissued the poems in a reformed edition as The Posies in 1575, he prefaced it with an apologetic epistle, ‘To the reverende Divines’, members of the Court of High Commission who had the power of censorship and who had, apparently ‘thought requysite that all ydle Bookes or wanton Pamphlettes shoulde bee forbidden’. Despite Gascoigne's apology, copies of The Posies were recalled in 1576. This article suggests that Gascoigne and the image of Philomele figure significantly in Spenser's imagination throughout his career.

Keywords: English poetry, George Gascoigne, censorship, Philomele, imagination

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