Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 18 November 2018

Abstract and Keywords

This article reviews Spenser's biographies from the sixteenth to the twenty-first centuries. In the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, biographers typically composed short notices and ‘character-sketches’ that offered personal and sometimes intimate details, but often made no effort to construct a larger chronological account. It was not until the eighteenth century that biographers concentrated on ‘the personal and the private life, the life of the inner man’. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, biography moved away from psychological analysis and became more ‘patriotic and exemplary’. Biographies of Spenser that appeared during this period highlighted Spenser's contributions not only to the English literary tradition, but also to the formation of a national cultural identity. By the mid-twentieth century, biographers challenged this depiction of Spenser as they increasingly situated his life and career within a variety of historical and cultural contexts.

Keywords: biographies, biographers, life, career

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.