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date: 19 September 2018

Abstract and Keywords

Theatre by John (Jean) Van der Noot was published in 1569, the year before Queen Elizabeth's ‘excommunication’ by Pope Pius V set England more firmly in opposition to Roman Catholic Europe than had hitherto been the case. This article shows how Spenser's contribution of ‘Epigrams’ and ‘Sonets’ to this vigorously Protestant volume prefigures his career as the poet of a nation in (mostly beleaguered) opposition to Rome. Almost all of Spenser's later preoccupations are evident in the Theatre: it is dedicated to Queen Elizabeth, as The Faerie Queene would be; it is the work of an exile, as Spenser would later consider himself; it is concerned with the Low Countries, where Spenser's patron and hero Sidney would die; it is apocalyptic, as some sections of The Faerie Queene would be; it is anti-prelatical, as The Shepheardes Calender would be and uses woodcuts as that volume does; its ideas of the world's vanities would become central to the Complaints volume, and an important aspect of almost all of Spenser's later verse; and finally it inaugurated Spenser's career as a translator which would continue in Virgils Gnat and The Ruines of Rome.

Keywords: John Van der Noot, Jean Van der Noot, poet, Queen Elizabeth, The Faerie Queene, translator

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