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: 20 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

A poet's employment of unusual forms of language is more often admired than disliked by critics of modern and contemporary poetry, yet Spenserian scholars have often felt it necessary to defend Spenser by arguing either that he was a great poet despite his abuse of the language or that his abuse of the language has been greatly exaggerated. This article looks at the pre-existing theories upon which Spenser drew in order to make sense of his diction. Spenser's idiosyncratic modifications of Elizabethan English diction demonstrate that he followed neither the Continental linguists nor the English linguists slavishly, instead formulating his own blend of practices. Exactly what motivated Spenser's pattern of choices is still under debate — though, not surprisingly, recent theories tend to focus upon various political and ideological motives.

Keywords: language, diction, linguistics, Elizabethan English

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.