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date: 04 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter outlines some of the key features of Elizabethan Protestantism relevant for Spenser’s work and goes on to consider both their importance as themes in his poetry, and their influence on his understanding of his art and his choice of poetic forms. The ecclesiastical debates of The Shepheardes Calendar are discussed, as well as the problems of detecting a single authoritative point of view. The Faerie Queene is considered as a Protestant epic, with its themes and its form discussed in terms of contemporaneous doctrinal and political religious issues and Protestant attitudes to art. A final section considers Spenser’s move away, in his final works, from his problematic role as poet of a Protestant queen and state to a new reformed poetry of love that vests a quasi-vatic authority in the poet himself.

Keywords: Spenser, religion, Protestant, images, reform, allegory, Elizabeth I, The Faerie Queene, love poetry

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