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Edmund Spenser's Poetry (Norton Critical Editions) [Paperback]

Edmund Spenser , Hugh Maclean , Anne Lake Prescott
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

December 17, 1992 0393962997 978-0393962994 3 Sub

Building on the strengths of two previous editions, this revised and enlarged Third Edition continues to offer more of Spenser's poetry than any other comparable volume. All selections are based on early and established texts, fully glossed and precisely annotated, with an Editor's Note following each section.

To facilitate discussion of the place of the body and of pastoral elements in Spenser's epic, the Third Edition includes more of The Faerie Queene: from Book II, canto ix (the House of Alma), and from Book VI, the remainder of canto x and all of cantos xi-xii. The Shepheardes Calender is represented by six eclogues, including the much-discussed "Februarie." Colin Clouts Come Home Againe, increasingly a focus of critical attention, is an important addition, and Amoretti is offered in its entirety.

Seventeen critical essays, judiciously chosen from the many published since 1982, have been added to supplement eleven earlier commentaries. New to the Third Edition are the perspectives of Spenser's contemporary William Camden, Virginia Woolf, William Nelson, A. Bartlett Giamatti, Donald Cheney, Judith Anderson, Richard Helgerson, Louis Adrian Montrose, and David Lee Miller. The critical essays on the House of Busyrane, Spenser's pastoral, Muiopotmos, and Amoretti are grouped to "speak" to each other in ways sure to stimulate classroom discussion. This class-tested feature is back by popular demand along with essays by D. C. Allen, Robert A. Brinkley, Ronald P. Bond, Anne Lake Prescott, Andrew D. Weiner, Susanne Lindgren Wofford, Harry Berger, Jr., and Paul Alpers.

A Chronology of Spenser's life and an extensive Bibliography are also included.

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Hugh Maclean was Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus at the State University of New York at Albany. A Toronto Ph.D., he also taught at the Royal Military College of Canada and the University of Cincinnati. He was the editor of the Norton Critical Edition of Ben Jonson and the Cavalier Poets and the author of numerous articles, including three in The Spenser Encyclopedia.

Anne Lake Prescott is Professor of English at Barnard College, Columbia University, where she was recently chair. A Columbia Ph.D., she has also taught in the Columbia graduate department. She is the author of French Poets and the English Renaissance: Studies in Fame and Transformation, many articles on Renaissance literature, and ten contributions to The Spenser Encyclopedia.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 864 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 3 Sub edition (December 17, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393962997
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393962994
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 5.8 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #629,754 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
61 of 62 people found the following review helpful
By tepi
Format:Paperback
EDMUND SPENSER'S POETRY : Authoritative Texts and Criticism. Third Edition. Selected and Edited by Hugh Maclean and Anne Lake Prescott. 842 pp. London & New York : W. W. Norton & Company, 1993.
Although everyone has heard of Edmund Spenser's amazing narrative poem, 'The Faerie Queene,' it's a pity that few seem to read it. To a superficial glance it may appear difficult, although the truth is that it's basically a fascinating story that even an intelligent child can follow with enjoyment and interest.
It appears difficult only because of Spenser's deliberately antique English. He needed such an English because he was creating a whole new dimension of enchantment, a magical world, a land of mystery and adventure teeming with ogres and giants and witches, hardy knights both brave and villainous, dwarfs, magicians, dragons, and maidens in distress, wicked enchanters, gods, demons, forests, caves, and castles, amorous encounters, fierce battles, etc., etc.
To evoke an atmosphere appropriate to such a magical world, a world seemingly distant in both time and place from ours, Spenser created his own special brand of English. Basically his language is standard Sixteenth Century English, but with antique spellings and a few medievalisms thrown in, along with a number of new words that Spenser coined himself. The opening lines of the poem are typical :
"A Gentle Knight was pricking on the plaine, / Y cladd in mightie armes and silver shielde, / Wherein old dints of deepe wounds did remaine, / The cruell markes of many a bloudy fielde...." (page 41).
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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars O pittious worke of Mutabilitie! January 31, 2006
By Selene
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This edition is all right - reasonable level of annotation (most students would benefit from more), justifiable selection, fair show of critical essays; but it's a comedown from the 2nd ed. in every respect, or so it seems to me. The selection from "The Faerie Queene" cuts out Scudamour's relation of his experience in the mysterious Temple of Venus: absolutely essential for anyone reading Book III, which is printed entire in both eds. The pseudo-personal "Colin Clouts Come Home Againe" is a thin substitute, whatever its indications of "the teasing ambiguities of the patronage system" so dear to critics of the 1990s. With the new emphasis on politics rather than philosophy, the "Fowre Hymnes" have gone too; the editors are clearly aiming to reflect "recent critical attention" (their words), but the result somehow suggests that Spenser has become more predictable, less intellectually exciting, over the 10 years between the two editions (1982-1993). As for the choice of critical essays, some things have not been changed when they should have been (the tiny snippet on allegory from "The Kindly Flame" is far too brief to be helpful); on the other hand, the excision of C.S. Lewis's account of the House of Busyrane is simply perverse. Lewis is the critical starting point for this, and later work depends (whatever its attitude) on him.

Obviously a new edition must struggle over the demands of space, but it must also keep in mind the nature of its readership. Who will use this? Not a professional Renaissance scholar, who will own a complete text. So, students, or interested readers, who don't already own the previous edition, and have not necessarily internalized a long tradition of Spenser scholarship.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 1993 Edition Details February 18, 2004
Format:Paperback
It has been mentioned that only half the "Faerie Queene" is here included. I would like to add that of the 12 months of the "Shepherd's Calendar", only the months January, February, April, October, November & December are included.
I would have prefered that the editors throw out some of those 160 pages of critical examinations and include a complete text.
The type face is legible, the paper opacity is adequate, and I especially applaud putting the glossary in the margin so I need not turn to the back of the book to make use of it.
The "Shepherd's Calendar" is illustrated with one woodcut for each month. They are not the elegant sort we get from say Albrecht Durer, but are are in a primitivism style. I found no other illustrations in the rest of the book.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Edmund Spenser's Poetry Hits Home November 8, 2001
Format:Paperback
Until I read this book, I thought I knew everything about Spenser, but Norton has done it again! Insightful and interesting,this anthology of criticism covers everything from "The Faerie Queene" to all the other things Spenser wrote. I had always been a Chaucer hound,but now I've converted to the Spenserian camp. Partake of this grand work and be saved!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 4th Edition is on its way October 16, 2012
Format:Paperback
Please be advised that this 1992 third edition will soon be replaced by a fourth edition. Amazon's page for the new edition suggests it will be available in December at a price of $16.15.
http://www.amazon.com/Edmund-Spensers-Poetry-Anne-Prescott/dp/0393927857/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1350407876&sr=1-2&keywords=edmund+spenser%27s+poetry

Norton states that the new edition will not be available until February 2013. But the publisher provides a description of the changes to the edition, including reintroduction of a critical essay by CS Lewis (not sure whether it is the same essay that was in the second edition), to help you decide whether it is worth the wait.
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