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Edmund Spenser's Poetry (Norton Critical Editions) 3 Sub Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0393962994
ISBN-10: 0393962997
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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.
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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: 5.6 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #609,849 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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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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