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51.2 (Spring-Summer 2021)

Editorial Introduction Jane Grogan, Andrew Hadfield

This current issue contains two main features, along with a review essay, an appreciation of the career of a major Spenser scholar, and a selection of reviews. The two essays by Joe Moshenska and Hannah Crawforth link together neatly. Both explore and think about Spenser in terms of contemporary concerns and can be seen as instances of the turn towards a more personal response to literature, which many within and beyond the academy have desired in recent years. Read more…

The Two Biggies: Intermittent Reflections on Spenser and Proust Joe Moshenska

In a 1984 interview, Robert Hunter – lyricist for The Grateful Dead, responsible for songs such as ‘Terrapin Station’ and ‘Dark Star’ – was asked by Mary Eisenhart about his reading habits.  The ensuing exchange went like this:

 

Hunter: I’m just about through Proust finally – I’ve been digging at Proust for about six years, and I’m finally on Time RegainedEisenhart: I’m impressed. Hunter: [Laughs] Well you should be.  I’m impressed myself.  I’m going to finish it this year. Proust and Spenser.  The Faerie Queene.  Those are the two biggies.  I’ve wanted to be one of those people who have read The Faerie QueeneRead more…

Queer Echoes: Reading The Faerie Queene with Evie Shockley Hannah Crawforth

In her Afterword to the recent special issue of Spenser Studies on Spenser and Race (co-edited by Dennis Britton and Kimberly Coles), Ayanna Thompson makes several suggestions about how we might read, study and teach Spenser in ways that fully acknowledge the structures of systematic racial oppression that underpin both the poem and our discipline. We need new editions of The Faerie Queene that are both cheap enough to be accessible and that also fully and honestly annotate the poem – glossing ‘Sarazin’ as ‘Muslim’, for instance. ‘Second, we may need to rethink where The Faerie Queene belongs in our curricula,’ she writes. Read more…

Catherine Nicholson, Reading and Not Reading ‘The Faerie Queene’: Spenser and the Making of Literary Criticism Patrick Cheney

In the title of Catherine Nicholson’s new book, Reading and Not Reading ‘The Faerie Queene’: Spenser and the Making of Literary Criticism, a lot is going on. The main title clearly announces the book project, which is to track the problem – including the history of the problem – of both reading The Faerie Queene and not reading it (more of which presently). Yet the subtitle might also interest readers of The Spenser Review, for Nicholson assigns Spenser a singular role in the modern academy of letters: ‘Spenser’ is coequal with ‘the Making of Literary Criticism’; Spenser is the inaugural figure in the making of what our colleagues across the fields also do. Read more…

In Memoriam Harry Berger Jr Susanne Wofford

A personal tribute from Susanne Wofford

Harry Berger, one of the most important Spenserians of the second half of the twentieth century, and on into this century, died at age 96 on March 12, 2021, at his home in Santa Cruz, CA. Born and raised in NYC, Harry Berger received his BA and his PhD in English Literature from Yale University, where he taught for 12 years before leaving Yale in 1965 to become one of the founding faculty members at UC Santa Cruz, the new experimental College being created by the University of California.  Berger remained at UC Santa Cruz for the rest of his career, deeply influencing generations of students and being himself liberated (if he needed that) by its wide-ranging, non-departmental, intellectual, interdisciplinary traditions which he also helped to create. Read more…

Bas relief from the exterior of the Scuola San Giorgio degli Schiavoni in Venice. Photo courtesy of Roger Kuin.

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