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Editorial Introduction
by 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. Moshenska’s reflective piece, the product of a period in lockdown clearly well spent, examines the relationship between Spenser and Proust, part of his own interest in the overlap between literature and philosophical ideas. What does it mean to read a long and involved work? What skills does it demand of a reader; how can such an involved narrative function effectively; and what should we conclude from the experience? Crawforth is concerned with debates about Spenser and his representation of race, wondering how we can and should teach Spenser to students. Thinking about the contemporary poet Evie Shockley’s re-figuring of some ideas and motifs from The Faerie Queene she wonders whether we should deracinate Spenser from his historical context and think about his work alongside more recent writers of colour. We hope that such interventions will inspire and further debates in the Spenser community. The same might also be said of Patrick Cheney’s review of Catherine Nicholson’s new book, which wonders whether The Faerie Queene was ever really widely read, raising the question of what it means to read Spenser properly. We wish we knew. Someone who got closer than most was Harry Berger, Jr., one of the most incisive and influential Spenser critics after the Second World War. Suzanne Wofford’s touching overview of his career and writing explains why Berger’s legacy matters and why we should all turn to his books on Spenser (and so many other subjects).

The issue also features six reviews of recent notable books in early modern studies, from a study of literary afterlives of Greene, Sidney and Donne from our valued Spenserian colleague Elisabeth Chaghafi to Angus Vine’s new book on manuscript culture and the production of knowledge; from Peter Auger’s close study of the influence of Du Bartas in England and Scotland to Susan Royal’s analysis of the influential Lollardy of Foxe’s Acts and Monuments. Two studies of the sonnet round out the issue: a collection of essays on the early modern sonnet edited by Rémi Vuillemin, Laetitia Sansonetti and Enrica Zanin, and a tantalizing transhistorical selection and study of the sonnet by Stephen Regan.

Jane Grogan and Andrew Hadfield



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Cite as:

Jane Grogan, Andrew Hadfield, "Editorial Introduction," Spenser Review 51.2.1 (Spring-Summer 2021). Accessed April 17th, 2024.
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