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Spenser, Poetry and Performance

These five podcasts have been selected and curated from the events of ‘Spenser, Poetry and Performance’, a collaboration between the International Spenser Society and Shakespeare’s Globe, held at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, London, on 12th and 13th June 2017. We hope they will be of interest to scholars and students of early modern poetry and drama. A set of scholarly reflections on the event can be read in the January 2018 issue of The Spenser Review here. The full programme can be viewed here [PDF].


The first group of four podcasts comprise the four themed facilitated discussions, which include actors’ readings of selections from Spenser’s work. The fifth podcast comprises the concluding roundtable to the two-day event, which gives a sense of the ground covered and new approaches explored.

This second set of podcasts comprises excerpts from those facilitated discussions of what we called ‘pivot readings’ from Spenser by Shakespeare’s Globe actors Fran Marshall and Matthew Foster, for use in teaching and research.

The four facilitated discussions took place on Monday 12th June 2017 in the Nancy Knowles Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe, and participants are as follows.

  1. ‘Poetry, Dialogue and Performance’, chaired by Farah Karim-Cooper (Shakespeare’s Globe). Participants: Will West (Northwestern University), Emma Smith (Oxford), Bridget Escolme (Queen Mary, University of London).

  1. ‘Performing Lyric, Poetry’s Music’, chaired by Andrew Hadfield (University of Sussex). Participants: Katie Bank (Royal Holloway, University of London), Simon Jackson (University of Warwick), David Lindley (University of Leeds).

  1. ‘Performing Materiality and the Non/Human’, chaired by Tiffany Jo Werth (Simon Fraser University). Participants: Todd Borlik (University of Huddersfield), Ayesha Ramachandran (Yale University), Joseph Campana (Rice University).

  1. ‘Rhyme, Line, and Lyric in Poetry and Drama’, chaired by Eric Langley (University College London). Participants: Lucy Munro (King’s College, London), Richard Danson Brown (The Open University), Paul Hecht (Purdue University), J.B. Lethbridge (Tübingen). NB: Prof. Hecht’s contribution has not been included in this podcast, by his request.

The concluding roundtable took place on Tuesday 13th June 2017 in the Nancy Knowles Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe, and participants are as follows: David Lee Miller (University of South Carolina (chair)); Stephanie Elsky (University of Wisconsin-Madison), Joe Moshenska (University of Cambridge), Patricia Palmer (Maynooth University), Nathan Szymanski (Simon Fraser University).


These next four podcasts comprise the pivot readings from Spenser performed as part of the facilitated expert discussions on Monday 12th June 2017. The texts were read and performed by Fran Marshall and Matthew Foster, and are as follows:

1) From ‘Poetry, Dialogue and Performance’:

  • Epithalamion, stanza 15

  • The Faerie Queene V.ii.31-32, 34-35 (Artegall and the Giant with the Scales)

  • The Faerie Queene I.iv.21-23 (‘Gluttony’ from the parade of the seven deadly sins)

  • The Shepheardes Calender, ‘August’, ll. 51-94 (Willye/Perigot stichomythia)

2) From ‘Performing Lyric, Poetry’s Music’

  • Epithalamion, stanzas 5 and 6

  • The Faerie Queene I.i.39-42 (Morpheus asleep)

  • The Faerie Queene V.viii.1-2

3) From ‘Performing Materiality and the Non/Human’

  • Muiopotmos (the arming of Clarion, ll. 55-73, 89-104)

  • The Faerie Queene I.vi.24, 26 (Una and Satyrane)

  • The Faerie Queene II.xii.22-25, 26 (Guyon’s sea-voyage)

  • The Faerie Queene IV.x.44, 46-47

  • Hymn in Honour of Beauty, stanzas 1 and 4

  • Amoretti 75 (‘One day I wrote her name upon the sand …’)

4) From ‘Rhyme, Line and Lyric in Poetry and Drama’

  • ‘Mutabilitie Cantos’, VII.viii.57-59 (Dame Nature’s judgement)

  • ‘Mutabilitie Cantos’, VII.viii. 1-2 (final stanzas of the Mutabilitie Cantos)

  • The Faerie Queene V.v.2-3, 5, 7, 9 (Radegund coming out to battle with Artegall)

The video and audio files of the ‘Research in Action’ workshop, ‘Performing Elizabethan Poetry: Spenser and Shakespeare’ (Monday 12 June 2017, 6.30-8.30pm) can be consulted at the archives of Shakespeare’s Globe. However, the programme notes, participants and selected readings from that workshop can be viewed in the January 2018 issue of The Spenser Review here.

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"Spenser, Poetry and Performance," Spenser Review ( ). Accessed December 13th, 2018.
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