Further reading

Hutton, James. "Analogues of Shakespeare's Sonnets 153154: Contributions to the History of a Theme." Modern

shepheardes calender, the (OVERVIEW) Edmund Spenser (1579) The Shepheardes Calender was first published, anonymously, in 1579; it was republished five times between 1579 and 1597, with Edmund Spenser named as author. The Shepheardes Calender is a collection of 12 eclogues, or conversations among shepherds (pastoral dialogue poems), dedicated to Sir Philip Sidney, later earning Spenser a mention in Sidney's Defense of Poesy (1595). Though steeped in the classical tradition and pointedly linked to the work of Virgil and Mantuan (14471516), Spenser's Calender also recalls the medieval calendar tradition through its incorporation of illustrative woodcuts. Moreover, Spenser deliberately used archaic language in order to point to a connection with an English poetic tradition, specifically recalling the work of Geoffrey Chaucer.

Spenser's eclogues are rhetorically complex and, in typical Spenserian style, exhibit archaic phrasing and a complex rhyme scheme. The pastoral genre gave critical writers of the city a chance to praise the quality of the simple life. The main character is Colin Clout, a character originally found in the works of John Skelton, who is introduced in January. Each eclogue traces another of his adventures, the primary being the pursuit of his lady-love, Rosalind. Each eclogue represents a month of the year, and as a whole they form a "calendar," symbolic of an entire human life. A woodcut and an emblem that reveals the speaker's attitude precedes each eclogue. They can be grouped commonly into themes (e.g., love, religion, politics, etc.); indeed, the work's first publisher, identified only as "E.K.," divided the eclogues into smaller series of "plaintive" (four), "moral" (five), and "recreative" (three). Spenser incorporates multiple modes of the pastoral into his work, including debate, singing matches, love complaints, and elegy, with incidental personal and political allusions.

overall, the Shepheardes Calender is read mainly as a political allegory, published just in time to be a response to Queen Elizabeth I's proposed marriage to the duc d'Alengon, a young, Catholic Frenchman. Its originally anonymous publication supports this, for a general anti-Catholic work would have been embraced, but a work specifically criticizing the queen would have been punishable. Through it, Spenser also seeks to recover a native English voice and to secure England's primacy by warning his queen against the dangers of a French alliance.

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