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Spenser's Forms of History Hardcover – 26 Sep 2002

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More About the Author

Bart van Es is Fellow and University Lecturer in English at St Catherine's College, Oxford. He is the author of Spenser's Forms of History (2002), A Critical Companion to Spenser Studies (2006), and Shakespeare in Company (2013). In addition to his work on Spenser and Shakespeare he has published articles on Daniel, Drayton, Renaissance historiography, and pastoral poetry. Essays by him appear in various Oxford Handbooks, including that on Holinshed's Chronicles and that on English Prose, 1500-1640. He is a contributor to Medieval Shakespeare: Pasts and Presents and has chapters forthcoming in The Oxford History of Classical Reception in English Literature, Volume 2, and Moving Shakespeare Indoors.

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Essential for all Spenserians, Bart van Es's book has much to recommend it to students of early modern Britain. (Thomas Healy, TLS, April 2005)

... graceful and important book ... Van Es draws impressively on historically-orientated Renaissance studies of the last twenty years or so while bringing to bear sensitive reading of Spenser's own work as the poet grapples with the various modes of understanding history available in Elizabethan England. (Renaissance Quarterly)

Van Es has taken that next step in historicist analysis of literature: to subject modes of historical thinking to examination and to accord equal respect and attention to literary and historical texts. Van Es finds in Spenser "a profound, playful, and above all multiform sense of the past". Spenser's Forms of History provides an extremely useful overview of modes of Elizabethan historical thinking and provocative guide to thinking about Spenser in relation to multiform Elizabethan historicism. (Renaissance Quarterly)

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If there is one exemplary point in The Faerie Queene that foregrounds the reading of history it is in Book II, Cantos ix-x. Read the first page
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