Spenser, Edmund biographical name
(born 1552/53, London, Eng.died Jan. 13, 1599, London) English poet. Little is known for certain about his life before he entered the University of Cambridge. His first important publication, The Shepheardes Calender (1579), can be called the first work of the English literary Renaissance. By 1580 he was apparently serving the Earl of Leicester and was part of a literary circle led by Sir Philip Sidney. In 1580 he became secretary to the lord deputy of Ireland, where he spent much of his remaining life; in 1588 or 1589 he took over a large property at Kilcolman, near Cork. In 1590 he published the first part of the long allegorical poem The Faerie Queene (first folio ed., 1609), an imaginative vindication of Protestantism and Puritanism and a glorification of England and Elizabeth I. The central poem of the Elizabethan period and one of the greatest poems in English, it was composed in a revolutionary nine-line stanzaic pattern, the Spenserian stanza, that was used by many later poets. Of the 12 books he planned for the poem, he completed just over half. Amoretti (1595), a sonnet sequence, and Epithalamion (1595), a marriage ode, are among his other works. In the Irish uprising of 1598, Kilcolman was burned; Spenser, probably in despair, died shortly after.
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