"Gentle Spirit"? Spenser's Poetic Influence
The work of Spenser, and the idea of him, have inspired poets since the late sixteenth century. His recognized poetic descendants include both the obscure, such as Giles and Phineas Fletcher, and the very great: John Milton, John Keats. But Spenser has not been submissively admired. Generations of poets have been attracted to his creative world – his language, his challenging stanzaic forms, his allegory – but at the same time critical of it: from Philip Sidney's doubts about The Shepheardes Calender to William Hazlitt's dismissal of the allegory in The Faerie Queene, part of the response to Spenser has been vigorous disagreement, or, in Harold Bloom's terms, "misreading". This panel aims to consider Spenser's restless poetic legacy. Questions might include: Spenser and the idea of English epic; the history of the Spenserian stanza; particular poets and their engagement with Spenser; and whether any poets writing today show any signs of Spenserian influence. Is Spenser, once called "the poets' poet", still a living poetic force?
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