“Companionable thinking: Spenser With…”

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Spenser Studies
contact email: 

Call for Papers




Edited by


David Hillman, Joe Moshenska, and Namratha Rao


CFP deadline: 30 September 2020

This call for papers welcomes submissions for a special issue of Spenser Studies entitled “Companionable Thinking: Spenser with…”. 

To spend time with Spenser is inevitably to find oneself making connections between his work and everything else that one is reading and thinking about. Spenser’s poems, especially The Faerie Queene, are striking for their capaciousness, the plenitude of discourses, genres and modes of being that they contain; they are equally characterized by the dizzyingly frequent formation and dissolution of alliances, whereby characters, ethoses and epistemologies attach and detach, keeping open the question of who does and does not belong with whom.  This volume of essays will ask: who belongs with Spenser? What happens if we follow the poet’s lead by not assuming that we know which alliances, which companions, are most to be desired, and instead read Spenser’s work with forms of writing that might seem, both historically and conceptually, alien to it?

Each essay in the volume will involve a mutually illuminating encounter between Spenser and a later philosopher or theorist. We are seeking contributions that propose revelatory companions for Spenser – that consider individual thinkers whose work may be, variously, foreign or resistant, responsive or answerable to Spenser’s provocations. We hope to bring together essays which will allow us to appreciate not only the ways in which a particular discourse might open Spenser’s poetry in new directions, but also the ways in which that discourse is illuminated when brought into the company of Spenser’s oeuvre. We hope that the juxtapositions in this volume will also serve to broaden the canon of theoretical and philosophical texts that are thought relevant not only to Spenser but to early modern studies more generally.


Confirmed contributors: Theresa Krier (Macalester College) – “Spenser with Merleau-Ponty”; Melissa E. Sanchez (University of Pennsylvania) – “Spenser with Julia Serano”; Gordon Teskey (Harvard University) – “Spenser with Wittgenstein.”

Afterword by Jeff Dolven (Princeton University).

We are keen to include essays from scholars at different stages in their careers, and particularly welcome submissions from early career scholars.


Please submit a proposed title, along with an abstract of no more than 300 words, to David Hillman (dah54@cam.ac.uk), Joe Moshenska (joseph.moshenska@ell.ox.ac.uk) and Namratha Rao (namratha.rao@hertford.ox.ac.uk) by September 30th 2020. Authors will be notified of selection by October 31st 2020. If selected, final essays will be due by August 31st 2021.