Spenser's Secret Career
Cambridge University Press, 1993 M02 26 - 164 pages
Edmund Spenser (c. 1552-99) conducted two careers at once: a celebrated national poet, he also pursued a lifelong career as secretary to various political and ecclesiastical figures. Richard Rambuss's book explores the ways in which this latter career, usually allotted only a cursory mention in accounts of Spenser's professional and social ambitions, informed his poetic career. The study takes issue with prevailing historicist accounts which see Spenser's careerism as shaped entirely by service to the court and as focused on a single-minded pursuit of laureateship along a Virgilian career route from pastoral to epic. It presents an alternative picture, and argues that for Spenser the manipulation of secrets provided a strategy for self-promotion and a means of measuring his distance from royal and aristocratic power. Spenser's Secret Career throws light on Spenser and on ideas of gender, power and subjecthood in the Renaissance.
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