Amoretti and Epithalamion (1595)

Roland Greene

in The Oxford Handbook of Edmund Spenser

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780199227365
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

Amoretti and Epithalamion (1595)

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  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)
  • Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)



This article discusses how Amoretti and Epithalamion singly and together clear a space in late Elizabethan poetry. The Amoretti and the Epithalamion establish themselves in relation to an actual event, Spenser's marriage to Elizabeth Boyle of 11 June 1594, more than any other sequence of the period. The Amoretti is unique in representing a courtship that demonstrably leads to a marriage, while the wedding takes place not out of the reader's sight but immediately after the sequence, within the same volume of 1595. The Epithalamion is one of the most successful wedding songs in any European vernacular. The process of the Epithalamion is to narrate the wedding day not only as an event in itself but as an intersection of social and mythological significance, as though Edmund Spenser's marriage to Elizabeth Boyle mattered equally to the townspeople, distant merchants, and classical figures such as Hymen and Hesperus.

Keywords: Elizabethan poetry; marriage; Elizabeth Boyle; courtship; Epithalamion

Article.  7173 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800) ; Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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