<i>Fowre Hymnes</i> and <i>Prothalamion</i> (1596)

David Lee Miller

in The Oxford Handbook of Edmund Spenser

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

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

 Fowre Hymnes and Prothalamion (1596)

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This article analyzes Spenser's Fowre Hymnes and Prothalamion. Fowre Hymnes and Prothalamion show Spenser as a formal innovator, reminding us why later generations would send their verse to school with ‘the poet's poet’: generic conventions, stanzas, figures of speech, images, rhythms, and sounds are all for him concrete ways of thinking. Fowre Hymnes and Prothalamion offer contrasting demonstrations of this gift, but as poetic thinking they also share a common ground in their veiled concern with mourning. This is in many ways a surprising discovery, since neither of the poems is an elegy. But both contain elegiac motifs, and these are thrown into relief by Spenser's decision to republish a third poem — the pastoral elegy Daphnaïda (1591) — with the first edition of Fowre Hymnes.

Keywords: poems; poetry; mourning; elegy; poetic thinking

Article.  9716 words. 

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

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