Spenser and French Literature

Anne Lake Prescott

in The Oxford Handbook of Edmund Spenser

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

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

Spenser and French Literature

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



This article focuses on Spenser's relationship with French poetry. Spenser's most visible interest in French poetry began early, when he was asked, perhaps by his schoolmaster Richard Mulcaster, to translate a set of sonnets by Joachim Du Bellay for an English version of the Flemish poet Jan Van der Noot's anti-Catholic polemic, A Theatre for Voluptuous Worldlings (1569). In his Complaints Spenser also published the Ruines of Rome, a translation of Du Bellay's haunting sonnet sequence Les Antiquitez de Rome, to which his Songe is a sort of appendix. Some years after his introduction to Du Bellay's poetry Spenser found an earlier French poet who would inspire him to imitation if not to praise: Clément Marot, chief poet at the court of Fran çois I.

Keywords: French poetry; Joachim Du Bellay; Clément Marot

Article.  8244 words. 

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

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