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ENGL 552 01 (12825)  
Spenser and the Sixteenth Century
Catherine Nicholson
M 1.30-3.20 LC 319
Fall 2013 
 
This course surveys Spenser's poetic career alongside and in light of a broad range of contemporary discourses: defenses of poetry, rhetorical handbooks, pedagogy manuals, religious polemics, theological treatises, political tracts, antiquarian histories, and prose fictions. These other genres do not simply supply us with historical context for our reading of Spenser's verse, they also allow us to consider what verse had to offer Spenser: how poetry's forms and genres allowed him to engage urgent moral, political, and theological concerns in novel and productive ways. We also read and discuss a range of classic and recent scholarship on Spenser and the sixteenth century, with a particular focus on methodological and topical shifts: how does Spenser serve as a lens for our own changing profession?