This is a companion to Pastoral poetry of the English Renaissance: An anthology (2016), the largest ever collection of its kind. The monograph-length Introduction traces the course of pastoral from antiquity to the present day. The historical account is woven into a thematic map of the richly varied pastoral mode, and it is linked to the social context, not only by local allegory and allusion but by its deeper origins and affinities. English Renaissance pastoral is set within the context of this total perspective. Besides the formal eclogue, the study covers many genres: lyric, epode, georgic, country-house poem, ballad, romantic epic, drama and prose romance. Major practitioners like Theocritus, Virgil, Sidney, Spenser, Drayton and Milton are discussed individually. The Introduction also charts the many means by which pastoral texts circulated during the Renaissance, with implications for the history and reception of all Early Modern poetry. The poems in the Anthology have been edited from the original manuscripts and early printed texts, and the Textual Notes comprehensively document the sources and variant readings. There are also notes on the poets and analytical indices of themes, genres, and various categories of proper names. Seldom, if ever, has a cross-section of English Renaissance poetry been textually annotated in such detail.
. Although this indirect satire may thus have been a bit
too direct, the relatively clear interpretive response of its earliest readers
to the Fox makes this an excellent object for analysis of Spenser’s characteristic satirical methods.
Other foxes in Aesopian fables such as Chaucer’s Nun’s Priest’s Tale,
Reynard the Fox, mid-sixteenth-century anti-Catholic polemic, and
Spenser’s own “Maye” from The Shepheardes Calender illustrate the
two “types” of prosopopoietic foxes in earlymodernliterature—fox as
corrupt courtier and fox as corrupt pastor. Both types of fictional