Spencer and the Tradition: English poetry 1579-1830 is an online database archive of English-language poems, poets, and poetry criticism, covering a span of 250 years.

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About[edit | edit source]

English Poetry, 1579-1830, is a project of the Center for Applied Arts and Humanities (CATH) of Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, under the direction of Prof. David Hill Radcliffe of the English Department.[1] Radcliffe is also the editor of the Lives of Scottish Poets website for the Center..

The English Poetry database contains around 25,000 items, both poems and prose, that relate to the life and work of Elizabethan poet Edmund Spenser.[2] It includes over 10,000 poems, linked to commentary and biography, by more than 1,000 writers from all parts of the English-speaking world.[1]

The core material consists of: poetry by Spenser or in imitation of his style; poems perceived as Spenserian in style by secondary critics; poems that imitate Spenser's own imitators; and poems that refer to Spenser by name.[2] Because the selection criteria are formal (anyone who wrote in Spenserian stanzas or composed in imitation of Gray's "Elegy" is included),[1] poets represented range from the famous to the unknown, many of whom rarely if ever appear in standard anthologies.[2]

Alongside this is a large amount of material which derives from Spenser in either form or style. The material illustrates the way in which poets respond to events of their times under the influence of inherited poetic tradition, and also the way reading itself has changed and developed.[2]

The documents trace developments in English poetry from the publication of Spenser's Shepheardes Calender in 1579 down to his successors among the 19th-century romantics, and responses to his work by people, locations and institutions. The archive presents poets as readers — imitators and emulators, critics and biographers — engaged with literary traditions that were complex, dynamic, and embedded in social networks. It aims to document how each writer was read by his or her contemporaries and successors.[1]

The University of Oxford's Arts and Humanities Community Resource website says of English Poetry, 1579-1830:

This resource will be of use to literature scholars at all levels, offering a large amount of primary and secondary source material while also managing to give an overview of the development and creation of poetry as part of the culture in which it is written. Full search instructions are included, along with background information on the project.database.[2]

Recognition[edit | edit source]

The website has received the Bess Award from Renascence Editions.[1]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 English Poetry 1579-1830 home page, Center for Applied Technologies in the Humanities, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University. Web, Jan. 25, 2016.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Spenser and the tradition: English poetry 1579-1830, Arts and Humanities Community Resource, University of Oxford. Web, Jan. 25, 2017.

External links[edit | edit source]

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