OverviewEdmund Spenser's poetry remains an indispensable touchstone of English literary history. Yet for modern readers his deliberate use of archaic language and his allegorical mode of writing can become barriers to understanding his poetry. This volume of thirty-seven essays, written by distinguished scholars, offers a rich introduction to the literary, political and religious contexts that shaped Spenser's poetry, including the environment in which he lived, the genres he drew upon, and the influences that helped to fashion his art. The collection reveals the multiple personae that Spenser constructs within his work: to read Spenser is to read a rich archive of literary forms, and this volume provides the contexts in which to do so. A reading list at the end of the volume will prove invaluable to further study.