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Edmund Spenser and the Eighteenth-Century Book


  • Date Published: July 2019
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316648919

£ 22.99

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About the Authors
  • Edmund Spenser's epic poem The Faerie Queene (1590–6) occupied an important place in eighteenth-century culture. Spenser influenced almost every major writer of the century, from Alexander Pope to William Wordsworth. What was it like to read Spenser in the eighteenth century? Who made Spenserian books, and how did their owners use and interpret them? The first comprehensive study of all of the eighteenth-century editions of Edmund Spenser addresses these questions through bibliographical analysis, and through examination of the history of the book and of eighteenth-century literature and culture. Within these contexts, Hazel Wilkinson provides new information about the production, contents, texts, and reception of the eighteenth-century editions of Spenser, to illuminate how his cultural presence became so far-reaching. With each chapter structured around a major edition of Spenser's work, this volume provides a timely addition to arguments about the nature of literary history and the growing cult of great writers of the past.

    • Provides the first ever comprehensive study of eighteenth-century editions of the works of Edmund Spenser
    • Adds significantly to the understanding of Edmund Spenser's cultural influence
    • Presents new information about book production and readership through examining recent advances in bibliographical studies
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'A crucial reminder that literary critics and historians alike have much to learn from the study of bibliography and the history of the book when done, as it is here, with evident care, admirable precision, and infectious enthusiasm for its subject.' N. K. Sugimura, The Library

    '… a distinguished and learned book … Wilkinson deploys a formidable range of book historian's skills, allied to a sophisticated awareness of eighteenth-century culture … a serious piece of scholarship … that has been skilfully fashioned into a good story.' The Times Literary Supplement

    '… a tour de force in bibliographical analysis … The discoveries made are too numerous to count … they add considerably to the depth and breadth of our knowledge of Spenser's reception in the eighteenth century.' David Hill Racliffe, The Spenser (

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316648919
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.377kg
    • contains: 31 b/w illus. 2 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of abbreviations
    List of illustrations
    Introduction. 'The Wits have sent for the Book': (non-)reading, and Spenserian books before 1700
    1. Spenser the Whig: John Hughes's Clubbable Edition, 1715
    2. Miscellaneous Spenser: verse miscellanies and miscellaneous culture, 1716–50
    3. Spenser illustrated: Thomas Birch's 1751 Edition
    4. Spenser annotated: two scholarly editions, 1758–9
    5. Spenser and the public domain: the Scottish Publishers' series, 1778–95
    Appendix A: checklist of the eighteenth-century editions of Edmund Spenser
    List of works cited

  • Author

    Hazel Wilkinson, University of Birmingham
    Hazel Wilkinson is a Birmingham Fellow at the University of Birmingham, where she lectures on eighteenth-century literature. She has published articles and book chapters on subjects including eighteenth-century literature, typography, and the history of the book trade, and is currently an editor on The Oxford Edition of the Writings of Alexander Pope (forthcoming). Wilkinson has also created a database of eighteenth-century printers' ornaments in partnership with the University of Cambridge Library.

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