Spenser, ruskin, and the victorian culture of medieval England

William N. West*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Victorian scholars of the Renaissance took the backward gaze of Spenser’s Faerie Queene at an imaginary chivalric England as a magic lantern by which the England of the 1590s could be projected back in time so that it preceded the Renaissance Italy of the 1490s, keeping the Elizabethan era innocent of the excesses of the Renaissance. For critics of the 1890s (including Ruskin as reframed by William Morris), Spenser offered a periodization that went backward. To some extent our current questions of periodization continue to stumble on this revisionist (maybe insufficiently revisionist) account of the relation of medieval and Renaissance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-266
Number of pages22
JournalSpenser Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory


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