Spenser As Poet-Translator
At the same time the volume in which those translations appear associates Spenser with fiercely partisan, apocalyptic anti-Catholicism. Two lengthy prose pieces, a dedicatory epistle to Elizabeth I and an interpretive essay by Jan Van Der Noot, the "deviser" of the volume, bracket Spenser's translations and instruct the reader to construe the poems collectively as an indictment of the corruption and worldliness of the Roman Catholic Church.
In middle age Spenser revised the translations that appeared in A Theatre and in so doing shed many of the daring formal features of his first versions and removed the translations from their vehement polemical context. Spenser then published the revised translations in the collection Complaints(1591).
Because Spenser's endeavors as a translator span the better part of his life--from the public inauguration of his career as a poet to just a few years before his death--they offer the student and scholar a rare opportunity to observe the evolution of one of the greatest English poets. This site invites the reader to consider Spenser's revision of his first published poetry and the manner in which he reclaimed, rethought, and depolemicized the material of his public debut as poet.