Written in the 1590s, The Faerie Queene is a Christian allegory (in which Catholicism is the enemy and the Church of England in need of protecting) featuring a cast of knights, maidens, villains, monsters (the Blatant Beast – whence we get our word ‘blatant’ – is but one example), wizards, and princes. Spenser depicts the Christian world of chivalry using his ‘Spenserian stanza’ form, devised specifically for the poem, and casts a heady magic spell over readers. His poem continues to do so, even if parts of the poem drag a little, especially if we don’t have access to a handy guide that explains contemporary allusions and the more obscure Christian references.

Edmund Spenser Complete Works, PDF

  • Iambicum Trimetrum
  • 1569: Jan van der Noodt’s A Theatre for Worldlings, including poems translated into English by Spenser from French sources, published by Henry Bynneman in London[34]
  • 1579: The Shepheardes Calender, published under the pseudonym “Immerito”[35] (entered into the Stationers’ Register in December[34])

1590:

1591:

1592:

  • Axiochus, a translation of a pseudo-Platonic dialogue from the original Ancient Greek; published by Cuthbert Burbie; attributed to “Edw: Spenser”[34] but the attribution is uncertain[36]
  • Daphnaïda. An Elegy upon the Death of the Noble and Vertuous Douglas Howard, Daughter and Heire of Henry Lord Howard, Viscount Byndon, and Wife of Arthure Gorges Esquier (published in London in January, according to one source;[34] another source gives 1591 as the year[35])

1595:

1596:

Posthumous:

  • 1609: Two Cantos of Mutabilitie published together with a reprint of The Faerie Queene[37]
  • 1611: First folio edition of Spenser’s collected works[37]
  • 1633: A Vewe of the Present State of Irelande, a prose treatise on the reformation of Ireland,[38] first published by Sir James Ware (historian) entitled The Historie of Ireland (Spenser’s work was entered into the Stationer’s Register in 1598 and circulated in manuscript but not published until it was edited by Ware)[37]