Edmund Spenser is called the child of the English Renaissance and Reformation

Edmund Spenser is called the child of the English Renaissance and Reformation

Question: Why Edmund Spenser is called the child of the English Renaissance and Reformation?


Edmund Spenser (1513-1599) is the man who blended Renaissance and Reformation perfectly. He is the master of Elizabethan poetry. He has been called “The child of the English Renaissance and Reformation’’ because, in his poetry, there is a nice amalgamation of both these elements.

The key concept of renaissance

The Renaissance period (1500-1660) marked the end of the middle ages and the beginning of the modern ages. This new Age was characterized by the spirit of adventure, love for beauty, moral earnestness, love for richness, magnificence, and power, etc. The practices of Classical Greek and Roman poetry and philosophy are also characterized here. Renaissance occurs with a transformation in culture, arts, and literature.

The key concept of the reformation

The reformation was a religious movement against the claims of papal authority and the Church of Rome. It has been called the religious Renaissance and it resulted in an increased consciousness of religious and moral values.

Spenser as the child of renaissance and reformation

Firstly, we can introduce Spenser as the true child of the English Renaissance. Spenser is deeply influenced by Greek philosophy and he embodies it in ‘‘The Faerie Queene’’ and ‘‘The four Hymns’’. Spencer studied classical writers like Plato and Aristotle and in ‘‘The Faerie Queene’’ he frequently borrows from them. It was an object of classical beauty. The bold adventure was also noticed here. It inspires the heart of knights and undertakes noble adventures to win honor and reputation for themselves.

Spenser like is other contemporaries is affected by the movement of the Reformation. Spencer does not show any disrespect for the religion. He always keeps his adoration for the Bible on a higher level. He represents his faith, hope, and charity in his ‘‘The Faerie Queene’’.

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‘‘The Faerie Queene’’ glories the struggle between the Protestant Church and the Roman Catholic Church. Here Queen Elizabeth represented by Lady Una stands for the Protestant Church. She is the embodiment of truth and is accompanied by humanity and innocence. She inspires the manhood of England represented by The Red-Cross Knight to fight against the forces of falsehood and error. Una is the symbol of all Protestants and their virtues. Queen Elizabeth’s rival Mary Queen of Scotland, represented by Duessa stands for the Roman Catholic Church. She is the symbol of falsehood. In this book, Orgoglio stands for the pope and Archimago represents the trickery and hypocrisy of the Roman Catholic Church.

By presenting Una and The Red-Cross knight and all their humanity, innocence, and truthfulness, Spencer supported the Reformation movement.


From this above discussion, we can understand that the Renaissance and Reformation elements are blended in the characteristics of Spencer. In fact, Spencer is the child of both the Renaissance and the Reformation Movement.

Ruhul Huda
Ruhul Huda

You can call me Mr. Huda. I am a researcher and doing this work for years. I like to learn everywhere. So, feel free to share your experience with me.

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