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    Good edition of major poet

    Edmund Spenser was a giant of English poetry in the latter 16th century, and a huge influence on subsequent poets. Today he is probably best known for two exquisite poems about love, the Prothalamion and the Epithalamion, which are among the very finest poems in the English language. Among his other major works are Amoretti, a sequence of love sonnets and songs, and the Faerie Queene, a masterpiece nowadays more respected than read. The Faerie Queene is a vast semi-allegorical protestant and nationalistic epic. It betrays many of the prejudices of its age but is full of magnificent poetry. Tales of knightly derring-do and encounters with hideous baddies (some with their hideousness covered in an alluring disguise) are lightened by frequent descriptions of the beauties of nature. There is lots of alliteration, occasionally to excess but more usually falling just short of that. Anyone seriously interested in English poetry should read the epic at least once.

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