A Fig for Fortune by Anthony Copley

A Catholic response to The Faerie Queene

By Susannah Monta

Edited by Susannah Monta

A Fig for Fortune by Anthony Copley


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8697-7
  • Pages: 168
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: March 2016
  • BIC Category: Literature, Literary studies: general, Literary studies: c 1400 to c 1600, POETRY / General, LITERARY CRITICISM / Renaissance, Literature & literary studies / Poetry, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: c 1500 to c 1800, Early Modern Literature
  • Series: The Manchester Spenser


Anthony Copley's A Fig for Fortune was the first major poetic response to Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene. Written by a Catholic Englishman with an uneasy relationship to the English regime, A Fig for Fortune offers a deeply contestatory, richly imagined answer to sixteenth-century England's greatest poem. Through its sophisticated response to Spenser, A Fig for Fortune challenges a contemporary literary culture in which Protestant habits of thought and representation were gaining dominance. This book comprises the poem's first scholarly edition. It offers a carefully annotated edition of the 2000-line poem, an overview of English Catholic history in the sixteenth century, a full biography of Anthony Copley, an assessment of his engagement with Spenser's Faerie Queene, and information on the book's early print history. Extensive support for student readers makes it possible to teach Copley's poem alongside The Faerie Queene for the first time.


'One of the volume's many virtues is the glimpse it provides into the complex world of Elizabethan Catholicism.'
Claire McEachern, The Spenser Review 47.1 (Winter 2017)


Anthony Copley's biography
Thomas Copley
The Copley family
Anthony Copley's life
Early modern English Catholicism
A Fig for Fortune in literary context
Notes on the 1596 printing
Editing practices
'To the Right Honourable Anthonie Browne, L. Vicompt Mont-ague, everlasting glorie to his vertues'
'The Argument to the Reader'
A Fig for Fortune

Editor and Author

Susannah Brietz Monta is Glynn Family Honors Associate Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame

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