Spenserian satire

A tradition of indirection

By Rachel Hile

Spenserian satire

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8808-7
  • Pages: 216
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: December 2016
  • BIC Category: LITERARY CRITICISM / Renaissance, LITERARY CRITICISM / European / General, Literature & literary studies / General, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: c 1500 to c 1800, Literature & literary studies / Literature: history & criticism, Early Modern Literature, Literature, Literary studies: c 1400 to c 1600
  • Series: The Manchester Spenser


Scholars of Edmund Spenser have focused much more on his accomplishments in epic and pastoral than his work in satire. Scholars of early modern English satire almost never discuss Spenser. However, these critical gaps stem from later developments in the canon rather than any insignificance in Spenser's accomplishments and influence on satiric poetry. This book argues that the indirect form of satire developed by Spenser served during and after Spenser's lifetime as an important model for other poets who wished to convey satirical messages with some degree of safety. The book connects key Spenserian texts in The Shepheardes Calender and the Complaints volume with poems by a range of authors in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, including Joseph Hall, Thomas Nashe, Tailboys Dymoke, Thomas Middleton and George Wither, to advance the thesis that Spenser was seen by his contemporaries as highly relevant to satire in Elizabethan England.


'Offers an important theoretical framework and textually detailed account of an overlooked genre in the history of satire.'
Professor Lowell Gallagher, Studies in English Literature

'Hile's book is an engaging and carefully researched study, which not only furthers our understanding of verse satires of the late-sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, but also invites scholars to reassess the importance of indirect satire in the trajectory of Spenser's works and the influence it had on emerging writers. By prompting us to read Spenser's satirical work alongside his epic, pastoral, and lyrical poetry, Hile expands our sense of him as "the poets's poet"'
Stuart Hart, The Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol 49, Issue 1, Spring 2018


1. Indirect satire: theory and Spenserian practice
2. Spenser's satire of indirection: affiliation, allusion, allegory
3. Spenser and the English literary system in the 1590s
4. Spenserian "entry codes" to indirect satire
5. Thomas Middleton's satires before and after the Bishops' Ban
6. After the Bishops' Ban: imitation of Spenserian satire


Rachel E. Hile is Professor of English at Purdue University Fort Wayne

Newsletter Sign Up

Manchester University Press

Your cart is empty.

Select your shipping destination to estimate postage costs

(Based on standard shipping costs)

Final cost calculated on checkout
Promotional codes can be added on Checkout