Edmund Spenser is a well known Renaissance author which was born in London around the year 1552. It is known that he spent 41 years living there. As a teenager, Edmund Spenser attended the Merchant Taylor School. Edmund was a gifted poet at the school and it is speculated that some of his written pieces were published just as he left the school around the age of 16 or 17.
Little is known of Edmund Spenser's career, except that he was a sizar of Pembroke Hall. He studied at Cambridge and received his bachelor's degree in 1572, and received his masters in 1576. During his time at Cambridge, a professor by the name of Gabriel Harvey was a large influential character on Edmund Spenser's life. After receiving his masters he left Cambridge without having obtained a fellowship.
Three years after Edmund left Cambridge, he issued his first volume of poetry, and called it the Shepherd's Calendar. The interest of the Shepherd's Calendar is mainly personal to him. The 12 poems which together create the Shepherd's Calendar are still being chiefly read because it is the first published work of the author of the Faerie Queene. The Faerie Queene and Shepherd's Calendar have different personalities in each one, and one must have an understanding of the authors background to appreciate both works of art.
Edmund Spenser was appointed secretary to the lord-deputy of Ireland in 1580. During this time Edmund was one of the band of adventurers who accompanied Lord Arthur Grey of Wilton to Ireland to aid in the suppression of Desmond's rebellion. During this time with Lord Arthur, Edmund Spenser began writing Faerie Queene and used Lord Arthur as one of the characters.
After the publication of the Faerie Queene, Edmund remained in London to celebrate his success. Edmund soon married a woman by the name of Elizabeth. In the last two years of his life he wrote more of the Faerie Queene. On January 16, 1599 Edmund Spenser died at Westminster. The poet left three sons and a daughter.
While reading the Faerie Queene I have gained the understanding of why this is a great piece of literature and why it is still read even to this day. Throughout some of the parts I seemed to get to know Edmund through the characters which he portrayed. With many of the characters in the poem are based upon many who he knew throughout his life. With his characters based off of people he personally knew, it grants a large understanding of Edmund himself and the situations which his life had gone through.
I liked the story because of the fact I felt as if I was seeing life through the author's point of view. The word choice and the way Edmund Spencer articulated the story gave me a different view of what poetry is. I could tell that Edmund's morals and virtues had a very high standard. To me it seemed as if Edmund wanted to better himself every day. He wanted to be a better man everyday in which he was alive, and he translated this very passionately into his poetry.
In 1585 Sidney was made governor. On September 22, 1586 Philip was attacked at dawn by the Spanish and was shot in the thigh. He was taken by boat to Arnhem and seemed to be recovering, but his wound became infected and he died on October 17th, 1586. When his body returned to England in February of 1587, he received the grandest funeral of any private Englishman.
I read the Lady of May for this section and I have very mixed feelings about the story. I enjoyed the fact in which it was a battle for love but I don't see why the "Lady of May" should have another choose the best man for her. I know that the way love is found today compared to the time of the Renaissance is completely different but it doesn't change my mind about how love should be found. What I did not like about the story was that there was no hunting or fighting competition between the men. I'm sure that they could not call the cops if someone was robbing them or they couldn't go to a restaurant for dinner. The men would need to be able to hunt for food and have the strength to protect their wife.
George Chapman was an English dramatist, translator, and a poet. He was a classical scholar, and his work shows the influence of Stoicism. Stoicism is a belief in which destructive emotions were the result of bad judgment, and those who have "moral and intellectual perfection, would not suffer from such emotions. William Minto, the anticipator of the Metaphysical Poets, classifies George Chapman as the rival poet of Shakespeare's sonnets. George Chapman did not become this guy overnight. He, like everyone else, has a life story. When he started his life, where his life took him, and when his life came to a close.
George Chapman was born at Hitchin in Hertfordshire in 1559. He was the second son of Thomas Chapman and Joan Nodes. It is suggested that during his younger years he studied at Oxford, but did not take a degree. Upon Anthony Wood's testimony, Chapman was a person of "most reverend aspect, religious and temperate, qualities rarely meeting in a poet.
In 1585 George Chapman was approached by a seemingly friendly guy by the name of John Wolfall. John Wolfall offered to supply a bond of surety for a loan to furnish Chapman money for his attendance upon the then Right Honorable Sir Rafe Sadler Knight. Since George Chapman was a very ambitious man, he took the offer, little did he know that this offer was a trap. He apparently never received any money, but since he signed a contract he was plagued by debt. Wolfall had Chapman arrested for debt in 1600. When John Wolfall passed in 1608, Wolfall's son inherited the contract and sued Chapman once again. Chapman's only resort was to petition the Court of Chancery for equity.
George Chapman's life was troubled by debt and the inability to find a patron in whose fortunes did not decline. Through George Chapman's life throughout the late 1500's Chapman had man difficulties and challenges which he had to overcome. Chapman did not have much time to train under Sir Rafe Sadler because Sadler died in 1587. Even though he died in 1587, it is most likely that Chapman only lived in his household from 1577 to 1583. After Sir Rafe Sadler, Chapman had many other patrons, such as Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, the Prince of Whales, and Prince Henry. Unfortunately, all had premature endings. Even though George Chapman did not have to the best of luck with money, his ability and his standing among his fellow Elizabethan poets and dramatists was not affected.
During the early 1590's George Chapman lived his life abroad. During this time it
is very possible that he saw military action in the lower countries, such as Belgium, Northern France, and Western Germany.
His earliest published works were the philosophical poems The Shadow of the Night which was published in 1594, and Ovid's Banquet of Sense which was published in 1595.
By the end of the 1590's, Chapman had become a successful playwright. He worked for Philip Henslowe, and later for the Children of the Chapel. Some of his more popular comical play in which he wrote were The Blind Beggar of Alexandria, An Humorous Day's Mirth, All Fools, Monsieur D'Olive, The Gentleman Usher, May Day, and The Widow's Tears. All of the plays which he wrote show a willingness to experiment with dramatic form.
An Humorous Day's Mirth was one of the first plays to be written in the style of 'humours comedy' which Ben Jonson later used in Every Man in his Humour. The Widow's Tears made George Chapman one of the first writers to combine comedy with more serious themes, creating the "tragicomedy" later made famous by Beaumont and Fletcher.
One of the more noteworthy plays he was a part of was Eastward Ho. He wrote this play in collaboration with Ben Jonson and John Marston. Since the play contained satirical references to the Scots, Chapman and Jonson were sent to jail. In jail Chapman and Jonson wrote to the king and denounced that they were responsible for the derogatory line. They both stated that John Marston was responsible for the remark made.
George Chapman also took a dive into writing tragic plays. His greatest tragedies took their subject matter from recent French history from that time period. The French ambassador took offence on more than one occasion. Some of his more known tragic playwrights are Bussy D'Ambois, The Conspiracy and Teagedy of Charles, Duke of Byron, The Revenge of Bussy D'Ambios, and The Tragedy of Chabot, Admiral of France. Two of the tragic play which George Chapman wrote were banned from the stage. After the Court left London, the plays were performed in their original form by the Children of the Chapel. George Chapman only had one work classified as classical tragedy. The play he wrote was Caesar and Pompey. This play is generally regarded as his most modest achievement in the genre.
George Chapman wrote one of the most successful masques of the Jacobean era. This play was The Memorable Masque of the Middle Temple and Lincoln's Inn. This play was performed on February 15, 1613.
In April of 1611, George Chapman began focusing his literary talents on the translation of Homer. He entered The Iliads of Homer in the Stationers' Register. He dedicated this work to Prince Henry. This edition which George Chapman wrote, comprises all twenty-four book of the epic version of Homer. It also included entirely new versions of books one and two. Chapman himself also made some minor revisions of books 3 and 12, along with books 13 to 24. This volume of the Iliads of Homer appeared with an exceptionally handsome engraved title page and all of the critical apparatus worthy of so great a poet and so beneficent a patron. Around the year 1624, George Chapman wrote The Crown of All Homer's Works which effectively concluded Chapman's life as a public poet.
All of Chapman's expectations were soon destroyed at the death of Prince Henry, Prince of Wales, in 1612 at the age of 18. Chapman's direct response to Prince Henry's death was his Epicede or Funerall Song in late 1612.
Throughout all of George Chapman's poetry, it is revealed that he had a constant preference for heroic verse both in his own English poems and in his translations. Heroic verses can also be found even in his sources, borrowing, and tragedies. There are many theories and suggestions of why heroic verses appear so often in his writings. Some have seen this as a self-identification of a heroic Chapman because of his poetic forebears. The title page of Batrachomyomachia shows Chapman beneath a look-a-like Homer supports this theory. Another theory which provides a better explanation is his life long search for a patronage. George Chapman had never found luck with a patron. All of his prior patron relationships ended prematurely. This might have lead Chapman to be in search of a hero, either in himself or in another, to help him out of his poverty.
George Chapman died in May of 1634. The last twenty years of his life we know next to nothing. There have been theories that Chapman contributed to other masques or plays, but there is no evidence of them. One thing that we do know, is that Inigo Jones, the most famous architect and stage designer of his time, designed a Roman monument for Chapman. The monument said "Georgis Chapmanus, poeta Homericus, Philosphers verus."
I can tell that George Chapman's life was not a walk in the park. Throughout his life he was put in a lot of unfortunate situations that he did not bring upon himself. I think through all those predicaments, Chapman grew to be one of the greatest poets of the Renaissance.
Take Edgar Allen Poe, a more modern poet than Chapman, but still a poet nonetheless. Allen Poe's work was very dark and emotionally sad. This reflected his personal life. Chapman did not have a great life just as Allen Poe didn't. Chapman's way of dealing with it seemed to be through humor. He even integrated humor into his tragic plays.
With this outlook on life and seeming to keep pushing forward even after all the misfortunes Chapman went through, he should be considered a heroic figure because he did not let every bad thing that happened to him bring him down. He wrote about it, and let it go. This is why I admire George Chapman, he is a heroic being, a great inspiration, and a talented writer.