This ground-breaking study explores the treatment of the boundaries between poetry and history in three epic literary works: Spenser's Faerie Queene, Samuel Daniel's Civil Wars, and Michael Drayton's Poly-Olbion. David Galbraith argues that each of the three national poems enters into a dialogue with classical and more contemporary predecessors and that this relationship has profound implications for understanding the English Renaissance. He explores the importance for each poem of various aspects of the relationship between England and Rome and the significance of the recurring spatial metaphors by which the territories of poetry and history are constituted, negotiated, and traversed. By presenting historically and theoretically inflected readings of the poems, Galbraith gives new interpretation to important problems of allegory and poetic imitation.
About the author
David Galbraith is an associate professor in the Department of English at the University of Toronto.