Edmund Spenser and the place of commentary
The paper argues that the enigmatic commentator E. K.'s often baffled, often baffling engagement with Spenser's pastoral poems generates problems which gradually become integral to Spenser's art. It argues, further, that the scholarly apparatus that brackets each of the New Poet's pastoral poems in 1579 becomes internal to the rhetorical and narrative mechanics of The Faerie Queene. As if reflecting on the particular encounter between commentator and text that gives material form to The Shepheardes Calender (a book in which poetry constantly rubs elbows with commentary), Spenser adopts as one of his chief intellectual preoccupations the encounter between puzzled, desiring observer or interpreter and the baffling, recalcitrant spectacle or work of art. These preoccupations reemerge forcefully during Britomart's sojourn in the House of Busirane, which the essay reads as an allegory of the practice and position of commentary. Copyright
Wallace, A. (2007). Edmund Spenser and the place of commentary. Spenser Studies, 21, 153–170.