1. Edmund Spenser
Brief Introduction to the Author English poet，born in London， England， about 1552，and died in London， Jan 13， 1599.
His Major Works Spenser's most important work & masterpiece is The Faerie Queene， a great poem of its age. A complex moral， religious， & political allegory， it is also an epic that exalts Queen Elizabeth Ⅰ& the English nation. According to Spenser's own explanation， his principal intention is to present through a "historical poem" the example of a perfect gentleman： "to fashion a gentleman or noble person in virtuous & gentle discipline." Its principal hero is the Arthur of medieval legend. The six books of the poem illustrate the nature of particular virtues， such as， temperance & justice. Other major works of Spenser are The Shepheardes Calender（1579）， a poem consisting of 12 eclogues-corresponding to the 12 months of the year； Epithalamion （1595）， a poem expressing the deep personal feelings occasioned by the poets second marriage； Amoretti （1595）， a series of sonnets.
1） Main qualities of Spenser's poetry
①a perfect melody
②a rare sense of beauty
③a splendid imagination
④a lofty moral purity & seriousness
⑤a dedicated idealism
2） In his writing， Spenser drew on the conventions & thought of Classical， medieval， & Renaissance literature. However， he added to his fusion of these diverse elements much that was original， & his works inspired many later English poets. He created a new stanza， called the Spenserian stanza， which is well suited to narrative verse. His skills in writing melodious English verse & his combination of emotion， erudition， & spiritual vision have won him the admiration of generations of English poets. It is his idealism， his love of beauty， &his exquisite melody that make him known as "the poets' poet."
The Faerie Queene：
1） It is a long， allegorical poem. In the poem， Spenser dramatized political， religious， & moral themes by personifying them， or making them characters.
2）Plot： The story， which is set against a background of Arthur & medieval legend， deals with the adventures of six knights of the court of the fairy queen named Gloriana， who represents Queen Elizabeth Ⅰ of English. The faerie Queen was left unfinished at Spenser's death. It was originally planned as a 12-book poem. But only 6 books were completed. The poem is particularly admired for the melodic beauty of its language & for its rich content of philosophical & mythological material presented in the form of vivid narratives.
II. Christopher Marlowe
English dramatist & poet，born in Canterbury， England， Feb， 6，1567， died in Deptford， England， May 30， 1593. Marlowe was the first great English Dramatist. He brought to the English stage a new concept of tragedy， one in which the drama centers around the struggles of a man overwhelmed by his passions & ambitions.
His Major Works
His most famous tragedies are Doctor Faustus， The Jew of Malta， Tamburlaine & Edward Ⅱ。 In his plays， Marlowe used blank verse， which he molded into a superb instrument for expressing intense emotions. After his development of blank verse it became the standard medium for English dramatic & epic poetry. His non-dramatic poetry includes Hero & Leander， "the Passionate shepherd to His love，" & a verse translation of Ovid's Amores.
Marlowe's Doctor Faustus （about 1589）， generally considered his best play， was based on a real Dr. Faustus， who was later associated with a medieval legend of a man selling his soul to the devil. The play's dominant moral is human rather than religious. It celebrates the human passion for knowledge， power & happiness； it also reveals man's frustration in realizing the high aspirations in a hostile moral order. The last scene， in which Faustus confronts his doom， brilliantly renders the fear & agony of a condemned man.
The Jew of Malta （about 1589） illustrates Marlowe's outstanding portrayal of character. Its hero， Barabas the Jew， served as the model for Shylock in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice. In about 1592. Marlowe wrote one of the first successful English historical dramas， Edward Ⅱ。 It is his most dramatically mature play & exhibits his mastery of characterization， stage craft & rhetoric.
Tamburlaine is a play about an ambitious & pitiless Tartar conqueror in the fourteenth century who rose from a shepherd to an overpowering King. By depicting a great hero with high ambition & sheer brutal force in conquering one enemy after another， Marlowe voiced the supreme desire of the man of the Renaissance for infinite power & authority.
His Achievements & Influence
Achievements：Marlowe's greatest achievement lies in that he perfected the blank verse & made it the principal medium of English drama.
His second achievement is his creation of the Renaissance hero for English drama. The theme of his works is the praise of the Renaissance spirit.
His influence： A man of wide learning， Marlowe was one of the extra ordinary poets & playwrights of his time. "Marlowe's mighty line，" as Ben Jonson called his blank verse， was one of the most important contributions to the art of English literature.
The selection of ActⅠfrom Dr. Faustus is mainly about Faustus is showing his great ambition， that is， if he had many souls， he would give them all to the Devil so that he could control the world. In portraying Faustus， a more introspective & philosophical figure than Tamburlaine， Marlowe praises his soaring aspiration for knowledge while warning against the sin of pride since Faustus's downfall was caused by his despair in God & trust in Devil.