1833 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Joseph Cooper Walker

John Wilson, in "Spenser" Blackwood's Magazine 34 (1833) 809.



Mr. Cooper Walker, the elegant author of the History of Italian Drama, in a letter to Mr. Todd, very properly sets aside the supposition made by some that the lost comedies [by Spenser] were but a series of lines, in nine divisions, like the Tears of the Muses, and that to each division was given the denomination of Comedy, Spenser using that term in the wide sense in which it was employed by Dante, Boccacio, and other early Italian writers. Mr. Walker thinks the words of Harvey are decisive in regard to the form of these pieces. For the Comedies of Ariosto, to which he compares the Comedies of Spenser, and to which he thinks they come so near, are regular dramas; as are the Comedies of Bibena, Machiavelli, and Aretino, with which he classes them.