Areopagus (poetry)

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This article concerns the 16th century literary movement. For the place where a classical judicial body met, see Areopagus. For the regional government during the Greek War of Independence, see Areopagus of Eastern Continental Greece. For the modern Greek Supreme Court, see Court of Cassation (Greece).

The Areopagus is a speculated or hinted poetry movement centered on Edmund Spenser and Gabriel Harvey. The label is used as a critical shorthand for a group of poets that included Spenser, Harvey, Edward Dyer and Sir Philip Sidney. There is no direct evidence that the group was more than an idea found in letters between Spenser and Harvey of 1580, but the proposed group was going to reform English prosody by interpolating Latin and Greek language prosodic notions. As literary critics use the term, it refers to the general project of these poets to broaden English prosody by incorporating French, Italian, Classical, and Anglo-Saxon models.


  • Palache, Lucy B. "Areopagus" in Alex Preminger and T.V.F. Brogan, eds., The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993. 98.