About Bel-vedére

Bel-vedére, or The Garden of the Muses is an early modern printed commonplace book consisting of 4,482 one- or two-line passages of decasyllabic verse, arranged under topical headings, including at least 240 quotations of William Shakespeare, 232 of Edmund Spenser, and fifty-one of Christopher Marlowe. Compiled by John Bodenham (c. 1559-1610) and prepared for publication with the help of Anthony Munday (1560-1633), it appeared in 1600 and received a second edition in 1610. It has never been properly edited (a facsimile reprint was produced in 1875). The book is of exceptional importance for the early reception history of early modern authors such as Shakespeare, Spenser and Marlowe, for the late Elizabethan practice of commonplacing, for the rising status of English literature (including dramatic literature), and for early modern English canon formation.