Isabel Karremann
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Edmund Spenser’s The Ruines of Time as a Protestant poetics of mourning and commemoration
in Forms of faith
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According to Horace, the poem is a memorial surpassing the commemorative function of funeral monuments like the pyramids. This claim to the superior mnemonic power of poetry derives from the immateriality and consequently the immortality of the poem as well as the person commemorated by it. Highlighting the decay, past and future, of material monuments, the ruin is a conceptual feature of topos. The significance of ruins changes according to different temporal and cultural contexts. Thus in the wake of Reformation iconoclasm, ruin poems took on a specific function in England. The vogue for ruin poems in Elizabethan England was more than a simple coincidence, let alone self-evident: ruin-poetry fulfilled important social, mnemonic and poetic functions after the Reformation. This chapter seeks to reconstruct these functions and to show how they informed one particularly instructive text, Edmund Spenser's The Ruines of Time .

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Forms of faith

Literary form and religious conflict in early modern England


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