Seamarks and coastal waters
in Edmund Spenser and the romance of space
Abstract only
Log-in for full text

This chapter considers the work done by a tidal, hydrographical imagination in Spenser’s writing. The coastal imaginaries of The Faerie Queene’s middle books are read alongside works by John Dee, namely General and Rare Memorials Pertayning to the Perfect Arte of Navigation (1577), and Sir Walter Ralegh, namely the ‘21th: and last booke of the Ocean to Scinthia’. In the readings made by the chapter, which seek to identify the spatial dimensions implicit in what Louis Montrose has described as the ‘Elizabethan political imaginary’, the tideline is considered as an emblematic space, characterised by recurrent images of gain and loss, in which personal desire is put under pressure by nationalistic dreams of empire. The chapter builds on earlier discussions of movement and travail and argues that the middle books of Spenser’s Faerie Queene inhabit a spatial imaginary that is shared with other writers attempting to mythologise Elizabeth I and the realm over which she governs. The chapter takes a renewed interest in questions of poetic and hydrographical form, which looks forward to the subsequent discussions of Ireland as wetland, and islands as privileged locations for the making of competing fictions.

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 67 14 0
Full Text Views 23 1 0
PDF Downloads 12 1 0