Spenser’s insular fictions
in Edmund Spenser and the romance of space
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By moving between and across coastlines, wetlands, and islands this final chapter offers ways of navigating the shifting, ecotonal spaces of Spenser’s fictions. The chapter connects the threads of previous readings and explores Spenser’s intertextual blend of genres through the perspective of insularity. In order to think about the manipulation of ‘mental space’ as a tool of propaganda, this chapter considers the role of insularity in the early modern colonial imaginary and offers readings of the irreconcilable perspectives found in ‘Colin Clouts Come Home Againe’, A View of the Present State of Ireland, and the last books of The Faerie Queene. The chapter engages with previous studies of the privileged role played by island spaces in fiction and mapmaking, and draws particular attention to questions of spatial scale. In so doing, it connects insularity to the discussions of totalising cosmographical vision inaugurated in the first chapter, and seeks to foreground the tensions that The Faerie Queene’s ‘Cantos of Mutabilitie’ fail to resolve.


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