This book is the first ever concordance to the rhymes of Spenser’s epic. It gives the reader unparalleled access to the formal nuts and bolts of this massive poem: the rhymes which he used to structure its intricate stanzas. As well as the main concordance to the rhymes, the volume features a wealth of ancillary materials, which will be of value to both professional Spenserians and students, including distribution lists and an alphabetical listing of all the words in The Faerie Queene. The volume breaks new ground by including two studies by Richard Danson Brown and J. B. Lethbridge, so that the reader is given provocative analyses alongside the raw data about Spenser as a rhymer. Brown considers the reception of rhyme, theoretical models and how Spenser’s rhymes may be reading for meaning. Lethbridge in contrast discusses the formulaic and rhetorical character of the rhymes.
This chapter discusses the life of Ralph Knevet, a member of the Norfolk gentry and client of the Knevet and Paston families, and his earlier works Stratiotikon (1628) and Rhodon and Iris (1631). It also examines the contexts and contents of his Supplement of the Faery Queene including its conformity to the Spenserian model, its narrative structure, and its suppression of Spenser’s visual forms of representation.
As recorded in the annotations in this section, and noted in the introduction, Knevet’s language employs a Spenserian vocabulary, making copious allusion to The Faerie Queene, as well as Spenser’s other writings. It is frequently archaic (often repeating Spenser’s own Chaucerian diction), and also employs a dense lexicon of chivalric, heraldic, and courtly terms. In those annotations, the editors have refrained from glossing every instance of some of Knevet’s more commonly used terms and phrases; instead they are listed in this glossary section.
An Introduction to the Faerie Queene Rhymes Concordance
Richard Danson Brown
A Concordance to the Rhymes of The Faerie Queene offers a unique insight into Spenser’s creative processes and the tools of his trade. It enables readers to review the variety of Spenser’s rhyming in a detail which has not previously been possible. In this study, Richard Danson Brown illustrates this rhetorical variety by focusing on a selection of key devices which are characteristic of the poem as a whole, and which stress the radical and hybrid aesthetic which underpins The Faerie Queen.
The general argument of this study is that Spenser weakens rhyme, and does so because of the problems it poses for narrative, and because he wishes to direct attention away from the manner of his writing to the subject of that writing, to what he is writing about: Spenser’s verse aspires to the condition of blank verse, Spenser’s language aspires to the condition of transparency. Each of these entails the weakening of rhyme, of which the massive repetition in various forms is one factor. After some general comments about rhyme, the author analyses some relevant practices of poets other and often later than Spenser, to gain some purchase by comparison and contrast, before coming to a detailed examination of the relevant aspects of Spenser’s rhyme. Lastly the author bruits some consequences of Spenser’s treatment of rhyme for his language and our reading of The Faerie Queene.
This Concordance to the Rhymes of The Faerie Queene is based on a complete text of the poem prepared by J.B. Lethbridge, and lists every word in rhyme position in the verse portions of The Faerie Queene, including those of the arguments to each canto, of both endings to Book III and relevant variant forms throughout. Each word rhyming with the headword in each stanza in which that headword occurs is listed next to the headword; this list takes the place of the local line or phrase context supplied by an orthodox complete concordance. Against each rhyme is noted the numeric stanza reference (Book, canto, stanza) and an alpha reference giving the rhyme group in the stanza (‘a’-, ‘b’- or ‘c’-rhyme) formed by the terms listed in that entry. Terminal punctuation in the line has been reproduced.
The lists within this section are essentially elaborations of the main Concordance: lists of words in rhyme-position, organised by quantity (numerically) and alphabetically. These lists are controlled by lists of all words in The Faerie Queene, arranged similarly. The section is comprised of: Alphabetical List of Rhymes with Frequency and Distribution; All Words in The Faerie Queene Arranged Alphabetically; Rhymes in Order of Frequencey of Occurrence; All Words in The Faerie Queene Arranged in Order of Frequency of Occurrence; Reverse Index of Rhymes; The hapax legomena in Rhyme Position; Rhymes on Two Separate Words; List of Variant Forms Included in the Concordance; Names in Rhyme Position (Omitting Arguments); Hyphenated Rhymes. The list of rhymes organised alphabetically is of particular importance: it gives the distribution of rhymes by Book and canto in The Faerie Queene as well as the total number of occurrences. Such a listing will have many uses, but it is hoped that it might contribute to the analyses of the composition of The Faerie Queene.
Ralph Knevet's Supplement of the Faery Queene (1635) is a narrative and allegorical work, which weaves together a complex collection of tales and episodes, featuring knights, ladies, sorcerers, monsters, vertiginous fortresses and deadly battles – a chivalric romp in Spenser's cod medieval style. The poem shadows recent English history, and the major military and political events of the Thirty Years War. But the Supplement is also an ambitiously intertextual poem, weaving together materials from mythic, literary, historical, scientific, theological, and many other kinds of written sources. Its encyclopaedic ambitions combine with Knevet's historical focus to produce an allegorical epic poem of considerable interest and power. This new edition of Knevet's Supplement, the first scholarly text of the poem ever published, situates it in its literary, historical, biographical, and intellectual contexts. An extensive introduction and copious critical commentary, positioned at the back of the book, will enable students and scholars alike to access Knevet's complicated and enigmatic meanings, structures, and allusions.