Sir Walter Raleigh's literary legacy consists of a highly fragmented oeuvre including many unprinted or pirated poems and works of disputed authorship. No collection of Raleigh's poetry produced under his own direction or that of a contemporary, either in print or in manuscript, exists. This book is a collection of essays by scholars from Great Britain, the United States, Canada and Taiwan that covers a wide range of topics about Raleigh's diversified career and achievements. Some essays shed light on less familiar facets such as Raleigh as a father and as he is represented in paintings, statues, and in movies. Others re-examine him as poet, historian, as a controversial figure in Ireland during Elizabeth's reign, and looks at his complex relationship with and patronage of Edmund Spenser. The theme of Raleigh's poem is a mutability that is political: i.e., the precariousness of the ageing courtier's estate, as revealed by his fall from eminence and the loss of his privileged position in court. The Cynthia holograph engages in complex ways with idealistic pastoral, a genre predicated upon the pursuit of otium (a longing for the ideal and an escape from the actual). The Nymph's reply offers a reminder of the power of time and death to ensure the failure of that attempt. There were patrilineal imperatives that might have shaped Raleigh's views of sovereignty. Raleigh's story is an actor's story, one crafted by its own maker for the world-as-stage.
Christopher M. Armitage, Thomas Herron, and Julian Lethbridge
legacy consists of a highly fragmented oeuvre including
many unprinted or pirated poems and works of disputedauthorship. After discovery of the Oceans Love to Scynthia holographs in the
mid-nineteenth century (first printed in 1870)4 and propelled in part
by interest from Spenser scholars, editorial attention in the twentieth
century has focused intensely on the shifting sands of his poetry. No
collection of Ralegh’s poetry produced under his own direction or that
of a contemporary, either in print or in manuscript, exists. No more than
‘three or four’ poems
–xix; henceforth Met .
57 The rape of Hermaphroditus by Salmacis was later mined for comic potential in the epyllion Salmacis and Hermaphroditus (1602), attributed to Francis Beaumont; on the disputedauthorship of this poem see William Keach, Elizabethan Erotic Narratives: Irony and Pathos in the Ovidian Poetry of Shakespeare, Marlowe, and Their Contemporaries (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1977), p. 190. The tragicomic aspects of Venus and Adonis may also have been influenced by another epyllion, Thomas Lodge’s Scillaes Metamorphosis (1589). Based on Ovid