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Personal Shakespeare

difficult and unsatisfying play. But with Carey taking the role of Faulconbridge – and the wrong successor, an unknown Prince Henry, suddenly appearing out of nowhere to fill John’s vacant throne in 5.7 – how much more pensive and politically relevant the work now seems. If Shakespeare’s hopes for resurrection and reunion with his lost son Hamnet, the passing of Nashe, and the

in Reading Shakespeare’s mind

indulging in close reading – which as today ranged from curiosity to gossipmongering to scholarly interest to prurience – one of the most tantalizing was their awareness of England’s rigorous censorship of unofficial discourse on politics, the royal succession, foreign relations, religion, and certain personalities. Elizabethan England was a highly censorious arena, and dangerous

in Reading Shakespeare’s mind

of politics, Shakespeare’s 5.6 has an elusive, almost existential quality. ‘Who’s there?’ is the question of identity which haunts both Faulconbridge and Prince Hamlet. Shakespeare, commencing work on the revision that became Hamlet Q2, remembered his memorial for Henry Carey in King John. The common question tying the two protagonists is legitimacy and the right to

in Reading Shakespeare’s mind

’s monarchial yoke. Within the Roman tradition, Ovid’s Amores and Lucan’s Civil War were definitive testaments to erotic and political freedom.’ Riggs, The World , 187. 77 Hattaway, As You Like It , 1. 78 In Henry

in Reading Shakespeare’s mind

) repay scrutiny, not only for what they can tell us about Middleton’s youthful political views but also for what we can learn about the understanding of Spenser’s importance as a satirist during this time period. In these two works, we see a young writer trying to demonstrate his political and religious allegiance to the ideas and positions associated with Spenser without getting into trouble.1 This goal—to be critical but not too critical, to be understood by some while not incurring censorship from others—says much about the connections between politics, religion

in Spenserian satire
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interpretive proliferation: Is Radigund a mirror for Queen Elizabeth or an allegorical representation of Mary, Queen of Scots?2 In Mother Hubberds Tale, does Spenser criticize the English or the Irish political situation?3 And so on. Different waves of critical fashion have responded to this textual indeterminacy differently. The Old Historicists erred on the side of ignoring it, asserting a certainty regarding identifications that the sheer number of competing identifications rules out. The New Critics avoided the question, focusing their attention on the text

in Spenserian satire
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political topics, but it was not expedient to analyze this process or to call attention to it in works of literary theory. Given the emphasis on willful obfuscation and deniability that we find in satiric poetry of this time period, it is not surprising that one of the fullest treatments of what satire is and does appears as an allegory in George Gascoigne’s Steele Glas (1576), in which the story of the twins Poesys and Satyra (born to Plain Dealing and Simplicity) follows the plot of the myth of Procne and Philomela, with Satyra the sister raped and disfigured by her

in Spenserian satire

and Satire in Early English Literature (1956). Peter sees Spenser as important to the history of neither complaint nor satire: “Spenser again, whatever his interest in another context, is hardly a key-figure in the development of Satire. His allegorical method is distinctly medieval … but its affinities are with political songs rather than complaints proper… . Beyond Drayton’s The Owle, moreover, which will be mentioned later, [Mother Hubberds Tale] seems to have had very little contemporary influence” (132–33). Obviously, I disagree with this conclusion. The

in Spenserian satire
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Theory and Spenserian practice

to begin the process of thinking analytically about indirect satire, an understudied and undertheorized form of satirical writing. Numerous scholars have described Spenser’s satirical methodology in ways that emphasize his efforts to balance goals of criticism with a strong impulse toward self-preservation: Lauren Silberman comments on the slipperiness of potential topical identifications in Mother Hubberds Tale: “As the poet holds up mirrors more than one to himself and his objects … . Spenser makes it virtually impossible to isolate a discrete political attack on

in Spenserian satire
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Imitation of Spenserian satire

press would characterize King James’s reign. The previous chapter speculated on the impact of these three events by comparing two works by Thomas Middleton from 1599 and 1604, to see the extent to which Middleton’s consistent political and religious sympathy with attitudes and values associated with Spenser showed up as stylistic “Spenserianism” in these two satirical poetic works. In this chapter, I will focus on the early seventeenth century, with close attention to several works by a few members of the loose alliance generally referred to as “Spenserian poets

in Spenserian satire