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An anthology

This is a companion to Pastoral poetry of the English Renaissance: An anthology (2016), the largest ever collection of its kind. The monograph-length Introduction traces the course of pastoral from antiquity to the present day. The historical account is woven into a thematic map of the richly varied pastoral mode, and it is linked to the social context, not only by local allegory and allusion but by its deeper origins and affinities. English Renaissance pastoral is set within the context of this total perspective.

Besides the formal eclogue, the study covers many genres: lyric, epode, georgic, country-house poem, ballad, romantic epic, drama and prose romance. Major practitioners like Theocritus, Virgil, Sidney, Spenser, Drayton and Milton are discussed individually.

The Introduction also charts the many means by which pastoral texts circulated during the Renaissance, with implications for the history and reception of all Early Modern poetry. The poems in the Anthology have been edited from the original manuscripts and early printed texts, and the Textual Notes comprehensively document the sources and variant readings. There are also notes on the poets and analytical indices of themes, genres, and various categories of proper names. Seldom, if ever, has a cross-section of English Renaissance poetry been textually annotated in such detail.

A context for The Faerie Queene

Edmund Spenser and the first readers of The Faerie Queene routinely heard their national concerns—epidemics, political plotting, recent Tudor history—discussed in biblical terms. This book samples contemporary sermons, homilies, and liturgies to demonstrate that religious rhetoric, with its routine use of biblical types (for Elizabeth, the Spanish threat, and Mary Stuart, among many others) trained Spenser’s original readers to understand The Faerie Queene’s allegorical method. Accordingly, the first three chapters orient the reader to allegorical and typological reading in biblical commentary, occasional liturgies, and sermons. This pulpit literature illuminates many episodes and characters within the poem, and subsequent chapters discuss some of these. For instance, the genealogies Guyon and Arthur discover in Book Two parallel sermon lists of Elizabeth’s kingly forebears as well as biblical commentary on the genealogies provided for Jesus in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. Florimell’s adventures in Books Three and Four, like contemporary marriage sermons, develop an allegory of the superiority of marriage over the single state. Likewise, the preachers’ treatment of the Northern Rebellion and the threat posed by Mary Stuart show biblical typology in the service of nationalism, much as the allegory of Book Six finds a way to celebrate Elizabeth’s execution of her cousin. In these cases, as in the Souldan episode, Book Six’s analysis of courtesy, and the Mutability Cantos, Elizabethan religious rhetoric lends support to traditional readings of the poem, indicating that Spenser’s original readers probably found The Faerie Queene less conflicted and subversive than many do today.

Greene, Sidney, Donne and the evolution of posthumous fame

English literary afterlives covers the Renaissance treatment of the posthumous literary life. It argues for the emergence of biographical reading practices during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, as early readers attempted to link the literary output of dead authors to their personal lives. Early modern authors’ complex attitudes to print, and their attempts to ‘fashion’ their own careers through their writings, have been well documented. This study, by contrast, explores how authors and their literary reputations after their deaths were fashioned (and sometimes appropriated) by early modern readers, publishers and printers. It examines the use of biographical prefaces in early modern editions, the fictional presentation of historical poets, pseudo-biography, as well as more conventional modes such as elegy and the exemplary life. By analysing responses to a series of major literary figures after their deaths – Geoffrey Chaucer, Philip Sidney, Robert Greene, Edmund Spenser, John Donne and George Herbert – English literary afterlives charts the pre-history of literary biography in the period and presents a counternarrative to established ideas of authorial emergence through self-fashioning. The book is aimed at scholars and students of the individual authors covered (Sidney, Spenser, Greene, Donne and Herbert), as well as readers interested in book history, reception history, authorship and life-writing.

Essays on text and context

This collection of sixteen essays, the first devoted to John Derricke’s work, offers new readings of, and new sources behind, The Image of Irelande: With a Discoverie of Woodkarne (1581), all to better explicate facets of this difficult and complex book. While prior scholarship on Derricke was largely confined to commentary on the illustrations, the essays in this volume encompass a broad range of approaches to the Image of Irelande in its entirety. Although on the face of it, The Image is blatantly pro-Sidney and anti-Irish propaganda, and has always been so received, the essays in this collection combine to suggest that Derricke’s book is in fact far more culturally and politically daring than has been assumed, with a highly sophisticated textual and visual presentation only now brought into focus. In addition to scrutinizing Derricke’s poetic and iconographic practices, the essays include insights from architecture and archaeology, print history and reading practices, studies of civic display and colonial ideologies. The collection, divided into five sections (Ideologies, Archaeologies, Print and publication, Influences, and Interpretations), establishes a basis on which to build future analyses of Derricke’s enigmatic book.

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.

Spenser’s Una as the invisible Church
Author: Kathryn Walls

This is the first book-length study devoted to Una, the beleaguered but ultimately triumphant heroine of Book One of The Faerie Queene. Challenging the standard identification of Spenser’s Una with the post-Reformation Church in England, it argues that she stands, rather, for the community of the redeemed, the invisible Church, whose membership is known by God alone. Una’s story (its Tudor resonances notwithstanding) thus embraces that of the Synagogue before the Incarnation as well as that of the Church in the time of Christ and thereafter. Una’s trajectory also allegorizes the redemptive process that populates the City. Initially fallible, she undergoes a transformation that is explained by the appearance of the kingly lion as Christ in canto iii. Indeed, she becomes Christ-like herself. The tragically alienated figure of Abessa in canto iii represents, it is argued, Synagoga. The disarmingly feckless satyrs in canto vi are the Gentiles of the Apostolic era, and the unreliable yet indispensable dwarf is the embodiment of the adiaphora that define national (i. e., visible), Churches. The import of Spenser’s problematic marriage metaphor is clarified in the light of the Bible and medieval allegories. These individual interpretations contribute to a coherent account of what is shown to be, on Spenser’s part, a consistent treatment of his heroine.

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.

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Renaissance city of literature

From its Nobel laureates to its literary festivals, modern-day Dublin lives up to its role as a literary capital. The question of whether Ireland experienced a cultural and literary Renaissance has received increasing scholarly attention in recent years. This book extends the discussion by engaging with the specific literary culture of its capital city. It begins with an argument for the internationalised literary culture of late medieval Dublin by an analysis of James Yonge's 'Memoriale'. The citizens of Dublin engaged with and actively read texts imported from London, as Dublin's own printing was limited. The book presents case studies that establish Dublin as an emerging city of Renaissance literature by focusing on Edmund Spenser's political and social connections and by examining the literature of complaint emanating from late Elizabethan Dublin. It analyses the constructed authorial personae of Richard Bellings, James Shirley and Henry Burnell residing in Dublin, and discusses the concepts of literary friendship. Sir James Ware's scholarly achievements are analysed and his extensive intellectual community are investigated, revealing an open-minded Dublin community. In addition to being a representative Renaissance activity, translation was harnessed in the country as an 'instrument of state', as shown by translations of Gaelic poetry. The Renaissance literary production in Dublin had a multi-linguistic character with Latin orations taking place in the Trinity College Dublin. The book also addresses the question of whether the English-language drama composed and staged in Restoration Dublin is most accurately described as Anglo-Irish drama or 'English drama written in Ireland'.

Author: Tamsin Badcoe

This book offers a new approach to engaging with the representation and aesthetics of provisional knowledge in Edmund Spenser’s writing via a focus on his use of spatial images. The study takes advantage of recent interdisciplinary interests in the spatial qualities of early modern thought and culture, and considers literature concerning the art of cosmography and navigation alongside imaginative literature in order to identify shared modes and preoccupations. The book looks to the work of cultural and historical geographers in order to gauge the roles that aesthetic subjectivity and the imagination play in the development of geographical knowledge – contexts ultimately employed by the study to achieve a better understanding of the place of Ireland in Spenser’s writing. The study also engages with recent ecocritical approaches to literary environments, such as coastlines, wetlands, and islands, in order to frame fresh readings of Spenser’s handling of mixed genres.

‘Minde on honour fixed’
Author: Jean R. Brink

This revisionary biographical study documents that Spenser was the protégé of a circle of churchmen who expected him to take holy orders, but between 1574, when he left Pembroke College, and 1579, when he published the Shepheardes Calender, he decided against a career in the church. At Pembroke College and in London, Spenser watched the Elizabethan establishment crack down on independent thinking. The sequestration of Edmund Grindal was a watershed event in his early life, as was his encounter with Philip Sidney, the dedicatee of to the Shepheardes Calender. Once Spenser exchanged the role of shepherd-priest for that of shepherd-poet, he understood that his role was not just to celebrate the victories of Protestant England over the Spanish empire, immortalize in verse the virtues of Gloriana’s knights, but also to ‘fashion a noble person in vertuous and gentle discipline’. The received biography of the early Spenser emphasizes Gabriel Harvey, who is reported to have been Spenser’s tutor. Brink shows that Harvey could not have been Spenser’s tutor and argues that Harvey published Familiar Letters (1580) to promote his ambition to be named University Orator at Cambridge. Brink shows that Spenser had already received preferment. His life is contextualized by comparisons with contemporaries including Philip Sidney, Lodowick Bryskett, Shakespeare, and Sir Walter Ralegh. Brink’s provocative study, based upon a critical re-evaluation of manuscript and printed sources, emphasizes Philip Sidney over Harvey and shows that Spenser’s appointment as secretary to Lord Grey was a preferment celebrated even years later by Camden.