An archaeology of Elizabethan Ireland

This book examines life in the leading province of Elizabeth I's nascent empire. It shows how an Ireland of colonising English farmers and displaced Irish ‘savages’ were ruled by an imported Protestant elite from their fortified manors and medieval castles. The book displays how a generation of English ‘adventurers’ including such influential intellectual and political figures as Spenser and Ralegh, tried to create a new kind of England, one that gave full opportunity to their Renaissance tastes and ambitions. Based on decades of research, it details how archaeology had revealed the traces of a short-lived, but significant, culture that has, until now, been eclipsed in ideological conflicts between Tudor queens, Hapsburg hegemony and native Irish traditions.

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The pastoral poems
Author: Syrithe Pugh

Dubbed 'the English Virgil' in his own lifetime, Edmund Spenser has been compared to the Augustan laureate ever since. He invited the comparison, expecting a readership intimately familiar with Virgil's works to notice and interpret his rich web of allusion and imitation, but also his significant departures and transformations. This book considers Spenser's pastoral poetry, and the genre which announces the inception of a Virgilian career in The Shepheardes Calender. It also considers to which he returns in Colin Clouts Come Home Againe, throwing the 'Virgilian career' into reverse. The book first makes a case for taking seriously the allegorical mode of reading Virgil's Eclogues prominent in the commentary tradition from Servius to the Renaissance. It then examines how The Shepheardes Calender seeks to replicate the Virgilian dynamic of bargaining with power in its opposition to the D'Alencon match. When 'Colin Clouts Come Home Againe' is read in conjunction with 'Astrophel', it becomes clear that they have in common not only their central themes but also their major intertexts, both in Virgil and in Spenser's other works. They are in fact complementary parts of the same project, constructing their meaning and their poetic programme through allusive dialogue both with Virgil and with each other.

Editor: Peter Redford

The Burley manuscript is a miscellany compiled by William Parkhurst in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century, unique in its size – over six hundred items inscribed on nearly four hundred folios – and its variety: poems and letters, essays and aphorisms, speeches, satires and sententiae, mostly in English but including Latin, Italian, French and Spanish. In this study, annotated transcriptions are given of all of the private letters in English, including those that are translations from those of the fourth-century Roman patrician Q. Aurelius Symmachus, and all the English verse. Incipit transcriptions and identification are provided for each of the other items, including those in foreign languages. The history and provenance of the collection are described in detail, with lengthy notes on memorial transcription of verse and prose, and the clandestine interception of letters. The book makes available, in a readily searchable form, texts, annotations and commentary that will have an impact on a wide range of scholarship. It will not only act as a guide to one of the English Renaissance’s most prized miscellanies, but also be found useful in a wide range of studies, illuminating such diverse subjects as, for example, the circulation of verse, the correspondence of John Donne (particularly with Henry Wotton and Henry Goodere), the self-fashioning of English gentlemen after the classical Romans of their class, and the government’s paranoiac spying on its own citizens. Literary scholars and editors, and social historians, may here draw on a deep well of contemporary writing, not readily available hitherto.

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.

Attractive opposites

This book brings together ten chapters on the relations between Spenser and Shakespeare. There has been much noteworthy work on the linguistic borrowings of Shakespeare from Spenser, but the subject has never before been treated systematically, and the linguistic borrowings lead to broader-scale borrowings and influences, which are treated here. An additional feature of the book is that a large bibliography of previous work is offered, which will be of the greatest help to those who follow up the opportunities offered by this collection. The book presents new approaches, heralding a resurgence of interest in the relations between two of the greatest Renaissance English poets to a wider scholarly group and in a more systematic manner than before. This will be of interest to students and academics interested in Renaissance literature.

Spenser and Shakespeare

Thirteen writers have comprehensively explained the Renaissance scheme of physiology-psychology used for nosce teipsum, to ‘know oneself’, and other scholars have analysed key features like humours, bodily spirits, passions, reason, inner wits, soul and spirit, mystic apprehension. Only poets with epic scope, like Spenser and Shakespeare, depict human nature holistically, yet these finest poets have radically distinct psychologies. Spenser’s Christianised Platonism prioritises the soul, his art mirroring divine Creation as dogmatically and encyclopedically conceived. He looks to the past, collating classical and medieval authorities in memory-devices like the figurative house, nobly ordered in triadic mystic numerical hierarchy to reform the ruins of time. Shakespeare’s sophisticated Aristoteleanism prioritises the body, highlighting physical processes and dynamic feelings of immediate experience, and subjecting them to intense, skeptical consciousness. He points to the future, using the witty ironies of popular stage productions to test and deconstruct prior authority, opening the unconscious to psychoanalysis. This polarity of psychologies is radical and profound, resembling the complementary theories of physics, structuring reality either (like Spenser) in the neatly-contained form of particle theory, or (like Shakespeare) in the rhythmic cycles of wave theory. How do we explain these distinct concepts, and how are they related? These poets’ contrary artistry appears in strikingly different versions of a ‘fairy queen’, of humour-based passions (notably the primal passion of self-love), of intellection (divergent modes of temptation and of moral resolution), of immortal soul and spirit, of holistic plot design, and of readiness for final judgment.

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.

Philhellene Protestantism, Renaissance translation and English literary politics

Relatively late manifestations of the European philhellene revival of Greco-Roman letters presented to readers complex, extended prose fiction in which the trials of love mask an implicit moral and political allegory. Inevitably, coming during the Reformation, Counter-Reformation and the Catholic Reformation, this cultural phenomenon was not without its religious and political dimensions. Longus, Achilles Tatius and Heliodorus were the three principal English exponents of rhetorically conscious Greco-Roman erotic romance. This book enhances the understanding of the erotic romances of Philip Sidney, Shakespeare, and Lady Mary Sidney Wroth by setting them within an integrated political, rhetorical, and aesthetic context. It investigates how Renaissance translators alter rhetorical styles, and even contents, to accord with contemporary taste, political agendas and the restrictions of censorship. Particular attention is paid to differences between the French courtly style of Jacques Amyot and François de Belleforest and the more literal translations of their English counterparts. Valuable perspective on the early translations is offered through the modern English versions in B.P. Reardon's Collected Ancient Greek Novels. The book considers the three texts of Sidney's Arcadia, as a political romance sharing many of the thematic and rhetorical concerns of the ancients. It focuses on a narrow range of Shakespeare's plays including Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra. The book identifies Mary Sidney Wroth's masque-like prose allegory, The Countess of Montgomery's Urania, as philhellene Protestant political propaganda.

Dan Geffrey with the New Poete

This is a much-needed volume that brings together established and early career scholars to provide new critical approaches to the relationship between Geoffrey Chaucer and Edmund Spenser. By reading one of the greatest poets of the Middle Ages alongside one of the greatest poets of the English Renaissance, this collection poses questions about poetic authority, influence and the nature of intertextual relations in a more wide-ranging manner than ever before. With its dual focus on authors from periods often conceived as radically separate, the collection also responds to current interests in periodisation. This approach will engage academics, researchers and students of medieval and early modern culture.

Open Access (free)
A tradition of indirection
Author: Rachel E. Hile

This book examines the satirical poetry of Edmund Spenser and argues for his importance as a model and influence for younger poets writing satires in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. The book focuses on reading satirical texts of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries in relation to one another, with specific attention to the role that Edmund Spenser plays in that literary subsystem. The book connects key Spenserian texts in The Shepheardes Calender and the Complaints volume with poems by a range of authors in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, including Joseph Hall, Thomas Nashe, Tailboys Dymoke, Thomas Middleton, and George Wither to advance the thesis that Spenser was seen by his contemporaries as highly relevant to satire in Elizabethan England. For scholars of satire, the book offers a fuller discussion and theorization of the type of satire that Spenser wrote, “indirect satire,” than has been provided elsewhere. A theory of indirect satire benefits not just Spenser studies, but satire studies as well. For scholars of English Renaissance satire in particular, who have tended to focus on the formal verse satires of the 1590s to the exclusion of attention to more indirect forms such as Spenser’s, this book is a corrective, an invitation to recognize the importance of a style of satire that has received little attention.