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
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.
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.
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.
This study analyses concepts and representations of the soul in the poetry of William Shakespeare and John Donne. During the early modern period, the soul is often presented as an actor on the stage of the poem, and the soul often becomes a stage by itself when conflicts within it are being enacted, in the tradition of psychomachia. The soul thus becomes a linking element between the genres of poetry and drama; at the same time, poetry becomes dramatic whenever the soul is at its focus. This double movement can be observed in the poems by Shakespeare and Donne that are concerned with the fate of the soul and represent inner states and processes: in The Rape of Lucrece the inner drama of the soul is being enacted; the Holy Sonnets are soliloquies by and about the soul. Here, the connection between interiority and performance, psychology and religious self-care can be found which is central to the understanding of early modern drama and its characteristic development of the soliloquy. The study thus offers a new reading of the poems by Shakespeare and Donne by analysing them, in different ways, as staged dialogues within the soul. It furthermore contributes to research on the soliloquy as much as on concepts of inwardness during the early modern period; it shows how the reflection on the soul and religious care for salvation develops in interaction with inwardness and theatrical exposure. It is aimed at readers interested in early modern literature and culture.
The Art of The Faerie Queene is the first book centrally focused on the forms and poetic techniques employed by Spenser. Though much scholarly attention in recent years has been on the relationships between Spenser’s poetry and political and colonial history, the place of his epic in literary history has received less attention. This book aims to rectify that by re-reading The Faerie Queene as poetry which is at once absorbing, demanding, and experimental. The Spenser explored here ingeniously uses the tricks of his poetic style to amplify his symbolic agendas and to deepen the reading experience. One of the book’s particular originalities is the way in which it reframes Spenser’s place in literary history. As opposed to the stylistic conservatism diagnosed by previous generations of scholars, The Art of The Faerie Queene presents the poem as more radical, more edgy, and less conventional, particularly as it appeared to Spenser’s first readers. As such, the book proposes new ways of understanding the Elizabethan poetic Renaissance and the ways in which Spenser is best understood in terms of literary history. The book progresses from the choice of individual words through to questions of metre, rhyme, and stanza form up to the larger structures of canto, book, and the incomplete yet massive poem itself. It will be of particular relevance to undergraduates studying Elizabethan poetry, graduate students, and scholars of Renaissance poetry, for whom the formal aspect of the poetry has been a topic of growing relevance.
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.
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.
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.
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.