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.
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.
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.
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'.
This is a companion to Pastoral poetry of the English Renaissance: an anthology (2016), supporting the earlier volume with a range of critical and textual material. The book-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. Pastoral is linked to its social context, in terms of not only direct allusion but its deeper origins and affinities. English Renaissance pastoral is set in this total perspective. Besides the formal eclogue, the study covers many genres: lyric, epode, georgic, country-house poem, ballad, romantic epic, drama, prose romance. Major practitioners like Theocritus, Virgil, Sidney, Spenser, Drayton and Milton are individually discussed. The Introduction also charts the many means by which pastoral texts circulated in that age, with implications for the history and reception of all Early Modern poetry. All poems in the Anthology were edited from the original manuscripts and early printed texts. The Textual Notes in the present volume 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.
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.
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
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 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 volume questions and qualifies commonly accepted assumptions about the early
modern English sonnet: that it was a strictly codified form, most often
organised in sequences, which emerged only at the very end of the sixteenth
century and declined as fast as it had bloomed at the turn of the century – and
that minor poets merely participated in the sonnet fashion by replicating
established conventions. Drawing from book history, using the tools of close
reading and textual criticism, it aims to offer a more nuanced history of the
form in early modern England – and especially of the so-called ‘sonnet craze’.
It does so by exploring the works of such major poets as Shakespeare, Sidney and
Spenser but also of lesser-studied sonneteers such as Barnabe Barnes and Gabriel
Harvey. It discusses how sonnets were written, published, received and
repurposed in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England, taking into account
interactions with the French and Italian literary traditions. The collection
also discusses current editorial practices and provides the first modern edition
of an early seventeenth-century Elizabethan miscellany which claims the Earl of
Essex, Spenser and ‘S.P.S.’ (presumably Sir Philp Sidney) as authors.