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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.

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Overhearing Spenser in Donne

Mother Hubberd , itself an explicit comparison of the court with hell. Donne needs the intertext partly because it is Spenserian empathy which he edits out of his account of the courtly lowlife: where Donne concentrates on the political jeopardy of being seen as a double agent, Spenser explores the realities of endless waiting at court. Here is Spenser’s climactic vision of the realities of attendance at court: Full little knowest thou that hast not tride, What hell it is in suing long to bide

in Spenser and Donne

the most debated subjects in Spenser criticism. Far from being a matter to be settled, it is a shifting reference point for the poet’s complex handling of a range of issues: patronage and the poetic vocation, gender, sex and marriage, the institutions of Reformed faith, policy in Ireland, the question of the royal succession, and the proper powers of the monarch, for example. Close attention to these and other subjects in recent decades has replaced The Faerie Queene ’s old incarnation as a work of Tudor propaganda with a poem of satirical daring and political

in Comic Spenser

document Spenser's association with a militant Puritan sympathizer, Arthur Lord Grey of Wilton. 16 The pendulum seems to have swung too far to the right and there may be too much insistence on Spenser's conformity. 17 We need to consider the agency of John Young, who, even if he agreed with Spenser's politics, would not, and probably could not, have

in The early Spenser, 1554–80
Spenser, Sidney, and the early modern chivalric code

1577: The courtier Philip Sidney and I had privately discussed these three books of Livy, scrutinizing them so far as we could from all points of view, applying a political analysis, just before his embassy to the emperor Rudolf II. He went to offer him congratulations in the queen's name just after he had been made emperor. Our consideration was chiefly directed at

in The early Spenser, 1554–80

the Elizabethan mind are derived mainly from the work of the humanising poets – Wyatt, Surrey, Spenser, with the derivations from French and Italian literature, Fulke Greville and the Senecals – or from the work of the dramatists’. From poets, in other words, rather than ‘professional men’, Eliot derives the most familiar characteristics of Renaissance poetry. From this point of view, Roger Ascham seems to Eliot more modern than John Donne, a man defined by ‘theological politics’ to the extent that other powerful literary influences (Montaigne, Seneca, Machiavelli

in Spenser and Donne
Open Access (free)
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

matriculated, was central to Reformation history. Of the men with close ties to Pembroke who played major roles in contemporary church politics, the most prominent was Edmund Grindal (1519?–1583; appointed Archbishop of Canterbury 1575 and served until 1583). He appears in Spenser's early literary work Shepheardes Calender (1579) under the anagram Algrind and as representative of the view that the clergy should be held to a higher standard

in The early Spenser, 1554–80
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of Cambridge from the Earliest Times to 1900 , compiled by John Venn and J.A. Venn (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1922), 1: xiv. 9 For Spenser's attitude toward the church, see Jeffrey Knapp, ‘Spenser the Priest’, Representations , 81 (2003), 61–78. On the political and religious context, see David Norbrook

in The early Spenser, 1554–80
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expected by Spenser’s first readers: a commonplace classical idea was that in order to write about heroic deeds and great civilisations a poet must himself be heroically minded and politically wise. ‘The poet’, wrote Longinus, ‘is accustomed to enter into the greatness of his heroes’. 4 The joint motivation for praise noted by Berry and Cheney was another traditional point of connection between poet and hero, as was their promotion of national interests: Du Bellay looked back approvingly to a time when the monarch ‘desiroit plus le renaitre d’Homere, que le gaing d

in Comic Spenser