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, resorting to arms, though they have not yet turned against the gods and nature, are ‘not yet impious’ ( Meta I.125–7). In the Age of Iron, division becomes for the first time political: the earth, ‘which had hitherto been a common possession like the sunlight and the air’ ( Meta I.135), is now defaced with boundary lines and ripped to its very bowels by men in search of riches ( Meta I.136–40). Wealth – which is to say, divided and unequal ownership – leads to envy and suspicion, which lead to warfare and worse: husband turns against wife, son against father, host

in Spenser and Donne
Making room for France

seems in order. This is because, while a case can be made for the French origins of certain aspects of English tragedy – especially its political directions – the dominant generic models are now, in the main, of Italian origin. These include the commedia erudita , derived from Plautus and Terence, the commedia grave , ‘enriching the narrative output of commedia erudita with the addition of more solemn and complex elements’, 2 and the popular commedia dell’ arte . 3 An equally important part of the picture is the non-dramatic forms. Most influential among the

in The Shakespearean comic and tragicomic

indulging in close reading – which as today ranged from curiosity to gossipmongering to scholarly interest to prurience – one of the most tantalizing was their awareness of England’s rigorous censorship of unofficial discourse on politics, the royal succession, foreign relations, religion, and certain personalities. Elizabethan England was a highly censorious arena, and dangerous

in Reading Shakespeare’s mind
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Spenser, Donne, and the trouble of periodization

antonyms. We take, therefore, a more relational view of Donne and Spenser, and, although Spenser was probably unaware of Donne’s work, the relation is not necessarily unidirectional. The chapters engage critically with both poets not only at the sites of allusion, imitation, or parody but also in terms of common preoccupations and continuities of thought. Bearing in mind the subtitle ‘Thinking Poets’, the aim is not merely to compare what Spenser and Donne thought about certain subjects, such as contemporary events and politics, science

in Spenser and Donne

twenty-five-year-old poet, certainly a brilliant student, but without demonstrable experience. It was not until 1910, and during political struggles between Ireland and England, that this appointment became suspect. In 1910, Edwin Greenlaw launched his still influential theory that Leicester hustled Spenser off to Ireland because of his having written a politically insensitive poem. Greenlaw's proof was another poem by Spenser, ‘Virgils Gnat

in The early Spenser, 1554–80
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are able to laugh at him. Humour characteristically undercuts The Faerie Queene ’s apparent optimism as regards human dignity, moral integrity, and capacity for firm knowledge. But the same scepticism – because it is rooted in Spenser’s Christian faith – also mitigates indignation at these shortcomings, displacing moral dogmatism with tolerance, humility, and empathy. Given that Spenser was the author of acerbic moral and political satire and a whole volume of disillusioned complaints on the theme of worldly vanity, these assertions may sound like misguided

in Comic Spenser

others and give heed to your inner voice. Book 2 of Gratulationes Valdinenses is dedicated to the Earl of Leicester from whom Harvey hoped to gain preferment, and this is the only book that has received any critical attention. Harvey's comments on Machiavelli and the Medici family have been construed by Thomas Jameson as political commentary on the Alençon–Anjou courtship. 29 In his critical

in The early Spenser, 1554–80
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patron saint of sorts, Rastell chose to portray him as an exemplary author in ‘the Englysh tonge’, as well as a martyr and an important political figure. In this, his approach markedly differed from that of More’s son-in-law William Roper, whose Mirrour of vertue in worldly greatnes, Or the life of Syr Thomas More Knight was written in the same decade as Rastell’s edition of More’s works. 15 As historical studies of biography tend to point out, Roper’s Life of Syr Thomas More does not aim to present its readers with the life of the author of Utopia . In his

in English literary afterlives

first some reminders of their responses to Continental events or literature and conclude with comments on their responses to one ancient author, Ovid, and to one geographical feature, the hill. As I hope to show, if at the risk of oversimplification, Spenser recalls the Continent and on occasion, often quietly, appropriates its writers; Donne can do the same, but more often flashes and names them, not always with pleasure. A longer study would include more on the poets’ shared interest in Continental politics, for the religious wars and

in Spenser and Donne
Spenser’s Busirane and Donne’s ‘A Valediction of my name, in the window’

innocence as a kind of juridical deposition, a testament by proxy that could proclaim her innocence even if she were executed. 5 Although Donne does not acknowledge this diamond-engraved precedent directly, he might well have known of Elizabeth’s inscription from Foxe or Holinshed. 6 As a poetic couplet that could outlast the extreme political hazard in which Elizabeth found herself, the lines provide an analogue for Donne’s carved autograph just before his own enforced departure. Donne wittily adapts his own glassy signature as a prophylactic not against legal

in Spenser and Donne