that ‘abandoned [Catholic] symbols or practices do not simply disappear from
the mental landscape’, but can attain a new cultural meaning in secular contexts and in particular in poetry.9 According to Mazzola, ‘Renaissanceliterature
might therefore be approached in terms of a sacred history of lost ideas, and
read in terms of sacred signs which were downplayed or even disowned.’10 Such
arguments are based on a concept of cultural memory that includes repressed
and censored cultural practices. If we understand culture as a palimpsest of
of Time as the prototype for a suitable mode of experiencing and expressing
loss. It is ‘his Time-ruines’ which show to Spenser’s admirers ‘our ruine’ and
makes them truly know their sorrow; at the same time, it provides them with
the words and images to articulate this grief. Weever’s epigram thus in turn
offers us the image of poetry out of ruins as a memorable emblem of Spenser’s
Protestant poetics of commemoration and mourning.
1 P. Schwyzer, Archaeologies of English RenaissanceLiterature (Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 2007), pp. 73–4.
C.S. Lewis , Studies in Medieval and RenaissanceLiterature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1966 ), 128.
Richard Helgerson , Self-Crowned Laureates: Spenser, Jonson, Milton and
the Literary System (Berkeley and London: University of
California Press, 1983 ), 2.
See Judith H. Anderson , Reading the Allegorical Intertext: Chaucer,
Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton (New York: Fordham University
Press, 2008 ), 155.
overturned at any moment and that in such circumstances it is unwise to invest heavily or take excessive pride in earthly matters. In The Canterbury Tales , the monk follows the Boccaccian model in offering his own much shorter set of tales, detailing the falls of figures from Lucifer to Croesus, but departs from Boccaccio in referring to them as tragedies. The monk's definition of the term differs in some important ways from the conventional, Aristotelian model of tragedy to which students of Renaissanceliterature are so often referred. Firstly, these tragedies are to
. Stern, Gabriel Harvey: His Life, Marginalia and Library (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1979).
33 See Davis, Stories of Chaos , pp. 75–120 (p. 76 in particular). See also Sarah Powrie, ‘Spenser’s Mutabilitie and the Indeterminate Universe’, SEL , 53.1 (2013), 73–89.
34 For classic studies see C.S. Lewis, The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and RenaissanceLiterature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1964); Marjorie Hope Nicolson, The Breaking of the Circle: Studies in the Effect of the ‘New
Eve and her unsuspecting garden in seventeenth-century literature
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Woodbridge , L.
( 1986 )
Women and the English Renaissance:
Literature and the Nature of Womankind, 1540 to 1620 .
Urbana : University of
learned, and religious lady, the Lady Iane Gray . London : G.
Hampton , T.
( 1990 )
Writing from History: The Rhetoric of
Exemplarity in RenaissanceLiterature . Ithaca, NY : Cornell
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Horneck , P.
( 1699 )
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Stewart , S.
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Swärdh , A.
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the place of formalist approaches when historicism has become the dominant critical paradigm in Renaissanceliterature and Spenser studies? There are two main ways of answering this question. The first is to argue that the dominance of historicist approaches has been counterproductive in terms of the understanding of the literary qualities of Spenser's work. As Mark David Rasmussen suggests (in an essay which incidentally makes searching criticism of my earlier study of the Complaints volume), though formalist approaches are ‘less influential’ than historicist
Identities and English RenaissanceLiterature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002);
Brendan Bradshaw and John Morrill eds, The British Problem, c.
1534–1707: State Formation in the Atlantic
Archipelago (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1996); Steven G. Ellis
and Sarah Barber eds, Conquest and Union: Fashioning a British
State, 1485–1725 (London: Longman, 1995