‘pillours of Eternity’ but that are, in that early poem, merely those of an arrogant Rome as it starts to crumble deep into the image. This reversal could of course be a coincidence, but it remains pleasant to consider how Virgil’s ‘wheel’ brought England’s first major epic poet back to his earliest and pre-pastoral verse, verse that he owed to the poet who hoped to do for French poetry what one could argue that Virgil had done for Latin.
For both Spenser and Donne, then, the history and literature of the Continent – always mere miles across
Ibid. , p. 180; for the lemon trees, pp. 183, 224.
19 Ibid. , pp. 168, 191, 198.
20 Ibid. , pp. 255, 256.
21 Ibid ., p. 173.
22 Ibid ., p. 256.
23 Ibid. , pp. 194–6.
24 Bullough (ed.), Narrative and Dramatic Sources of Shakespeare , vol. 2, p. 143.
25 Lodge, Rosalynde , p. 222.
27 Ibid ., p. 162.
28 To date, specialists in French medieval literature have been unable to enlighten me on this point.
29 Stephen Knight, ‘Alterity, parody, habitus: the formation of the early literary tradition of Robin Hood
and Renaissance Britain: an update’, Œuvres et critiques , 29 (2004), 27–38; see also Robert Cummings, ‘Reading Du Bartas’, in Fred Schurink (ed.), Tudor Translation , Early Modern Literature in History (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), pp. 175–96. I have argued for the importance of Du Bartas’s poetic narrative La Judit for several early modern English plays: see Richard Hillman, French Origins of English Tragedy (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2010), passim .
19 Stephen Roy Miller (ed.), The Taming of a Shrew: The 1594 Quarto (anon
The names Edmund Spenser and John Donne are rarely seen together in a scholarly context, and even more rarely seen together as an isolated pairing. When the two are brought together, it is usually for contrast rather than for comparison, and even the comparisons tend to be static rather than dynamic or relational. Spenser and Donne find themselves on two sides of a rift in English Renaissance studies that separates the sixteenth century from the seventeenth and Elizabethan literature from Jacobean. 1 In the simplest terms, Spenser is
Observations , visited Susanna Hall specifically to see her late husband’s books in 1642, suggesting a collection worth viewing. He referred to Hall’s interest in scurvy and claimed that he was ahead of his time in its treatment. The literature on scurvy was extensive by Hall’s time, so he would have had a wide range of texts to choose from. Cooke added that Hall had travelled abroad and knew some French, so might have owned one or more books in that language (Hall 1657: sig. A3r–A4v).
Twenty authors and twenty-two books are named in Hall’s manuscript and in Cooke
vernacular French until he was six; his family, servants, and
tutors spoke only Latin to him. Neo-Latin literature is formidable.
Thomas More wrote his Utopia in Latin. Gabriel Harvey, Spenser's
schoolmate at Cambridge, may have begun a Latin epic and did publish Latin
tracts and verse. Thomas Campion wrote verses in both Latin and English. Sir
Francis Bacon began publishing his terse and epigrammatic vernacular Essays
generic blending, can again shed light on Shakespeare’s practice, the present study is anomalous. The critical literature on early modern tragicomedy is vast, but English material is rarely brought into contact with French. The three main founts of influence commonly taken to flow into English tragicomic composition are various Italian dramatic forms, the popular romantic drama of the earlier Elizabethan period decried by Sidney – some elements of which were demonstrably taken over by Shakespeare 2 – and late classical narrative (the Hellenistic novel). 3 At least as
The Merchant of Venice, Measure for Measure, Twelfth Night
potential as encoded in the human condition and left suspended, rather than integrated, at the conclusions. And if the comic patterns are patently of Italian origin – even if some criticism finds the tragicomic model of Giovanni Battista Guarini an adequate template in one case or another 1 – certain tragically tending elements appear more clearly, I believe, in the light of hitherto unnoticed (or at least underappreciated) French intertexts. These elements bear especially on character portrayal and turn on some of the same issues that dominate Shakespeare’s tragedies
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
would mean politically if Elizabeth of England were
to marry a Catholic and heir to the throne of France. Elizabeth's French suitor
was twenty-four. In August 1579, Anjou, after a brief delay at Boulogne caused
by bad weather, sailed for England, arriving at Greenwich on 17 August. The
Queen's forty-sixth birthday was due to be celebrated just three weeks later on
7 September. Whatever her actual sentiments, Elizabeth seems to have conducted