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misunderstood discourses of authorship and to challenge the common assumption that early modern authors primarily created themselves. Although it is now several decades since the concept of the ‘fashioned’ self was formulated by Stephen Greenblatt, the New Historicist focus on the agency of poets in forging their own reputation has proved to have an enduring afterlife. Greenblatt defined self-fashioning as ‘the power to impose a shape upon oneself [as] an aspect of the more general power to control identity – that of others at least as often as one

in English literary afterlives

posthumous publication of a series of works by Sir Philip Sidney, including the Defence of Poesie in 1595. 1 Finally, the 1590s also saw the publication of a number of texts featuring prominent Henrician poet figures such as Skelton, More or Surrey as characters. 2 These texts show a marked interest in the identities of these individuals as poets, while stressing the potential for tension between their lives as poets and as public figures who lead a vita activa . 3 As a rule, critical writing in the sixteenth century makes little connection

in English literary afterlives
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Figures of comparison and repetition in Spenser’s Cantos of Mutabilitie and Donne’s Anniversaries

and analogy) and syncrisis (a comparison, usually invidious, of different things belonging to the same category). 9 Unlike metaphor, which sublates its terms to forge a new identity, similitudo and syncrisis stop one step short of sublation as they put their terms and the mechanics of comparison on display. As such they are key to any consideration of how Spenser and Donne negotiate differences and similarities between things and ideas. On a local level, simile institutes a type of comparative thinking which isolates, even reifies comparanda and comparatum

in Spenser and Donne
Aspects of Ramist rhetoric

unassailable for long if he abandons Una, or true Protestant faith, and associates himself with Duessa, or Roman Catholicism. In order to become England’s St George, Redcrosse must go through the ordeal of sin and purgation before he can be restored to his former strength. However, the true contest is not only between a Christian and sin but also between true and false faiths. Spenser’s habit of generating contesting arguments in binaries could be the result of a Ramist cast of logical thinking: Truth (Una) versus Falsehood (Fidessa/Duessa), false Redcrosse (Archimago

in Spenser and Donne
The Merchant of Venice, Measure for Measure, Twelfth Night

, with a hapless representative of humanity at stake. This configuration also recalls and reapplies the traditional mystery play stagings of the so-called ‘debate in Paradise’ between Justice and Mercy – another motif that has been detected in The Merchant of Venice , although one more common in the extant French religious drama than in the English. 26 It does so, however, by visibly foregrounding the object of contestation, what may be termed the figure of ‘mankind in the middle’. The intertextual effect is to align the dramatic centre of gravity of Shakespeare

in The Shakespearean comic and tragicomic

clarissimum, G.H. Immerito sui, mox in Gallias nauigaturi. In the poem Spenser portrays himself as vulnerable to love in contrast to Harvey, who is willing to sacrifice the sweets of life to his ambition to succeed as a public figure. At line 111 the reference to ‘Edmundus’ is a clue to Spenser's identity. This passage may have erotic undertones. On 16 October 1579, Immerito is preparing for a trip abroad in

in The early Spenser, 1554–80
Chaucer, Spenser and Luke Shepherd’s ‘New Poet’

, committed ‘to a humanist tradition of public service’, by drawing on the desire of, for example, John Leland, ‘to recover a native literary tradition’. 51 Old Chaucer had been made new by the renovating ardour of Protestant reform, and as his heir, the ‘new Poete’ represented the epitome of vernacular Protestant Englishness. In addition to a newly created Protestant identity, or humanist educative programme, though, ‘novelty’ and its cognates as readily connoted an opposing set of ideas. The sixteenth-century sees the emergence

in Rereading Chaucer and Spenser
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the categories of both sex and gender. No longer ‘a woman’, she is also no longer subject to ‘affections’ stereotyped and construed as feminine. In this brief, satirical assertion, Boccaccio encapsulates the twin concerns of this volume: the shifts in social, professional, and personal identity that accompanied changes in religious affiliation, and the ways in which those changes were not simply

in Conversions
Robert Lepage’s Coriolan

because their bodies were ‘suture[d]’ to those of their characters (Steen and Werry 146); when their faces were invisible, their bodies were read as being decoupled from character, as being part of the apparatus of theatre and therefore less than human. Yet, if such response decontextualized Coriolan by limiting its identity to a mere contest between traditional transatlantic modes of Shakespearean

in Coriolanus

Donne and to be done (Saunders, 2006: 3–4). By approaching his writings as denominationally more or less neutral performances, I have refrained from assigning Donne to any particular religious confession. I have taken care to avoid projecting on to him any of my own convictions, and creating a Donne in the image of my own religious desires. Such evasion is, of course, not a virtue in itself, and one may criticise my reading precisely because it fails to take a stand with regard to Donne’s religious allegiances – undoubtedly one of the most relevant, if most contested

in John Donne’s Performances