Sir Walter Raleigh's literary legacy consists of a highly fragmented oeuvre including many unprinted or pirated poems and works of disputed authorship. No collection of Raleigh's poetry produced under his own direction or that of a contemporary, either in print or in manuscript, exists. This book is a collection of essays by scholars from Great Britain, the United States, Canada and Taiwan that covers a wide range of topics about Raleigh's diversified career and achievements. Some essays shed light on less familiar facets such as Raleigh as a father and as he is represented in paintings, statues, and in movies. Others re-examine him as poet, historian, as a controversial figure in Ireland during Elizabeth's reign, and looks at his complex relationship with and patronage of Edmund Spenser. The theme of Raleigh's poem is a mutability that is political: i.e., the precariousness of the ageing courtier's estate, as revealed by his fall from eminence and the loss of his privileged position in court. The Cynthia holograph engages in complex ways with idealistic pastoral, a genre predicated upon the pursuit of otium (a longing for the ideal and an escape from the actual). The Nymph's reply offers a reminder of the power of time and death to ensure the failure of that attempt. There were patrilineal imperatives that might have shaped Raleigh's views of sovereignty. Raleigh's story is an actor's story, one crafted by its own maker for the world-as-stage.
Ralegh, Spenser, and the literary politics of the Cynthia holograph
‘Bellphebes course is now observde
Ralegh, Spenser and the literary politics
of the Cynthiaholograph
There exist four poems in Sir Walter Ralegh’s own hand which were
discovered amongst the Cecil papers at Hatfield House in the midnineteenth century. Michael Rudick, the most recent editor of Ralegh’s
poetry, points out that these four poems ‘as far as can be known, were
not published in any form and most probably never circulated beyond
Ralegh’s most immediate acquaintances’. For Rudick, this means that ‘we
can at best speculate about
88 Rod Giblett, Postmodern Wetlands: Culture, History, Ecology (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1996), p. 89.
89 Anna Beer, for example, reads these lines as critical of Spenser’s fiction-making. See ‘“Bellphebes Course is Now Observde No More”: Ralegh, Spenser and the Literary Politics of the CynthiaHolograph’, Literary and Visual Ralegh , pp. 140–65 (pp. 153–5).
90 Robert E. Stillman describes Ralegh’s poem as incorporating ‘an elaborate game of “ fort-da ”’. See ‘“Words Cannot Knytt”: Language and Desire in Ralegh’s The Ocean to Cynthia