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Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Attractive opposites

This book brings together ten chapters on the relations between Spenser and Shakespeare. There has been much noteworthy work on the linguistic borrowings of Shakespeare from Spenser, but the subject has never before been treated systematically, and the linguistic borrowings lead to broader-scale borrowings and influences, which are treated here. An additional feature of the book is that a large bibliography of previous work is offered, which will be of the greatest help to those who follow up the opportunities offered by this collection. The book presents new approaches, heralding a resurgence of interest in the relations between two of the greatest Renaissance English poets to a wider scholarly group and in a more systematic manner than before. This will be of interest to students and academics interested in Renaissance literature.

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Reading the materials of English Renaissance literature

Formal Matters is intended as an exploration of the emerging and potential links in early modern literary and cultural studies between the study of material texts on the one hand, and the analysis of literary form on the other. The essays exemplify some of the ways in which an attention to the matter of writing now combines in critical practice with the questioning of its forms: how an interest in forms might combine with an interest in the material text and, more broadly, in matter and things material. Section I, ‘Forming literature’, makes literary and sub-literary forms its focus, examining notions of authorship; ways of reading, consuming, and circulating literary and non-literary material; and modes of creative production and composition made possible by the exigencies of specific forms. Section III, ‘The matters of writing’, examines forms of writing, both literary and non-literary, that grapple with other fields of knowledge, including legal discourse, foreign news and intelligence, geometry, and theology. At stake for the authors in this section is the interface between discourses encoded in, and even produced through, specific textual forms.Linking these two sections are a pair of essays take up the subject of translation, both as a process that transforms textual matter from one formal and linguistic mode to another and as a theorization of the mediation between specific forms, materials, and cultures.

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Faith, folly, and ‘The Faerie Queene’

Once a byword for Protestant sobriety and moral idealism, Spenser is now better known for his irony and elusiveness. Yet his sense of humour is still underestimated and misunderstood. Challenging the bias behind this neglect, this study shows that humour, far from being peripheral or superficial, goes to the heart of Spenser’s moral and doctrinal preoccupations. It explores rifts between The Faerie Queene’s ambitious and idealising postures and its Protestant vision of corruptible human nature. Figures to be comically ‘undone’ include the hero, the chivalric lover, the virgin, and the ideal monarch – as well as Spenser’s own epic-poet persona. Yet bathos has a positive significance in Christian theology, and Spenserian humour proves to be an expression of tolerance and faith as well as an instrument of satire. On this basis, Comic Spenser contends that the alliance of humour and allegory in The Faerie Queene affirms the value of the creative and ‘errant’ imagination.

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Thinking poets
Author: Yulia Ryzhik

The names Edmund Spenser and John Donne are typically associated with different ages in English poetry, the former with the sixteenth century and the Elizabethan Golden Age, the latter with the ‘metaphysical’ poets of the seventeenth century. This collection of essays, part of The Manchester Spenser series, brings together leading Spenser and Donne scholars to challenge this dichotomous view and to engage critically with both poets, not only at the sites of direct allusion, imitation, or parody but also in terms of common preoccupations and continuities of thought, informed by the literary and historical contexts of the politically and intellectually turbulent turn of the century. Juxtaposing these two poets, so apparently unlike one another, for comparison rather than contrast changes our understanding of each poet individually and moves towards a more holistic, relational view of their poetics.

Art, literature and antiquarianism in Europe, c. 1400–1700

This book brings together essays on the burgeoning array of local antiquarian practices that developed across Europe in the early modern era (c. 1400–1700). Adopting an interdisciplinary and comparative method it investigates how individuals, communities and regions invented their own ancient pasts according to the concerns they faced in the present. A wide range of ‘antiquities’ – real or fictive, Roman or pre-Roman, unintentionally confused or deliberately forged – emerged through archaeological investigations, new works of art and architecture, collections, history-writing and literature. This book is the first to explore the concept of local concepts of antiquity across Europe in a period that has been defined as a uniform ‘Renaissance’. Contributions take a new novel approach to the revival of the antique in different parts of Italy and also extend to other, less widely studied antiquarian traditions in France, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Britain and Poland. They examine how ruins, inscriptions and literary works were used to provide evidence of a particular idea of local origins, rewrite history or vaunt civic pride. They consider municipal antiquities collections in southern Italy and southern France, the antiquarian response to the pagan, Christian and Islamic past on the Iberian peninsula, and Netherlandish interest in megalithic ruins thought to be traces of a prehistoric race of giants. This interdisciplinary book is of interest for students and scholars of early modern art history, architectural history, literary studies and history, as well as classics and the reception of antiquity.

Understanding affect in Shakespeare and his contemporaries

This collection of essays offers a major reassessment of the meaning and significance of emotional experience in the work of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Recent scholarship on early modern emotion has relied on a medical-historical approach, resulting in a picture of emotional experience that stresses the dominance of the material, humoral body. The Renaissance of Emotion seeks to redress this balance by examining the ways in which early modern texts explore emotional experience from perspectives other than humoral medicine.

The chapters in the book seek to demonstrate how open, creative and agency-ridden the experience and interpretation of emotion could be. Taken individually, the chapters offer much-needed investigations into previously overlooked areas of emotional experience and signification; taken together, they offer a thorough re-evaluation of the cultural priorities and phenomenological principles that shaped the understanding of the emotive self in the early modern period. The Renaissance of Emotion will be of particular interest to students and scholars of Shakespeare and Renaissance literature, the history of emotion, theatre and cultural history, and the history of ideas.

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Renaissance city of literature

From its Nobel laureates to its literary festivals, modern-day Dublin lives up to its role as a literary capital. The question of whether Ireland experienced a cultural and literary Renaissance has received increasing scholarly attention in recent years. This book extends the discussion by engaging with the specific literary culture of its capital city. It begins with an argument for the internationalised literary culture of late medieval Dublin by an analysis of James Yonge's 'Memoriale'. The citizens of Dublin engaged with and actively read texts imported from London, as Dublin's own printing was limited. The book presents case studies that establish Dublin as an emerging city of Renaissance literature by focusing on Edmund Spenser's political and social connections and by examining the literature of complaint emanating from late Elizabethan Dublin. It analyses the constructed authorial personae of Richard Bellings, James Shirley and Henry Burnell residing in Dublin, and discusses the concepts of literary friendship. Sir James Ware's scholarly achievements are analysed and his extensive intellectual community are investigated, revealing an open-minded Dublin community. In addition to being a representative Renaissance activity, translation was harnessed in the country as an 'instrument of state', as shown by translations of Gaelic poetry. The Renaissance literary production in Dublin had a multi-linguistic character with Latin orations taking place in the Trinity College Dublin. The book also addresses the question of whether the English-language drama composed and staged in Restoration Dublin is most accurately described as Anglo-Irish drama or 'English drama written in Ireland'.

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Erotic commodification, cross-cultural conversion, and the bed-trick on the English stage, 1580–1630
Daniel Vitkus

The (‘bed-trick’) was a pervasive plot device in prose fiction and other forms of Renaissance literature but appeared late as a device in English drama. The arrival and proliferation of the bed-trick can be connected to the emergence of capitalism as a system founded on a basic structure of deception by means of substitution in an increasingly aggressive commodity exchange market. This chapter discusses those plays in which the substituted lover is a Moor. In each of these plays with a Moorish woman substitute, we encounter the Moor as placeholder, a degraded substitute and commodity, the monstrous and demonized version of what women had become in bourgeois marriage. By looking at erotic trickery, at dangerous or dubious economic transactions, and religious or racial instability in Elizabethan and Early Stuart plays, we can begin to glimpse a broad pattern, one in which the fundamental anxieties and instabilities produced by new economic practices in early modern England were projected into stage actions involving rape, theft, swindles and racial or religious infidelity.

in Conversions
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The material and visual culture of the Stuart Courts, 1589–1619
Author: Jemma Field

This book analyses Anna of Denmark’s material and visual patronage at the Stuart courts, examining her engagement with a wide array of expressive media including architecture, garden design, painting, music, dress, and jewellery. Encompassing Anna’s time in Denmark, England, and Scotland, it establishes patterns of interest and influence in her agency, while furthering our knowledge of Baltic-British transfer in the early modern period. Substantial archival work has facilitated a formative re-conceptualisation of James and Anna’s relationship, extended our knowledge of the constituents of consortship in the period, and has uncovered evidence to challenge the view that Anna followed the cultural accomplishments of her son, Prince Henry. This book reclaims Anna of Denmark as the influential and culturally active royal woman that her contemporaries knew. Combining politics, culture, and religion across the courts of Denmark, Scotland, and England, it enriches our understanding of royal women’s roles in early modern patriarchal societies and their impact on the development of cultural modes and fashions. This book will be of interest to upper level undergraduate and postgraduate students taking courses on early modern Europe in the disciplines of Art and Architectural History, English Literature, Theatre Studies, History, and Gender Studies. It will also attract a wide range of academics working on early modern material and visual culture, and female patronage, while members of the public who enjoy the history of courts and the British royals will also find it distinctively appealing.