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.
Scriptural tradition and the close of The Faerie Queene
, headbands, bonnets, earrings, nose jewels, veils, wimples, and
9 J. B. Lethbridge, “Spenser’s Last Days: Ireland, Career, Mutability, Allegory,” in Edmund
Spenser: New and Renewed Directions, ed. J. B. Lethbridge (Madison, NJ: Fairleigh
Dickinson, 2006), 302–36, provides an overview of the debate over the cantos’ relation
to the rest of The Faerie Queene.
10 Thomas Drant, Two sermons preached, the one at S. Maries Spital on Tuesday in Easter
weeke 1570 and the other at the court at Windsor for the Sonday after twelfth day, …
1569 (London, 1570?), sig. I5v, STC (2nd
‘Look, let’s start all over again. What’s she like?’
iconography but is in fact built into it.
This apparent contradiction is accounted for within iconography itself
as a methodology, the two aspects of which are stability and mutability. Since a type is only type because of recognisable motifs, certain
motifs must be established which have both universal, and particular
or historical validity. The universality of the type appears through
an accumulation of its particulars, and this is primarily why there is
such slippage between the concept of la Parisienne and its associated
categories, and her physical embodiment in the
.3.34–5). During the early modern period, Luther was described
approvingly as ‘that sonne of thunder’, and condemned as one
who ‘hath stered a mighty storme and tempest in the
As we have seen, Shakespeare’s attention to the contradictions and
mutability of weather interpretation is evident in all of his storm
plays, and particularly in Julius Caesar . The relationship
lives because it is
contingent and mutable, because it is changing and transforming rather
than fading in response to alterations in the material conditions under
which we live, which are themselves articulations of a social totality.
Fredric Jameson argued that the cultural object, ‘as though for the first
time, brings into being that very situation to which it is also at one and
the same time, a reaction’ (Jameson, 1981: 82). It is thus socially symbolic,
the bearer of the time in which it was made. Narrative, a continuous
reaction to information and its
mutability-song: conclusion or transition?
The Mutabilitie Cantos’
relation to The Faerie Queene remains a mystery. Is it a
separate poem? – perhaps, considering its extensive and
complete dramatic action, with a parallel comic subplot. Or a
medullar episode of an uncompleted legend? – this seems more
. The human form was apparently conceived of
as ‘fluid’ and ‘permeable’, or ‘mutable’ and ‘fluxable’.6 English bodies were
‘innately malleable’, ‘protean’, and ‘exceedingly pliant and vulnerable’ because
their constituent humours were thought always and everywhere at the mercy
of the immediate surroundings.7 Historians of early modern medicine and natural philosophy make similar arguments. Well into the eighteenth century,
Erica Charters suggests, army doctors and naval surgeons viewed bodies as
‘fluid, malleable entities, easily physiologically modified under the
equally be claimed by those who equate some of the language of nerves with depression – such is the mutability of this grey area of human experience. 4 Certainly, in response to the claim that cases of depression had hugely increased by the end of the twentieth century, Callahan and Berrios argued that numbers of sufferers had hardly changed since the 1950s, but that depression was previously hidden behind other labels, with both formal medical diagnostic categories and vernacular usage contributing to this concealment. 5
has been deemed inconsistent with the essentialism upon which racism would
rely – the ideas that somatic differences are enduringly innate because they are
inherited, and that outward contrasts, especially skin colours, must always be
both signifier and signified.
Humoralism’s demise therefore becomes a prerequisite for racism, with
Mary Floyd-Wilson’s particularly influential study boldly stating that the
‘racial stereotypes [which] facilitated the Atlantic slave trade were incompatible
with geohumoral tenets’.15 Others aver that there was a fundamental
This book sets the scene for the reinterpretations and explorations of the ways William Shakespeare and his contemporaries worked mythological material on their looms. In Ovid, each text leaves a trace in the others, introducing an enriching leaven that expands the text. Reading Holinshed's efforts to place Samothes or Brutus on England's family tree, one feels sorry for those chroniclers who had to reconcile a variety of founding tales and defend mutable causes. Founding myths need a renowned ancestor; warlike feats; identification with a territory, continuity, purity of blood; and someone to tell the story: fame must be recorded by pen if it is to survive marble monuments. The book discusses the Trojan matter of King John, which powerfully structures and textures the scenes of the siege of Angiers and, more specifically, the tragic fates of Constance and Arthur. It also considers some metamorphoses of Shakespeare and Ovid. The book reiterates imaginative association, influence, historically diachronic descent study, as evidenced in that kind of critical work that finds in a keyword an attractive pretext for projecting an author's particular interest or, a critic's. Yves Peyré's work opens perspectives on post-Shakespeare reworkings and Shakespearian myths that were also explored during the ESRA conference and inspired a separate collection of essays, Mythologising Shakespeare: A European Perspective.