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Chapter 7 contextualizes the relationship between events occurring in 1579–780, such as the publication of John Stubbs’s Gaping Gulf and the Shepheardes Calender. This political discussion serves as the background for close readings of the Aprill and November eclogues. Spenser’s Aprill has been described as an early offering in the cult of Elizabeth, but he undercuts his eulogy to Elizabeth in Aprill by ironic mythological references to Niobe. Rather than making use of the story of Astraea, the just maid, who ushers in a golden age, Spenser turns his back on the symbolism that would identify Elizabeth with Augustus and a golden age. In a close reading of the November eclogue, using Vergil’s Eclogues, Brink shows that this eclogue, like Virgil’s elegy on Julius Caesar, points to the possibility that Elizabeth’s death will lead to civil war. The November eclogue, instead of triumphantly commemorating Elizabeth’s accession to the throne on 17 November, becomes a dirge.

in The early Spenser, 1554–80

This chapter considers early modern academic drama performed at St John’s College, Oxford. Dutton begins by describing the college household materials on which such performances drew, adopting a productively broad definition of this category that includes the people working, studying, and teaching at St John’s, as well as their immediate neighbours in town; the college’s domestic furnishings, such as tables, paintings, and candles; the matter covered there in lectures; and the university’s own medieval foundations. Working first from a text now known as The Christmas Prince, a richly informative but often overlooked account of the 1607–1608 Christmas festivities at St John’s, Dutton describes the financing of the St John’s plays as well as the practicalities associated with their staging and rehearsal and with the sourcing of actors. In the productions performed as part of the Christmas Prince celebrations as well as in the earlier and later examples of St John’s college drama that Dutton examines, the college play emerges as a means of reaffirming and celebrating the local, collegiate culture as well as constituting an interface with the outside world across which people and ideas might move both into and out of the college household.

in Household knowledges in late-medieval England and France
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This brief conclusion restates the facts of Spenser’s early life, integrating into this factual outline the points made in this biographical study. In addition, this portrait of Spenser depicts his departure for Ireland as a high point in his life. He concluded the Shepheardes Calender with the bold claim that it was a ‘Calender for euery yeare’ and the fervent hope that his pastoral would outwear ‘steele in strength’ and ‘continewe till the worlds dissolution’. The aspiration in these lines testifies to the idealism that inspired the early Spenser and that prompted him to envision a life in Ireland where he might succeed in fashioning the Renaissance epic.

in The early Spenser, 1554–80
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Healing, reading, and perfection in the late-medieval household

This chapter considers the reception of John of Arderne’s treatise, the Practica de fistula in ano (1376). Leahy points out that Arderne’s appeal was unlikely to have been restricted to the medical practitioners who are known to have possessed copies of his work: the author-surgeon’s sensitive depiction of the power dynamics of the medieval household and his deployment in his writing of features deriving from the chronicle and romance traditions implicate a broader, less specialised readership. That Arderne’s work met with such an audience is indicated by the inclusion of a Latin text of the Practica alongside two less specialised Middle English texts dealing with the matter of self-care and the apparently miraculous properties of rosemary in an early fifteenth-century compilation, London, British Library MS Additional 29301. This manuscript presents an interesting mix of perspectives on the matter of healthy living, adumbrating the tensions that might exist between members of the household, who favoured their own homegrown cures, and professional medical practitioners. Leahy argues that such a constellation of texts enabled the readers of the Additional manuscript to imagine the household as an idealised realm of bodily control and perfect living.

in Household knowledges in late-medieval England and France
‘Minde on honour fixed’

This revisionary biographical study documents that Spenser was the protégé of a circle of churchmen who expected him to take holy orders, but between 1574, when he left Pembroke College, and 1579, when he published the Shepheardes Calender, he decided against a career in the church. At Pembroke College and in London, Spenser watched the Elizabethan establishment crack down on independent thinking. The sequestration of Edmund Grindal was a watershed event in his early life, as was his encounter with Philip Sidney, the dedicatee of to the Shepheardes Calender. Once Spenser exchanged the role of shepherd-priest for that of shepherd-poet, he understood that his role was not just to celebrate the victories of Protestant England over the Spanish empire, immortalize in verse the virtues of Gloriana’s knights, but also to ‘fashion a noble person in vertuous and gentle discipline’. The received biography of the early Spenser emphasizes Gabriel Harvey, who is reported to have been Spenser’s tutor. Brink shows that Harvey could not have been Spenser’s tutor and argues that Harvey published Familiar Letters (1580) to promote his ambition to be named University Orator at Cambridge. Brink shows that Spenser had already received preferment. His life is contextualized by comparisons with contemporaries including Philip Sidney, Lodowick Bryskett, Shakespeare, and Sir Walter Ralegh. Brink’s provocative study, based upon a critical re-evaluation of manuscript and printed sources, emphasizes Philip Sidney over Harvey and shows that Spenser’s appointment as secretary to Lord Grey was a preferment celebrated even years later by Camden.

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Chapter 1 conducts an in-depth discussion of the ways in which Islamic State (IS) murder propaganda was produced and distributed in the UK, in the years 2014–2015. By focussing on the careful construction of personas by both Islamic State and the UK government, my aim is to demonstrate the ways in which emergencies may be packaged and deployed in order to inspire specific responses in targeted audiences. On the one hand, IS used their technological fluency to ventriloquise their victims in order to demonstrate absolute mastery and justification for their military incursions, inspiring potential converts around the world. On the other, the British press carefully packaged ‘Jihadi John’ as a monster, in order to stoke public anxiety about IS and draw support for military reprisals. In this chapter I begin a discussion of the image, and the ways in which the disconnect between the image and its subject may be exploited in order to produce affective responses within the spectator.

in Precarious spectatorship
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The Epilogue locates my research within my own experiences of being exposed to images of violence, contextualising this study and offering some thoughts on a personal experience of precarious spectatorship. I also discuss the work of Antonin Artaud, one of the key critical voices in theatre to warn against the violence of representation, and conclude with an analysis of Alice Birch’s (2018) La Maladie de la Mort, a play that addresses the suicidal consequences of a world predicated on images.

in Precarious spectatorship

Familiar Letters is usually interpreted as a collaborative venture on the part of Harvey and Spenser and their joint effort to obtain preferment. This chapter shows that Harvey orchestrated the publication without Spenser’s assistance. In Familiar Letters (1580) we are told that Spenser (Immerito) gave copies of the letters to a ‘Well-Willer’ who then gave the correspondence to Harvey’s printer, Henry Bynneman. Brink is the first to point out that ‘Well-Willer’ is an English version of Benevolio, a figure in Harvey’s Letter-Book.The letters themselves are described as ‘scholarly pointes of learning’ because they focus on the science of earthquakes and prosody, not topics of general interest to courtiers or diplomats. The letters are intended to further Harvey’s career in an academic setting. Twelve years later when Harvey discusses the 1580 correspondence, he does not repeat this story, but acknowledges that the correspondence was printed to further his campaign to be University Orator at Cambridge. By references in the letters themselves, Brink shows that Spenser had already become the client of Lord Grey and that he had already received preferment. Spenser had no need to collaborate with Harvey to win preferment.

in The early Spenser, 1554–80
‘Pears on a willow’?

This chapter offers a broad perspective on the tradition of agricultural and estates management literature in England that affords special consideration to the books in which works belonging to this tradition circulated. Examining texts dating from the twelfth to the sixteenth centuries, Kuipers determines that, whereas the earliest agricultural texts would seem to have little to do with the practicalities of farming, treating instead the legal or administrative aspects of landownership, or offering instruction in the French and Latin necessary to participate in the written culture of landowning, later texts demonstrate an increasing interest in practical matters. This interest would culminate in such sixteenth-century manuals as Fitzherbert’s Boke of Husbandry (1523), which contains long descriptions of farming tools for the uninitiated gentleman farmer. In the period directly before the introduction of the early modern manuals, there flourished a kind of hybrid agricultural and estates management text that gestured towards practicality as well as serving other social and aesthetic purposes. Kuipers examines the circulation of a selection of these texts in manuscript household books and discusses the ramifications of their compilation alongside works belonging to other genres, principally romances and conduct texts.

in Household knowledges in late-medieval England and France

A principal contribution of this revisionary biography is that Gabriel Harvey’s relationship with Edmund Spenser is fully contextualized. This is the first close reading of Gabriel Harvey’s Gratulationes Valdinenses (1578), a work he intended to serve as his Shepheardes Calender. Harvey reprinted a number of poems by members of the Leicester circle, but nothing written by Edmund Spenser, suggesting that Spenser and Harvey were not especially close friends in 1578. In the tributes to Elizabeth and Leicester, he rejoices at the queen’s letting him kiss her hand and to the suggestion that he will be sent to Italy. He gloats about the queen’s comment that he already looks Italian (vultu Itali). In Book Four, he addresses a series of eulogies to Sir Christopher Hatton, the Earl of Oxford, and Sir Philip Sidney. In the eulogy to Philip Sidney, Harvey proclaims, ‘Sum iecur’ [I am all liver], a proclamation that suggests that he is consumed with lust for Sidney. The phrase ‘cogit amare iecur’ [the liver knows how to love] becomes a refrain in later satiric treatments of Harvey beginning with Pedantius (1581). Harvey’s own Gratulationes Valdinenses is the source for those taunts.

in The early Spenser, 1554–80