Two important monographs, each containing chapters devoted to Sidney, appeared from Cambridge University Press in 2000: Kenneth Borris's Allegory and Epic in English Renaissance Literature: Heroic form in Sidney, Spenser, and Milton and Robert Matz's Defending literature in early modern England: Renaissance literary theory in social context. Borris disputes critical assumptions that the influence of allegory waned after 1600 and asserts rather that new access to classical texts "changed and revitalized literary conceptions and uses of the mode, as literary theorists and poets assimilated these fresh influences and resultant contemporary intellectual trends" (p. 4). Heroic poetry by Homer and Virgil was considered especially important in sixteenth century accounts of literary genres and epic and allegory were closely connected. The book contains a section on Sidney's Arcadias: chapter four on 'Arcadian allegorical epic' and chapter 5 on 'Sidneian transformations of heroic poetry', with each providing a fresh reading of Sidney's texts. Borris also provides new readings of Milton's Paradise Lost and Spenser's Faerie Queene and is keen to emphasise that the allegorical nature of Sidney's writing makes him a literary forerunner of Spenser. Borris sees a connection between Milton, Sidney and Spenser because although they differ in their approach to allegory they all share a desire to explore psychological issues through the allegorical epic form.
Matz considers Elyot's Boke Named the Governour, Spenser's Faerie Queene and Sidney's Defence of Poetry, with a chapter devoted to each text. According to Matz these literary works, in their adherence to Horacian doctrine, reflect the "conflicts in standards of aristocratic conduct during the social and cultural transitions of the sixteenth century" (p. 3). Matz also questions the revisionary literary history begun by New Historicists and challenges their tendency to consider poetry as just another form of discursive and institutional power. Matz considers Pierre Bourdieu's sociology of culture in order to provide "a more historically situated account of poetry's place in the sixteenth century, one that emphasizes the transformations of and contest among various forms of capital--cultural, social, and economic--during the period (p3). Unlike the New Historicists, Matz believes that by the end of the sixteenth-century poetry had come to be regarded as a form with a distinct status. Sidney differs from Elyot in his defence of the courtly pleasure of poetry because it encourages warrior service. Matz reconsiders the notion that Sidney's poetry can be located within activist Protestant politics; like many aristocrats, Sidney adopted humanist and Protestant notions of aristocratic service as sources of political and cultural authority but was distinct from the socially lower groups with which such humanist and Protestant notions originated. Matz considers Sidney's Defence in relation to Stephen Gosson's The Schoole of Abuse, to which it was a reply, and argues that whilst both works share a nostagia for feudalism, Sidney rejects Gosson's attack on courtly leisure and consumption and defends poetry for its promotion of a profitable warrior service.
Alan Stewart's excellent biography of Sidney, Philip Sidney: A Double Life, is a thorough and scholarly work. Sidney's reputation as a leading light of English national heroism was the result of careful propaganda which did not reflect reality. Queen Elizabeth made Sidney's life difficult and in his efforts not to irritate her he was "forced to lead a double life: of fame and praise abroad, and of comparative--and deliberate--neglect at home" (p. 7). Stewart carefully traces Sidney's childhood and adolescence, his travels in Europe and his miitary achievements abroad. By focusing on personal and historical documents as well as some of the writings for which Sidney was known, Stewart builds a full and uncompromising picture of a fascinating individual. The book is divided into 12 chapters with an introduction and a rather short epilogue. Some chapter titles are obscure, giving little indication of their content. For example whilst "Young and Raw" is fairly straightforward (though we might wonder how young and in what way raw), "Fancy, Toy and Fiction" is not a particularly helpful indication of content. The book contains a detailed index and the bibliography is usefully divided into sections, for example listing manuscripts, editions of Sidney's works, and secondary sources consulted by the author.
Reuven Tsur's essay, "Metaphor and Figure-ground Relationship: Comparisons from Poetry, Music, and the Visual Arts", from the online journal PSYART (http://www.clas.ufl.edu/ipsa/journal/) considers literary works by Emily Dickinson, Shelley, Beckett and Sidney in the context of gestalt theory, that is the psychological theory which maintains that the whole of anything is greater than its parts and that its attributes cannot be deduced from analysis of the parts in isolation. The section on Sidney is a study of the sonnet "Leave me, O love which reachest but to dust" with particular focus on the third quatrain. In his consideration of Sidney, Tsur is particularly indebted to Kenneth's Burke's 1962 study A Grammar of Motives and A Rhetoric of Motives and Tsur's analysis considers Sidney's birth and death imagery, also used by Beckett in Waiting for Godot.
In "Almost a golden world: Sidney, Spenser, and puritan conflict in Bradstreet's Contemplations", (Renascence 52 . 187-202) Lee Oser considers the influence of Sidney and Spenser on Anne Bradstreet's poem "Contemplations". Bradstreet's depiction of the golden world, claims Oser, was influenced by Sidney's golden world in his Defence of Poesy. Although Bradstreet's debt to Sidney does not accord with her Calvinism, Oser argues that "Bradstreet learned a good deal from Sidney, who had granted visionary powers to the poet in his quest for divine knowledge" (p. 192). Oser provides a close reading of Bradstreet's poem in the light of Calvinist theology and her debt to Sidney's contemplation of nature in her meditation on the landscape of New England.
Staying with religion, this year's SSt contained one essay on Sidney, Barbara Brumbaugh's "'Under the Pretty Tales of Wolves and Sheep': Sidney's Ambassadorial Table Talk and Protestant Hunting Dialogues" (273-90). A speech made by Sidney at an Ambassadorial dinner in 1577 was recorded for posterity by Philip Camerarius, a Protestant scholar with whom Sidney had spoken about forming a Protestant league. Critics have hitherto assumed the subject of Sidney's speech, the elimination of wolves from England, to be a straightforward historical account of the animals' expulsion, but Brumbaugh convincingly argues that as well as being an historical account the speech is also of political import. It alludes, she claims, to the established Protestant literary convention of satiric 'hunting' dialogues which figure Catholics, particularly the clergy obedient to the pope, as wolves who prey upon faithful Christians. The Christians, or sheep, can be protected by particularly outspoken Protestant clergy, or loudly barking dogs. Sidney's technique, claims Brumbaugh, is to fuse historically accurate material with other details so as to make a political point. This is a fascinating essay and Brumbaugh provides ample evidence--from Sidney's account, the chronicles, and the hunting dialogues themselves--to make her case that Sidney's speech is an allegory which would have been apparent to those familiar with the convention of Protestant hunting dialogues.
SSt (14) 2000 followed the general pattern of publications this year by presenting an eclectic range of writings touching on important areas such as religion, history, gender, mythology and Ireland. Andrew Hadfield considers some hitherto neglected illustrations by William Kent ('William Kent's Illustrations of The Faerie Queene', SSt 14 .1-82). Kent (1684-1748) was a man of many talents: painter, landscape gardener, furniture and interior designer, architect, and book illustrator who created a series of illustrations for Thomas Birch's 1751 edition of The Faerie Queene, the first extensively illustrated edition of the poem until 1896. Although there are quite a few eighteenth-century and modern commentaries on the illustrations they have not had the attention of Spenserians or been reproduced in full until now. Section One of Hadfield's essay provides a summary of Kent's career, reputation and his interest in Spenser. Although Kent was successful in his various fields his reputation as a painter and draughtsman was not high and indeed William Hogarth called him a "contemptible dauber" (p. 5). Horace Walpole, a leader in taste for the Gothic, was sympathetic to Kent's architectural works but, like Hogarth, dismissed his paintings, particularly the prints for The Faerie Queene referring to "the wretchedness of drawing, the total ignorance of perspective, the want of variety, the disproportion of the buildings, and the awkwardness of the attitudes" (p. 6). Walpole had a point. The illustrations, though undoubtedly of interest to Spenserians, are not particularly well done. Hadfield also cites modern commentators who agree with Walpole's estimation of Kent's illustrations. Section Two of Hadfield's essay concentrates on Thomas Birch's 1751 edition of Spenser's poem. Birch, antiquary and member of the Royal society, was involved in various literary and historical projects on English national culture especially those relating to the Elizabethan period. Like Kent, he also suffered scathing criticism from Walpole who regarded him as "diligent but rather dim-witted". Hadfield notes that "Birch's edition appeared amid a keen rivalry to publish Spenser" and Birch proclaimed his three volume edition a "just representation of the genuine text" (p. 6). In it he collated the folio and quartos of the poem, using the 1590 quarto as the main text, but was not consistent in his editorial methods, often deferring to the folio. However, his new life of Spenser included in the edition was the fullest thus far and discovered new biographical allusions in The Faerie Queene. The work was marketed on promised engravings by Kent which were used to distinguish it from other editions. It is the first extensive sequence depicting The Faerie Queene and contains thirty-two plates in all, each illustrating an incident in the poem. Section three is on the later influence of Kent's illustrations. Spenser's Faerie Queene was particularly popular in eighteenth-century England and influenced numerous imitations, the most significant being James Thomson's The Castle of Indolence published in 1748. Many of Kent's drawings are 'Gothic' and can be read alongside Thomson's allegory which greatly influenced romantic readings of Spenser. Criticism of The Faerie Queene after the publication of Birch's edition appeared to have been influence by the inclusion of Kent's illustrations since these critics tended to praise Spenser's visual imagination, comparing his poetry to painting.
In a well-researched essay Gail Cohee focuses on representations of gender by British and American critics of Spenser in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, periods with significant feminist movements (''To Fashion a Noble Person': Spenser's Readers and the Politics of Gender', SSt 14 .83-105). Two "distinct factions" emerge: a group of mostly male readers for whom Spenser's female characters reflect an idyllic past before feminism and a group of mostly female readers for whom the characters are strong and intelligent women. Cohee contends that both groups manipulate the text to fit their political objectives. In the mid nineteenth century, when organisations for women's rights were growing in America and Britain, "a distaste for strong women begins to emerge in much of the criticism" (p. 85) and in the late nineteenth century Spenser's female characters were presented as "foils or heroic prototypes for nineteenth-century reformers" (p. 88-89). Pro- or anti-feminist readings were exemplified in Edward Dowden's "Heroines of Spenser"; Mary E. Litchfield's Spenser's Britomart and Kate Warren's edition of The Faerie Queene. The anti-feminist Dowden stresses the simplicity of Spenser's ideal women and compares contemporary feminists to the evil women in the poem. Both Litchfield and Warren focus on Britomart but whilst Litchfield presents a censored version of the extracts she chooses and creates Britomart as a domesticated Victorian heroine, Warren represents her as a feminist model. Warren is also one of few critics to sympathise to some extent with Radigund and differs from Dowden by representing Britomart as a modern reformer. Cohee also considers two early twentieth-century male critics of The Faerie Queene who, unlike nineteenth-century male critics, focus on Britomart but continue their notion of 'natural' and 'unnatural' women, blurring the distinctions between fictional and real women especially when arguing against certain types of feminists. F. M. Padelford and Herbert Ellsworth Cory are ambivalent toward Britomart, praising her as an ideal woman but uncomfortable with less admirable traits like jealousy or aggression. Cory is the earliest critic to link Radigund and Britomart's fight to women's rights and though he praises Britomart's masculine courage he emphasizes that she is not 'mannish'. Like his nineteenth-century counterpart, Edward Dowden, Gamaliel Bradford uses Spenser's female characters to criticise his feminist contemporaries. Conflating real Elizabethan women with literary 'women', he admires Britomart but claims she is no feminist. This is a detailed and useful survey of the appropriation of Spenser's female figures at politically significant periods in the history of criticism.
In a piece which may prove rather too curious for the mathematically-challenged reader Piotr Sadowski considers the geometrical language used by Spenser in Book 2 of The Faerie Queene ('Spenser's 'Golden Squire' and 'Golden Meane': Numbers and Proportions in Book II of The Faerie Queene', SSt 14 .107-31). In modern Freemasonry the set-square "a flat metal right-angled triangle used in architectural design and geometrical drawing" (p. 109) signifies honesty, and truthfulness and although different types of squares can be used, a favourite of medieval masons was the 'golden square' based on the golden section 0.618. Sadowski suggests that when Spenser evokes the "golden squire" to "measure out a mean" he uses the term "first of all in its literal sense" and referring to the mason's instrument (p. 114). According to Sadowski this is particularly important in the context of the allegorical castles described by Spenser in Book 2 because the geometrical concept of the Golden Mean can provide clues to the symbolic significances of these buildings. The house of Medina is "only the first, imperfect approximation to the true image of the Golden Mean, displayed spectacularly in Canto ix in the allegorical details of Alma's House of Temperance" where Guyon's "inner harmony" is "symbolized by the orderly design and management of Alma's Castle" (p. 120). Stanza 22 of canto 9, which considers the perfect proportions of Alma's castle, is one of the "golden points" of the 60 stanzas in Book 2 and Sadowski considers the geometrical and numerical elements listed by Spenser in this stanza. The golden section contained in the mason's golden set-square, not only reflects harmonious architectural design but the structure of living organisms including the human body which is highly significant in relation to the House of Alma. Sadowski concludes that, via allusions to the Masonic instruments and geometrical concepts, Spenser's depiction of temperance "takes on a more precise meaning" which enhances his philosophical and moral concepts (p. 127). On the whole this piece is less than successful primarily because complex ideas, with which most Spenserians are likely to be unfamiliar, are presented in a less than lucid manner.
Margaret Christian, on the other hand, presents a brilliant essay which reads the story of Florimell in relation to the allegorical seas found in contemporary sermons (''Waves of Weary Wretchednesse': Florimell and the Sea', SSt 14 .133-61). Sea imagery was remarkably popular and could be found in nearly half of all early-modern sermons. The most frequent use of sea imagery by Christian writers and preachers from Augustine onwards was that of the Church as a ship of salvation with Christ as its navigator through the seas of the world to the harbour of heaven. In The Faerie Queene Britomart's speech--where the ocean acts as a metaphor for her emotional and spiritual state (3.4.6-10)--although Petrarchan, also shares its tone with sermons and its final stanza "may remind us more of the sermon than the sonnet tradition" (p. 143). Preachers do not seem to have been influenced by Petrarchan poetry and on the whole sea imagery is not used in a romantic context but one exception is Robert Wilkinson's marriage sermon of 1607 which demonstrates both the romantic and moral potential of sea imagery and provides an insight into Florimell's story. In the sermon the bride and marriage itself is a ship sailing on the seas of the world. Both Wilkinson and Spenser use sea imagery to show the lovers' incompleteness when alone and the need for fulfilment through another person in marriage. Wilkinson's sermon illuminates the moral dimension of the Florimell and Marinell story: before she arrives at sea Florimell wanders aimlessly, much like Wilkinson's bachelor without a wife, but she finds safety at sea through divine intervention. In Spenser, although the literal sea is sympathetic the metaphorical sea of world, flesh, and devil works against Florimell when she does not distinguish between the good and bad boat and faces the storms of the flesh from the Fisherman. Although she is saved through divine intervention in form of Proteus he seeks to corrupt her heart, as the fisherman did her body, and in his temptations is like Satan tempting Christ in the Wilderness. Marinell cannot save Florimell from the sea of cares without a boat and the sermon subtext indicates that the boat is marriage which Marinell can utilise with the help of God, here figured in the shape of Neptune. Florimell has matured as a result of her suffering and by the time of her marriage has acknowledged God's rule over the sea. As Christian notes, the sermon imagery she has detected in the Florimell episode "complements and enriches the elements in the story contributed by Petrarchism, classical lore, and contemporary epideictic commonplaces" (p. 155). We might also say that this fine essay complements and enriches our reading of Florimell's adventures.
Staying with religion, Mark Hazard notes that discussions of the apocalyptic in The Faerie Queene tend to focus on the influence of the biblical Book of Revelation in Book 1 ('The Other Apocalypse: Spenser's Use of 2 Esdras in the Book of Justice', SSt 14 .163-87). Here he explores Spenser's use of the bible in Book 5 canto 2 of Spenser's poem, the episode featuring the execution of the Egalitarian Giant which "establishes and at the same time questions the nature of Artegall's authority" (p163). Spenser's use of a passage from one of the Apocrypha, 2 Esdras, suggests an apocalyptic background to Artegall's actions and the allusion is of particular interest because 2 Esdras has little authority as a biblical text. Although Artegall and the Giant conform to different social theories they are alike "in the implied dependence of their social ideals on force". They are also alike in the imagery of scales used in their arguments, the biblical passages echoed, and implications of "a violent rejection of flawed humanity" (p. 166). Although they hold opposite positions they "share the assumption that change itself is evil, an attitude that also underlies their implicitly shared view of apocalyptic violence" (p. 167). The giant's questioning of the divine and his rebuke by a figure who assumes divine authority is like the confrontation in Esdras between the prophet Ezra and the angel Uriel. Artegall speaks from the position of the Angel and the Giant from that of the prophet but Artegall is out of his depth since he has assumed the angel's role and "is in this sense, along with the Giant, an over-reacher" (p. 170). The Giant's impatience, frustration, and literalism is like the anti-intellectual tone associated with radical Protestant apocalyptic prophecy and thus, claims Hazard, the Giant "would be considered an Anabaptist, a catchall demonized image of political danger" (p. 176). The Anabaptists were particularly dangerous because "their challenge to power came from a radical extension of the same Protestant beliefs as those espoused by the Establishment" (p. 175). They were targeted by Thomas Cranmer in 1553 and condemned for their belief in communist ideas and millenarian hopes for most of population. Spenser appears to share the point of view, presented in a 1596 sermon written by George Gifford, that the state should take responsibility for weeding out heretics, a vision which is apocalyptic but not utopian. Artegall is conservative and the Giant wants radical change but they are both impatient with earthly structures. Hazard notes that Stephen Greenblatt read the similarities between Artegall and the Giant as "an expression of Spenser's own combination of social conservatism and impatient idealism" (p. 178), an intriguing analysis which, coupled with Hazard's essay, adds to the complexity of Spenser's biography.
Anne Lake Prescott's essay concentrates on Henri 4 of France, Sir Burbon in Book 5 of The Faerie Queene ('Foreign Policy in Fairyland: Henri IV and Spenser's Burbon', SSt 14 .189-214). Henri was a particularly mythified king in England and Spenser would have known the legend from loyalist propaganda. A major part of Henri's image was his reputed virility and bravery and Prescott cites contemporary documents which praise Henri's faith and support the case for intervention in the French wars. In Spenser's depiction of Henri, claims Prescott, he reduces a public and political figure to a private individual: "thus stressing his failures as a Garter knight and weakening excuses that might be plausible in a king" (p. 194). Henri's reputation for virility reinforced his image as husband of France, evident in Spenser's depiction of his lady, Flourdelis (or France). One reason for Flourdelis' moodiness, suggests Prescott, is her association with the Guise family who claimed not only that Henri was a heretic but that their own line was more valid. Flourdelis's status is uncertain and Prescott claims that she has "a trace of that villainess" associated with the League (p. 195), although it is not clear to this reviewer how her moral weakness and apparent ingratitude might constitute villainy. Similarly, whilst Prescott's analysis of Flourdelis's moodiness is convincing, less convincing is her assertion that "Flourdelis is so sulky a lady that only allegory explains why Burbon wants her" because this does not consider the important context of the sexualized assault against her. In contemporary documents the French wars "were read as illness and dismemberment" and, claims Prescott, this relates to Book 5's "concern with broken bodies" and the representation of Henri as a doctor who can cure the illness (p. 200). Henri was praised before he converted to Catholicism, or threw away his shield, in a work by Du Bartas which was translated into English and published by Gabriel Harvey's friend John Wolfe. Extant marginalia by Harvey reveals an obvious admiration for Henri, and Prescott claims that Spenser, who admired Du Bartas, probably agreed with Harvey. Prescott reproduces a letter from Elizabeth 1 to Henri rebuking him, a necessary political move. Also reproduced in full are previously unpublished letters from Elizabeth 1 to Henri's unconverted sister Catherine. Elizabeth 1 and her advisers were torn between Protestant solidarity and supporting Henri for political reasons. Prescott notes that Spenser follows this historical pattern in his episode: just like the relationship between Henri and Elizabeth 1 "Burbon breaks faith, is rebuked, pleads for help anyway, gets it, and together with Gloriana's knight and iron Talus, saves Flourdelis" (p. 206). Spenser is broadly right on his representation of historical facts though Elizabeth and Henri were soon back on friendly terms, unlike Artegall and Burbon.
Douglas A. Northrop notes that the emphasis on historical allegory in Book 5 of Spenser's poem helps the reader to understand the virtue of Justice but that the lack of historical allusion in Book 6 hinders the reader ('The Uncertainty of Courtesy in Book VI of The Faerie Queene', SSt 14 .215-32). Critics have noted the importance of chance or fortune in the encounters that take place in Book 6 but, claims Northrop, these occur without the assurance of divine intervention evident in Book 1. In all, according to Northrop, the reader is disconcerted by "interruptions, discontinuities, chances and coincidences, uncertainties, a lack of causal connections within and between episodes, and behaviour that seems out of character" which Northrop argues "are not isolated but endemic" (p. 220). The shift from Book 5 to Book 6 is identified by Northrop of being one from "the historicity of major events" to "the shifting, uncertain, apparently unconnected conditions of our storm-tossed lives" (p. 219). Spenser's conception of courtesy is of a virtue driven not by rules but by particular circumstances and achieved not through strength, analysis or training but "the awareness of the graciousness possible for us all" (p. 220). Northrop agrees with a range of critics that Book 6 is particularly self-reflexive since the poet's persona, Colin Clout, is present and "the narrator frequently intrudes into the poem" (p. 222). Courtesy comes from the court but Calidore "needs instruction or inspiration beyond the court and so comes to the pastoral landscape" where his "mentor", Colin Clout, teaches him to see things clearly (p. 224). Critics have acknowledged Calidore's exploitation of Coridon but have been less concerned by his manipulation of Pastorella and Meliboe where his behaviour can be compared to that of the Brigands. What Calidore needs to learn is that even the very humble are worthy and that he must rid himself of "courtly manners" in order to find "the true courtesy of human relations" (p. 229). Northrop's analysis of Book 6 is a convincing one: the signposts of history we encounter in Book 5 are not present in Book 6 but this appears to be a deliberate poetic effect.
Lin Kelsey and Richard S. Peterson break from the tendency to focus on The Faerie Queene in this issue of SSt in order to consider Colin's pipe breaking, a significant moment in the January eclogue of The Shepheardes Calender ('Rereading Colin's Broken Pipe: Spenser and the Problem of Patronage', SSt 14 .233-72). Although earlier critics considered the action a demonstration of romantic despair, Kelsey and Peterson suggest that it is a sign of discontent over patronage. The poet breaking his pipe as a code for literary disillusionment dates back to the classical poets and Spenser's pipe breaking was picked up on and imitated by his contemporaries and literary admirers, such as Ralegh, Drayton and Jonson. Spenser's consideration of "the Ovidian reed" also indicates the identity of Rosalind who "may simply be a riddling incarnation of his beautiful roseau, the French word often used for 'reed' [or pipe]" (p. 254). The play on words--roseau-linda, Rosalind--is suggested by E. K.'s gloss in "January" describing Rosalind as 'a feigned name, which being wel ordered, wil bewray the very name of hys loue and mistresse.' So, in fact, Colin persues what Harvey called "Mistresse Poetrie" (in his Letters). An allusion to Elizabeth 1 may also be evident: "both 'reed' and 'roseau' "incorporate puns on the slender, red-haired queen's emblem, the red (and white) Tudor rose" (p. 255). When the youthful Colin breaks his pipe in The Shepheardes Calendar it is "halfe in despight" but in Book 6 of The Faerie Queene it is in "fell despight" suggesting a more severe annoyance. The gesture has thus developed "from the traditional wistful appeal for support . . . to a gesture of independence and even anger and impatience at being disturbed in his communion with the mysterious figure in the middle of the ring". (p. 256). Colin's action appears to be "the resignation of a badge of office occasioned by a decisive shift in allegiance" and is "a warning of non servient" to those who chased Spenser's poetry out of England. This is a compelling article which adds to our understanding of Spenser's biography via a passage usually dismissed as primarily romantic in nature.
Two important notes were presented in the 'Gleanings' section. Elizabeth See Watson contends that the dragon in Book 1 canto 11 of The Faerie Queene may refer to the Roman Counter-Reformation and more specifically to pope Gregory the thirteenth, who was pope from 1572 to 1585 ('Spenser's Flying Dragon and Pope Gregory XIII', SSt 14 .293-301). Gregory was hated by English Protestants for his role in various pro-Catholic incidents and can be linked to the dragon of canto 11 because his personal impressa, or device, displayed a winged dragon. In Delle allusioni, Imprese, et Emblemi, published by Principio Fabricii after Gregory's death and in his honour, a winged dragon is represented in the 231 emblems engraved from his own drawings with an Italian sonnet and Latin marginal annotation for each emblem. The dragons are similar to those in canto 11 but are presented as benevolent. Spenser could have seen Fabricii's work because there may have been at least one copy in England; the name 'Robert Haryngton' is inscribed on the title page of a copy in Folger Shakespeare library and it was published in 1588 when Book one of The Faerie Queene was nearly complete. Spenser may also have seen and been influenced by Giovanni Andrea Palazzi's I Discorsi . . . sopra l'imprese, published in 1575, which mentions the dragon crest, arms, or impresa several times. John Nichols, in John Niccols Pilgrimage, published in 1581, also associates Gregory with serpents, relating the apocryphal story that Gregory's family name of 'Boncompagnion' (Buoncompagno, or 'good fellow') was acquired when his grandfather slew a serpent. Other references to his dragon impressa may have come from letters by travellers who had seen the papal arms or impressa in Rome. Nichols' account is the one most likely to have been used by Spenser because of, amongst other things, its 1581 London imprint, its reference to the Pope as antichrist, and its blaming Gregory as 'the cause of the late rebellion in Ireland'. Watson reproduces three of Fabricii's emblems at the end of her essay. The pictures of the dragons are of great interest but the accompanying Italian sonnets and Latin marginal annotation are not translated which will prove disappointing to those readers unfamiliar with either language.
Thomas Herron's thoughtful and clearly written piece finds an Irish dimension to the caves that harbour Spenser's villains in Books 5 and 6 of The Faerie Queene ('Irish Den of Thieves: Souterrains (and a Crannog?) in Books V and VI of Spenser's Faerie Queene', SSt 14 .303-17). Critics disagree as to whether or not the Brigants are Irish but no one has noted that their hiding place resembles a souterraine, a common feature of the Irish landscape. The Irish name for souterraine, uaimh, means 'cave' and this word is used several times to describe the Brigants' dwelling where they retreat after their pillaging. That the Brigants were based on Spenser's Irish experience is substantiated by the contemporary documentary evidence supplied by Herron that souterrains were used by thieves to hide their plunder. Most souterraines were of the 'dry stone' variety but some were cut partially or wholly out of clay or rock. As Herron points out, Malengin is said to live in a "rocke" and his "hewen" cave may refer to the twists and turns of the souteraine (p. 305-306). Another possibility explored by Herron is Andrew Hadfield's suggestion that the Brigant's island may be a crannog (a fortified Irish lake-dwelling built on an artificial or extended natural island). Evidence against this, claims Herron, is the fact that the Brigant's island does not contain any man-made fortifications, as a crannog would, and the crannog's high water table meant that there could not be a souterrain connected to it. However, evidence in favour of its 'island' status is its proximity to land and its use as a refuge from (English) justice. Spenser may also have used poetic license to make the Irish more threatening than they actually were, imagining the doubly sinister souterraine plus crannog. Herron's essay is accompanied by a photo of the cave on Spenser's estate, taken by the author, and various drawings of souterrains.
An exciting collection of essays appeared this year based on papers presented at 'The Faerie Queene in the World, 1596-1996: Edmund Spenser among the Disciplines', a conference which took place at the Yale Centre for British Art in September 1996 (Edmund Spenser: Essays on Culture and Allegory). In the introduction to the collection, Matthew Greenfield contextualizes the proceedings in relation to 'Spenser and the Theory of Culture'. Literary critics have, he claims, responded to Greenblatt's call for a new "cultural poetics" by emphasizing the former and neglecting the latter. In this volume however a more balanced approach is taken and each essay "travels through poetics to the theory of culture" (p. 1). Spenser is not only a theorist of allegory and poetics however, he is also "a profound and subtle ethnographer of both England and Ireland" and these two kinds of theory, the poetic and the cultural, are related. This, explains Greenfield, is why the contributors to the volume "begin with close reading and end by challenging the ethnographic allegories that shape our knowledge of early modern Britain" (p. 4).
The first section of the book "Allegories of Cultural Development" contains three essays. In the first of these, 'Ruins and Visions: Spenser, Pictures, Rome' (pp. 9-36), Leonard Barkan traces connections between Spenser's translations of Du Bellay's Songe ou Vision and Antiquitez de Rome. Barkan is interested in the movement of literary influence from Rome to France to early modern England and from a Catholic to a Protestant aesthetic. Rome also figures in 'Spenser's Currencies' (pp. 37-42), a particularly interesting essay by Donald Cheney which focuses on The Shepheardes Calender and the commodification of literary works. Cheney claims that the Calender's presentation places it "within an Augustan tradition whereby poetic survival is couched in economic terms (as currency), in calendrical terms (as recurrency), and in terms . . . of a poetry attuned to the natural currents of river or waterfall" (p. 37). The concept of literature as a commodity is usually thought to have developed in the early modern period but actually dates from ancient Rome: in Horace's Epistles his book is figured as a favourite slave who is eager to expose himself to the public. Horace warns that both books and boys are subject to the fluctuations of time and market demand and that the book will be disgarded when no longer youthful. In Spenser's Calender the poem is a child and E. K. and Hobbinol take on role of parent, lover or counsellor assumed by the speaker in Horace. Horace's poem, like Spenser's "moves from Janus in the first line to mention of the poet's own forty-four Decembers in the last, and it shares some of the ironies as to the way poets and poems can be identified with the months" (p. 41). In the epilogue to the Calender Spenser claims to have made something "That steele in strength, and time in durance shall outweare" (p. 41) and, as E. K. notes, thus echoes a famous poem by Horace, the conclusion to the third book of the Odes, which claims to have completed a monument more lasting than bronze, Exegi monumentum aere perennius. Bronze, aes, was also the material of money and a word for it whilst 'perenne' contains the word for the year, annus, and so the quotation implies 'enduring the changing seasons', like Spenser's Calender. Horace's line may be understood as claiming to have created a work 'more current than currency' in that it is made current for each generation of readers.
Staying with parallels between the classical and early modern period Maureen Quilligan, in 'On the Renaissance Epic: Spenser and Slavery' (pp. 43-64), reminds us that the Renaissance, usually regarded as a time of individual freedom, also saw the rebirth of slavery in Western Europe, an aspect of economic organization it shared with antiquity. Quilligan considers two scenes from The Faerie Queene where the poem "may be aiming to do the work which epic poems usually do, to wit, mediating the contradictions (that is, the internally irrational elements) of a slave economy" (p. 43). In Guyon's confrontation with Mammon and Britomart's slaying of the Amazon Radigund in Book 5 Spenser "seems most specifically to mediate on the problem of slave and wage labor", with both episodes coming from the only books in the poem to focus on classical Aristotelian virtues (p. 43). The description of Mammon's cave and the labour that goes into producing its gold can be compared with contemporary descriptions and images of gold mines in the New World. Mammon dismisses Guyon's classical arguments against avarice and claims that a feudal economy of service has been transformed into a wage economy. Quilligan reproduces the frontispiece to part 5 of America by Theodor de Bry which shows both Europeans and slaves doing the work of empire and concludes that "Slaves are not always others" in Spenser's poem, something made clear when Artegall "is turned into a wage slave" by Radigund in Book 5 (p. 50). The "comliness" and order with which the knights sew is not proper male labour and Quilligan makes a link between the armed Guyon who watches the naked slaves of Mammon and the armed Artegall watching the cross-dressed sewing knights concluding that "to do either sort of labor is to become enslaved" (p. 54). Racial difference is policed by gender in Renaissance epics and any possibility of inter-dynastic marriage avoided when both warriors are women (as with Radigund and Britomart). The surrounding context of men doing women's work comes close to "articulating the fundamental historical reason for creating this racial otherness, that is, a cultural need to create a group of lesser beings for whom such labor is their natural calling" (p. 55). There is, claims Quilligan a hitherto unnoticed parallel between the work done in Book 2 and the feminised Artegall in Book 5.
Part Two of this collection of essays is entitled "Allegories of Cultural Exchange" and begins with 'Translated States: Spenser and Linguistic Colonialism' (pp. 67-88), a fine piece by Richard A. McCabe which builds upon some of the central issues raised by critics on Spenser and Ireland. McCabe argues that Spenser's analysis of Irish culture is "pervasively semantic" and that he uses "highly politicized exercises in 'etymology' to support his arguments" (p. 70). Since Irish culture was considered to preserve more of the ancient than any other, assimilation into that culture was considered to be not just alteration but degeneration. Spenser employs etymological means to show that the Celtic language was spoken by the barbarians that overran the Roman empire and he analyses the degeneration of Old English via language. In The Shepheardes Calender E. K. warns against the contamination of the English language by foreign words. For Richard Stanyhurst the adoption of the Irish language led to adoption of an Irish political outlook and Spenser considered it possible for Irishness to be transmitted to an English child via the breast-milk of an Irish nurse. For Spenser "the ultimate linguistic sign of cultural degeneracy is the adoption of an Irish patronym in place of an English one" such as occurred with the Fitz Ursulas who became the MacMahons (p. 76). Spenser was interested in Irish bardic culture and had Irish poems translated, a process that inevitably involves appropriation and reduction. McCabe notes the meaning of 'translation' as 'change' and Spenser's criticism of the translation of the English in Ireland; for Spenser and Sir John Davies "the proper business of translation" would be accomplished only when there was "a complete absence of Gaelic speakers" (p. 83). Ironically, Spenser utilises what was regarded by some to be an inferior Old English archaism. Willy Maley has suggests that this use of archaism was inspired by contact with Ireland but, as McCabe points out, Spenser objected to intrusion of Celtic words and Maley does not distinguish between words of Anglo-Saxon and Celtic origin. At certain moments the distinction between Irenius and the Irish social practices he describes breaks down, a process partly evident in his use of Irish vocabulary to describe these practices which may indicate "the growing influence of Spenser's experience upon his vocabulary and the political attitude it articulates" (p. 86). The result is that Spenser's language "bears witness to an unconscious process of assimilation of which his conscious polemic fights shy" (p. 88).
Also considering Spenser's role in Ireland Nicholas Canny, in 'The Social and Political Thought of Spenser in His Maturity' (pp. 107-122), claims that it is not true to say that Spenser's advocacy of violence placed him outside the traditions of Renaissance humanism. Although Humanists were opposed to dynastic wars of aggression and private armies, argues Canny, they believed that Christians were obliged to use violence to defend and promote religious truths, to maintain the order of the populace, and to civilize barbaric regions . Most Christian humanists would have accepted the notion elaborated by Spenser in The Faerie Queene Books 2 and 5 that "civil society had first been established by force" (p. 116). Despite his apparent radicalism then, Spenser's opinions were probably similar to most of his generation in England who were influenced by John Foxe's Book of Martyrs, published in 1563. Most importantly, Spenser's "political and social principles remained consistent throughout his career as a poet". However, claims Canny, two aspects of Spenser's later poetry made it controversial "and pointed to the more extreme of the ideas that he was to expound more specifically in the Viewe" (p. 117), these are his adherence to a rigid Protestant line in relation to Mary Queen of Scots as depicted in The Faerie Queene and, given the prospect of a union of the crowns of England and Scotland, his belief in a central authority under the English monarch. So, although Spenser's message remained consistent--he was throughout his life "an uncompromising champion of the achievements of the Protestant Reformation" (p. 118)--his manner of expressing his message changed. This came about in later books of The Faerie Queene because of disillusionment when the prominent Protestant figures who had supported his career were either disgraced or went unrewarded. His abandonment of allegory and the epic itself "combined, therefore, to make the point that there was no longer a glorious achievement to be celebrated" (p. 120) . Spenser felt particularly resentful at the treatment of Lord Grey and, claims Canny, the abandonment of allegory in Book 5 was an attempt to find support for his views on Ireland: that the struggle being fought there was a central part of the Catholic assault against Protestantism.
The third section of the book, "The Functions of Allegory", opens with an essay by Paul Alpers, ''Worke Fit for an Herauld': Spenser in the '90s' (pp. 125-33), which argues that we can better understand Spenser's late poetry by considering his social and material position. In Book 5 of The Faerie Queene Spenser claims that to describe the gathering of Lords and Ladies at the wedding of Florimell and Marinell "Were worke fit for an Herauld, not for me" (5.3.3) but Alpers suggests that "the canto's purposes as a 'treatise' of justice come into conflict with the romance narration the poet has just renounced" (p. 126). In another sense Spenser "cannot disown 'work fit for an Herauld" since some of his best poetry from the 1590s conforms to "the herald's task of blazoning forth noble personage and their accoutrements" (p. 128). What Alpers calls "The splendors of Spenserian listing" are displayed in the Prothalamion and the Epithalamion and also in the Mutability Cantos. Alpers follows Gordon Teskey in thinking that the poet can be found partly in the figure of Mutability and the figure of Order, a minor official who simply does his job--like Spenser the poet who composes the procession. The poet also appears in the figure of Colin Clout, a direct self-representation "notable for social diffidence" (p. 129); as a plowman in Book 5 (3.40) and Book 6 (9.1); and in the figure of the poet Bonfont. This points to what Alpers calls "the double aspect of the lyric Spenser" (p. 130), that is, the poet speaking in the first person and appearing in specific represented roles. It is ironic, claims Alpers, that Spenser rejects "worke fit for an Herauld" since the College of Arms, staffed by heralds, determined who had a claim to coats of arms and noble ranks and according to Louis Montrose "Spenser's motives were undoubtedly to affirm his status as a gentleman" (p. 97). Alpers suggests that Montrose might claim that in saying he is better than a herald Spenser "reveals his anxiety about the need to persuade the heralds of his merits" (p. 132). These conflicts, asserts Alpers, "are among the many signs that the epic-allegorical project of The Faerie Queene was coming apart" and the poems of the 1590s are an alternative to further instalments of The Faerie Queene. Though they deal with similar issues the shorter poems are characterised by their public nature and the innovative nature of the Epithalamion, which celebrates the poet's own marriage in a distinct genre and "suggests strong claims of authority and entitlement" (p. 133).
In an intriguing essay, 'The Enfolding Dragon: Arthur and the Moral Economy of The Faerie Queene' (pp. 135-65), Susanne L. Wofford focuses on the figure of Prince Arthur in The Faerie Queene and the problem of deciphering codes. The appearance of Prince Arthur is resistant to allegorical meaning or intentionality yet Arthur becomes a central figure and through him "Spenser attempts to work out the deeper implications of his poem's effort to unite religion, politics, and romance" (p. 136). Wofford claims that in The Faerie Queene one way of understanding past threats made safe is through the language of typology using the concept of the 'figura'. The structure of Book 1 especially suggests a divide whereby readers meet first "the evil or literal version of these much repeated images" and then need to learn "the redemptive or restorative version". Arthur's entry incorporates an "extended anti-type to the earlier images" in the allegory but represents the 'true' or life-giving version: for example his shiny armour reflects the brightness of Lucifera's palace and the dragon on his helmet recalls its "partial incarnation" in Error's den and its presence under Lucifera's throne. The theory of typology helps the reader to avoid "the problem of dualism" by suggesting that the type "is not negated but fulfilled by the anti-type" as part of a larger scheme in which "what comes first is re-read and re-understood following a paradigm applied retrospectively" (p. 138).
In the penultimate essay from this important collection Kenneth Gross in 'The Postures of Allegory' (pp. 167-79) claims that allegory is a strange and defamiliarizing form. This is partly to do with the fragmentary nature of allegory by which parts of the allegory are contained within other parts, for example Spenser's allegorical Envy "contains a seed of the Blatant Beast" (p. 170). Additionally "allegory's rationality is often fantastic, formally barbaric, rationalizing" (p. 173), as evident in Spenser's Acrasia by which Aristotle's complex concept of akrasia is personified and thus reduced. Gross contends that whilst parts of Spenser's poem can illuminate or give fresh shape to old ideas and values, at times the personifications made from abstract nouns and qualities can "feel oddly opaque", a trait evident in the procession in Busyrane's house where "the pressure to make agents out of ideas threatens to reduce both agents and ideas to a kind of nonsense" (p. 174-75). Gross asserts that though there is "something dead or inert allegorical writing" still its "fixities" are "something to be desired" and a form to which the reader yields (p. 175).
The collection ends on a high note with an ingenious parody of Spenser's dialogic View by Andrew Hadfield and Willy Maley ('A View of the Present State of Spenser Studies: Dialogue-wise', pp. 183-95). The tone is witty and the subject-matter substantial. Maley is concerned about what he calls "the appeal of Ireland" in Spenser studies because of "the frisson of the Troubles" and "the threat of political violence" which provides "an aura of worldliness to an academic text" (p184). He claims that Greenblatt's famous essay from Renaissance Self-Fashioning and Nicholas Canny's "Edmund Spenser and the Development of an Anglo-Irish Identity" have suggested that not foregrounding Ireland is "somehow deficient or dishonest" (p. 184). Maley is concerned that Ireland "is beginning to colonize Spenser" and is alarmed by the risk of "reduction and oversimplification" whereby there is a tendency for Spenser to be singled out amongst his peers for particular and unfair criticism. (It might be objected of course that Spenser, the poet, set himself up for this criticism when he wrote a position paper advocating genocide of the Irish populace). In reply, Hadfield contests that Ireland is merely contextual to The Faerie Queene, rather both are organically entwined. Moreover, much recent criticism "displays a blithe disregard for any Irish dimension" something which Hadfield dismisses as "wrong-headed" (p. 186). Hadfield has a point and Maley seems to overstate his case, for example Ireland does not dominate in the items considered for this review. Hadfield points to a "hermeneutics of suspicion" in Spenser's work partly due to censorship which means that Ireland is always in the frame even when this is not overt but he suggests that one way to avoid "Hibernocentrism" is to "open out the Irish context to a British one" (p. 186), an indication of the direction in which Spenser studies appears to be moving. Maley responds by invoking the authorship question recently raised by Jean Brink who questioned the safety of attributing the View to Spenser because direct bibliographical evidence is lacking. (Brink claimed that Spenser wrote none of the three manuscripts which constitute A Brief Note of Ireland and promised to substantiate this in a forthcoming essay which has not yet appeared). Hadfield agrees that Brink is right to call for more careful textual scholarship on the View but her arguments against his authorship are not convincing and, moreover, it seems that she does not want View to have been written by Spenser "a claim that suits those who wish to minimize the impact of Ireland on Spenser" (p. 187). Maley notes that a real problem is the lack of a proper, factually-based biography for Spenser. Richard Rambuss has questioned the status-quo that Spenser wanted primarily to be a poet but it is difficult to recover a sense of how people regarded themselves or their work in this period. His religion is also a "key problem" and has received only "sporadic attention" by critics (p. 188). Hadfield brings the discussion back to the issue of Ireland and argues that religion cannot be read without reference to the Irish context of the poem. Moreover "the problem of identity" cannot be separated from "the question of genre" and work done by critics on the experimental nature of The Faerie Queene may tell us more about Spenser (p. 190). Maley cites critics who have found fault with Greenblatt's essay and other colonial writings which read sexual politics primarily as an allegory of colonial politics but for Hadfield one discourse should not be privileged over any other and we should not misread "their complex interaction" (p. 194). Maley considers The Faerie Queene to be "all about history and politics" and Spenser's focus on colonial matters can be read as a way of critiquing the court without fear of punishment. Fundamentally, Ireland cannot be understood without reference to England and the court. He concludes that Spenserians need to look beyond Ireland and "put The Faerie Queene back into the world" (p. 195)--a nice nod towards the theme of the conference at which this paper was presented. Whether it is significant that Hadfield gets the last word is unclear but he announces himself "not entirely convinced" by Maley's argument, a position shared by this reviewer at least.
In the introduction to her monograph Katherine Eggert considers the issues surrounding female authority in an era dominated by a powerful female monarch (Showing Like a Queen: Female Authority and Literary Experiment in Spenser, Shakespeare, and Milton). The reason for selecting her chosen authors is three-fold: literary innovation, imitation and influence. Chapter two is devoted to Spenser's Faerie Queene, an important text because it "poses with increasing insistence the question of how new modes of literary design can be accomplished in response to feminine authority" and demonstrates a "gender-inflected anxiety about writing an epic to and about a queen" which results "not only in fulsome praise and/or savage recriminations toward figures of feminine authority in the poem, but also in stunning revisions of and departures from Spenser's primary poetic models, the classical epic and Italian romance" (p. 15). In Books 1 and 2 there is a kind of association between poetry and emasculating female power but in Book 3 the genre shifts from heroic epic into the more "digressive" genre of epic romance and this paves the way for other "more reactionary generic experiments" including the historical allegory of Book 5 and the courtly pastoral of Book 6. The execution of Mary Stuart had a profound influence on Spenser's poem and he "ostentatiously repeals feminine rule in its closing books by successively dethroning the Amazon queen Radigund, the female knight Britomart, the titaness Mutabilitie, and even Queen Elizabeth herself" (p. 16). The alliances between poetry and femininity in Books 3 and 4 necessitate the generic shifts in the second half of the poem where Spenser questions how poetic authority might be conceived as something other than feminized. In Book 4 Artegall responds negatively to marriage and Amoret, Scudamore's betrothed, has disappeared. In Book 5 the female authority of Astraea is substituted by the male Artegall and, claims Eggert not only feminine rule but what she calls "feminized poetics" is repealed in favour of the "straightforward mode" of historical allegory. Similarly in Book 6 the "conspicuously and innovatively masculine anti-epic form" of pastoral is utilized (p. 46). Eggert sees an incontrovertible link between genre and gender especially in Books 5 and 6 which "play out fantasies of freeing politics and poetry from feminine rule" and "envision a newly masculine poetics" (p. 48).
Modesty prevents this reviewer from giving anything other than a description of Joan Fitzpatrick's monograph which is a study of colonialism and gender in The Faerie Queene and considers Spenser's poem in the context of hitherto neglected early modern English writings on Ireland and the Irish (Irish Demons: English Writings on Ireland, the Irish and Gender By Spenser and His Contemporaries). The opening chapter includes a brief account of Ireland's colonization and Spenser's role in that process with analysis of a little-known anonymous colonial tract "The Supplication of the Blood of the English". This text is of particular interest to Spenserians because its author, like Spenser, was an English resident of Cork forced to flee the Munster rebellion. The second chapter investigates Elizabeth's role in Irish politics via Spenser's representation in The Faerie Queene of the conflict between truth and falsehood and argues that Una is an idealized allegorical representation of Ireland which allows Spenser to show both the colonizer (Una as Elizabeth) and the colonized landscape (Una as Ireland) endorsing the subjugation of the Irish. With Error and Duessa, Spenser demonstrates his eclecticism for whilst both figures are shaped by Protestant theology and a variety of literary sources, they also carry strong Catholic Irish associations. The third chapter considers the critically notorious episode featuring Guyon in the Bower of Bliss and enlarges upon John Upton's suggestion in the eighteenth century that the red hands of Ruddymane allude to the emblem of the powerful Gaelic family of O'Neill. Anxieties about the political, religious, ethnic, and sexual alien are projected onto Acrasia and her attack upon the innocent becomes the justification for Guyon's violence. It also considers the possibility that Shakespeare was inspired by the Ruddymane episode when composing the bloodier passages in Macbeth. The focus of chapter 4 is a piece of post-Reformation Catholic propaganda, Nicholas Sander's Rise and Growth of the Anglican Schism. Sander's pejorative depiction of Elizabeth and her mother Anne Boleyn is compared with Spenser's literary depictions of these women as Belphoebe and Chrysogone in The Faerie Queene in order to understand how female sexuality is used for political purposes. In this light Spenser's poem can be seen as a contribution to the post-Reformation propaganda war through which he answers the propagandists' defamation. This chapter also consider Shakespeare's depiction of Anne Boleyn in All is True (King Henry 8) as another example of literary biography which answers the defamation of Elizabeth's mother. The Irish landscape and its relationship to the topography of Faeryland is considered in chapter 5 and in chapter 6 the mutilation and death of a minor figure, Munera, is related to Catholic reliquaries and Spenser's at least partly-realized Petrarchan aggression. Chapter 7 considers the significance of key episodes where rebellion is expounded in sexual terms and territorial governance is presented via sexual dynamics. The concluding chapter is concerned with The Mutabilitie Cantos where Mutabilitie's rebellion against Jove and Molanna's rebellion against Diana function as an appropriate coda for The Faerie Queene because here is a concentration of anxieties that suffuse the poem.
Although not strictly speaking a book about Spenser, Michelle O'Callaghan's monograph deserves a brief mention since it considers the influence of Spenser on three seventeenth-century writers (The 'Shepheards Nation': Jacobean Spenserians and Early Stuart Political Culture, 1612-1625). William Browne, George Wither, and Christopher Brooke regarded themselves as a distinct and oppositional community between the years 1613 to 1625 and "took up Spenser's question of what it means to speak for the nation" (p. 2). The book considers poetic influence within what Callaghan calls 'textual communities' which involved themselves in the "disursive interaction produced through the exchange and circulation of texts in manuscript or print" (p. 4). The writers considered here share a similar style and belong to a Spenserian tradition for it was Spenser who provided them with a model whereby the shepherd-poet formed part of a literary commonwealth outside of the court.
***Two monographs which appeared from Cambridge University Press this year each devote a chapter to Spenser, Kenneth Borris's Allegory and Epic in English Renaissance Literature: Heroic form in Sidney, Spenser, and Milton and Robert Matz's Defending literature in early modern England: Renaissance literary theory in social context. Borris objects to the notion that allegory became less important after 1600 claiming that new access to classical texts revived interest in the form. He also contends that, contrary to recent critical opinion, Spenser did not abandon allegory in the later books of The Faerie Queene. Spenser's presentation of inner and Christian virtues anticipates Milton's Paradise Lost although Spenser's epic, unlike Milton's, is concerned with national celebration. Borris considers Milton's allegory in relation to Spenser's Faerie Queene and Sidney's Arcadias because he believes that although these writers differ in their approach to allegory they share an interest in exploring the psychological through the allegorical epic form. Robert Matz's monograph contains a chapter on Elyot's Boke Named the Governour, one on Spenser's Faerie Queene and another on Sidney's Defence of Poetry. His thesis is that in their adherence to Horacian doctrine these works reflect the conflicts surrounding aristocratic behaviour as a result of changes that took place during the sixteenth-century. He also challenges New Historicist claims that poetry is simply another form of discursive and institutional power because, by the end of the century, poetry was considered to be a distinct phenomenon. In chapter 4 Matz provides a reading of Book 2 of Spenser's Faerie Queene which mantains that Guyon's destruction of the Bower of Bliss is simultaneously part of a Protestant-humanist critique of the court and an attempt to appropriate its pleasures as the source of poetic authority. Spenser's main aim, according to Matz, is to draw a distinction between courtly pleasures and poetic pleasures since the latter rather than the former encourages profitable behaviour. Matz relates this to Spenser's biography: his elevation of poetic pleasures above courtly pleasures is no surprise given his social position as the member of a subordinate class.***
Sarah Annes Brown's essay, 'Arachne's Web: Intertextual Mythography and the Renaissance Actaeon' (pp. 120-34), refers to the "hypertextual complexity" of Ovid's Metamorphoses and how this can affect our reading of The Faerie Queene (in Neil Rhodes and Jonathan Sawday (ed.) The Renaissance Computer: Knowledge Technology in the First Age of Print (London: Routledge )). The text itself, much like the tapestries created by Arachne and Minerva, has its own "internal intratextuality" or "interwovenness" between stories and themes (p. 120). Most Renaissance editions of the Metamorphoses were heavily annotated and Sandys 1626 edition "is a classic example of English Renaissance hypertext, for it builds on the inherent hypertextuality of Ovid's original work, reinscribing the poem within the Renaissance intellectual tradition" (p. 121). His explanatory notes function as hyperlinks to others interpretations of the tale as well as a link to another Ovidian text Tristia in which poet compares his fate with Actaeon's. Brown considers the "virtual network" that may have operated among writers and scholars by examining Renaissance responses to Ovid's story of Actaeon. Renaissance encyclopaedias of myth record a range of responses to the Actaeon story but "fail to replicate the complex, shifting response inspired by the original poem" something we can get from the literary texts which give us a response "as multilayered and nuanced as the Metamorphoses itself" (p. 123). The poems considered by Brown are The Faerie Queene and Jonson's Cynthia's Revels. Actaeon is a subtext in at least four episodes of Spenser's poem, the first of these is in the Fradubio episode from Book 1 where Spenser has created "a (virtual) hypertextual link with a version of the Diana and Actaeon story described in a dialogue of Lucian" (p. 123); Diana would have provoked association with Elizabeth which makes more evocative Lucian's transformation of Diana into a whore. When the real Diana appears in Book 3 she may be "tainted by our memories of Duessa" and the word "loose", used to describe her state of undress, may also connote wantonness. Similarly the word "disguized" could also mean 'concealed' or 'deformed'. So one path "through a (virtually) hypertextual" Faerie Queene might "undermine Diana and, indirectly, Elizabeth" (p. 125). Acrasia is another type of Diana and appears to contrast with Belphoebe. Braggadocchio narrowly misses the same fate as Actaeon at hands of Belphoebe and Guyon behaves like Actaeon in his interaction with Acrasia in Bower of Bliss (2.12.76) which is like Ovid's description of Diana's grotto. However, links between parings are "not exact" since "Diana is far more like Guyon than Acrasia in her unappealingly violent insistence upon her chastity" (p. 126). Diverse responses to Actaeon's fate are like the reader's ambivalence toward Guyon's destruction of the bower and a further link between Acrasia and Diana is the power of both to transform men into beasts. Although we might think Acrasia more like Circe, Diana and Circe "had become bound together in a web of texts" such as Apuleius' Golden Ass and Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream (p. 126). The final allusion to Actaeon in The Faerie Queene is in Mutabilite Cantos in figure of Faunus which demonstrates the influence of Apuleius as well as Ovid. Brown makes a point of claiming that notes in a modern edition cannot replicate the experience of the Renaissance reader "who had actually read the intertexts which today's students encounter only as footnotes, and whose memory could scroll up and down them at will" (p. 127) but one might say that an educated reader can, to some extent, replicate this experience by absorbing herself in the texts with which the average Renaissance reader would have been familiar.
In a theoretically dense piece, 'Breaking the Mirror Stage' (pp. 272-98) Kathryn Schwarz relates Lacan's mirror stage to the story of Britomart who falls in love with Artegall's reflection and disguises herself as a knight to persue it (in Carla Mazzio and Douglas Trevor (ed.) Historicism, Psychoanalysis, and Early Modern Culture (New York: Routledge )). Schwarz argues that Britomart is "Like Lacan's subject, she looks in a mirror, sees a fully articulated image of agency, is caught up in a succession of fantasies--and takes on 'the armour of an alienating identity' [here quoting from Lacan] in order to become what she desires." (p. 273). Britomart's disguise "plays out the processes of enabling misperception" which supplements allegorical and chivalric systems of identity since her encounters with Artegall produce a particularly gendered negotiation of identity. Spenser's chivalric narratives anticipate the Lacanian mirror stage for they "figure successful role-playing as a complicated compromise between identity and difference, deception and revelation, violence and desire" (p. 274). As in the mirror stage the armour-wearing figure is "an image that both is and is not logically connected to the body to which it refers" and identity depends on confrontation. When armour is attached to women the process becomes complicated because martial women "suggest not only that gender is a construct, but that its shifting terms undermine the hierarchical relationship between homosocial structures of power and the heterosexuality through which they are reproduced" (p. 274).
Also concentrating on Book 5 of The Faerie Queene, Gregory Tobias notes that critics tend to dismiss the Book's concluding episodes as examples of dull poetry and questionable morality, a view that was most famously summed up by C. S. Lewis ('Shadowing Intervention: On the Politics of The Faerie Queene Book 5 Cantos 10-12', ELH 67.2 .365-97). What Tobias calls "versions of Lewis's corruption thesis" are common in Spenser studies and he challenges Michael O'Connell's assumption that Spenser's motive in book five is to praise Elizabeth's foreign policy. In an attempt to "present a more nuanced account of its politics" (p. 365) Tobias argues that three key episodes toward the end of Book 5 comment on Elizabethan foreign and colonial policy "from an interventionist Protestant perspective that is far from univocally celebratory or optimistic" (p. 366). There is apparent criticism of the "half measures" that constituted Elizabeth's foreign policy and in his depiction of these episodes Spenser subtly provides "a vision of the English state that looks very much like the interventionist ideal" (p. 366). The Belge episode is presented in terms of the conventions of chivalric romance and it is expected that a just knight will intervene on the victim's behalf. The political situation in the Netherlands was regarded as a moral imperative by those who supported English intervention but until 1585 Elizabeth refused to help and even then tried to minimise English involvement. Leicester's acceptance of the office of Governor-general from the Dutch outraged Elizabeth and whilst Spenser makes topical reference to this he "quietly erases the conflict" when he has Arthur decline Belge's offer. What Tobias refers to as Spenser's "tactical amnesia" (a phrase borrowed from Linda Gregerson's The Reformation of the Subject) is also evident in Mercilla's gratitude which contrasts with Elizabeth's feelings about the expedition. Also, the outcome is final and successful in Spenser's story whereas Leicester suffered from a real lack of resources and the problem of Dutch factions. Tobias contends that this idealization by Spenser might constitute criticism of Leicester but also of Elizabeth's lack of commitment. In the Burbon episode Spenser emphasizes compromise rather than victory which suggests he is not simply praising the government. Artegall's progress is impeded by the domestic forces of self-interest, compromise, and a policy of half measures. In the last section of the essay Tobias criticises the aristocratic/monarchical dichotomy, used by Richard Helgerson in Forms of Nationhood to describe Spenser's policies, and the association of Spenser with imperialism. He denies that Spenser supported a return to aristocratic rule: he may have criticized his monarch's policy but not centralized policy. He also objects to Simon Shepherd and Stephen Greenblatt who both describe Spenser as a poet of empire since Spenser could not have predicted the Victorian empire and argues that the 'imperialist impulse' must be separated from impulses of personal ambition and international Protestant solidarity. Elizabeth was, he claims, less interested in empire building than her father or Henry 5 and the period was one of perceived isolation with the focus on the Catholic threat rather than expansion. Note 57 states that the "Elizabethan English were no more engaged in empire-building in the New World than in the old. As Jeffrey Knapp has reminded us, [in An Empire Nowhere] English efforts at colonization in America were "dismal failures" until the seventeeth century, particularly by comparison with the vast, lucrative colonies of Spain". This is strange logic and undermines an otherwise fine essay; the most obvious objection to Tobias's argument being that just because they failed in their colonization of America does not mean that the impulse to expand was not present and it certainly made its presence felt in Ireland which cannot only be explained in terms of the Catholic threat.
In another modesty-driven and thus purely descriptive review, Joan Fitzpatrick considers the emergence of a pattern in The Faerie Queene whereby the landscape which has been a source of strength for villains shifts allegiance in order to collude with the poem's heroes ('Spenser and Land: Political Conflict Resolved in Physical Topography', BBJ 7 .365-77). Victory is signalled by the bodily disintegration of a wrong-doer and his annihilation indicates a clear moment of resolution in the fight between vice and virtue. The repeated destruction of recognizably Catholic villains suggests Spenser's desire to entirely rid the landscape of their influence. That the landscape co-operates in this cleansing operation constitutes a fantasy that the environment itself assists the coloniser in the eradication of resistance to the colonial project in Ireland.
Also focussing on Ireland is a fine piece by Judith Owens which asserts that the political, cultural, and social contexts of Spenser's Epithalamion have been neglected ('The Poetics of Accomodation in Spenser's 'Epithalamion'', SEL 40.1 .41-62). Of particular interest to Owens is the connection between this poem and Spenser's "reformist" designs not only for Ireland but for his bride. The refrain in the poem, variations on 'The woods shall to me answer and my Eccho ring', can signify harmony but has been read by some critics as a source of disturbance. Owens claims that the woods around Kilcolmon give the refrain social and political significance. Spenser thought that deforestation was a necessary prerequisite for the subjugation of Ireland and Owens makes a nice connection between the title of his prose tract, the View and his desire "to see this country and its people" who literally hide from sight and remain hidden in the sense of not being known (p. 42). Bearing the View in mind, Spenser desires "to make the woods answer" to his song and thus subject both the country and his bride to "English ways" (p. 45). In the opening stanza of poem Spenser looks back to England and the classical world in order to "find the order and vision" into which he "at least initially wishes to place his bride and thus Ireland" (p. 45) . The praising of his bride will edify her and Ireland since an Ireland "resonating with his exemplary love" with woods echoing his song "would be an Ireland reformed by his poetic vision and so rendered intelligible" (p. 45). But his song does not resound as the opening stanza suggests, rather both Elizabeth and the woods respond to a song which is not the poet's and Spenser's attempts to circumscribe the poem's subjects--its woodland and Elizabeth herself--elude formative and reformative designs" (p. 49).
Helen Cooney considers the hitherto critically neglected figure of the Palmer who guides Guyon in Book two of The Faerie Queene ('Guyon and His Palmer: Spenser's Emblem of Temperance', RES 51.202 .169-92). Cooney considers it "extraordinary" that, given the increasingly theorized aspect of Spenser studies, the Palmer has not been analysed in a way that utilizes hermeneutics and the process of interpretation since the palmer "actually carries the rod of Hermes, and is himself a hermeneut or interpreter" (p. 169). Cooney is particularly concerned with the loss and restoration of the Palmer. The two temptations of Phaedria and Mammon take the Palmer's place and invert his role as leader by trying to mislead. She provides a reappraisal of these "twin" episodes--twinned because both are based on Chapter 7 of Matthew's gospel, where Christ warns man 'Ye cannot serve God and riches'. Both figures are characterized in relation to care: its absence or the obsession with it. In the third stage of Mammon's temptation, which features the pairing of Tantalus and Pilate, Spenser gives us two sinners who exemplify the sin of curiosity as defined in Geneva Bible as excessive care for worldly things. Whilst Phaedria is an antitype to the Palmer, Mammon is a parody of him--both wear black, both act as guides, and both offer counsel. When the Palmer is absent Guyon's reason is obscured but not destroyed. The emphasis is on grace: Guyon is wise in his encounters but imperfectly wise because, although not entirely without grace, he lacks perfecting grace. Cooney concludes with a consideration of Arthur's defeat of Maleager, an episode which constitutes "Spenser's final refinement of the allegory of prudence" and constitutes his "final reflections" on the process of interpreting allegory (p. 189).
In a piece which considers complex theoretical ideas but is at its best when focussing on historical matters, Elizabeth Mazzola claims that Elizabeth Tudor and Mary Stuart, what she calls ""the specter of twin queens", both provoked and relieved the anxieties of those around them (''O Unityng Confounding': Elizabeth I, Mary Stuart, and the Matrix of Renaissance Gender', Exemplaria 12.2 .385-416). Mazzola considers both Spenser and Shakespeare to be part of a network around these two women which explored issues such as "the erotic tangles caused by male gazing, or the artificiality of female chastity", issues which "were shaped by doubled images, built on a poetic premise that one female body might supplement another" (p. 386). Mazzola contends that Elizabeth and Mary provided a model for "the anguished intimacy and dependency" of Goneril and Regan in Shakespeare's King Lear and she draws links between Elizabeth's representations of her self--a chaste woman, a kind of mother--and Spenser's Faerie Queene where "images of femaleness all tend to be partial, often failed, and always contested" (p. 392). She also compares the secreted and unseen Mary, held imprisoned on Elizabeth's orders, to Spenser's Gloriana. It is more accurate, according to Mazzola, to speak not of Elizabeth's two bodies but of "a Tudor femaleness that required two bodies, one continually absorbing and repressing or correcting the defects of the other" (p. 394). If Mary's body was corrupt and thus incomplete so Elizabeth's "relied on a constant surveillance of anatomical borders and political margins, the neglect of which could present similar imbalances" (p. 395). Book 3 of The Faerie Queene was written when Mary was being detained in England and her image was "fatally entangled with the Queen's" (p. 397). Belphoebe and Amoret represent "this threatening if glorious alliance" which is also evident in Florimell and False Florimell (p. 397). Part of the essay concentrates on Shakespeare's King Lear and so is beyond the remit of this review.
Staying with gender, Elizabeth A. Spiller's essay is concerned with the concept of parthenogenesis as a way of reading Spenser's Faerie Queene and the process of literary production ('Poetic Parthenogenesis and Spenser's Idea of Creation in The Faerie Queene', SEL 40.1 .63-79). The notion that men could think ideas into begin implied the acceptance of Galenic humoral theory but also an Aristotelian model that was being challenged in this period. Spiller considers "moments of initiation in The Faerie Queene that are described using the language of biological reproduction" in order to demonstrate that whilst recent critics such as Greenblatt have emphasized the Renaissance as ""an age of self-actualization for the writer" whereby writers "demonstrate new forms of subjectivity and employ sophisticated models of self-representation in which they seem to think themselves into being" Spenser "draws on the contemporary recognition that men's thoughts were not sufficient to bring forth new creation", and his creations depict perversions of the Aristotelian model current in the early modern period" (p. 64). The moments considered by Spiller are the Letter to Ralegh; Redcrosse's first battle with Errour; Arthur's dream of Gloriana; and Britomart's experiences after seeing Artegall in Merlin's mirror. Spenser defines the ideal knight and quest in Aristotelian terms: he is "pregnant with an idea which is expressed in the quest and produces progeny such as glory (p. 68), and "the ideas that inform quests originate in the male alone" (p. 67). However, in his depiction of Errour "giving birth to monstrous 'text-children'", Spenser "draws on the medical belief that women's ideas, when uncontrolled, produce monstrous offspring"--an idea which "upset the Aristotelian order by letting their unchecked minds 'mark' their children" (p. 69). Britomart is also associated with anti-Aristotelian birth narrative since her sickness, after seeing Artegall, is a kind of perverse pregnancy and makes a "monster of [her] mind" (FQ 18.104.22.168). By contrast, Arthur's dream of the Faerie Queene "impregnates him with an idea that leads to a nine-month travail that invokes contemporary fantasies of male pregnancy" (p. 69). In the Errour episode Spenser "uses bad textual 'issue' to characterize his narrative as a good literary production" (p. 70). Arthur is the "generative" force of the poem and his dream can be compared to the creation narrative of Chrysogone: whilst she produces twins he produces an idea, his quest. In his Letter to Ralegh Spenser reveals his debt to Philip Sidney by using the language of biological reproduction in relation to his act of creation and by having women create monsters through their minds and men giving birth "registers anxiety about flaws in the Aristotelian paradigm". This is not due to an interest in the scientific aspects of Aristotelian natural philosophy but rather its poetic ramifications. This is an original and informed piece; one small criticism is that in her discussion of Britomart's dream Spiller wrongly glosses greensickness as "emotional unreadiness" (in fact, according to Gordon Williams' A Dictionary of Sexual Language and Imagery in Shakespearean and Stuart Literature, it was an anaemic disease commonly attributed to a virginís sexual fantasies which manifested itself through an unhealthy pallor and could only be cured by a sexual encounter).
George F. Butler's note reminds us that most critics have focused on the classical background of Britomart's visit to the Temple of Isis but the Christian context has on the whole been ignored ('Leviathan and Spenser's Temple of Isis: Biblical Myth and Britomart's Dream in Book 5 of The Faerie Queene', ANQ 13.3 .8-14). In his account of Britomart's dream, Spenser borrows from Christian interpretations of the Old Testament sea creature Leviathan. Here Butler traces links between the crocodile in Britomart's dream and the biblical beast which can help us to understand the nature of justice. Both creatures symbolise pride with Spenser's crocodile being subservient to Isis and Leviathan obedient to the Lord. Although the beast of Revelation has been identified with Leviathan, Spenser is primarily indebted to Job because he wants his beast to be a "terrifying but noble" agent of justice and is keen to play down any evil associations. In Job, Leviathan carries out the Lord's commands and in The Faerie Queene the crocodile is made subject to the equity of Isis. Just as Job becomes more just after God explains the mystery of Leviathan so in Spenser's poem the crocodile, or Osiris, helps Britomart understand her relation to justice, Artegall, and destiny. The explication by the priests acts like the glosses in the Geneva bible and helps to clarify Britomart's vision. Thomas Hobbes in his Leviathan (1651) said that the state, like the monster, is God's agent and Spenser offers a similar interpretation of the crocodile. Artegall's savagery is checked by Britomart's sense of equity and clemency and although people are subject to Artegall, the crocodile or Leviathan, they are also subject to Britomart, Isis, and the Lord.
***Also focusing on religion, Lee Oser considers the influence of Spenser and Sidney on Anne Bradstreet's religious poem "Contemplations" ("Almost a golden world: Sidney, Spenser, and puritan conflict in Bradstreet's Contemplations" Renascence 52 . 187-202). According to Oser, the Spenserian model of the temple and the labyrinth is particularly useful when interpreting Bradstreet's poem. Oser provides a detailed reading of Bradstreet's contemplation of the New England landscape in relation to Spenser's religious allegory and in the light of Calvinist theology.***
A range of perceptive new readings emerged from this year's N&Q. Matthew Steggle observes that in the Chronicle of Briton Kings read by Spenser's Arthur in the House of Alma (FQ 2.10) the account of Lud differs from that given by Geoffrey of Monmouth in his The History of the Kings of Britain ('Spenser's Ludgate: A Topical Reference in The Faerie Queene II.x.', N&Q 47.1  .34-7). Spenser omits various details and presents a more attractive figure, inventing the detail that Ludgate was built by Lud. The allusion in The Faerie Queene is datable since in the first half of the 1580s Ludgate was in a bad state of repair and would not have been considered an 'endlesse moniment'. In 1586 the whole structure was demolished and rebuilt from the foundations with a tax imposed upon the city to make this possible. Images of Lud and other kings were restored and an image of Elizabeth added. Praise of Lud's gate was unlikely before its rebuilding in 1586 and this date provides evidence that the first half of The Faerie Queene was composed between 1579 and 1590. It also adds evidence to support the argument made by Josephine Waters Bennett that the Arthur-plot and the Chronicle took shape at a relatively late stage in composition of Books 1-3.
Andrew Hadfield builds upon a recent article by Vincent Carey who argues that the Massacre at Mullaghmast in March 1578 when Sir Henry Sidney ordered the slaughter of the followers of the rebel Rory Oge O'More strongly influenced the representation of the Irish in John Derricke's The Image of Irelande (1581) ('Rory Oge O'More, the Massacre at Mullaghmast (1578), John Derricke's The Image of Ireland (1581), and Spenser's Malengin', N&Q 47.4  .423-4). O'More's rebellion threatened the newly established colonies in Laois and Offaly and so its suppression was particularly savage. Carey claimed that Derricke's work is a strong defence of Sidney's actions and that its aggressive anti-Catholicism and denigration of the Irish prefigures the hostilities of the 1590s noting that in the Image O'More is a devious figure associated with witchcraft. Hadfield here argues that Derricke's representation of O'More influenced Spenser's Malengin in Book 5 of The Faerie Queene. Both are threats to the establishment of civilization in the wilderness, prey on passers-by, and are evasive shape-changers with a suggestion of witchcraft. Malengin is destroyed by Talus who along with Artegall (Lord Grey) defeats the Catholic rebels in Ireland. Spenser thus continues Derricke's defence of Sidney and English readers in Ireland would have spotted the parallel which provides a link between the polemical writing of the 1580s, when Spenser first came to Ireland, and the mid-1590s Nine Years War.
Samuel R. Kessler asserts that the Despair episode from Book 1 of The Faerie Queene is remarkably similar to William Perkins's 'A Dialogue containing the conflicts betweene Sathan and the Christian' (1589?) printed a few months before the publication of Spenser's poem ('An Analogue for Spenser's Despair Episode: Perkins's 'Dialogue . . . Betweene Sathan and the Christian'', N&Q 47.1  .31-4). However there may be a variety of sources that influenced Spenser in this episode: conventional rhetorical devices; John Higgins' 'Legend of Queen Cordila' printed in The Mirrour for Magistrates; and Thomas Becon's 'Dialogue beween the Christian Knight and Satan' which contains theological and rhetorical similarities to Spenser's passage. Perkins 'Dialogue' "has remarkable affinities of tone, content, and rhetorical devices" to Spenser's episode although it is similar is style to Becon's work and commonplace theological arguments. Because Perkin's work was published in November 1589 at the earliest it is unlikely to have influenced Spenser directly unless it had circulated in manuscript. Spenser could have come across it from October 1589 but The Faerie Queene was being prepared for print and revisions would have been difficult. Kessler notes that the analogues between the two works are striking and "the discovery of a conduit between Perkins and Spenser -- via Harvey, for instance -- would be one step towards elucidating the relationship of the two works". One might hope for such a conduit between any two works bearing close similarites but a lack of evidence for direct influence makes for a rather disappointing conclusion to Kessler's note. Fragments of Perkin's Dialogue and the corresponding passages from Spenser are printed at the end of the note.
Penny McCarthy contends that although Spenser wants us to think that E. K. from The Shepheardes Calender is his friend Edward Kirk, he also wants us to suspect that E. K. is none other than himself ('E. K. Was Only the Postman', N&Q 47.1  .28-31). Kirk is a deliberate obstruction and part of the "indirection" of entire work (p. 28). Evidence for this can be found in the Epistle of 10 April 1579 prefacing the Shepheardes Calender, its glosses, and the Letters--the Familiar and the Commendable--published in 1580. According to McCarthy, Spenser "envisages himself as an 'E. K.' when he is commenting or adding scholia, or revising" (p31). The strongest objection to identifying Spenser as E. K. is that it is "improper" for him to promote his own work in such positive terms but McCarthy proposes that under E. K. he introduces "a new poet who is other than himself" in much the same way that he uses verse by Mary Sidney in his Astrophel which is described as a 'lay' by 'Clorinda' (p. 31).
In a note which bears upon Spenser's role in Ireland, Colin Burrow finds an association between Spenser and the exiled Ovid (''That Arch-poet of the Fairie Lond': A New Spenser Allusion', N&Q 47 .37). John Gower's Ovid's Festivalls, or Romane Calendar published in 1640 is the first complete English verse translation of Ovid's Fasti and preliminary biographical matter places an emphasis on Ovid's exile. Between this material and the translation is a poem "Clio's Complaint for the death of Ovid" which is influenced by Spenser's 'Teares of the Muses'. Apollo's reply to Clio notes that the fates have carried off many poets and refers to 'That arch-Poet of the Fairie lond'. Burrow argues that this is clearly Spenser because the title page of the collection of his works which appeared in 1611 referred to him as "Englands arch PoŽt". Further evidence that Spenser is here being alluded to is "the Spenserian archaism of the half-rhyme on 'lond'" (p. 37). This allusion has not been noted before in any of the extensive collections of allusions to Spenser and builds upon the Jacobean view of Spenser as a poet who did not get the rewards he deserved. This association between Spenser and a tradition of poets who offended the authorities indicates that the view of Spenser as a poet of exile is not an exclusively modern phenomenon.
The following book was reviewed in YWES 1999: Patrick Cheney and Lauren Silberman (ed.) Worldmaking Spenser: Explorations in the Early Modern Age. University Press of Kentucky . I was unable to see copies of the following: 'Spenser's Ravishment: Rape and Rapture in The Faerie Queene', Representations 70 .1-26; 'Isis in Spenser and Apuleius', in Constance S. Wright and Julia Bolton Holloway (ed.) Tales Within Tales: Apuleius Through Time (New York: AMS ); 'Annotating Anonymity, or Putting a Gloss on The Shepheardes Calender', in Joe Bray, Miriam Handley and Anne C. Henry (ed.) Mar)king( the Text: The Presentation of Meaning on the Literary Page (Aldershot: Ashgate )
Kenneth Borris Allegory and epic in English Renaissance literature: Heroic form in Sidney, Spenser, and Milton. Cambridge . pp. 320. £40. ISBN 0 521 78129 9.
Jennifer Klein Morrison and Matthew Greenfield Edmund Spenser: Essays on Culture and Allegory. Ashgate . pp. 201. £40. ISBN 0 7546 0227 3.
Joan Fitzpatrick Irish Demons: English Writings on Ireland, the Irish and Gender By Spenser and His Contemporaries. University Press of America . pp. 200. $36.50. £31.38. ISBN 0 7618 1735 2.
Katherine Eggert Showing Like a Queen: Female Authority and Literary Experiment in Spenser, Shakespeare, and Milton. University of Pennsylvania Press . pp. 289. $45. £36.80. ISBN 0 8122 3532 0.
Robert Matz Defending literature in early modern England: Renaissance literary theory in social context, Cambridge Studies in Renaissance Literature and Culture. Cambridge University Press . pp. 188. £37.50. $55. ISBN 0 521 66080 7.
Michelle O'Callaghan The 'Shepheards Nation': Jacobean Spenserians and Early Stuart Political Culture, 1612-1625, Oxford English Monographs. Oxford University Press . pp. 272. £40. ISBN 0 1981 8638 x.
Alan Stewart Philip Sidney: A double life. Chatto and Windus . pp. 4000. £19. $26.95. ISBN 0 7011 6859 5.