A number of monographs with chapters on Philip Sidney appeared this year. Michael Brennan's lively and impressive history of the Sidney family, and their relationship with Queen Elizabeth and King James respectively (2006), contains one chapter that is of particular interest to Sidney scholars entitled "The Ascendancy of Philip Sidney, 1572-1577". As Brennan points out, there has been much focus on Sidney's writings but less of "the significance of his brief court career and sporadic impact upon international politics" (p. 48). Brennan traces this via the impact of three important works upon the Sidney family and specifically Philip: Tacitus' Agricola, Thomas Elyot's Book Named the Governor and Roger Ascham's Schoolmaster. He argues that the Agricola, more than any other Roman history, was relevant "to those who had assumed the taxing military and administrative roles of a provicial governer" (p. 49) and lies behind Philip's 'Discourse on Irish Affairs' written in 1577, which defended his father's imposition of land tax within the Irish Pale. Elyot's work, an important educational manual, argued that those in high office should be well-educated in a range of disciplines. The work likely influenced the Sidneys because it encouraged academic education for the under sevens, "a central tenet of the Sidney's education of their own offspring, as illustrated both in Sir Henry's paternal correspondence with his sons and Philip's own Defence of Poetry" (p. 53). In the Schoolmaster, another guide on the education of the young and privleged, with which the Sidney's were undoubtedly familiar, Roger Ascham warns against the dangers of visiting Italy, a warning ignored by Philip who spent several months there in 1574, an action which, argues Brennan, would likely have made Queen Elizabeth suspicious of him. The final section of the chapter details Philip's behaviour at court, specifically his efforts to establish himself and enhance the status of his family.
Steve Mentz's study (2006) traces the rise of prose fiction especially via the work of Robert Greene but the book also contains a chapter entitled "Anti-Epic Traditions: Sidney's New Arcadia" . Mentz rightly notes that critical engagment with early modern literary culture is usually focused on drama at the expense of prose and that print culture is often dismissed as marginal despite the fact that there was a thriving market for prose fiction; indeed, as Lukas Erne has recently pointed out, Shakespeare's disinterest in print publication may well have been exaggerated. Mentz begins his study by emphasizing Heliodorus, rather than Aristotel, as a generic model, arguing that although this debt has been noted by others "its larger impact on literary structures and techniques of plotting has been underestimated" (p. 14). Sidney, along with Greene, was a co-initiator of what Mentz terms the Heliodoran 'anti-epic model'. Mentz provides a detailed reading of plot devices Sidney took from Heliodorus's Aethiopian History, a work indebted to Homer's Odyssey but one that "dismisses epic violence. . . . [and] privileges the chaste heroine over the martial hero" (p. 75). Mentz also considers Sidney's departures from Heliodorus, and thus his desire to retain epic qualities, specifically in his depiction of cross-dressing.
In chapter two of his monograph Daniel Juan Gil argues that Sidney was sensitive to his father's relatively modest origins, which goes some way toward explaining his sonnet sequence, Astrophil and Stella (2006). Irritated by the debasement of Petrarchan rhetoric, the use of which no longer indicated a noble birth, and the lack of exclusivity in manuscript circulation, Sidney needed to find another route to announcing his nobility. According to Gil, Sidney does this by making public his sexual relationship with Stella, the well-connected Penelope Devereux which, coupled with a departure from Petrarchan conventions, advertises the fact that he really is a member of the social elite. Gil's reading of Spenser's Amoretti and his chapter 3 on The Faerie Queene will be considered in the Spenser section below.
Gavin Alexander concentrates on the influence Philip Sidney had after his death and up to 1640 (2006). Amongst the writers considered are Mary Sidney, Robert Sidney, Fulke Greville, and Mary Wroth; literary genres that developed in the light of Sidney's work and here explored include the lyric and prose fiction. Chapter 1 focuses on Philip and his works and is divided into two parts: the first is a study of how dialogue functions in his writing and the extent to which his own voice emerges and the second considers the incomplete nature of Sidney's works, with a focus on "various gestures of completion and incompletion in Sidney's life and writings" (p. 36). In part one, having traced the various models of dialogue familiar to Sidney, Alexander examines the significance of dialogue in the Old Arcadia, a form that is strongly present in the work: "It can represent violent clashes of outlooks and belief systems; it can represent friendship; and it can represent love" (p. 12). For Alexander sparsity of dialogue can indicate as much as its abundance and, noting that Astrophil engages Stella in dialogue only three times in the Sonnet Sequence, Alexander identifies the one-sided nature of their relationship: "There is no meeting of minds here, no sharing in passion or language or form; the desire for dialogue that is love is now entirely one-sided" (p. 18). In the New Arcadia there are numerous examples of "voice becoming text" (p. 24), which suggests "a growing hesitancy" toward dialogue. The second part of this chapter considers the incomplete nature of Sidney's work and his life via classical rhetorical theory, specifically aposiopesis, not finishing what has been started, and is concerned specifically with the New Arcadia.
In a collection of essays on literary partnerships, Patricia Demers offers an analysis of the Sidney Psalms (2006). Reading Philip Sidney's paraphrase of Psalm 6 and Pembroke's paraphrase of Psalm 51, Demers detects evidence of distinct styles. Her main interest is in promoting Mary Sidney, arguing that she "completed the lion's share of this work" (p. 48) and denying the influence of Philip "as a controlling principle" on his sister's creativity (p. 51). For Demers, Pembroke is "the more metrically daring and open to contemporary sources" of the two (p. 54). She also revisits the claims made by John Aubrey that the Sidney's had an incestuous relationship, concluding that the psalms themselves provide no evidence for this.
Two articles were of interest to scholars of Philip Sidney in this year's Sidney Studies. The first of these, an essay by Sue Starke, focused on cross-dressing in Wroth's Urania and Sidneys's New Arcadia (2006). Starke is mostly interested in how Sidney can illuminate Wroth and argues that although in the Old Arcadia a man dressing as a woman signals moral imperfection, in Wroth's text the reverse is true and the cross-dressing is presented as honourable. Men dressing as women, viewed by Sidney and others with what Starke terms "suspicious fascination" takes on "a positive moral judgement" (p. 19) when handled by Wroth. In Sidney's New Arcadia adoption of a female persona has a dignity not evident in the unrevised text when Pyrocles disguises himself as Zelmane in order to woo Philoclea but, even then, impersonating a woman impersonating a man lessens the implications of his actions, as does the masculine nature of the amazon 'woman' he becomes and the violence in which he participates when disguised.
Staying with gender Tom MacFaul considers the presentation of Elizabeth as a maternal figure in Elizabethan love poetry, specifically the poetry of Sidney and Fulke Greville (2006). He argues that presenting the beloved as a maternal figure anticipates Freud and Lacan. MacFaul argues that in Astrophil and Stella Sidney presents Astrophil as a child who longs for the maternal influence of the queen. Sidney presents his poems as though they were his children, a common early modern metaphor for male creativity that functions as a response to the female monarch who makes men feel feminized but also involves the challenging assertion that "the poet is more of a mother than the queen will ever be" (p. 42). The yearning for reproductivity by a male poet is pointless and is displaced by a yearning for maternal affection from the queen toward her young courtiers. In Astrophil and Stella Sidney presents himself as an orphan calling upon someone to mother him. Sidney's poems are also presented as toys and infantile love is like the pointless love a courtier has for the queen. Sidney protests that, like Cupid, he does not want sexual love but rather nutrition from the mother figure and a licence to play.
Elsewhere, Jane Kingsley-Smith identifies a source for the narrative of Plangus and Erona in Sidney's Arcadia (2006). As she points out, this is an important digression in Sidney's poem since it was the only major subplot to receive revision and elaboration in the New Arcadia. Kingsley-Smith argues convincingly that Sidney used the tale of 'Euphimia of Corinth' from Giraldi Cinthio's Hecatommithi which he could have read either in its original Italian, in an effort to enhance his knowledge of the language, or in an English translation by William Painter, available in The Palace of Pleasure. Kingsley-Smith rightly notes that Sidney's alterations of 'Euphimia of Corinth' are worthy of further attention, specifically his invention of a Cupidean revenge plot to a narrative that avoids the intervention of supernatural powers.
This year's Notes and Queries has only one piece pertaining to Philip Sidney. Andrew Hadfield contends that Shakespeare could well have been more indebted to Sidney's works when composing King Lear than has hitherto been recognised (2006b). Although it is well known that the subplot for Shakespeare's play is indebted to Sidney's Arcadia, Hadfield argues that the scene where Lear appears wearing a crown of flowers and weeds and announces "Nature's above art in that respect" echoes the comments on art and nature in Sidney's Apology for Poetry. Although Sidney claimed that poetry was superior to nature Shakespeare has Lear state the opposite but this does not undermine Sidney's point since Lear, in his utterance, effectively demonstrates the continuities between poetry and drama.
Two monographs in the series 'Studies in Renaissance Literature', published in 2006, focus on Edmund Spenser. The first of these (volume 17 in the series), by Christopher Burlinson, is a study of materiality in Spenser's Faerie Queene (2006). As Burlinson points out, material culture has received attention from critics of early modern drama but little has been said about its role in allegorical romance. On the whole, Burlinson does a great job in this historically-informed study, which is attentive to critical theory but not over-whelmed by it. The first chapter considers the nature of Spenser's allegory and suggests that "in spite of its fragmentation and fluctuation" the allegory does "achieve the status of description of a material world" (p. 10-11). In chapter two this idea is developed with a consideration of the poem's geographical space, specifically the extent to which Fairyland can be considered as a world and how this relates to its engagement with other early modern spaces and locations: "Ireland, England, Europe, and beyond" (p. 24). Subsequent chapters have a more specific focus, for example chapter 4 considers the courtly space of royal chambers, chapter 5 castles, and chapter 9 the houses of the poor. Burlinson's study demonstrates an admirable attention to detail, providing close readings of episodes with which Spenserians will no doubt be familiar but which they are here encouraged to consider in terms of objects and the spaces within which they are located. For example, in chapter 4 Mercilla's throne and the cloth of state are examined and we are presented with the kind of question a careful reader should ask when they learn that Arthur is searching for Redcrosse in Orgoglio's house: "What kind of room are we meant to assume that Arthur has entered?" (p. 87). Oddly, the book has no introduction, merely a short preface and at just under two pages the conclusion is too short but this may be a feature of the series.
Paul Suttie's monograph, volume 18 in the series 'Studies in Renaissance Literature', is structured in a similar fashion to Burlinson's: there is a preface but no introduction, division into several parts, and a fairly short conclusion (2006). Strangely, Suttie provides an introduction to part 2, though not part one, in which he outlines the book's concerns having explored, in part one, allegory in Book 1 of The Faerie Queene. Book 1 of Spenser's epic remains the focus in part 2 but this shifts to other books in Part 3. In his analysis of self-interpretation that takes place in the poem Suttie interrogates the authoritative moral self-commentary of the poem, how reliable it is, and its impact upon the moral standing of the poem's protagonists. He asserts that the poem is intended to support the authority of the monarch, though not as unconditionally as it claims since the very act of launching a defence signals that one was required. Sutties's prose tends towards the esoteric; greater clarity of what is, admittedly, a complex topic would have produced a more useful study.
Nadya Chishty-Mujahid also argues that Spenser is mostly uncritical of his monarch in 2006. This monograph is traditional in its focus on character but generally pushes beyond plodding analysis. Chapter one considers Spenser's representation of Elizabeth in a number of characters, amongst them Mercilla, Gloriana, and Britomart, who are termed "fragments of monarchical identity" (p. 22); chapter two is focused on Arthur, specifically his association with grace and nationhood; chapters three and four explore how Britomart and Duessa undergo metaphmorphosis in the text; and chapter five focuses on the tension between idealistic standards of heroism and virtue and the constraints presented by the political situation in Ireland. Chishty-Mujahid presents valid, if at times rather obvious, readings of Spenser's work and its contexts but there are also some interesting insights--for example Spenser's rehabilitation of the figure of the Faery Queene who was formerly "considered an unstable and devious fay trickster" (p.81)--and the study is critically informed. At times the book reads like an unrevised dissertation (indeed the word "dissertation" occurs with irritating frequency in the introduction) and it is not printed to as high a standard as one might expect.
Only one collection of essays on Spenser appeared this year (2006). In the preface to this collection the editor J. B. Lethbridge states that the papers "originated at a conference to celebrate Spenser's life and works, and perhaps his death, held at Doneraile in County Cork, not far from Kilcolman next to Mallow" (p. 9). What Lethbridge fails to mention is that the conference took place almost ten years ago, in 1999, and it soon becomes clear why this book has taken so long to appear. The title grandly announces that the collection constitutes 'new directions' in Spenser studies by which Lethbridge means a return to historical criticism, an approach that never really went away. What bothers Lethbridge is recent theoretical developments in the study of Spenser. The list of approaches he objects to is a long one: "feminism, gender studies, culture studies, postcolonialism, cultural materialism, and psychoanalytical studies" (p. 18-19). This is not very surprising given Lethbridge's sentimental attitude to Spenser's life in Ireland in a preface laden with purple prose. He praises recent work on Spenser and Ireland but specifically revisionist history and "definite and historical criticism" (p.20). The 'directions' referred to in the book's title are not 'new' and 'renewed' turns out to be 'reprinting' in the case of two out the eleven essays here presented: Andrew King's "'Well Grounded, Finely Framed, and Strongly Trussed up Together'": The 'Medieval' Structure of The Faerie Queene" appeared in The Review of English Studies in 2001 and Syrithe Pugh's "Acrasia and Bondage: Guyon's Perversion of the Ovidian Erotic in Book II of The Faerie Queene" is lifted from chapter 3 of her 2005 monograph Spenser and Ovid. Amongst the other essays are fairly solid readings of Spenser's verse, religious and political preferences, and genre but there is little here that is remarkable and, despite Lethbridge's claims for the revolutionary nature of this collection, there is little here that is new.
Quite a few books dealing with broader issues contains chapters on Spenser. As we saw in the section on Sidney above, Daniel Juan Gil argues that Sidney advertised his membership of the social elite by making public his relationship with the well-connected Penelope Devereux (2006). Gil also argues that for Spenser, unlike Sidney, the love object in the Amoretti is a reminder "not of the noble birth that he really shares with her, but rather of the low birth that he must purge in order to be worthy of her" (p. 41) and a consciousness of this difference in rank is evident throughout the sonnet sequence. Moreover, while Sidney considers that "public poetry is a trifling distraction", Spenser presents himself as a professional poet and, despite his employment as an administrative secretary and civil servant in Ireland, repeatedly reminds his readers that it is the "endlesse work" he undertakes in the service of literature that should be rewarded (p. 40). Spenser's Faerie Queene is the subject of chapter 3 entitled "Civility and the emotional topography of The Faerie Queene" in which Gil argues that Spenser's poem is a kind of conduct manual offering a deliberately "internally contradictory discourse of civility" in order to "draw attention to the frictions and gaps that cut through early modern society and that energize a privileged experience of asocial sexuality that is the real subject of The Faerie Queene" (p. 51). Gil considers this most evident in Book 3, the book devoted to the virtue of chastity. The virtue is embodied in Queen Elizabeth but it is impossible that anyone outside the court could possibly copy her, indeed Spenser himself has difficulty even describing her. Spenser invokes Raleigh to help him and this invokes the homosocial but also what Gil terms "an axis of exclusion" since Raleigh is his social superior and has achieved in his unfinished poem Ocean to Cynthia the description of Elizabeth with which Spenser has trouble. Gil detects pleasure "literary and bodily" (p. 54) in Spenser's reaction to Raleigh's poem, a pleasure which aligns Spenser, by turns, to Raleigh and the queen. Spenser is preoccupied with the social divide, argues Gill, and in the episode from Book 3 featuring Belpheobe and Timias, who represent the queen and Raleigh respectively, the fundamental social difference is between blood or genes, not conduct. Gil also explores the Castle Joyeous episode featuring Malecasta and Britomart from Book 3 arguing that here, as throughout The Faerie Queene, the middle-class poet uses the court to introduce "a sexual charge into socially unstable relationships at its margins" (p. 73) and interrogate notions of civility.
In a chapter from a book of essays Judith Anderson argues that there are imaginative and conceptual links between Chaucer's Pardoner's Tale and Book 1 of The Faerie Queene and the Franklin's Tale and Book 3 of Spenser's poem (2006). Anderson's thesis, in keeping with the topic of the book in which her essay appears, is that writers, specifically those in the Renaissance "tried actually to converse with their predecessors", indeed the early moderns understood the word 'converse' as 'to live with', 'to dwell with' (p. 71-72). Anderson detects subtle parallels involving allegory, irony and despair, between Chaucer's Pardoner and the figure of the 'old man' who appears in the Pardoner's Tale and Book 1 of The Faerie Queene, specifically Archimago and the episode featuring Redcross's despair. Subtle echoes are also evident, she argues, in Book 3 where the complaints of Britomart, Cymoent, and Arthur echo the complaints of Dorigen in the Franklin's Tale.
In another collection of essays Derek Brewer compares Spenser's depiction of Venus in The Faerie Queene with the goddess in Shakespeare's narrative poem Venus and Adonis and the paintings of Titian (2006). Brewer traces the multiple significations of Venus: some commentators emphasise her divinity and maternal qualities whilst others focus on the figure as earthly and lustful, a conception encouraged by Christian commentators. Venus is evident throughout The Faerie Queene, in the various figures who represent love, and in the Garden of Adonis, where she is a symbol of generation. He argues that Spenser's depiction of Venus is distinct from the goddess in Shakespeare's poem where "there is real disgust at unregulated lustful female desire" (p. 59). Brewer attributes this disgust to Shakespeare, which is a debatable point, as is his conclusion, based on remarks made by C. S. Lewis, that "the mythological symbolic world" evident in Spenser and Titan is of little interest to Shakespeare in his narrative poem.
This year's Spenser Studies was a fairly eclectic affair. The first essay in this year's Spenser Studies is the text of an invited lecture given at the annual session on Spenser at Kalamazoo. The essay, by Teresa Krier, is a philiosophically inflected piece on the relatively neglected subject of Spenser's verse (2006). Krier's subject is the experience of reading encouraged by Spenser's stanzaic intervals, the function of the language, and the effect of the rhythm. The action of reading is considered via katabasis, which Harry Berger Junior, quoted by Krier, defines as "an infernal journey in quest of truth, prophecy, power, demonic assistance, or rehabilitation" (p. 1). Krier is interested in the time certain characters, and thus readers, spend during this sojourn and the effect it has upon the consciousness of the reader: Spenser, she argues, "values the virtues of lessened consciousness . . . in the interest of further unconscious representation and affect, including the slowly dawning readiness for a new stanza" (p. 8). Krier asks why one specific reader, Jonathan Goldberg in his 1981 study Endlesse Worke, feels "tormented" by the process of reading Spenser's stanzas and concludes that the problem is an attempt at mastery of the text instead of giving in to the kind of reading also encouraged by Chaucer's dream visions, from which Spenser takes his cue.
Steven K. Galbraith provides a detailed analysis of the print history of Spenser's First Folio (2006). Galbraith notes that the folio is an unstable and inconsistent text: there are no preliminary materials such as a table of contents and the pagination is not sequential. It is not clear why there should be such an obvious lack of bibliographical control given that the same printer was responsible for most of the sections and Galbraith argues that instability is better regarded as flexibilty: a consumer could purchase the folio in sections over a period of time and this presented less of a financial risk for those involved in the folio's production. Galbraith compares the print history of Spenser's folio to that of other authors, amongst them Samuel Daniel and Michael Drayton, and suggests that Spenser's works did not receive too great an investment because his reputation and popularity at the time indicated that he was not worth it. Two useful appendices are provided listing copies of Spenser's First Folio at the rare books and manuscripts library of Ohio State University (where Galbraith is employed) and at the Folger Shakespeare Library.
Patrick Perkins contends that in his depiction of the struggles faced by Redcross in Book 1 of The Faerie Queene, Spenser is more indebted to Luther's views on Christian righteousness and the Law of God than those put forward by Calvin (2006). In his Galatians Luther described the Law as a divine spectacle that terrifies, destroys self-righteousness, and drives man toward grace; a temporary prison in which man dwells until grace arrives (which Perkins claims prefigures Freud's concept of unconscious guilt); and a dragon that accuses man of sin and and keeps man in despair. Redcross and those imprisoned in Eden "are beset by 'the power of the law' . . . and the exacerbating effect it has on the conscience" (p. 64), argues Perkins, and it is only by achieving grace, albeit reluctantly, that Redcross can finally defeat it.
Kirsten Tranter is concerned with Book 5 of The Faerie Queene, not the allegory's transparent commentary on contemporary policy and events, the usual critical focus when discussing Book 5, but rather the ambiguity of the allegory (2006). Specific attention is given to the episode featuring the egalitarian Gyant in canto 2. As Tranter points out, the Gyant's means of understanding the world is rejected "but the poem does not offer a clear recommendation for an alternative model of reading, judgment, and interpretation" (p. 90), rather, the Gyant's concrete examples of the world's injustice are replaced by the abstract and difficult to understand. Tranter considers the complex signification of the word 'plaine', specifically in the espisode featuring Grantorto in canto 12 and how it relates the the opening lines of Book 1. Spenser is concerned, argues Tranter, with what it means for something to 'plaine apppeare' and wishes to avoid the misreading that results in punishment of the court poet Malfont in canto 9.
A. E. B. Coldiron presents a hitherto unstudied manuscript poem written in the margins of a first edition copy of The Faerie Queene held in Special Collections of Louisiana State University (2006). The date of composition of the anonymous poem is not clear but Coldiron asserts that it "is written in what looks like a late-sixteenth- or early-seventeenth-century italic hand" (p. 110). The poem is located amongst the epic's Commendatory Verses and it participates in that praise but also launches a challenge to it. The poem "largely ignores the main themes and content of the Commendatory Verses. . . . [and] notably does not mention Elizabeth" (p. 115). Spenser's Muse is invoked but does not appear to inspire because the next, and last, line compares the poem to the biblical parable of the widow's mite, where the little she gave was worth more than that given by the rich because she gave all she had. Coldiron detects in this use of the parable "a revisionary reading of the value of praise" (p112): by using the parable of the widow's mite the author draws attention away from Spenser's poem and the important commendatory verses and towards his or her small but valuable contribution.
Matthew Woodcock attends to a much neglected source for Spenser's A View of the Present State of Ireland, a text by the sixteenth-century Swedish Catholic prelate Olaus Magnus entitled Historia de gentibus septentrionalibus, published in Rome in 1555 and usually translated as A Description of the Northern Peoples (2006). Woodcock begins by introducing Olaus Magnus and his work, the background to the book's production and its reception before focussing on Spenser's use of it in the View specifically in his argument that the Irish are descended from the Scythians. Spenser misreads his source, claims Woodcock, by eliding the Scythians with other northern peoples described by Olaus and uses it as a Scythian history. Both authors are preoccupied by degeneration, although for Olaus blame lies squarely with Lutheranism, and both utilize what Woodcock terms "pragmatic ethnography", that is the delination and comparison of customs for a political purpose.
Barbara Brumbaugh revists a topic she previously dealt with in an excellent article published in Spenser Studies in 2000: Philip Sidney's reference to literal and allegorical wolves, a reference made also by Edmund Spenser who, unlike, Sidney credited King Edgar with the policies that eradicated the animals (2006). Here Brumbaugh argues that the Protestant churchman John Bale got there first several decades earlier in The Actes of English Votaryes. Furthermore, Bale's treatment of King Edgar suggests a reason why Sidney avoided mentioning him: Bale's depiction of Edgar is extremely negative and contrasts Edgar's elimination of literal wolves with his fostering of papist wolves through subservience to Rome. In the same work Bale dismissively refers to Romus and Remus, the founders of Rome, being suckled by a she-wolf, and associates Rome with whoredome, an association facilitated by Livy's obserservation that the Roman word lupa can mean either she-wolf or prostitute.
As Andrew Zurcher rightly points out, a comprehensive study of Spenser's language, specifically his use of archaisms, is long overdue and this short essay suggests that critics might wish to consider the topic in more detail (2006). Using 'mote', the word usually meaning 'may' or 'must', as an example, Zurcher argues that Spenser "was probably not as cavalier and inconsistent with his orthography as modern editions might suggest" (p. 232) but, rather, his choice of archaic words and forms was "deliberate, and perhaps almost academic" (p. 235). Zurcher argues that the OED is wrong to assert that 'mote' is usually used in the past tense, except in traditional phrases, and that Spenser's use of mote "seems . . . to be deployed with studious attention to particular models in his approved authors" (p. 236), specifically Gower, Chaucer, and Langland.
Other journals also provided valuable studies of Spenser's work. Philip Schwyzer's thoughtful and original essay investigates the colonial impulse to rid the soil of its indigenous people (2006). As Schwyzer points out, Spenserians have typically focused on Spenser's desire to annihilate the Irish but, he argues, "the problem . . . is not so much how to get the wayward Irish into the earth, but how to get them out of it" (p. 15). Schwyzer provides an ingenious reading of the episode featuring Maleger and his fellow-warriors in Book 5 canto 9 who appear as corpses and contends that it is not so much that they represent Ireland's "unruly inhabitants" but rather its "unquiet ancestors, whose tenacious hold on the land poses a barrier to the establishment of a British identity on Irish soil" (p. 19). The issue is also evident in A View of the Present State of Ireland, specifically in its discussion of cannibalism, whereby the colonial impulse to rid the earth of the indigenous people is fulfiled because the indigenous body is prevented from being interred.
Kent R. Lehnhof begins his informative and imaginative essay by outlining the sensitivity with which Elizabeth and her sister Mary regarded incest: both their mothers had been condemned as incestuous and where Mary married the monarch of Spain "in a effort to overturn the repudiation of her mother" (p. 215) Elizabeth's insistent single state was a refusal to seek authority for her reign from abroad (2006). Elizabeth also sought to supress all references to incest in official avenues. Why then, Lehnhof asks, does Spenser present incest as a central motif of Book 3 of The Faerie Queene, the very book where he claims Elizabeth can see herself reflected? Lehnhof argues that although incest is regarded negatively in the figure of Argante, who might be said in some ways to resemble Elizabeth, it is positive in the depiction of Britomart, specifically in her love for Artegall who is said to resemble her father and toward whom, at specific points in the narrative, she regards as a son and a brother. The ingenious answer to what Lehnhof terms "the apparently illogical and impolitic prominence afforded to incest" (p. 216) is that Spenser here indicates his insularity: the poet fears foreign invasion and contamination and so incest, if those involved are of aristocratic rank, is preferable to the miscegenation that is roundly condemned by Spenser in the View.
Spenser's engagement with Chaucer, considered in a few of the essays already reviewed, is of interest to Glen A. Steinberg who urges caution in too readily assuming a continuity between Chaucer and Spenser and draws distinctions between Spenser's Mutabilitie Cantos and Chaucer's Parliament of Fowls to make this point (2006). Each poet's conception of Nature, argues Steinberg, is ditinct: for Spenser, disorder is characteristic of the cosmos itself whereas for Chaucer it is a product of human influence epitomised by Venus, a figure traditionally associated with destructive human behaviour. Chaucer's Nature seems to collaborate with Venus and be her equal rather than her adversary and her superior. Spenser differs most notably from Chaucer by entirely eliminating Venus from Nature's presence and replacing her with Mutability. Spenser's sense of the world is quite different from the medieval tradition that recognised human behaviour, not the cosmos itself, as responsible for the world's inherent instability. Steinberg illustrates how Spenser diverges from Chaucer by comparing Spenser's tale of Arlo-hill with Ovid's story of Actaeon, to which it is indebted. The punishment of one human interloper in Ovid differs from the more general punishment inflicted on all the inhabitants, mythical and human, of Arlo Hill, suggesting that, as Steinberg puts it, there are "unforseen and random consequences" upon the innocent (p. 35). This is very different, argues Steinbergy, from Chaucer's Parliament of Fowls where consequences are immediate and predictable. Spenser's Nature in the Mutabilitie Cantos resembles Diana from the Arlo-hill tale and both are unlike Chaucer's Nature in excluding the human from their realm. Ultimately Chaucer's view of the world is less fatalistic than that of Spenser because it demonstrates respect for "the power of human agency" (p. 38).
Spenser's sources are also of interest to Benjamin Myers who traces the resemblance between evil and wilderness, specifically that of the Irish landscape, in Spenser's allegory (2006). Myers contends that in his characterization of evil figures in The Faerie Queene Spenser offers an answer to an important theological question: if God is good and omnipotent how can evil be explained? He argues that Spenser, influenced by Augustinian theodicy, proposes there is no such thing as evil. According to Augustine, evil corrupts goodness va magic but magic is illusory, an empty sign and therefore not real. In essence it is nothing and so it does not exist. Myers traces the Augustinian concept of evil in Book 1 of Spenser's poem where evil characters are ultimately empty, embodying what Augustine considered an aggressive nothingness. Throughout the allegory the non-being of evil endeavours to corrupt the being of good and the good knight must learn "to read properly the signs that God has provided" (p. 395). Much of the rest of the essay takes its lead from Julia Reinhard Lupton's point that in the View Spenser defined Ireland as a wasteland in order to defend an active policy of further wasting. Myers considers Ireland, inhabited by the unreformed Irish, a perceptible influence in The Faerie Queene where evil characters are repeatedly associated with the wilderness. Just as the poem's evil characters are illusory so too the landscape they inhabit is "an imposing void", the "empty shadow" of the civilized (p. 399) that resists destruction.
Staying with Spenser's sources, Adam Potkay's considers joy and joylessness in early Protestant theology which, although recognized by theologians, has not hitherto been considered by literary and cultural historians of early modern England (2006). The Protestant anxiety about joylessness--which they believed indicated an absence of the Holy Spirit and thus love for God and neighbour--was not present in Catholic theology with its focus on the mysticism of sacrament. Potkay provides a detailed analysis of English and German theological conceptions of joy in theological works and their apparent influence upon Spenser's Faerie Queene and John Donne's Sermons. Potkay concentrates on the three brothers who are the enemies of Redcross in Book 1 of the poem, specifically Sans Joy who is an embodiment of "the joylessness that Redcross must struggle against" (p. 52). It is only toward the end of Book 1 that Redcross becomes receptive to joy and, as Potkay notes, "the poem's narrator criticizes Redcross from the outset as 'too solemn sad'"; his cheerlessness is presented as "a spiritual malaise" (p. 53-54). Crucially, Sans Joy is a character who emerges from the Protestant focus on joy and joylessness since, notes Potkay, he is not drawn from Spenser's Catholic sources.
Also focusing on Spenser's religious sources, Paola Baseotto considers Redcrosse's encounter with Despair in Book 1 of The Faerie Queene (2006). Protestant theologians were alert to the distinction between sorrow and despair or, as Baseotto puts it, "the paradoxical nature of despair" (p. 1): a good Christian must experience worthlessness as a prerequisite to salvation but must not despair so much that they give up, that is commit suicide, and thus suffer damnation. Baseotto points out that early modern readers "were familiar with the narrative and rhetorical patterns" Spenser adopts in the episode since they derived mainly from medieval morality plays and sixteenth-century psychomachies often described in religious tracts, an example of the former being John Skelton's Magnyfycence and of the latter Thomas Becon's The Dialogue between the Christian Knight and Satan. However, argues Baseotto, Spenser's treatment of the struggle with despair is superior to that of his sources, specifically those by Skelton and Becon, because in Redcrosse the reader is presented with a more emotionally complex, sympathetic, indeed human figure than is evident in the earlier texts.
In 2006 Donald Bruce notes that although Spenser's chivalric adventures in The Faerie Queene begin in medias res he "continues from there as if he was leading his reader through a picture-gallery in which each picture is clear in its own context" (p. 73). The visual is especially evident in Spenser's conception of beauty, indebted to Christian and classical sources, and here considered via the figure of Florimell, Amoret, and other representative types in The Faerie Queene. Especially interesting are Bruce's comments on selected instances from the poem when Spenser "solemnises the glories of blonde hair" (p. 80) and draws comparisions between hair and the natural world.
Andrew Majeske argues that in Book 5 of The Faerie Queene Spenser draws upon an older version of equity, one common before the late fifteenth century, and one that was essentially flexible (2006a). Spenser does this, claims Majeske, so as to associate equity with the feminine and promote the idea that the newer sense of equity, essentially inflexible and usually considered masculine, must be adopted. Following a detailed analysis of the Isis episode Majeske concludes that Spenser's motives are clear: the episode constitutes a veiled treatment of the sucession issue, a veiling necessary because the issue was so politically sensitive. Isis and Britomart, both female, are persuaded by the male Isis priest to embrace the subjugation of women to the rule of men. Majeske argues convincingly for an historical parallel: those gentlemen capable of deciphering the allegory, and with sufficient political acumen, must persuade Elizabeth to be like Isis and Britomart and nominate James 6 of Scotland, not either of the two potential female candidates, as her successor. A version of this paper appears in Majeske's monograph, also published this year: 2006b.
Christopher Williams considers, via the opinions of the eighteenth-century Scottish philosopher David Hume, what is here termed 'the Spenser judgement': the notion that Spenser, though worth reading, is hardly ever read (2006). If readers avoid Spenser then why, asks Williams, do they not conclude that Spenser's work is simply not very good? The response is a complex one partly to do with a reader's anticipation of the perceptions of others. Part two of this essay is an analysis of Hume's essay on taste in which he compares books to friends, a comparison Williams finds problematic, not least because the notion of free choice when it comes to the books we read or the companions we spend time with is inherently flawed.
David Landreth's essay compliments Christopher Burlinson's monograph on materiality in Spenser's Faerie Queene (reviewed above) by considering the definition of early modern selfhood as the history of individual reaction to material objects (2006). His focus is the Cave of Mammon episode in Book 2 canto 7 of The Faerie Queene. Landreth considers "the momentary, constantly-elided difference between precious metals and money as a narrative phenomenon that converges with, and contests, the embodiment of memory" (p. 245). Mammon's hoarding of money is unnatural because it perverts the material's useful destiny. Guyon looks back to the Golden Age, remembering a world without Mammon, but finds that Mammon cannot be eluded. Mammon's attempt to reduce everything to its monetary value is undermined by the physical and intellectual nourishment, specifically the nourishment of memory, provided in Alma's castle.
In a short article Hossein Pirnajmuddin claims that Britomart's rejection of the riches cast upon the shore after she has overcome Marinell in Book 3 canto 4 of The Faerie Queene make specific reference to England as an emerging empire-builder (2006). There is a tension between resisting the temptation of wealth and having power over it and, argues Pirnajmuddin, the episode indicates England's desire to become a dominant power overseas and control the wealth of its colonies.
Only two pieces in this year's Notes and Queries refer to Spenser. Andrew Moore suggests that Spenser's 'Telamond'--the hero who never actually appears in Book 4 of The Faerie Queene and who is seemingly replaced by Triamond--alludes to a classical story (2006). Telemond was a famous friend of Hercules and this friendship features in the story of Hercules at Troy told by Ovid in the Metamorphoses. The story is here rehearsed by Moore who suggests that allusion to it "would be consistent with Spenser's complex fascination with Troy" (p. 462) and other Herculean references in the poem. If Spenser is alluding to Hercules, arges Moore, this would reinforce the argument put forward by Michael Leslie that 'Telemond' refers to the Greek word for 'belt or baldric supporting a shield' since The Oxford Classical Dictionary suggests that the word is derived from the notion of Hercules' son Aias as the bearer of a huge shield.
Another piece by Andrew Hadfield in this year's Notes and Queries (see section 2 on Sidney above) investigates a reference to Edmund Spenser in Thomas Nashe's comments about the lost play known as the ur-Hamlet which appeared in his preface to Robert Greene's prose romance, Menaphon (2006a). Hadfield disputes the critical orthodoxy that Nashe's reference to "the Kid in Aesop" is a pun on Thomas Kyd's name and argues that the reference to Spenser's fable of the kid carries more weight than is usually suggesed by commentators on the drama. In The Shepherdes Calender Spenser presents himself as a new poet of great significance and the May eclogue from that work contains a version of Aesop's fable. Hadfield argues that Nashe, an enemy of Spenser's good friend Gabriel Harvey who was also attacked by Nashe, is satirizing Spenser as an unimaginative poet passing off the work of the ancients as his own and is thus comparable to the dramatist who recycles Seneca in the ur-Hamlet.
Books Reviewed [compare to auto-list]
Gavin Alexander Writing after Sidney: The literary response to Sir Philip Sidney 1586-1640. Oxford University Press . 424pp. £68.00. ISBN 13: 9780199285471
Michael Brennan The Sidneys of Penshurst and the Monarchy, 1500-1700.
Ashgate . 202pp. £50.00. ISBN 075465060X
Christopher Burlinson Allegory, space and the material world in the writings of Edmund Spenser. Boydell and Brewer . 256pp. £50.00. ISBN 1843840782
Rui Carvalho Homem and Maria de Fatima Lambert (eds.) Writing and Seeing: Essays on Word and Image. Rodopi. . 403pp. £60.71. ISBN 9042016981
Nadya Chishty-Mujahid Character development in Edmund Spenser's _The Faerie Queene. Edwin Mellen . 242pp. £71.94. ISBN 13: 9780773456792
Daniel Juan Gil Before intimacy: Asocial sexuality in Early modern England. University of Minnesota Press . 187pp. £15.50. ISBN 0816646333
Steve Mentz Romance for Sale in Early Modern England: The Rise of Prose Fiction. Ashgate . 272pp. £45.00. ISBN 0754654699
J. B. Lethbridge (ed.) Edmund Spenser: New and Renewed Directions. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press . 385pp. £35.50. ISBN 0838640664
Zachary Lesser and Benedict Robinson (eds.) Textual Conversations in the
Renaissance: Ethics, Authors, Technologies. Ashgate . 240pp. £50.00.
Andrew J. Majeske Equity in English Renaissance literature: Thomas More and
Edmund Spenser. Routledge . 160pp. $100.00
Marjorie Stone and Judith Thompson (eds.) Literary Couplings: Writing
Couples, Collaborators, and the Construction of Authorship. University of
Wisconsin Press . 373pp. £19.50. ISBN 13:
Suttie, Paul Self-Interpretation in The Faerie Queene. Boydell and Brewer . 227pp. £50.00. ISBN 1843840871
Alexander, Gavin. 2006. Writing After Sidney: The Literary Response to Sir Philip Sidney 1586-1640. Oxford. Oxford University Press.
Anderson, Judith H. 2006. "Allegory, Irony, Despair: Chaucer's Pardoner's and Franklin's Tales and Spenser's Faerie Queene, Books I and III." Textual Conversations in the Renaissance: Ethics, Authors, Technologies. Edited by Zachary Lesser and Benedict Robinson. Aldershot. Ashgate. 71-89.
Baseotto, Paola. 2006. "Goodly Sorrow, Damnable Despair and Faerie Queene I.ix." Cahiers Elisabethains 69. 1-11.
Brennan, Michael. 2006. The Sidneys of Penshurst and the Monarchy, 1500-1700. Aldershot. Ashgate.
Brewer, Derek. 2006. "Seeing and Writing Venus in Spenser, Shakespeare, Titian." Writing and Seeing: Essays on Word and Image. Edited by Rui Carvalho Homem and Maria de Fatima Lambert. Amsterdam. Rodopi. 47-60.
Bruce, Donald. 2006. "Spenser's Poetic Pictures: a Vision of Beauty." Contemporary Review 288. 73-86.
Brumbaugh, Barbara. 2006. "Edgar's Wolves as 'Romish' Wolves; John Bale, Before Sidney and Spenser." Spenser Studies 21. 223-30.
Burlinson, Christopher. 2006. Allegory, Space and the Material World in the Writings of Edmund Spenser.. Studies in Renaissance Literature. Cambridge. Boydell and Brewer.
Chishty-Mujahid, Nadya. 2006. Character Development in Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene. Lampeter. Edwin Mellen.
Coldiron, A. E. B. 2006. "The Widow's Mite and the Value of Praise: Commendatory Verses and an Unrecorded Marginal Poem in LSU's Copy of The Faerie Queene 1590." Spenser Studies 21. 109-31.
Demers, Patricia. 2006. "'Warpe' and 'Webb' in the Sidney Psalms: The 'Coupled Worke' of the Countess of Pembroke and Sir Philip Sidney." Literary Couplings: Writing Couples, Collaborators, and the Construction of Authorship. Edited by Marjorie Stone and Judith Thompson. Madison. University of Wisconsin Press. 41-58.
Galbraith, Steven K. 2006. "Spenser's First Folio: The Build-it-yourself Edition." Spenser Studies 21. 21-49.
Gil, Daniel Juan. 2006. Before Intimacy: Asocial Sexuality in Early Modern England. Minneapolis. University of Minnesota Press.
Hadfield, Andrew. 2006a. "The Ur-Hamlet and the Fable of the Kid." Notes and Queries. n. s. 251.1. 46-47.
Hadfield, Andrew. 2006b. "King Lear and Sidney." Notes and Queries. n. s. 53.4. 489-90.
Kingsley-Smith, Jane. 2006. "Sidney, Cinthio, and Painter: a New Source for the Arcadia." Review of English Studies 57. 169-75.
Krier, Theresa. 2006. "Time Lords: Rhythm and Interval in Spenser's Stanzaic Narrative." Spenser Studies 21. 1-19.
Landreth, David. 2006. "At Home with Mammon: Matter, Money, and Memory in Book II of The Faerie Queene." English Literary History 73. 245-74.
Lehnhof, Kent R. 2006. "Incest and Empire in The Faerie Queene." English Literary History 73. 215-43.
Lethbridge, J. B., ed. 2006. Edmund Spenser: New and Renewed Directions. Madison. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press.
MacFaul, Tom. 2006. "The Childish Love of Philip Sidney and Fulke Greville." Sidney Journal 24.2. 37-65.
Majeske, Andrew J. 2006b. Equity in English Renaissance Literature: Thomas More and Edmund Spenser. Literary Criticism and Cultural Theory. New York. Routledge.
Majeske, Andrew. 2006a. "Equity in Book V of Spenser's Faerie Queene." Law and Literature 18. 69-99.
Mentz, Steve. 2006. Romance for Sale in Early Modern England: The Rise of Prose Fiction. Aldershot. Ashgate.
Moore, Andrew. 2006. "An Herculean Precedent for Spenser's 'Telamond'." Notes and Queries. n. s. 53. 461-63.
Myers, Benjamin. 2006. "'Such is the Face of Falshood': Spenserian Theodicy in Ireland." Studies in Philology 103. 383-416.
Perkins, Patrick. 2006. "Spenser's Dragon and the Law." Spenser Studies 21. 51-81.
Pirnajmuddin, Hossein. 2006. "Spenser's The Faerie Queene." The Explicator 64. 131-33.
Potkay, Adam. 2006. "Spenser, Donne, and the Theology of Joy." Studies in English Literature 1. 43-66.
Schwyzer, Philip. 2006. "Exhumation and Ethnic Conflict: From St. Erkenwald to Spenser in Ireland." Representations 95. 1-26.
Starke, Sue. 2006. "Love's True Habit: Cross-dressing and Pastoral Courtship in Wroth's Urania and Sidney's New Arcadia." Sidney Journal 24.2. 15-36.
Steinberg, Glenn. 2006. "Chaucer's Mutability in Spenser's Mutabilite Cantos." Studies in English Literature 46. 27-42.
Suttie, Paul. 2006. Self-Interpretation in The Faerie Queene. Studies in Renaissance Literature. Cambridge. Boydell and Brewer.
Tranter, Kirsten. 2006. "'The Sea it Self Does Thou Not Plainely See':? Reading the Faerie Queene, Book V." Spenser Studies 21. 83-107.
Williams, Christopher. 2006. "Hume on the Tedium of Reading Spenser." British Journal of Aesthetics 46. 1-16.
Woodcock, Matthew. 2006. "Spenser and Olaus Magnus: A Reassessment." Spenser Studies 21. 181-204.
Zurcher, Andrew. 2006. "Spenser's Studied Archaism: The Case of 'Mote'." Spenser Studies 21. 231-40.