In Spenser's Forms of History, Bart Van Es presents an engaging study of the ways in which Edmund Spenser utilized a number of "forms of history"--chronicle, antiquarian discourse, secular typology, political prophecy, and others--in both his poetry and his prose, and assesses their collective impact on Elizabethan poetry.
Exemplary Spenser analyses the reading experience of The Faerie Queene, as it is construed through the didactic poetics espoused in the Letter to Ralegh. Grogan pays close attention to Spenser's interrogation of visual as well as literary paradigms of knowledge and moral learning, and to his influences, including Sidney, Plutarch, and, importantly, Xenophon.
In Untold Futures, J. K. Barret locates models for recovering the variety of futures imagined within some of our most foundational literature. These poems, plays, and prose fictions reveal how Renaissance writers embraced uncertain potential to think about their own present moment and their own place in time. The history of the future that Barret reconstructs looks beyond futures implicitly dismissed as impossible or aftertimes defined by inevitability and fixed perspective. Chapters on Philip Sidney’s Old Arcadia, Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, William Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, Antony and Cleopatra, and Cymbeline, and John Milton’s Paradise Lost trace instead a persistent interest in an indeterminate, earthly future evident in literary constructions that foreground anticipation and expectation. Barret argues that the temporal perspectives embedded in these literary texts unsettle some of our most familiar points of reference for the period by highlighting an emerging cultural self-consciousness capable of registering earthly futures predicated on the continued sameness of time rather than radical ruptures in it. Rather than mapping a particular future, these writers generate imaginative access to a range of futures. Barret makes a strong case for the role of language itself in emerging conceptualizations of temporality.
Author: Associate Professor of English Michael Ullyot
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Category: English literature
In this study, Michael Ullyot makes two new arguments about the rhetoric of exemplarity in late Elizabethan and Jacobean culture: first, that exemplarity is a recursive cycle driven by rhetoricians' words and readers' actions; and second, that positive moral examples are not replicable, but rather aspirational models of readers' posthumous biographies. For example, Alexander the Great envied Achilles less for his exemplary life than for Homer's account of it. Ullyot defines the three types of decorum on which exemplary rhetoric and imitation rely, and charts their operations through Philip Sidney's poetics, Edmund Spenser's poetry, and the dedications, sermons, elegies, biographies, and other occasional texts about Robert Devereux, second earl of Essex, and Henry, Prince of Wales. Ullyot expands the definition of occasional texts to include those that criticize their circumstances to demand better ones, and historicizes moral exemplarity in the contexts of sixteenth-century Protestant memory and humanist pedagogy. The Rhetoric of Exemplarity in Early Modern England concludes that all exemplary subjects suffer from the problem of metonymy, the objection that their chosen excerpts misrepresent their missing parts. This problem also besets historicist literary criticism, ever subject to corrections from the archive, so this study concedes that its own rhetorical methods are exemplary.
Ayesha Ramachandran reconstructs the imaginative struggles of early modern artists, philosophers, and writers to make sense of something that we take for granted: the world, imagined as a whole. 'The Worldmakers' moves beyond histories of globalisation to explore how 'the world' itself - variously understood as an object of inquiry, a comprehensive category, and a system of order - was self-consciously shaped by human agents.
Religion and empire were inseparable forces in the early modern Atlantic world. Religious passions and conflicts drove much of the expansionist energy of post-Reformation Europe, providing both a rationale and a practical mode of organizing the dispersal and resettlement of hundreds of thousands of people from the Old World to the New World. Exhortations to conquer new peoples were the lingua franca of Western imperialism, and men like the mystically inclined Christopher Columbus were genuinely inspired to risk their lives and their fortunes to bring the gospel to the Americas. And in the thousands of religious refugees seeking asylum from the vicious wars of religion that tore the continent apart in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, these visionary explorers found a ready pool of migrants—English Puritans and Quakers, French Huguenots, German Moravians, Scots-Irish Presbyterians—equally willing to risk life and limb for a chance to worship God in their own way. Focusing on the formative period of European exploration, settlement, and conquest in the Americas, from roughly 1500 to 1760, Empires of God brings together historians and literary scholars of the English, French, and Spanish Americas around a common set of questions: How did religious communities and beliefs create empires, and how did imperial structures transform New World religions? How did Europeans and Native Americans make sense of each other's spiritual systems, and what acts of linguistic and cultural transition did this entail? What was the role of violence in New World religious encounters? Together, the essays collected here demonstrate the power of religious ideas and narratives to create kingdoms both imagined and real.
Paying special attention to Sidney's Arcadia, Spenser's Faerie Queene, and Shakespeare's romances, this study engages in sustained examination of chiasmus in early modern English literature. The author's approach leads to the recovery of hidden designs which are shown to animate important works of literature; along the way Engel offers fresh and more comprehensive interpretations of seemingly shopworn conventions such as memento mori conceits, echo poems, and the staging of deus ex machina. The study, grounded in the philosophy of symbolic forms (following Ernst Cassirer), will be a valuable resource for readers interested in intellectual history and symbol theory, classical mythology and Renaissance iconography. Chiastic Designs affords a glimpse into the transformative power of allegory during the English Renaissance by addressing patterns that were part and parcel of early modern "mnemonic culture."
This book draws attention to the pervasive artistic rivalry between Elizabethan poetry and gardens in order to illustrate the benefits of a trans-media approach to the literary culture of the period. In its blending of textual studies with discussions of specific historical patches of earth, The Poem and the Garden demonstrates how the fashions that drove poetic invention were as likely to be influenced by a popular print convention or a particular garden experience as they were by the formal genres of the classical poets. By moving beyond a strictly verbal approach in its analysis of creative imitation, this volume offers new ways of appreciating the kinds of comparative and competitive methods that shaped early modern poetics. Noting shared patterns—both conceptual and material—in these two areas not only helps explain the persistence of botanical metaphors in sixteenth-century books of poetry but also offers a new perspective on the types of contrastive illusions that distinguish the Elizabethan aesthetic. With its interdisciplinary approach, The Poem and the Garden is of interest to all students and scholars who study early modern poetics, book history, and garden studies.