Burrow, John. “A Northern Pronunciation in Chaucer, Skelton, and Spenser.” Notes & Queries, vol. 63, no. 2, May 2016, pp. 191-194. Oxford UP.
Abstract not available.
Davis, Alex. “Between Courtesy and Constancy: The Faerie Queene, Books 6 and 7.” ELH, vol. 83, no. 3, Fall 2016, pp. 655-679. Project Muse.
Matthew Lownes’s 1609 edition of The Faerie Queene claims that the Mutabilitie Cantos, printed for the very first time, “appeare to be parcell of some following Booke of the FAERIE QVEENE, VNDER THE LEGEND OF Constancie.” This essay reads the figure of Meliboe, in book 5 of Spenser’s poem, as a spokesperson for the constant, Neostoic world-view, and his debate with Calidore as an exploration of what might be at stake in the transition between courtesy and constancy. It looks at the associations of constancy in late sixteenth-century culture. Finally, it offers a reading of The Mutabilitie Cantos as attempting to reconstitute the features of a constant virtue, in part through a revision of Stoic and Nestoic discourses of property and possession. [AD]
Espie, Jeff. “Literary Paternity and Narrative Revival: Chaucer’s Soul(s) from Spenser to Dryden.” Modern Philology, vol. 114, no. 1, August 2016, pp. 39-58. The University of Chicago Press.
“We have our Lineal Descents and Clans, as well as other Families,” writes Dryden in the Preface to his Fables: “Spencer more than once insinuates that the Soul of Chaucer was transfus’d into his Body; and that he was begotten by him Two hundred years after his Decease.” This essay examines the idea of a poetic genealogy, and argues that in book four of The Faerie Queene, Spenser’s engagement with Chaucer’s Knight’s Tale, Squire’s Tale, and Anelida and Arcite develops an intertextual relationship in which paternal descent plays only one part. Linked by a process of narrative deferral and revival, these Chaucerian poems form a compilation from which Spenser derives the means to reconstruct his predecessor’s work and match its distinguished model. As Dryden suggests, though in ways we’ve yet to make fully intelligible, the key to this literary-historical exchange is the postmortem fate of the soul, which Spenser uses to supplement an absence in the apparently complete Knight’s Tale, to introduce his own kind of narrative closure, and to follow a poetic father who both rooted himself in, and extended himself beyond, the paternalistic tradition. [JE]
Gurney, Evan. “Going Rogue: Spenser and the Vagrants.” Studies in Philology, vol. 113, no. 3, Summer 2016, pp. 546-576. Project Muse.
Edmund Spenser’s poetry is teeming with rogues—false beggars, vagabonds, and other figures of similar disrepute—but his work is rarely discussed in the context of Tudor vagrancy law or rogue literature. This article situates Spenser’s persistent interest in rogues throughout his career among contemporary debates over vagrancy, examining its role and function in his allegorical poetics. Spenser is attracted to these figures, I argue, precisely on account of the characteristics that earned them the opprobrium of so many Elizabethans: their associations with idleness and disguise, as well as their skillful capacity for complicating moments or sites of interpretive difficulty by way of rhetoric or simulation. Whereas vagrants frustrated Tudor authorities who desired clear and stable markers distinguishing the deserving poor from sturdy beggars, the rogue offered Spenser a compelling figure of hermeneutic instability, an allegorical personage dramatizing the perils of reading. In fact, vagrants often appear in Spenser’s work in the context of rhetoric or poetry, which lends his own verse a sense of complicity with these popular criminals, as if Spenser acknowledges that the poet is a close cousin of (and perhaps fellow cozener with) the rogue. [EG]
Little, Katherine C. “What Spenser Took From Chaucer: Worldly Vanity in The Ruines of Time and Troilus and Criseyde.” ELH, vol. 83, no. 2, Summer 2016, pp. 431-455. Project Muse.
This essay reads Edmund Spenser’s complaint, The Ruines of Time, as a response to Geoffrey Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde. I argue that Spenser imitates aspects of Chaucer’s poem—the weepy and empathizing narrator, the moral of worldly vanity, stellification—in order to meditate on another kind of imitation, the humanist imitation of classical texts, from a perspective outside of humanism. In exploring the tension between these two forms of imitation—Chaucerian and humanist—Spenser’s poetry suggests that what we have come to understand as the defining element of the Renaissance and its claim to novelty, the rediscovery of classical texts, was, in fact, inextricably intertwined with Chaucer’s legacy. [KL]
Marr, Alexander. “Shakespeare, Sidney, and Spenser in an Early Continental Library.” The Library: The Transactions of the Bibliographical Society, vol. 17, no. 1, March 2016, pp. 40-55. Project Muse.
This article presents an account of a hitherto unpublished library list in the Bibliothèque nationale de France: MS fr. 4188. The list, preceded by an inventory of mathematical instruments, provides entries for a little under 1,000 books of poetry, theology, philosophy, history, antiquarianism, mathematics, and the trivial arts, published between 1474 and 1621. The entries are distinguished by a high degree of bibliographical detail, including information about the books’ bindings. Dominated by Latin imprints, the library also includes a number of titles in French (the probable nationality of the owner) and English, including works by Shakespeare, Spenser and Sidney. It constitutes very early—perhaps the earliest—evidence for continental ownership of Shakespeare’s poems The Rape of Lucrece and Venus and Adonis. The English works are discussed in relation to the other learned interests of the owner, whose identity, profession and confession are speculated upon. [AM]
Shackleton, David. “The Pageant of Mutabilitie: Virginia Wolfe’s Between the Acts and The Faerie Queene.” Review of English Studies, vol. 67, no. 281, 8 July 2016, pp. 1-27. Oxford UP.
By drawing a parallel between Miss La Trobe’s pageant in Woolf’s Between the Acts, and Mutabilitie’s pageant in the Mutabilitie Cantos of Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, this article elucidates the role played by the aevum—an order of duration that lies between time and eternity—in Woolf’s last novel. While the fantasy of an aeviternally permanent nature is a comforting one for Lucy Swithin, this inherently conservative temporal fiction carries a troubling politics, and is deeply problematic from various perspectives. It threatens to petrify exploitative gender, colonial and class relations in a changeless nature, with no prospect of emancipatory historical change. Recognizing Woolf’s use of the aevum serves to challenge Brechtian readings of the pageant, and to qualify recent interpretations of Woolf that depict her as holding a revolutionary materialist conception of history, similar to that of Walter Benjamin. [DS]