After the Bishops’ Ban

Imitation of Spenserian satire

in Spenserian satire

The final chapter looks at two moments in the early seventeenth century: Michael Drayton’s response to the change of monarchs in two poems, To the Maiestie of King James from 1603 and The Owle from 1604, and George Wither’s self-fashioning as a Spenserian satirist in a series of four texts a decade later, from Abuses, Stript and Whipt (1613) to The Shepheards Hunting (1615). In both cases, the authors signal their allegiances to Spenser indirectly, with Drayton creating in The Owle an animal satire that references Spenser by alluding to his poetic forebears and Wither including pervasive animal and beast fable imagery in his formal verse satires in Abuses, Stript and Whipt. Significantly, though, the imprisonment that Wither endured as punishment for publishing Abuses, Stript and Whipt led to such an increase in his reputation as a courageous poet that he felt confident enough, in The Shepheards Hunting, to allegorize his own life and situation in ways that depict him as the new Spenserian satirist.

Spenserian satire

A tradition of indirection

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