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A tradition of indirection
Author: Rachel E. Hile

This book examines the satirical poetry of Edmund Spenser and argues for his importance as a model and influence for younger poets writing satires in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. The book focuses on reading satirical texts of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries in relation to one another, with specific attention to the role that Edmund Spenser plays in that literary subsystem. The book connects key Spenserian texts in The Shepheardes Calender and the Complaints volume with poems by a range of authors in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, including Joseph Hall, Thomas Nashe, Tailboys Dymoke, Thomas Middleton, and George Wither to advance the thesis that Spenser was seen by his contemporaries as highly relevant to satire in Elizabethan England. For scholars of satire, the book offers a fuller discussion and theorization of the type of satire that Spenser wrote, “indirect satire,” than has been provided elsewhere. A theory of indirect satire benefits not just Spenser studies, but satire studies as well. For scholars of English Renaissance satire in particular, who have tended to focus on the formal verse satires of the 1590s to the exclusion of attention to more indirect forms such as Spenser’s, this book is a corrective, an invitation to recognize the importance of a style of satire that has received little attention.

Open Access (free)
Rachel E. Hile

Introduction We know that all texts are indeterminate, incomplete … but some are extra-indeterminate, written by design to be extra-incomplete, to require, more than other texts, that the reader transfer meaning from other texts and from other semiotic fields altogether in order to correctly interpret the meaning. This book focuses on one such type of text, what I call “indirect satire,” by which I mean satirical writing that the reader cannot understand as satire without this intersemiotic transfer of meaning into the textual interpretation. Sometimes, in the

in Spenserian satire
Open Access (free)
Rachel E. Hile

“indirect satire” in their passages about satire. Rather, we see this type of writing described in their passages on pastoral, as already quoted in Chapter 2 (in pastoral, Puttenham writes, poets use “rude speeches to insinuate and glance at greater matters”; Art, 128; and according to Sidney, poets “under the pretty tales of wolves and sheep” sometimes “include the whole considerations of wrongdoing and patience”; Defence, 127). Certainly all of the writers discussed in this book had a clear understanding of how literary works could subversively speak to sensitive

in Spenserian satire
Open Access (free)
Theory and Spenserian practice
Rachel E. Hile

to begin the process of thinking analytically about indirect satire, an understudied and undertheorized form of satirical writing. Numerous scholars have described Spenser’s satirical methodology in ways that emphasize his efforts to balance goals of criticism with a strong impulse toward self-preservation: Lauren Silberman comments on the slipperiness of potential topical identifications in Mother Hubberds Tale: “As the poet holds up mirrors more than one to himself and his objects … . Spenser makes it virtually impossible to isolate a discrete political attack on

in Spenserian satire
Rachel E. Hile

and early 1600s, and so I leave aside an in-depth analysis of satire in The Faerie Queene to focus, as my subtitle indicates, on a tradition. My overall goal is to create a fuller and more nuanced view of Spenser’s influence on satirical poetry in England in the 1590s and the impact of Spenser’s role in the literary system on poets writing satire. Even though Spenser has never been thought of as primarily a satirist, his over- MUP_Hile_SpenserSatire_Printer.indd 64 14/10/2016 15:35 Spenser and the English literary system 65 whelming importance to poetry in

in Spenserian satire
Rachel E. Hile

4 Spenserian “entry codes” to  ­indirect  satire In his own satirical poetry, Edmund Spenser criticized indirectly, requiring readers to interpret clues carefully to access satirical meanings. For some readers, such as Joseph Hall and William Bedell, Spenser’s reputation as a decorous, conservative poet seemed to obscure awareness of him as also demonstrating an interest in or affinity for satirical writing, as discussed in Chapter 3. This chapter offers a corrective in the form of “case studies” of three poets who were quite sensitively attuned to the potential

in Spenserian satire
Rachel E. Hile

, with fox, ape, dolphin, and spider imagery used to refer to him (Bellany and McRae, “Early Stuart libels”). Middleton’s sly use of a fardel on a back to allude to Cecil’s crooked back is echoed by other anti-Cecil writers. Writing in 1592, Verstegan jests that Robert Cecil’s father should have helped him to a job as “writer vnder some clerck or officier of the courte,” because “he was fittest for such purpose, for that he caried his deske on his back” (Verstegan, A Declaration, 71). Twenty years later, following the Earl of Salisbury’s death in 1612, a libelist

in Spenserian satire
Open Access (free)
Imitation of Spenserian satire
Rachel E. Hile

6 After the Bishops’ Ban: imitation of Spenserian satire Spenser’s death in 1599, the promulgation of the Bishops’ Ban in 1599, and the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603—each of these could be expected to affect the writing of poetry in England, with Spenser’s influence becoming modified by nostalgia, authors trying to interpret the text of the Bishops’ Ban to determine how to respond to its directive “That noe Satyres or Epigramms be printed hereafter” (qtd. in McCabe, “Elizabethan satire,” 188), and everyone watching to see what degree of oversight of the

in Spenserian satire
Affiliation, allusion, allegory
Rachel E. Hile

true allegorical and satirical pretext in the Calender is of course John Skelton’s Collyn Cloute. This book takes the form that it does from my interest not just in the pretexts important to understanding Spenser’s satirical writing but also in Spenser’s satirical poems as themselves pretexts for younger poets. Young Spenser signaled something about the poet he wanted to be by claiming the name Colin Clout as his alter ego and thus linking himself MUP_Hile_SpenserSatire_Printer.indd 38 14/10/2016 15:35 Spenser’s satire of indirection 39 to Skelton. For other

in Spenserian satire