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A tradition of indirection

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.

for satirical readings or uses of Spenserian intertexts. Analyzing Thomas Nashe’s Choise of Valentines with reference to Spenser’s “March” eclogue from The Shepheardes Calender and Tailboys Dymoke’s Caltha Poetarum alongside Spenser’s Muiopotmos gives a sense of the code of indirect satire as a flexible vocabulary of subterfuge and innuendo. In Nashe’s, Dymoke’s, and (in the chapter’s “coda”) Shakespeare’s responses to and reworkings of Spenserian images and narratives, we see the overwhelming significance of Spenser in the literary field of the 1590s. Hunting love

in Spenserian satire
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I. In these two views of what “Spenser” meant to the writers of his time, we see the side of Spenser that Karl Marx later immortalized as “Elizabeth’s arse-kissing poet.” But other writers found in Spenser, and particularly in his indirect satirical tools of allusion and allegory, inspiration for creating their own puzzlingly indirect works, and Chapter 4 provides two case studies. I explore the intertextual relationships between Thomas Nashe’s Choise of Valentines and Spenser’s “March” and between Tailboys Dymoke’s Caltha Poetarum and Spenser’s Muiopotmos

in Spenserian satire

Note that Virgidemiae, along with Thomas Cutwode’s [Tailboys Dymoke’s] Caltha Poet­­ ar­­um, was “staid” and not burned along with the others (McCabe, “Elizabethan Satire,” 190). MUP_Hile_SpenserSatire_Printer.indd 79 14/10/2016 15:35 80 Spenserian satire instead tilts at a purposefully simplified Spenser, the Spenser of decorum and politesse. Hall probably differentiates his work both stylistically and generically from the satirical poetry of Spenser at least in part to avoid the same fate for his work—ultimately unsuccessful, of course—but I believe also that

in Spenserian satire

shades into caution, caution into prudence, and prudence into more self-serving emotions and motives” (Clegg, Press Censorship Elizabethan; Patterson, Censorship and Interpretation, 17). In Chapter 4, I discussed the congeniality of Spenserian indirect satire to Thomas Nashe and Tailboys Dymoke, who used similar strategies to create satirical meanings and subtly imitated two poems of Spenser: “March” and Muiopotmos, respectively. I want to emphasize, though, that just as Spenser developed his style of indirect satire in response to concerns about censorship

in Spenserian satire
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Imitation of Spenserian satire

. With the accession of James I to the English throne, we see authors cautiously working to find the line of satirical safety without crossing it. Certainly, beast fables did not immediately become “safe” in 1599 or in 1603. During the 1590s, beast fables were clearly seen as potentially hazardous: other than Nashe’s interpolation of a short beast fable into Pierce Penilesse His Svpplication to the Diuell MUP_Hile_SpenserSatire_Printer.indd 145 14/10/2016 15:36 Spenserian satire 146 (1592), the only other published example I know of is Tailboys Dymoke’s insect

in Spenserian satire