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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.

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sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries in relation to one another, with specific attention to the role that Edmund Spenser plays in that literary subsystem. I aim to argue a number of points, which will be of interest to varying audiences. For Spenser scholars, who recognize Spenser’s supremacy in “serious poetry” of the period and have carefully studied his influence on epic, pastoral, and lyric poetry, my analysis of Spenser’s reputation as a satirical poet will contribute to our understanding of Spenser as “the poet’s poet.” For scholars of satire, I offer a fuller

in Spenserian satire

particular situations, and thus I focus my attention on those points that provide the most help in conceptualizing the lines of influence connecting Edmund Spenser to other English satirists. Even-Zohar defines literary “interference” in a way that indicates its similarities to what is more typi- MUP_Hile_SpenserSatire_Printer.indd 65 14/10/2016 15:35 66 Spenserian satire cally called “influence”: “a relation(ship) between literatures, whereby a certain literature A (a source literature) may become a source of direct or indirect loans for another literature B (a

in Spenserian satire
Affiliation, allusion, allegory

Calender (Halpern, Poetics, chapter 5), including the use of three different names to represent or refer to the poet. Helgerson asserts that Spenser “abandon[ed] all social identity except that conferred by his elected vocation. He ceased to be Master Edmund Spenser … and became Immerito, Colin Clout, the New Poet” (Helgerson, Self-Crowned Laureates, 63), but this narrative, to MUP_Hile_SpenserSatire_Printer.indd 39 14/10/2016 15:35 40 Spenserian satire my mind, overstates the definitiveness of the transformation and reads Spenser’s later poetic self

in Spenserian satire

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
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Theory and Spenserian practice

1 Indirect satire: theory and Spenserian practice In Edmund Spenser’s Prosopopoia; or, Mother Hubberds Tale, a tonal shift characterizes the final episode, in which the villainous Fox and Ape, having wreaked havoc in the three estates as husbandmen, clerics, and courtiers, go even farther by usurping royal power. The self-conscious Chaucerianism of the first episodes—summarized by Kent van den Berg as “the recreative fiction that animals are like men”—gives way to a more fully developed, and more clearly satirical, fictional world in which “men are like animals

in Spenserian satire

Middleton had a lifelong sympathy for this reform-minded Protestantism. In the 1590s, this Protestant orientation appears through Middleton’s use of objects of praise (Robert Devereux, Second Earl of Essex) and blame (William Cecil, Lord Burghley, and his son Robert Cecil) similar to those emphasized in the poetry of Edmund Spenser. By 1604, following the execution of Essex, the death of Queen Elizabeth, and the accession of King James I, the cultural expression of this religious and political alignment appears instead through connections to the City of London, as opposed

in Spenserian satire
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mens mouths and minds” (Nashe, Strange Newes, 282). There is a lack of theory and also a lack of continuity in the tradition, which, as I mentioned in the Introduction, gave way to more direct satire by the eighteenth century, presumably because writers came to feel more safe from censorship and prosecution. But there is no lack of evidence for a practice of indirect satire in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries in England, and Edmund Spenser, a towering figure in more canonical genres of poetry by the 1590s, became for English satirists in this time

in Spenserian satire
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Invisibility and erasure in The Two Merry Milkmaids

In James Shirley’s St Patrick for Ireland , first performed in the Werburgh St Theatre in Dublin in 1639, the Irish prince Corybreus becomes invisible by means of a magical bracelet provided by the pagan priest Archimagus, an explicit reference to the deceitful, Catholic Archimago of Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene. 10 Corybreus uses the bracelet in a plot to rape a noblewoman named Emeria, and

in Making and unmaking in early modern English drama

aprile, That of my sheephardesse the beautyes rare, The speeches wise and humble, Shall byde into my hart morning and even. Here paus’d hee and at the suowand of the amourous accents Era the winds, Era thee Aire did sound. 69 10 aye ?soughing, [murmuring 38 Edmund Spenser The Shepherd’s Calendar, ‘April’ The Shepheardes Calender (published anonymously, 1579) marks the virtual start of formal pastoral poetry in Elizabethan England. It consists of twelve eclogues named after the twelve months, resembling in title more than content The Calendar of Shepherds, an

in Pastoral poetry of the English Renaissance