Spenserian "entry codes" to indirect satire
in Spenserian satire

Chapter 4 provides two case studies of writers who found in Spenser, and particularly in his indirect satirical tools of allusion and allegory, inspiration for creating their own puzzlingly indirect works. The chapter explores 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, arguing that these poets use allusions to and intertextuality with Spenser to signal that the reader ought to read for allegorical satire. The chapter argues that Nashe creates his Choise of Valentines in part to take satirical aim at Spenser himself, or rather, the oversimplified version of “the decorous Spenser” discussed in chapter 3, to suggest the foolishness of subscribing to idealizing views of love while also offering some sly insults to Frances Walsingham and Queen Elizabeth. The offense to the queen is clearer, though still indirect, in Caltha Poetarum, and the second half of chapter 4 uses that work to consider the possibility that some contemporary viewers found satire on Queen Elizabeth in Spenser’s Muiopotmos. The chapter closes with a coda that aims to bring together the two halves of the chapter through a brief discussion of Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis.

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Spenserian satire

A tradition of indirection

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