By Christopher Burlinson
This booklet presents a thorough reassessment of Spenserian allegory, specifically of The Faerie Queene, within the mild of up to date ancient and theoretical pursuits in area and fabric tradition. It explores the ambiguous and fluctuating recognition to materiality, items, and substance within the poetics of The Faerie Queene, and discusses the best way that Spenser's production of allegorical that means uses this materiality, and transforms it. It indicates extra serious engagement with materiality (which has been so very important to the hot learn of early glossy drama) needs to come, in terms of allegorical narrative, via a examine of narrative and actual area, and during this context it is going directly to offer a examining of the spatial dimensions of the poem - quests and battles, forests, castles and hovels - and the spatial features of Spenser's different writings. The booklet reaffirms the necessity to position Spenser in his ancient contexts - philosophical and medical, army and architectural - in early smooth England, eire and Europe, but additionally presents a severe reassessment of this literary historicism. Dr CHRISTOPHER BURLINSON is a examine Fellow in English at Emmanuel university, Cambridge.
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Extra resources for Allegory, Space and the Material World in the Writings of Edmund Spenser (Studies in Renaissance Literature)
Jacques Le Goff, Roger Chartier and Jacques Revel (Paris: Retz CEPL, 1978), pp. 98–130. The contemporary proliferation of historical accounts of material culture and consumption can be seen in the following bibliographical review: Paul Glennie, ‘Consumption within Historical Studies’, in Acknowledging Consumption: A Review of New Studies, ed. Daniel Miller (London: Routledge, 1995), pp. 164–203. On the Renaissance as a period in which material goods and commodities proliferated, see Lisa Jardine, Worldly Goods (London: Macmillan, 1996); see also Chandra Mukerji, From Graven Images: Patterns of Modern Materialism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1983), an intricate socio-political examination of the conditions that permitted material culture to flourish in the early modern period.
As we move to comprehend the allegory, we seem, in the terms of this image, to peel the outer skins away: in doing so, we tear apart the physical image and its meaning. The Letter to Ralegh and Spenser’s dedicatory sonnets, then, like the writings of these late sixteenth-century rhetoricians, allow us to conceptualize the place of the material in Spenserian allegory. I began this chapter by discussing places where objects and substance were given a special prominence in The Faerie Queene. As I have argued, the poem gives us anything but a realistic view, or a simple mimetic representation, of the world and the objects in it.
Insofar as we think about its narrative in this way, it is a poem of places or locations, not space, in the sense of a coherently imagined world. However, just as I argued in Chapter 1 that the materiality of the poem fluctuates – sometimes abstract and dematerialized, and sometimes (often at the same time) excessively material or imbued with a fascination for substance – I want to suggest here that the same is true of its spatial qualities. The poem juxtaposes locations and places with varying degrees of spatial coherence, and with varying degrees of connectedness to a world beyond them.
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