Spenser's Monstrous Regiment: Elizabethan Ireland and the Poetics of Difference (Hardback)
  • Spenser's Monstrous Regiment: Elizabethan Ireland and the Poetics of Difference (Hardback)
zoom

Spenser's Monstrous Regiment: Elizabethan Ireland and the Poetics of Difference (Hardback)

(author)
£142.50
Hardback 320 Pages / Published: 17/10/2002
  • We can order this

Usually dispatched within 3 weeks

  • This item has been added to your basket
Spenser's Monstrous Regiment examines the works of Edmund Spenser within the dual, but interactive, contexts of imperial aspiration and female 'regiment' to provide a reinterpretation of The Faerie Queene as a (frustrated) colonial romance more akin to Camoes' Os Lusiadas in its political and racial outlook than to the heroic verse of Ariosto or Tasso. It is the first study to contextualise Spenser's polemical response to the Irish colonial situation by reference to contemporary Gaelic literature, and particularly Bardic Poetry. The dialectical format of A View of the Present State of Ireland operates to exclude the Gaelic voice from participation in the Irish political debate, and contemporary criticism unwittingly participates in the exclusion through its concentration upon colonial tracts written by English politicians and planters. The present study constitutes a sustained attempt to reverse this tendency and thereby provide a new perspective for the understanding of his work. The enterprise is all the more significant to colonial studies in general in that Spenser virtually invented the techniques of interpretation, and denigration, that remained prevalent in colonial discourse for over two centuries. At the same time, the experience of writing from Ireland intensified Spenser's sense of alienation from female sovereignty and progressively displaced Virgilian with Ovidian perspectives as the would-be laureate became the critic in exile. The queen's apparent frustration of the colonial and expansionist aspirations of Grey, Leicester, and Ralegh led to the remarkable fusion of colonial and sexual anxieties manifest in Spenser's pervasive images of anti-heroic emasculation. Richard McCabe argues that structural incoherence of The Faerie Queene is directly related to the perceived absence of male 'regiment', of 'mans well ruling hand' (5. 5. 25). The prospect of miscegenation, and the generation of racially hybrid offspring amongst the planter community, intensified the dilemma by challenging Spenser's notions of national identity. His creation of an 'English' myth of origin coincided uneasily with the attempted discrediting of its Gaelic counterpart, as formulated, for example, in the Lebor Gabala Erenn. A View is therefore drawn to concede the fictive nature of the myth of origin upon which The Faerie Queene relies but without recognising, or admitting, the logical implications of this concession. If Spenser's 'faerie' race is intended to function as a metaphor for the successful assimilation of Briton, Saxon, Angle and Norman into a unified 'English' people, the opposite process of cultural assimilation operative in Ireland (regarded by Spenser as a process of racial degeneration) challenges the validity of that metaphor and the integrity of all political 'myth'.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198187349
Number of pages: 320
Weight: 570 g
Dimensions: 223 x 145 x 21 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Two distinctive strengths make this book especially original. First, McCabe's knowledge of Irish language and literature provides a richer context, compensating for the "rigidly anglophone" limitations of recent scholarship. Second, McCabe challenges prevailing assumptions about art's relationship to ideology ... fascinating book. * Renaissance Quarterly *
... an important addition to the widespread recent reconsideration of the significance of Spenser's Irish experience to his nationalist poetry. * SEL *
The book offers a major reorientation of the conversation on the meanings of Spenser's Irish experience; the yield in fresh contexts and vigorous interpretations is great. * SEL *
Richard McCabe writes lucidly and has an inspired eye for poetic detail and significance ... He is also good at finding the memorable phrase to make a telling point. * Andrew Hadfield, Times Literary Supplement *
Up until now, like the interlocuters in Spenser's A View of the Present State of Ireland [1596], scholars have excluded Irish voices from critical dialogue upon the poet's life and writings. This book unequivocally and magisterially redresses this imbalance. . . . McCab'e book has set a new standad for Spenser scholarship, particularly, though not solely, that concerned with Ireland. Subsequent critical works on Spenser's Irish contexts simply cannot ignore the field of reference opened up here. * Matthew Woodcock, Sixteenth Century Journal *

You may also be interested in...

Why Dylan Matters
Added to basket
The Canterbury Tales
Added to basket
Letters to a Young Poet
Added to basket
Letters of Sylvia Plath Volume II
Added to basket
The Iliad
Added to basket
£12.99
Paperback
Poems for a world gone to sh*t
Added to basket
Emily Dickinson
Added to basket
£3.99
Paperback
The Ode Less Travelled
Added to basket
Ted Hughes
Added to basket
£6.99
Paperback
The Odyssey
Added to basket
£14.99
Paperback
Rumi Poems
Added to basket
£10.99
Paperback
Six Poets: Hardy to Larkin
Added to basket
£8.99   £6.99
Paperback
Beowulf
Added to basket
£8.99
Paperback
Halcyon
Added to basket
£12.99
Paperback
The Mighty Dead
Added to basket
£9.99
Paperback

Reviews

Please sign in to write a review

Your review has been submitted successfully.