Spenser's Monstrous Regiment by Richard A. McCabe
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Spenser's Monstrous Regiment
By Richard A. McCabe

Spenser's Monstrous Regiment

Elizabethan Ireland and the Poetics of Difference

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Format: Hardback

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Spenser's Monstrous Regiment by Richard A. McCabe

Book Description

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'.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780198187349
ISBN-10: 0198187343
Format: Hardback
(223mm x 145mm x 21mm)
Pages: 320
Imprint: Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publish Date: 17-Oct-2002
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Other Editions...


Books By Author Richard A. McCabe

'Ungainefull Arte' by Richard A. McCabe 'Ungainefull Arte', Hardback (February 2016)

'Ungainefull Arte' examines how traditional modes of literary patronage responded to the challenge of print, as the economies of gift-exchange competed with those of the marketplaces, allowing for the reassessment of patronage both as a social practice and a literary theme.

Oxford Handbook of Edmund Spenser by Richard A. McCabe Oxford Handbook of Edmund Spenser, Paperback (July 2014)

The Oxford Handbook of Edmund Spenser examines the entire canon of Spenser's work and the social and intellectual environments in which it was produced. It explores technical matters of style, language, and metre, the poet's use of sources and subtexts, and the reception of his work amongst editors, critics, writers, and visual artists.

Incest, Drama and Nature's Law, 1550 - 1700 by Richard A. McCabe Incest, Drama and Nature's Law, 1550 - 1700, Paperback (October 2008)

A full-length study of incest in English Renaissance and Restoration drama.

Presenting Poetry by Richard A. McCabe Presenting Poetry, Paperback (September 2008)

The presentation of poetry to auditor and reader from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries.

» View all books by Richard A. McCabe

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Recent books by Richard A. McCabe close
'Ungainefull Arte' by Richard A. McCabe
Oxford Handbook of Edmund Spenser by Richard A. McCabe
Oxford Handbook of Edmund Spenser by Richard A. McCabe
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Presenting Poetry by Richard A. McCabe
»
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