Spensers Monstrous Regiment: Elizabethan Ireland And The Poetics Of Difference

Paperback | July 15, 2005

byRichard A. McCabe

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In this important study of Spenser and nationhood - the first to contextualize Spenser's response to the Irish colonial situation by reference to contemporary Gaelic literature - Richard McCabe examines the poet's canon within the dual contexts of imperial aspiration and female 'regiment'. Heshows how the experience of writing from Ireland, where the queen's influence repeatedly frustrated the expansionist ambitions of New English settlers, intensified Spenser's sense of alienation from female sovereignty and led to the remarkable fusion of colonial and sexual anxieties evident in TheFaerie Queene's pervasive images of anti-heroic emasculation. At the same time the paradoxical attempt to impose civility through violence compromised the poem's moral vision and problematized its conception of national identity. The attempt to create an English myth of origin coincided uneasilywith the need to discredit its Gaelic counterpart, as formulated in such works as the Lebor Gabala Erenn, while the perceived 'degeneration' of Old English families within the Pale confounded the ethnic distinctions upon which the colonial enterprise had come to rest and challenged the validity ofall nationalist 'myth'. By drawing upon a wide range of Gaelic poets, historians, and polemicists, McCabe seeks to recover the voices that the dialectical format of A View of the Present State of Ireland is designed to exclude and to demonstrate how the Irish dimension of The Faerie Queene providesa dark, but aesthetically enhancing subtext to the poetics of national celebration.

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In this important study of Spenser and nationhood - the first to contextualize Spenser's response to the Irish colonial situation by reference to contemporary Gaelic literature - Richard McCabe examines the poet's canon within the dual contexts of imperial aspiration and female 'regiment'. Heshows how the experience of writing from Ire...

Richard McCabe is Professor of English Language and Literature and Fellow of Merton College, University of Oxford.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.72 inPublished:July 15, 2005Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199282048

ISBN - 13:9780199282043

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Beyond the PaleI. The Imperial Theme1. Arms and the Woman2. Spenser and the Rival PoetsII. 'Salvagesse sans finesse'3. 'Salvage Nacion'4. 'Salvage Knight'III. The Faerie Queene (1590)5. St George for Ireland6. Sins of Difference7. Noble Britons, Savage ScythsIV. Dialogues of Displacement8. Colin Clout's Other Island9. Irenius's Mother TongueV. The Faerie Queene (1596)10. 'Friendships Faultie Guile'11. Poetic Justice12. Savage CourtesyVI. Spenser's Ireland 1609-165013. Diana's Spite14. The Response to A View

Editorial Reviews

`Up until now, like the interlocuters in Spenser's A View of the Present State of Ireland [1596], scholars haveexcluded Irish voices from critical dialogue upon the poet's life and writings. This book unequivocally and magisteriallyredresses this imbalance. . . . McCab'e book has set a new standad for Spenser scholarship, particularly, though notsolely, that concerned with Ireland. Subsequent critical works on Spenser's Irish contexts simply cannot ignore thefield of reference opened up here.'Matthew Woodcock, Sixteenth Century Journal