Visionary Spenser and the Poetics of Early Modern Platonism by Kenneth BorrisVisionary Spenser and the Poetics of Early Modern Platonism by Kenneth Borris

Visionary Spenser and the Poetics of Early Modern Platonism

byKenneth Borris

Hardcover | September 9, 2017

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Platonic concerns and conceptions profoundly affected early modern English and continental poetics, yet the effects have had little attention. This book defines Platonism's role in early modern theories of literature, and then reappraises the major Platonizing poet Edmund Spenser. It makesimportant new contributions to the knowledge of early modern European poetics and advances our understanding of Spenser's role and significance in English literary history.Literary Platonism energized pursuits of the sublime, and that knowledge of this approach to poetry yields cogent new understandings of Spenser's poetics, his major texts, his poetic vocation, and his cultural influence. By combining Christian resources with doctrines of Platonic poetics such as thepoet's and lover's inspirational furies, the revelatory significance of beauty, and the importance of imitating exalted ideals rather than the world, he sought to attain a visionary sublimity that would ensure his enduring national significance, and he thereby became a seminal figure in the Englishliterary "line of vision" including Milton and Blake among others. Although readings of Spenser's Shepheardes Calender typically bypass Plato's Phaedrus, this text deeply informs the Calender's treatments of beauty, inspiration, poetry's psychagogic power, and its national responsibilities. In TheFaerie Queene, both heroism and visionary poetics arise from the stimuli of love and beauty conceived Platonically, and idealized mimesis produces its faeryland. Faery's queen, projected from Elizabeth I as in Platonic idealization of the beloved, applies not only to temporal governance but alsopoints toward the transcendental Ideas and divinity. Whereas Plato's Republic valorizes philosophy for bringing enlightenment to counter society's illusions, Spenser champions the learned and enraptured poetic imagination, and proceeds as such a philosopher-poet.
Kenneth Borris is Professor of English Literature at McGill University. A former Canada Research Fellow and winner of the MacCaffrey Award, he is the author of two monographs, Allegory and Epic in English Renaissance Literature, and Spenser's Poetics of Prophecy. He has also edited Same-Sex Desire in the English Renaissance: A Sourcebo...
Title:Visionary Spenser and the Poetics of Early Modern PlatonismFormat:HardcoverDimensions:256 pagesPublished:September 9, 2017Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198807074

ISBN - 13:9780198807070


Table of Contents

IntroductionPART ONE: PLATONIC POETICS1. Platonism in Early Modern Poetics and Spenser's PoesisPART TWO: THE SHEPHEARDES CALENDER2. Spenser's Phaedran Calender3. The Calender's Visions and Poetics of BeautyPART THREE: THE 1590 AND 1596 FAERIE QUEENE4. The (H)eroic Idealism of Spenser's Faery5. Gloriana's 'True Glorious Type'