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Deposit“The light of simple veritie”: Mapping out Spenser’s Cosmography in “The Ruines of Time”

This essay argues that Edmund Spenser’s “The Ruines of Time” is, alongside its role as elegy and complaint, a cosmographic work that engages in what I call “spiritual mapping”—a cartographic process that combines anti-worldly discourse with a trans-historical representation of space. By considering Spenser’s poem alongside William Camden’s Britannia, this essay highlights the textual act of mapping present in both works in an attempt to reveal the influence of an international community of mapmakers, including the Familists, who provided a model for cosmographic work that highlighted spiritual and irenic interests alongside the technical practice of representing space.

DepositIrish Mantles, English Nationalism: Apparel and National Identity in Early Modern England and Ireland

The Irish mantle – a type of long, heavy woolen cloak – came under regular attack by writers and lawmakers in Tudor and Stuart England. This article examines how a range of early modern English texts used the Irish mantle to establish and regulate the boundaries of national identity. The Irish were problematically similar to the English; most significantly, they lacked the clear physical differences that distinguished other colonial subjects. For writers such as Barnabe Rich, Edmund Spenser, John Davies, and Ben Jonson, the mantle takes on the function of signifying an essential ‘Irishness’ and differentiating it from ‘Englishness.’ Relying on an easily changed garment to signal natural difference, however, rendered less stable the very distinctions in national identity that English writers attempted to create and maintain. Irish texts from the same period, including several of the Annála [Annals] and poems by Tadhg Dall Ó hUiginn and Dháibhidh Uí Bhruadair, offer competing images of Irish dress and often demonstrate a greater comfort with hybrid identities and less concern with the idea of an Irish nation. English discourse on the mantle could help to create and police an English identity only by simultaneously creating an Irish nation against which to define itself.

DepositWhat Means a Knight?: Red Cross Knight and Edgar

Analyzes Spenser’s Red-Cross Knight and Shakespeare’s Edgar as chivalric knights in the tradition of English chivalric romance, and compares these writers’ attitudes toward the knights and the chivalry which they represent. Finds that, contrary to common interpretation, Spenser is the more modern, Shakespeare the more medieval, in their regard for chivalric knighthood.