Advertisement

Spenser, Elizabeth, and the Problem of Flattery

  • Donald Stump
Chapter
Part of the Queenship and Power book series (QAP)

Abstract

The charge by Karl Marx and others that Spenser is a flatterer sets him at odds with the strictures of virtually all the principal ethical authorities he knew, from Aristotle and Plato to Cicero, Plutarch, and the authors of the Bible. This chapter examines the tension between the poet’s life-long project of literary self-promotion and his intense dislike of flatterers, as expressed in his Mother Hubberds Tale and The Teares of the Muses. In Astrophil and Stella, he provides a way to resolve the tension by mingling Platonic idealization of his future wife, Elizabeth Boyle, with criticism of her faults. Not only are his lofty representations of Elizabeth Tudor arguably true on Christian Humanist assumptions, but they are balanced by reproofs of her failings.

Bibliography

  1. Aristotle. Aristotle in Twenty-Three Volumes. Vol. 3: The “Art” of Rhetoric. Translated by John Henry Freese. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1967.Google Scholar
  2. ———. Aristotle in Twenty-Three Volumes. Vol. 19: The Nicomachean Ethics. Translated by H. Rackham. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1968.Google Scholar
  3. ———. Aristotle in Twenty-Three Volumes. Vol. 21: Politics. Translated by H. Rackham. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1972.Google Scholar
  4. Bible. The Geneva Bible: A Facsimile of the 1560 Edition. Edited by Lloyd E. Berry. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1969.Google Scholar
  5. Bieman, Elizabeth. Plato Baptized: Towards the Interpretation of Spenser’s Mimetic Fictions. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1988.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Borris, Kenneth. Visionary Spenser and the Poetics of Early Modern Platonism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bullinger, Henry. “Sermon iv, The Ninth Precept.” In The Decades of Henry Bullinger, Minister of the Church of Zurich: The Third Decade, translated by H.I., 119. Cambridge, England: The Parker Society, Cambridge University Press, 1850.Google Scholar
  8. Caspari, Fritz. Humanism and the Social Order in Tudor England. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954.Google Scholar
  9. Cheney, Patrick. Spenser’s Famous Flight: A Renaissance Idea of a Literary Career. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cicero. De Officiis. Translated by Walter Miller. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1913.Google Scholar
  11. ———. The Ethical Writings of Cicero: De Amicita, or on Friendship. Translated by Andrew P. Peabody. Boston: Little, Brown, & Co., 1887.Google Scholar
  12. Eccles, Mark. “Burghley, William Cecil, Lord.” In Hamilton, The Spenser Encyclopedia, 121–22.Google Scholar
  13. Eden, Kathy. Hermeneutics and the Rhetorical Tradition. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1997.Google Scholar
  14. Elizabethan poets, various. In “Part Ten: Lingering Images of the Queen.” In Elizabeth I and Her Age: Authoritative Texts, Commentary, and Criticism, edited by D. Stump and S.M. Felch, 551–623. New York: W. W. Norton, 2009.Google Scholar
  15. Ellrodt, Robert. Neoplatonism in the Poetry of Spenser. Geneva: Librairie E. Droz, 1960.Google Scholar
  16. Fulwell, Ulpian. The First Parte, of the Eyghth Liberal Science: Entituled, Ars Adulandi, the Arte of Flatterie with the Confutation Therof…. London: William Hoskins, 1576.Google Scholar
  17. Gibbs, Donna. Spenser’s “Amoretti”: A Critical Study. Aldershot, England: Scholar Press, 1990.Google Scholar
  18. Greenlaw, Edwin, Charles Grosvenor Osgood, and Frederick Morgan Padelford, eds. The Works of Edmund Spenser: A Variorum Edition. 9 vols. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1932–1957.Google Scholar
  19. Guy, John. Elizabeth: The Later Years. New York: Penguin, 2016.Google Scholar
  20. Hadfield, Andrew. “The Death of the Knight with the Scales and the Question of Justice in The Faerie Queene.” Essays in Criticism 65, no. 1 (2015): 13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hamilton, A.C. “Sidney’s Humanism.” In Sir Philip Sidney’s Achievements, edited by M[ichael] J.B. Allen, Dominic Baker-Smith, Arthur F. Kinney, and Margaret Sullivan, 109–16. New York: AMS, 1990.Google Scholar
  22. Hamilton, A.C., Donald Cheney, W.F. Blissett, David A. Richardson, and William W. Barker, eds. The Spenser Encyclopedia. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press, 1990.Google Scholar
  23. Harington, John. “From Reminiscences of the Queen from a Letter to Robert Markham (1606).” In Elizabeth I and Her Age: Authoritative Texts, Commentary, and Criticism, edited by D. Stump and S.M. Felch, 639. New York: W. W. Norton, 2009.Google Scholar
  24. Haydn, Hiram. The Counter Renaissance. New York: Scribner, 1950.Google Scholar
  25. Herodotus. Herodotus. Translated by A.D. Godley. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1982.Google Scholar
  26. Johnson, William C. Spenser’s “Amoretti”: Analogies of Love. Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 1990.Google Scholar
  27. Kinney, Arthur F. “Humanist Poetics and Elizabethan Fiction.” Renaissance Papers (1978): 31–45.Google Scholar
  28. Larson, Kenneth, ed. Edmund Spenser’s “Amoretti” and “Epithalamion”: A Critical Edition. Tempe, AZ: Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Editions, 1987.Google Scholar
  29. Neal, J.E. Queen Elizabeth I: A Biography. Reprinted, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Anchor Books, 1957.Google Scholar
  30. Plato. Phaedrus. Translated by Harold North Fowler, 245A. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1913.Google Scholar
  31. ———. Plato in Twelve Volumes. Vol. III: Gorgias. Translated by W.R.M. Lamb. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983.Google Scholar
  32. ———. The Republic. Translated by Paul Shorey. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1968.Google Scholar
  33. Plutarch. How to Tell a Flatterer from a Friend. Translated by Mr. Tullie. In Plutarch’s Morals. Edited by William W. Goodwin. Boston: Little, Brown, & Co., 1878.Google Scholar
  34. Puttenham, George. “From the Partheniads (1579).” In Elizabeth I and Her Age: Authoritative Texts, Commentary, and Criticism, edited by D. Stump and S.M. Felch, 569–71. New York: W. W. Norton, 2009.Google Scholar
  35. Rollinson, Philip B. “Cicero.” In Hamilton, The Spenser Encyclopedia, 164–65.Google Scholar
  36. Sidney, Sir Philip. An Apology for Poetry. Edited by Geoffrey Shepherd. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1973.Google Scholar
  37. Spenser, Edmund. Amoretti. In Greenlaw, Variorum. Vol. 8: The Minor Poems, Part Two, edited by Charles Grosvenor Osgood, Henry Gibbons Lotspeach, and Dorothy E. Mason, 191–232. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Press, 1947.Google Scholar
  38. ———. Colin Clovts Come Home Againe. In Greenlaw, Variorum. Vol. 7: The Minor Poems, Part One, edited by Charles Grosvenor Osgood, Henry Gibbons Lotspeach, and Dorothy E. Mason, 143–72. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1943.Google Scholar
  39. ———. The Faerie Queene. Edited by A.C. Hamilton, text edited by Hiroshi Yamashita and Toshiyuki Suzuki. 2nd ed. London: Longman, 2001.Google Scholar
  40. ———. Letter to Ralegh. In Spenser, The Faerie Queene, edited by A.C. Hamilton, 714–15. London: Longman, 2001.Google Scholar
  41. Stillman, Robert E. Philip Sidney and the Poetics of Renaissance Cosmopolitanism. Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 2008.Google Scholar
  42. Strong, Roy. The Cult of Elizabeth: Elizabethan Portraiture and Pageantry. London: Thames & Hudson, 1977.Google Scholar
  43. Stump, Donald. “Hamlet, Cain and Abel, and the Pattern of Divine Providence.” Renaissance Papers (1985): 27–38.Google Scholar
  44. Stump, Donald, and Susan M. Felch, eds. Elizabeth I and Her Age: Authoritative Texts, Commentary, and Criticism. New York: W. W. Norton, 2009.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald Stump
    • 1
  1. 1.Saint Louis UniversitySt. LouisUSA

Personalised recommendations