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Spenser’s Forms of History$
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Bart van Es

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199249701

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199249701.001.0001

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‘Antique Praises vnto Present PersonsFit’: Analogy and History in thePublic Sphere

‘Antique Praises vnto Present PersonsFit’: Analogy and History in thePublic Sphere

(p.139) Chapter 5 ‘Antique Praises vnto Present PersonsFit’: Analogy and History in thePublic Sphere
Spenser’s Forms of History

Bart van Es (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter builds on its predecessor and deals with the linkage between Spenser's present-day heroes and the great figures of the past. It investigates ‘comparison’ in contemporary praise and pageantry. It stresses government suspicions of such parallels. It uncovers the dangers of this two-way construction of history. It explains that the writing of historical speeches or pageants meant forming an image of the present as well as the past. It adds that historical ‘mirrors’ provided a mode through which Elizabethan subjects encouraged, warned, or implicitly criticised their sovereign. It narrates that The Faerie Queene creates mirrors for Elizabeth, and as the poem grew those mirrors came to reflect a changing political present. It clarifies that the work's second installment alters the implications of the first—facilitating a play of historical analogues that even the poet himself could not fully delimit.

Keywords:   present, past, construction of history, Elizabethan, The Faerie Queene, poem

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