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Abstracts: Volume 88, Numbers 1 & 2 (2009)

Textual Borrowings, Theological Mobility, and the Lollard Pater Noster Commentary by Anna Lewis

Like other Lollard writings on the basic articles of belief, the Lollard commentary on the Pater Noster combines familiar ingredients of orthodox catechetical teaching with the virulent criticism and complaint typical of the heretical sect. Scholars have tended to view such a combination as a consequence of Lollards inserting polemical interpolations into complete or "fixed" orthodox texts. Such a view, however, fails to take into account the nature of the genre of vernacular commentary on the Pater Noster. This article studies the Lollard text in the context of the tradition of Pater Noster commentary, a tradition marked by a high degree of movement of not just schemata and teachings, but also particular expressions and formulations among texts. The tradition of vernacular Pater Noster commentary provided a storehouse of material that was drawn upon, used, and borrowed in a variety of ways and by writers of various theological persuasions.

Ronsard, Horace, and the Dynamics of Poetic Creativity by Donald Gilman

In detailing the workings of poetic creativity in "La Lyre" (1569), Pierre de Ronsard draws upon the structure and themes of Horace’s Odes 1.32. Recalling the tripartite composition of ancient hymns, both texts include an invocation, a description of poetic aspirations, and a concluding prayer. Both poets, moreover, incorporate the motif of the four furors that, associated with Venus, Bacchus, the Muses, and Apollo, enable them to identify the source of originality. However, whereas Horace accommodates Greek thought to Roman form, Ronsard probes the operations of inspiration. Renaissance glosses place 1.32 within a Neoplatonic context, and Ficino’s commentaries on Plato’s Symposium and Phaedrus enable him to understand the role of dialectics in visualizing and expressing a harmony that combines earthly sensibilia and divine intelligibilia. Thus, in employing Horace’s allusions to the lyre and the four furors, Ronsard produces a picture of the "La Lyre" that applies Neoplatonic epistemology to Pléiade poetic practice.

Coining Words on the Elizabethan and Jacobean Stage by Robert N. Watson

Audiences in the Elizabethan-Jacobean period attended plays partly to learn new locutions, in a period when the English language was rapidly expanding, and when broader social changes created strong incentives for rhetorical mastery. Playwrights such as Jonson, Marston, and Dekker competed fiercely in this market, partly (as in the War of the Theaters) by humiliating characters who echoed the neologisms of rival playwrights. They boasted of contributing to England’s verbal wealth, and of protecting against "canting" criminals by explaining their secret vocabulary. Only by combining philological and economic-materialist approaches can we understand how and why words were coined in this great era of public theater.

Anne Finch’s Aviary: or, Why She Never Wrote "The Bird and the Arras" by Jennifer Keith

The obscured origin of Anne Finch’s "The Bird and the Arras" has inevitably produced incomplete interpretations of Finch’s lines. "The Bird and the Arras" was never constructed by Finch as a discrete poem. Its transmission has misrepresented the inclusion of these lines in a longer poem by Finch concerned with the theme of representation and occasioned by her experiences in the Stuart court and her political exile in England after 1688--"Some occasional Reflections Digested (though not with great regularity) into a Poem." Answering why Finch never recast the lines on the bird and the arras in this longer poem as a separate poem, this essay analyzes the function of birds in her earlier manuscripts, the aesthetic and political references of "Some occasional Reflections," and Finch’s changes to her poetic aviary in print and in her final manuscript.

The 1740 Roxana: Defoe, Haywood, Richardson, and Domestic Fiction by Nicholas Seager

Daniel Defoe’s 1724 novel, Roxana, was reprinted during the eighteenth century with a number of continuations. This article interprets the first continuation, a serialized and continued production of 1740-41, in light of contemporary publication practices, and more particularly as a response to the furor that greeted the publication of Samuel Richardson’s Pamela in 1740. Questions about the status and purpose of prose fiction and about the proper role of women were answered in the 1740s in relation to Richardson’s iconic version of feminine domesticity. The conservative ending and lengthy plagiarism of an Eliza Haywood "amatory fiction" in the 1740 Roxana necessitate a reconsideration of Defoe and Haywood’s relationship as early novelists, of received truths about the elevation of the novel in the mid-eighteenth century, and of the division of early English fiction into "amatory" and "domestic."

Shenstone, Woodhouse, and Mid-Eighteenth-Century Poetics: Genre and the Elegiac-Pastoral Landscape by Sandro Jung

William Shenstone, the eighteenth-century Worcestershire poet and owner of the ferme ornée, The Leasowes, creatively deployed the genre of the elegy and linked it modally with other genres such as the ode and pastoral to construct a unique medium for capturing his vision of a constructed pastoral Eden. While Shenstone provides a high-cultural model, the laboring-class shoemaking poet, James Woodhouse, who benefitted from Shenstone’s patronage, imitates his genre of pastoral elegy and appropriates it to his own lower-class voice and concerns. This essay addresses Shenstone’s and Woodhouse’s complex uses of the pastoral elegy (and ode), and relates the vision informing Shenstonian pastoral to the republican landscape he fashions at The Leasowes.

The English Destiny of Tennyson’s Camelot by Aaron Yale Heisler

This article argues that in Alfred Tennyson’s Idylls of the King the deployment of an Anglo-Saxon vocabulary and vestiges of the alliterative line, together with an overriding interest in female sexual crime and fecundity, serve a comprehensive treatment of the cycle's ancient British matter. Much of the evidence is in Tennyson’s manipulation of his medieval sources, both historical and literary, including Geoffrey of Monmouth, Layamon, and Thomas Malory.