Showing posts from September, 2016

The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser.

After almost five months of reading and writing about Spenser's Faerie Queene it is now at last time for the final summary post! This is by far the hardest book I've ever read, but certainly one of the most rewarding. The Faerie Queene is like a code, a book of contrasts that reveals two other worlds: the medieval-esque, fantastic Faerie Land and Elizabethan England. 
Before I begin, here are my posts so far:
Book I: The Legend of the Knight of Redcrosse, or, of Holiness Cantos I - VI | Cantos VII - XII
Book II: The Legend of Sir Guyon, or, of Temperance Cantos I - VI | Cantos VII - XII
Book III: The Legend of Britomartis, or, of Chastity Cantos I - VI | Cantos VII - XII
Book IV: The Legend of Cambel and Telamond, or, of Friendship Cantos I - VI | Cantos VII - XII
Book V: The Legend of Artegal, or, of Justice Cantos I - VI | Cantos VII - XII
Book VI: The Legend of Sir Calidore, or, of Courtesy Cantos I - VI | Cantos VII - XII
Two Cantos of Mutability, or, of Constancy  Cantos VI - VIII

The Girl from Andros by Terence.

The Girl from Andros (Andria) is a play by the Roman playwright Terence and was first performed around 166 B.C. The play is an adaptation of the Greek playwright Menander's The Girl from Andros and The Girl from Perinthos,which Terence explains in the prologue whilst responding to criticism from "a malicious old author" (referring to Luscius of Lanuvium), and it is thought to be one of the earliest romantic comedies.
It begins with a conversation between Simo, an Athenian citizen, and his ex-slave Sosia. Simo tells him that the forthcoming marriage between his son Pamphilus and Philumena, is a sham, and furthermore Pamphilus is in love with Glycerium, the girl from Andros, something that has become glaringly obvious after the behaviour of Pamphilus at Glycerium's sister Chrysis' funeral. Chremes, her father, refuses to allow Pamphilus to marry Philumena, however Simo doesn't tell Pamphilus, allowing him to believe he will be married on that very day. However, …

The Two Cantos of Mutability by Edmund Spenser.

Now, after almost five months of reading The Faerie Queene, it's time for the final part of the poem: Mutability.

In October 1598 Edmund Spenser's castle in Kilcolman (County Cork) was burnt to the ground by the Irish forces of Aodh Ó Néill during the Nine Years War. Spenser escaped with his family (though Ben Jonson believed his son was killed in the fire) and arrived in London around about the 24th December of that year. He died less than a month later on 16th January 1599. Spenser's printed works survived of course, but his unprinted manuscripts appear to largely have been lost in the fire. In 1609, however, ten years after Spenser's death, the Two Cantos of Mutability appeared under the heading:
Tᴡᴏ Cᴀɴᴛᴏs ᴏғ Mᴠᴛᴀʙɪʟɪᴛɪᴇ Which, both for Forme and Matter, appeare to be parcell of some following Booke of the Fᴀʀɪᴇ Qᴜᴇᴇɴᴇ Vɴᴅᴇʀ ᴛʜᴇ Lᴇɴɢᴇɴᴅ of Constancie.
As far as I'm able to find out, it's not known quite where they came from: a bookseller issued a reprint of The Faerie…

An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde.

An Ideal Husband is a political play by Oscar Wilde, first performed in 1895, the same year as what is probably Wilde's most famous play, The Importance of Being Earnest
The action centres around Sir Robert Chiltern, the 'ideal husband' of the title, who is somewhat of a complex man. Wilde describes him in the stage directions: A man of forty, but looking somewhat younger.  Clean-shaven, with finely-cut features, dark-haired and dark-eyed.  A personality of mark.  Not popular—few personalities are.  But intensely admired by the few, and deeply respected by the many.  The note of his manner is that of perfect distinction, with a slight touch of pride.  One feels that he is conscious of the success he has made in life.  A nervous temperament, with a tired look.  The firmly-chiselled mouth and chin contrast strikingly with the romantic expression in the deep-set eyes.  The variance is suggestive of an almost complete separation of passion and intellect, as though thought and …

Book VI (Cantos VII - XII) of The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser.

Turpine is baffuld, his two knights   doe gaine their treasons meed; Fayre Mirabellaes punishment   for loues disdaine decreed.
We left Canto VI with Arthur and 'the savage' leaving Turpine's castle whilst Turpine plotted his revenge. Now Arthur has left Turpine has donned his armour and gone to seek him, but on the way he meets two knights and he tells them he is seeking a knight who has done him and his lady a great wrong. The knights naturally believe him and when they see Arthur they attack him but Arthur, the stronger knight, subdues them and then tells them the real story. He then asks one of the knights to bring Turpine to him whilst holding the other knight hostage. Turpine, believing Arthur is dead, accompanies the knight but soon realises that Arthur is simply sleeping. He prepares to kill the sleeping Arthur but the knight stops him. On waking up Arthur prevents any attack and hangs Turpine upside down from a tree as punishment: And after all, for greater infamie,
He …

Chapters XVIII - XX of The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens.

Time for the seventh instalment of The Pickwick Papers! In September 1836, 180 years ago, New York (Madison County) had four inches of snow; this wouldn't reach England until October, the start of one of the worst winters on record for this country. September seems to be the calm before the storm so to speak; in fact, when I looked up notable dates for September '36 all I could find was the birth of the Right Honourable Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman (Prime Minister from 1905 to 1908). But of course Dickens' audience weren't to know this was at all significant! 
Once again, there wasn't much in the way of cliff-hangers from the sixth instalment: Chapter XVII ended with Mr. Pickwick's short story 'The Parish Clerk: A Tale Of True Love'. So, onward to Chapter XVIII.
Chapter XVIII Briefly Illustrative of Two Points; First, the Power of Hysterics,  and, Secondly, the Force of Circumstances
Chapter XVIII contains in it a rather explosive argument between Mr. Winkle…