- England and the Spanish Armada (review)
- Australian and New Zealand Association of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (Inc.)
- Volume 9, Number 2, December 1991
- p. pp. 148-150
- View Citation
148 Reviews transmission across what was the great divide between pagan antiquity and a Christian world. At the end of the sixteenth century, this was still a matter of babies and bathwater. Secondly, it exemplifies some of the more literal problems of translation and may be taken to show how English was developed in the process. Thirdly it exemplifies how an authoritative text can be co-opted and shaped to fit contemporary concerns through allegory, allusion, and comments on such topics as witchcraft and hell. A fourth interest lies in how theories of poetry could legitimize these various forms of creative adaptation. The use of Virgil becomes potentially problematic in a protestant environment for the poet's prophesies about R o m e could easily embrace the Roman church. Harington was clearly aware of this and reminds the reader of how many times R o m e has been destroyed. He adapted thetextto present needs by the draconian measure of leaving bits out, an endearing tactic for those who have had to suffer surfeits of Virgil in school. Despite the difficulties of using ottiva rima (p. xviii), he produced a racy, colloquial and at times lovely translation. The self-conscious comment 'Of reeding poetry' acts as a further warning about poets, w h o by and large have done more harm than good (p. 95). Nevertheless it legitimizes his own efforts and displays his underlying piety and seriousness. As Cauchi shows (pp. xlix-1), Harington perceived a number of dtfferent levels at which poetry might operate, from pure morality at one extreme to wanton delight at the other. Harington had a clear idea of the complex functioning of poetry and a sensitivity to audience reaction. As he remarked, the pencil that can draw Christ can draw cupid and 'neyther do amorows verses corrupt all reeders' (p. 96). Cauchi's text provides the translation, Harington's comments, the Latin text of Aeneid VI, notes, and bibliography. It is also prefaced by a scholarly introductory section, with flashes of humour which are the most fitting epitaphs to the author. Conal Condren Department of Political Science University of N e w South Wales Doyle, Jeff and Bruce Moore, eds, England and the Spanish Armada (Australian Defence Force Academy English Department Occasional paper, No. 18), Canbena, Australian Defence Force Academy English Department, 1990; paper; pp. ii, 195; 13 illustrations; R.R.P. ? This publication is a collection of essays,fiveof which appeared as papers given to a conference on the Spanish Armada held at University College, University of N.S.W., Australian Defence Force Academy in 1988, the rest as additional papers. Peter Sinclair, the convenor of the conference, contributes the opening Reviews 149 address, Judith Richards, Marion Campbell, Jeff Doyle, Ron Keightley, and Peter Looker contribute essays originally delivered to the conference, while Sybil Jack, David Cressy and Susana Onega contribute the additional papers. Sinclair's opening address introduces the Spanish Armada, and dispels some of the myths and misconceptions about the Armada that have surfaced over the past 400 years. The essays by Richards, Campbell, Doyle, Keightley and Looker, as original conference papers, tend to reflect their authors' specialities and, in order of appearance, progressively become more nanowly focused. Richards' essay, 'Before the "Mountaynes Mouse": propaganda and public defence before the Spanish Armada', provides an interesting and informative opening to the book. Richards explores the tensions and difficulties within the complex relationship between the monarch and the English people regarding the defence of their country in the years preceding the Armada. Camped's essay, 'Writing the Armada: the representation of an event in Spenser's Faerie Queene', begins the trend noticeable in the remaining essays arising from the conference papers of becoming ever more specialized and narrowly focused. Doyle's 'Factional use of the iconograpy of the Spanish Armada in English art and literature 1580-1603', Keightley's 'An Armada veteran celebrates the death of Drake: Lope de Vega's La Dragontea (1598)', and Looker's 'The place of the Armada in Samuel Pepys's Naval Minutes', while interesting studies in then ownright,sometimes focus more intently on the author's own speciality than on its relationship to the Armada. This is...