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508 KENNETH BORRIS authority and prestige from classical pastoral onward, and thus enabled some detachment or independence from conventional orders of dominance within the socio-political hierarchy. Surveying Spenser's career, Bernard claims that Spenser himself increasingly turns from the publicly oriented pastoral of power in his early Shepheardes Calendar to locate value less with national authorities and potential than with the inner resources of the self. Spenserian texts become sweepingly tinged by the contemplative pastoral mode. In a graceful, witty, clear-headed manner, Bernard learnedly analyses the historical and literary contexts of contemplative pastoralism, then chronologically explores its influence on Spenser's oeuvre. His sensitive and revealing discussions will prove stimulating for study ofRenaissanc.e pastoralists generally, and he .commendably ensures that his argument engages some leading related theoretical issues. Some cavils remain. Bernard's approach is generic, yet, aside from studies of pastoral itself, it regrettably ignores genre theory. For example, Alastair Fowler's Kinds ofLiterature provides terminology that would have enabled subtler discriminations in dealing with generic mixtures. Without such linguistic and conceprual resources, Bernard's interpretations tend to miss or misrepresent generic nuances by absorbing them into his focal concern with pastoral. The Edenic festivities in book I of The Faerie Queene become simply a 'pastoral of erotic fulfillment' though apocalyptically influenced and located atanurban court. The 'erotic woods and sea' become simply 'pastoral settings/ though more obviously germane to the mise en scene of romantic epic. The language of Bernard's analyses often insufficiently reflects his actual recognition that The Faerie Queene is generically complex. And some readers will wish that more had been done with the contemplative subject. The beatus ille tradition, explored by Maren-Sofie R.0stvig's The Happy Man, is unmentioned though relevant. The feminine symbolic cynosures of Spenser's pastorals, such as Rosalind, Pastorella, and the Fourth Grace, receive quite cursory analysis, even though they are the contemplative foci. Further exploration of Christian Platonism would have been revealing, along with more thorough coverage of precedents for such· figures in European pastoral. And Bernard probably underestimates the contemplative affinities of The Shepheardes Calendar, which celebrates Gabriel Harvey's scholarly retirement in one phase, and treats love and religion in ways exploring their spiritual implications. Though the general trajectory seems apt and widely accepted, Bernard's career outline of an early, public yet, naive stance yielding to an experienced private inwardness is rather unequal to the complex intellecruallife of a poet as protean and challenging as Spenser. 'Which lines are Pleasure's and which not?' GERMAINE WARKENTIN Thomas P. Roche, Jr. Petrarch and the English Sonnet Sequences AMS Press 1989. xviii + 604 pp. us $57.50 Thomas P. Roche's long-pending study ofPetrarch's influence on theEnglish sonnet 'WHICH LINES ARE PLEASURE'S AND WHICH NOT?' 509 sequences is no easy book to review. It is angry and scornful, and as such will suffer easy dismissal by those whose own scorn prevents them from digging insights out ofRoche's voluminous and undisciplined argument. In eight chapters, an epilogue, and sixteen appendices, he pursues a single theme: Petrarchansonnetsequences are organized according to elaborate numerological schemas, and their design expresses a Christian harmonics which explicitly condemns the 'enslavement of the senses' suffered by the poet-lover who inscribes the poems. English readers, he argues, have been the victims of four fallacies: narrative (the sequence tells a story), biographical (the speaker of the poems is writing about himself), formal (sonnet sequences are all sonnets), and sequential (sonnet sequences progress from one psychological mood to another). Though he ascribes these fallacies to the New Criticism (if anything they are hangovers from the Victorian era), he quite rightly condemns the twentieth-century weakness for reading sequences psychologically, as if they had been written by some Renaissance version of Goethe's young Werther. Roche thinks the poet-lover of a sonnet sequence should not be understood psychologically but morally; totally selfish, he turns 'his passion into an idol, a goddess, whom he blames for enslaving him, a Medusa, a Gorgon, who is destroying him.' Roche's reading, he early makes clear, is 'unremittingly Christian in its outlook.' The book itself is dedicated to D.W. Robertson, Jr...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 508-514
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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