Petrarch's Mourning, Spenser's Scudamour, and Britomart's Gift of Death

Petrarch's Mourning, Spenser's Scudamour, and Britomart's Gift of Death PETRARCH'S MOURNING, SPENSER'S SCUDAMOUR, AND BRITOMART'S GIFT OF DEATH1 Joseph Parry As is well known, Petrarchan poetry plays a prominent role in the allegorical design of Book III's final two cantos in Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene.2 Petrarchan discourses of love race through much of Book III, but Cantos xi and xii (especially the House of Busirane) are for many readers a culmination to Spenser's critique of those discourses. Though Lauren Silberman goes so far as to define Busirane as a "Petrarchan poet," Petrarchan love is certainly not Spenser's sole critical focus in these cantos.3 Yet to the extent that Spenser does arraign this kind of literary loving, these two cantos fully expose the inadequacies and flaws of Petrarchan love in Spenser's allegory of chastity, specifically its inability to provide Spenser with the materials to build a place to which lovers could go for fulfillment and fidelity. In fact, the most pressing danger that Petrarchan love poses in Spenser's treatment of Busirane's world­which we already see in Scudamour as he lies immobilized before Busirane's gates­is not precisely the threat of injury or hostile confinement imposed on lovers who would be chaste. Rather, Busirane reigns over a corner of http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Comparative Literature Studies Penn State University Press

Petrarch's Mourning, Spenser's Scudamour, and Britomart's Gift of Death

Comparative Literature Studies, Volume 42 (1) – May 17, 2005

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Publisher
Penn State University Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2005 by The Pennsylvania State University.
ISSN
1528-4212
Publisher site
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Abstract

PETRARCH'S MOURNING, SPENSER'S SCUDAMOUR, AND BRITOMART'S GIFT OF DEATH1 Joseph Parry As is well known, Petrarchan poetry plays a prominent role in the allegorical design of Book III's final two cantos in Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene.2 Petrarchan discourses of love race through much of Book III, but Cantos xi and xii (especially the House of Busirane) are for many readers a culmination to Spenser's critique of those discourses. Though Lauren Silberman goes so far as to define Busirane as a "Petrarchan poet," Petrarchan love is certainly not Spenser's sole critical focus in these cantos.3 Yet to the extent that Spenser does arraign this kind of literary loving, these two cantos fully expose the inadequacies and flaws of Petrarchan love in Spenser's allegory of chastity, specifically its inability to provide Spenser with the materials to build a place to which lovers could go for fulfillment and fidelity. In fact, the most pressing danger that Petrarchan love poses in Spenser's treatment of Busirane's world­which we already see in Scudamour as he lies immobilized before Busirane's gates­is not precisely the threat of injury or hostile confinement imposed on lovers who would be chaste. Rather, Busirane reigns over a corner of

Journal

Comparative Literature StudiesPenn State University Press

Published: May 17, 2005

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