Very, very interesting. The idea that Spenser may have intended anonymous
publication of the FQ upsets any number of apple-carts in an intriguing way.
The position of the Letter to Ralegh is anomalous. So is that of the
commendatory verses and the dedicatory sonnets--it's quite strange that all
of this appears at the end, rather than as front matter. Odd too, as Joe
Loewenstein points out, that the front matter is not set on unsigned pages,
per the usual compositorial practice: that's why the verso of the title
page was the only space available at the front.
What's very strange about all of this is the comparison to the Calendar,
where Spenser evidently gave detailed and imaginative consideration to
almost every aspect of book design. Anonymity in that volume is part of an
elaborate strategy that includes paired envoys to open and close the volume.
By comparison, the 1590 FQ looks surprisingly inadvertent in its design.
David Lee Miller
Department of English 543 Boonesboro Ave
University of Kentucky Lexington, KY 40508
Lexington, KY 40506-0027 (859) 252-3680
From: Sidney-Spenser Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Andrew Zurcher
Sent: Friday, January 09, 2004 4:13 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: that belated dedication
Maybe on all points. I'm not convinced by the Pforzheimer psychology--it's
just as easy to insert em-spaces between the numbers as it is to move the
type (which of course can't merely be 'slid' over when packed up in a
forme ready for printing--the furniture is too tight for that). Nor am I
convinced 1) that Spenser had finally decided whether or not to print FQ
anonymously or not (of course the secret got out about SC pretty quickly,
and it added to the allure of the text; and there were real doubts about
what his reception would be at court, especially with all the political
allegory, representations of Elizabeth, etc.), or 2) that the the plan to
wait on attribution until he got the go-ahead from Spenser necessarily
meant that Ponsonby planned on selling the thing without an
attribution--perhaps the plan had been to affix the Letter to Ralegh to
the front of the volume (with a ¶ signature, or blank/¼) and include a
more modest dedication to someone else, or perhaps just print it on its
In fact, it is striking that the Letter to Ralegh is placed where it is,
no? Normally one would expect to find all that matter with the dedicatory
sonnets at the front, where maybe it had all originally been intended to
go... But what do you do if you have already given presentation copies to
a pile of aristocrats, with personalized dedicatory sonnets attached (nice
touch), and then suddenly the Queen expresses an interest in being your
patron, shortly into the perfection of the volume? What if, say, she
commands you to read from her, I mean your, poem at timely hours of the
day? What if she calls you laureate and gives you a pension?
I think the first thing I would do in such a situation would be to go see
my friend Will Ponsonby, and see if we couldn't do something about the
blank verso on the inner forme of that opening sheet. He's an experienced
guy; I'm sure he would be able to think of something.
All this is of course merely speculation (though I think we could find out
more, or make a better guess than the Pforzheimerfolk, about how that date
got spaced/unspaced; I figure it has to do with something more
complicated, or bulkier, than em-spaces).
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