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SIDNEY-SPENSER  June 2014

SIDNEY-SPENSER June 2014

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Subject:

Re: Are there trolls in the FQ?

From:

"James C. Nohrnberg" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Sidney-Spenser Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 21 Jun 2014 11:00:25 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (160 lines)

The modern author's name should have been, in my last, 
Harlan Ellison (double l).

I think Frazer makes the connection (lutin, Luther, but my 
cited text is not presently to hand).   Trolls may have 
something ghoulish as well as elvish about them, and 
Spenserian characters like Despair fill the bill.  Of 
course the earlier reference to Wagner's Alberich with his 
enslaved nibelungen can make a Spenserian think of the 
poet's begrimed Mammon with his Potossi-like 
metal-smelting slaves, and perhaps likewise his jealous 
Care with his incessant smithy.  Is any one of these 
characters actually a troll?  I don't know -- George 
Santayana remarked that the word "is" has it tragedies.

On Sat, 21 Jun 2014 09:04:42 +0100
  Penny McCarthy <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Thank you for all the troll information. I'm struck by 
>the application of Luther as a name. I suppose nothing to 
>do with French 'lutin', which is more elvish? - ah, just 
>what Harvey called the early FQ. 
> Penny
> On 21 Jun 2014, at 06:14, James C. Nohrnberg wrote:
> 
>> The relation of Apollonius Rhodius' Talos to Spenser's 
>>Talus is treated, somewhat glancingly, in AFQ 413-14, re 
>>rock-throwing (at overseas invaders in the Argonautica), 
>>metallurgy (and terminal bleeding), and fatal Medean 
>>charms, but "animate hardware" is probably not as 
>>troll-like as modern-day zombies. Merely offhand, the 
>>most troll-like character in Spenser seems to me to be 
>>the monster of filthy Lust in FQ IV vii-viii, but, as 
>>said, that's just an unexamined guess.
>> 
>> There's an interesting passage on trolls in Sir James 
>>Frazer, Golden Bough 3rd edn. vol. 10 (Part One of Baldur 
>>the Beautiful), pp. 172-73, where a seasonal connection 
>>can be made between trolls, seasonal limits, and 
>>Shakespeare's Puck (see also Milton's lubber-fiend in 
>>L'Allegro 101-114).  (In Frazer the Scandinavian troll 
>>called, in the latter day, Luther, is also of some 
>>interest, though maybe not to a Protestant poet or 
>>mythography....)
>> 
>> The Tick-Tock man reappears in Harlan Elison, "'Repent, 
>>Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman" (_Transformations: 
>>Understanding World History Through Science Fiction_, ed. 
>>Daniel Roselle [i973], pp. 161-76; and the thematic 
>>relation of Book V to (the potential tyranny of) 
>>timekeeping, punctuality, synchronization, regularity, 
>>mechanization, etc. -- "the relation of justice to time" 
>>-- is  treated, mainly, in AFQ 402-05 and 407-09. But an 
>>incubus (a figurative one, such as anxiety about debt or 
>>the wages of sin) is not necessarily a troll -- Wagner's 
>>abused and aggrieved Alberich, however, clearly is.
>> 
>> -- Jim N.
>> 
>> On Fri, 20 Jun 2014 17:43:48 +0000
>> Lauren Silberman <[log in to unmask]> 
>>wrote:
>>> In The Argonautica of Apollonius there is a bronze man 
>>>named Talus.  A youthful Medea makes short work of him. 
>>>L. Frank Baum has a mechanical, "clockwork" man called 
>>>the Tik-Tock in one of his many sequels to The Wizard of 
>>>Oz.  He may well have had Spenser's Talus at least partly 
>>>in mind.  There is a rather Radigund-like figure in The 
>>>Marvelous Land of Oz, named Jinjur.  I published an 
>>>article about it a number of years ago in Studies in 
>>>Popular Culture (with some cool drawings by John Neill). 
>>>It is sad to think how familiar Spenser was to popular 
>>>authors of a century ago.
>>> Lauren -----Original Message-----
>>> From: Sidney-Spenser Discussion List 
>>>[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of James 
>>>C. Nohrnberg
>>> Sent: Friday, June 20, 2014 1:07 PM
>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>> Subject: Re: Are there trolls in the FQ?
>>> "The three Billy Goats Gruff seem to be missing...": but 
>>>see _Analogy of The FQ_, p. 772, on the alleged 
>>>demonization of allegorical agents:
>>> A telling example in Spenser is Talus, who stands for 
>>>"marital law," but acts like a medieval suit of armor 
>>>that has been possessed by a demon.  The figure belongs 
>>>to gothic romance, though one may also compare the robots 
>>>of science fiction, or the character known as the 
>>>Incredible Hulk, who is found in the current [ca. 1965?] 
>>>Superman comic books.  Another example from the same 
>>>legend in Spenser is Pollente.  Pollente stands for 
>>>"power," and he monopolizes a river-crossing; his is 
>>>specifically the power localized in that juncture of the 
>>>romance topography that we have elsewhere described by 
>>>means of words like _threshold_ and _impasse_, and the 
>>>associated concept of trespass.  We might compare the 
>>>limitary river-god Scamander in the _Iliad_, since the 
>>>hero wrestles with him in the water; but Pollente and 
>>>sons of Guizor are equally kin of the folktale 
>>>bridge-troll in the story of Bill Goat Gruff.  Like the 
>>>bridge-troll, Pollente is a threshold-demon.
>>> See, in the Prose Edda's Skaldskaparmal, Old Norse vorth 
>>>nafjarthar, "guardian of the [corpse?]-fiord," as an 
>>>epithet or term for a troll, as provided by a 
>>>self-describing one.
>>> -- Jim N.
>>> On Fri, 20 Jun 2014 10:47:00 +0100
>>> Penny McCarthy <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>>> The three Billy Goats Gruff also seem to be missing - 
>>>>but there is Grill. Penny  On 20 Jun 2014, at 08:24, 
>>>>Roger Kuin wrote:
>>>>> It's pleasing to see that the "Irregardless" school of 
>>>>>criticism is alive and well. It reminds me of Brigid 
>>>>>Brophy and "Fifty Works of English Literature We Can Do 
>>>>>Without". Bite-size stanza nuggets about people and the 
>>>>>sincerity of their feelings: das ist unser Spenser!
>>>>> On 20 June 2014 00:04, Quitslund, Beth 
>>>>><[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>>>> I hope I'm not breaking a tacit consensus decision by 
>>>>>the list to ignore this, but if not then it seemed worth 
>>>>>knowing that The Faerie Queene is suffering what may well 
>>>>>be a form of academic trolling in the Chronicle of Higher 
>>>>>Education this week. Allan Metcalf, originally an 
>>>>>Anglo-Saxonist but now a dialectician, is writing a 
>>>>>series of blog posts about the poem which offer all of us 
>>>>>some advice about editing and teaching it.
>>>>> Cheers,
>>>>> Beth
>>>>> P.S. In a possibly related note, there may be no trolls 
>>>>>in the FQ, but it is in (sort of) the movie "Troll."
>>>>> OHIO UNIVERSITY
>>>>> Department of English
>>>>> Beth Quitslund
>>>>> Associate Professor & Faculty Senate Chair
>>>>> Ellis 381
>>>>> 1 Ohio University
>>>>> Athens OH 45701-2979
>>>>> T: 740.593.2829
>>>>> F: 740.593.2832
>>>>> [log in to unmask]
>>>>> 
>>> [log in to unmask]
>>> James Nohrnberg
>>> Dept. of English, Bryan Hall 219
>>> Univ. of Virginia
>>> P.O Box 400121
>>> Charlottesville, VA 22904-4121
>> 
>> [log in to unmask]
>> James Nohrnberg
>> Dept. of English, Bryan Hall 219
>> Univ. of Virginia
>> P.O Box 400121
>> Charlottesville, VA 22904-4121

[log in to unmask]
James Nohrnberg
Dept. of English, Bryan Hall 219
Univ. of Virginia
P.O Box 400121
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4121

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