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SIDNEY-SPENSER  September 2018

SIDNEY-SPENSER September 2018

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Subject:

Re: The Faerie Queene and Race: Book 6

From:

"Herron, Thomas" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Sun, 30 Sep 2018 16:49:55 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

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ps  Lockey has a nice reading of Crudor, Briana and "salvage" discourtesy in the article I cited previously --Tom

Thomas Herron
Department of English
East Carolina University
(252) 328-6413

Writer/Director, Centering Spenser:  A Digital Resource for Kilcolman Castle
http://core.ecu.edu/umc/Munster/

________________________________________
From: Herron, Thomas
Sent: Sunday, September 30, 2018 12:48 PM
To: Sidney-Spenser Discussion List
Subject: Re: The Faerie Queene and Race: Book 6

Dear Dennis,

yes, that Irish-Moorish confusion is the thing.  Disdain wears a "checklaton" and "quilted jack" (VI.vii.43.4) that connects him (as Hamilton notes; cf,. also note in SpSt by Judith Anderson on "Checklaton" and the *View*) with Irish habit in the View, and yet also has a turban on.

Irish men did not wear turbans, but women wore linen rolls on their heads.

See for helpful comparison the two prints linked here, one from Dürer's *Apocalypse* (1499) and the other from Derricke's *Image of Woodkarne* (1581).  Both show villainous, disdainful potentates in front of fires:  the one in Dürer torturing John of Patmos wears a turban, and Derricke's kern-lord doesn't, although his concubine (wife?) does have a linen head-covering (incl hat).

Dürer:
http://germanprints.ru/data/prints/durer/2204_st_john_torture/index.php?lang=en

Derricke:
https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Image_of_Irelande,_with_a_Discoverie_of_Woodkarne#/media/File:The_Image_of_Irelande_-_plate03.jpg

I would (and will) argue that the Dürer woodcut is a direct influence on Derricke's to the point of parody (try the eye-spy game between the two).

Also, Crudor and his suspiciously Irish-sounding mate Briana, as well as Turpine with Blandina, are "disdainful" despots, so the plot and the pot thickens the more we feed it with examples, turning it into a real stew of identity (I won't say what kind).

Fascinating to read about the Caribbean connections.

Regards, --Tom

Thomas Herron
Department of English
East Carolina University
(252) 328-6413

Writer/Director, Centering Spenser:  A Digital Resource for Kilcolman Castle
http://core.ecu.edu/umc/Munster/

________________________________________
From: Sidney-Spenser Discussion List <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Dennis Britton <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Sunday, September 30, 2018 10:56 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: The Faerie Queene and Race: Book 6

This has been an enormously illuminating and exciting discussion!

I want to return to Kat’s question: “How can we compare [Spenser’s distinctions between kerne, churl, etc.] with distinctions that were being or had been made in the context of Atlantic racial chattel slavery at the same moment? What is the relevance of situations of forced and unfree labour or service to these types of distinctions between people?” I am struck by how easily the Salvage man falls into servitude; he seems to be characterized as gentle because he presents himself as a natural servant. But I also wonder how we might link these questions to Tom’s early comments in our race discussions about degeneration with his more recent comments about the Salvage man, who, according to Hamilton’s gloss, “is not a brute who is evolving to human level but one who degenerated from the human.”  If this true, I think Kat’s questions rightly ask us to consider the ways in which the degenerate “natures” of the Irish and black Africans (via the curse of Ham) were differentiated in terms of labor and bondage. Much has been written about Irish indentured servitude in the 17th-century Caribbean, with a primary difference between the status of the indentured servant and the slave being that one is inheritable (and thus racial) and the other is not. (Interestingly, in the past few years the 17th-century history of Irish indentured servitude/”slavery” has been appropriated by white nationalists groups to undermined the historical legacy of the enslavement of black Africans—basically arguing slavery was not a racist practice, the Irish were slaves too, and thus black people need to get over slavery) Yet, it seems to me that there is more work to do in the 16th century to understand how such distinctions between the Irish and black African were being constructed alongside each other, and the extent to which we might see the emerges of white skin as a marker of “something”—what exactly that "something" is for Spenser or others within this context is yet to be determined. That the Irish were deemed suitable for a particular type of bondage suggests something about how they were racialized by the English.

Turning to Disdain, Hamilton tells us in his gloss that Disdain is wearing an Irish coat, a strange fashion choice to be accessorized by a turban like that worn by the “Mores of Malibar.” (Here, I think Kat’s suggestion that we need to think more about how difference is constructed comparatively makes a lot of sense.) We also learn that “his locks, as blacke as pitchy night, / Were bound about” by said turban—not sure what to do with that, but why should we need to know that Disdain’s very black hair is “bound” by a turban?  Disdain is also “descended of the hous / Of those old Gyants, “sib to great Orgolio, which was slaine / By Arthure, when as Vnas Knight he did maintaine,” and “oftentimes by Turmagant and Mahound swore.”  Spenser seems to be yoking various types of racial, religious, and sexual difference—there seems to be some linking of pride and sexual perversion in the connection between these two “sib” giants.


Dennis

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