Herrick, Fanshawe and the Politics of Intertextuality: Classical Literature and Seventeenth-century Royalism
Royalist polemic and a sophisticated use of classical allusion are at the heart of the two 1648 volumes which are the focus of this study, yet there arc striking differences in their politics and in the ways they represent their relation to poetry of the past. Pugh's study of these brilliant but neglected poets brings nuance to our understanding of literary royalism, and considers the interconnections between politics and poetics.
Through a series of detailed close readings revealing the complex and nuanced significance of classical allusion in individual poems, together with an historically informed consideration of the polemical force of both publishing acts, Pugh aligns the two poets with competing factions within the royalist camp. These political differences, she argues, are reflected not only in the idea of monarchy explicitly articulated in their poetry, but also in the distinctive theories of intertextuality foregrounded in each volume, Herrick's absolutism going hand-in-hand with his peculiarly transcendental image of poetic imitation as an immortal symposium, Fanshawe's constitutionalism with a distinctly humanist approach. Offering a new argument for the unity of Herrick's vast collection Hesperides, and making a case for the rehabilitation of Richard Fanshawe, this engaging book will also be of wider interest to anyone concerned with politics in seventeenth-century literature or with classical reception.
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