Spenser's Ruins and the Art of Recollection

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9780802090676: Spenser's Ruins and the Art of Recollection

What is the art of memory? Rebeca Helfer's intertextual study Spenser's Ruins and the Art of Recollection offers a fresh perspective on the significance of this ancient mnemonic technique to Edmund Spenser's writing and, through this lens, explores the art’s complex historical and literary reception.

Beginning with the origins of mnemonic strategies in epic tales, Helfer examines how the art of memory speaks to debates about poetry and its place in culture from Plato to Spenser's present day. As Helfer argues, ruins provide memorial spaces for an ongoing dialogue about how story relates to history, and how both relate to edification and empire-building.

Through detailed, intertextual readings of The Shepheardes Calender, The Faerie Queene, the Complaints, and other Spenserian works, Helfer demonstrates how the art of memory shapes Spenser's theory and practice of poetry as well as his political view, throughout his career. More broadly, Spenser's Ruins and the Art of Recollection points to new ways of understanding the importance of this art within literary studies.

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About the Author:

Rebeca Helfer is an associate professor in the Department of English at the University of California, Irvine.

Review:

‘Highly recommended.’ (D.M. Moore Choice Magazine, vol 50:05:2012)

‘This is a fascinating, scholarly, and thought provoking work, and a formidable contribution to the growing body of challenges to Greenblatt’s influential vision of imperialist Spenser.’ (Syrithe Pugh Review of English Studies vol 64:267:2013)

‘Helfer’s memorable treatment of the topic and topos of memory is a major contribution to Spenser studies, Renaissance studies, and memory studies, and in its astute observations on Milton and others it opens up spaces on which subsequent critics will want to dwell.’

(Willey Maley Renaissance Quarterly, vol 66:02:2013)

‘Rebecca Helfer’s monograph makes an invaluable contribution not only to Spenser scholarship but, more generally, to memory studies of the early modern period... Stimulating and substantial study of Spenser’s fascination with ‘the desire and duty to remember the past’.’

(Andrew Hiscock Modern Language Review vol 110:02:2015)

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Helfer, Rebeca
Published by Univ of Toronto Pr (2012)
ISBN 10: 0802090672 ISBN 13: 9780802090676
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