Article

Two Cantos of Mutabilitie (1609)

Gordon Teskey

in The Oxford Handbook of Edmund Spenser

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780199227365
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199227365.013.0019

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

Two Cantos of Mutabilitie (1609)

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This article analyzes Spenser's Two Cantos of Mutabilitie. In 1609, a decade after the poet's death, the six completed books of The Faerie Queene were published in a large, folio edition edited, perhaps, by Spenser's scholarly friend at Cambridge, Gabriel Harvey. To these six books were added two more cantos and a two-stanza fragment, under the following head-note: ‘Two Cantos of Mutabilitie, which, both for Forme and Matter, appeare to be parcel of some following Booke of The Faerie Queene, under the Legend of Constancie. Never before imprinted’. The Mutabilitie Cantos were likely written in the twenty months between Spenser's return to Ireland, early in 1597, and the end of September 1598. The metaphysical issues of identity, continuance, and change are raised in the Mutabilitie Cantos from a naturalistic point of view — Nature is the judge of them — with no reference, until the final stanza, to Christian hope or divine revelation.

Keywords: cantos; metaphysics; identity; continuance; change; nature

Article.  7622 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800) ; Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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