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Acrasian Fantasies: Outsides, Insides, Upsides, Downsides in the Bower of Bliss

Nina Levine and David Lee Miller

in A Touch More Rare

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780823230303
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823241071 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fordham/9780823230303.003.0007
Acrasian Fantasies: Outsides, Insides, Upsides, Downsides in the Bower of Bliss

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Any serious work on the Bower needs to engage Harry Berger's generously annotated, tightly argued analysis of the structural discourse that constitutes this site. In “Squeezing the Text,” Harry exposes the workings of misogyny as a target — and emphatically not a given — of the Bower. He reads the Spenserian narrative as an instance of “specular tautology,” or self-reflection, which he also understands as an inversion of cause and effect such that the effect is misrecognized as its own cause. In a whimsical, tempting touch at the end of the Bower essay, Harry wonders “what would have happened to Acrasia had the Palmer ‘with his vertuous staffe her strooke’.”

Keywords: Bower of Bliss; Harry Berger; Squeezing the Text; Spenserian; Acrasia; Palmer; misogyny

Chapter.  6425 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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