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date: 18 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Since at least the work of Jones and Stallybrass on Renaissance clothing, the materially distributed nature of human identity—not merely reflected in, but constituted by, garments and other prosthetic objects—has been marked as a recurrent and distinctive feature of early modern English literary accounts of person. This article explores hybrid objects in two works by Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene (1590, 1596) and A view of the Present State of Ireland (c.1596), charting connections between Spenser’s hypallactic allegoresis and early modern common law evidentiary conventions. Spenser’s mingling of inward, psychological states (purpose, inclination, guilt, etc.) with material objects pushes against sixteenth-century protestant rejections of embodied ritual, popish vestments, devotional icons and shrines, and good works, but emerges as a powerful instrument in his proposals for social and legal ‘reform’ of Ireland.

Keywords: materiality, objects, evidence, hypallage, intention, allegory, Elizabethan Ireland

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