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What's the Point of Pity?: Time in Spenser's Garden of Adonis

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Abstract:

In the infamous conclusion to book 2 of The Faerie Queene, the Knight of Temperance razes the landscape with "rigour pittilesse." But when the poem revises the hortus conclusus in the Garden of Adonis, pity reemerges as an ethical response to the ravages of time. Pity "[n]euer may relent [the] malice hard" of Time's scythe; and yet the gods persist, inefficaciously, in pitying such destruction. This paper investigates these Spenserian representations of time, which repeatedly associate temporality--and its control through temperance (etymological cousin to tempus)--with an unsatisfying poverty of affect. The Garden of Adonis, I argue, defends pity on the grounds of its ineffectuality, as an affective correlative to the non-reproductive forms of sexuality depicted within its borders. While the personified Time evinces heartless, mechanical diachronism, pity, and related forms of affective suffering, emerge triumphant as both ethical postures and aesthetic ideals.
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Association:
Name: RSA Annual Meeting
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http://www.rsa.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p480805_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Evans, Kasey. "What's the Point of Pity?: Time in Spenser's Garden of Adonis" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the RSA Annual Meeting, Hilton Montreal Bonaventure Hotel, Montreal, Quebec Canada, <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p480805_index.html>

APA Citation:

Evans, K. "What's the Point of Pity?: Time in Spenser's Garden of Adonis" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the RSA Annual Meeting, Hilton Montreal Bonaventure Hotel, Montreal, Quebec Canada <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p480805_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: In the infamous conclusion to book 2 of The Faerie Queene, the Knight of Temperance razes the landscape with "rigour pittilesse." But when the poem revises the hortus conclusus in the Garden of Adonis, pity reemerges as an ethical response to the ravages of time. Pity "[n]euer may relent [the] malice hard" of Time's scythe; and yet the gods persist, inefficaciously, in pitying such destruction. This paper investigates these Spenserian representations of time, which repeatedly associate temporality--and its control through temperance (etymological cousin to tempus)--with an unsatisfying poverty of affect. The Garden of Adonis, I argue, defends pity on the grounds of its ineffectuality, as an affective correlative to the non-reproductive forms of sexuality depicted within its borders. While the personified Time evinces heartless, mechanical diachronism, pity, and related forms of affective suffering, emerge triumphant as both ethical postures and aesthetic ideals.


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