Oenone and Colin Clout
Reid, Lindsay Ann
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Reid, Lindsay Ann. (2016). Oenone and Colin Clout. Translation and Literature, 25(3), 298-314. doi: 10.3366/tal.2016.0260
Spenser's Shepheardes Calender was still a new work, not even yet publicly acknowledged by its author, when George Peele made the rather surprising decision to co-opt its central character and reanimate Colin Clout onstage in The Araygnement of Paris. This article contends that Peele's bold importation of a well-known Elizabethan literary persona into a familiar Trojan land- and story-scape may offer fresh insight into the early reception of Spenser's pastoral work. The recent tendency has been to emphasize the Virgilian, also the Theocritean or continental Renaissance, precedents for Spenser's pastoralism, but Peele's dramatic revivification of Colin suggests that Elizabethan audiences may also have sensed pastoral patterns and precedents for Spenser's work in other sources including Ovid's Heroides. Peele's dramatic reinterpretation of Spenser's Colin, it is argued, underscores and explores the affective commonalities between this shepherd and Ovid's Oenone, thereby linking the Spenserian swain's plaintive mode with the pastoral elegaics of Heroides 5.