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Reading the Allegorical IntertextChaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton$
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Judith H. Anderson

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780823228478

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823228478.001.0001

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Better a mischief than an inconvenience: “The saiyng self” in Spenser's View of the Present State of Ireland

Better a mischief than an inconvenience: “The saiyng self” in Spenser's View of the Present State of Ireland

Chapter:
(p.168) 11.Better a mischief than an inconvenience: “The saiyng self” in Spenser's View of the Present State of Ireland
Source:
Reading the Allegorical Intertext
Author(s):

Judith H. Anderson

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823228478.003.0012

The particular “saiying self” of Spenser, “Better a mischief than an inconvenience,” occurs strikingly twice in the first half of A View of the Present State of Ireland. This saying stands out in a modern setting because it is unfamiliar, but the formal and historical contexts in which it occurs in the View of the Present State of Ireland also draws attention. The saying was first spoken by Spenser's persona Irenius, then his other persona, Exodus, reiterated it to be noticed by the mnemonically-challenged modern readers. This saying also stands out as a prefabricated syntactical unit and it is further notable as an instance of the popular rhetorical figure paroemia. Irenius invokes the saying to start an argument about the English common law being “inconvenient” for Ireland.

Keywords:   Ireland, saying, argument, English common law, Irenius, Exodus, Spenser, paroemia

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