From Michel de Montainge’s essay “Of Friendship” to Jacques Derrida’s rearticulation of the former in The Politics of Friendship, scholars both early modern and modern have sought ways to address the fluid co-mixture of bodies from which the discourse of friendship can and does emerge. More recently still, new materialist thinkers of ontology have begun to shift our attention to the ways both human and nonhuman bodies inter-animate in the making of political, interpersonal, and artistic life worlds. Together with these investigations, I argue that an aquacentric account of relation is necessary to think the subject of friendship in Spenser’s epic. Beginning with Spenser’s queer address to Ralegh in Book III of The Faerie Queene and continuing through Book IV, I argue that Spenser reimagines the discourse of friendship in terms of a liquid, transcorporeal poetics, one that not only takes to its logical extreme humoral descriptions of bodies as conduits for liquids and passions but also importantly reworks human-exceptionalist readings of ontology in Spenser’s epic.
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