The Faerie Queene


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He doesn't glorify sexuality or provocative behavior. You won't find lengthy bedroom scenes. He simply uses an appropriate level of detail for the subjects he is dealing with.

The Faerie Queene | Study Guide

Spenser wants his readers to have a Christian mindset in every area of life, and he can't train readers without talking about it. As I remarked to a group of friends this morning, sometimes in creating something 'clean' we miss creating something 'biblical'. While The Faerie Queene can make people uncomfortable, books like this with true, mature, biblical love, create a much more mature mindset and appropriate comfort level than clean books with shallow attractions.


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This is a full-blooded, adult, mature Christian novel. It doesn't shy away from any aspect of love life. I wouldn't have read this at a younger age, but now I think it's beneficial and rewarding. It may not be for everyone, and that's OK. In Conclusion There is so much I want to include in this review, and I simply can't for length's sake.


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I can only hope that you'll give The Faerie Queene a try, and discover it to be just as rich and enjoyable as I did. This book is one of the most talented, solid Christian stories that I have ever read. Middle English and all, I consider it a privilege to have finished a copy of this story. I give it five stars and heartily recommend it to dominion-minded readers. View 2 comments.


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Feb 02, Michael rated it it was amazing. When it comes to sheer reading pleasure, it is almost impossible to beat "The Faerie Queene". It has nearly everything that a reader could desire; action, romance, deep philosophical and theological meaning, allegory, pitched battles on fields of honor, blood, swords, spears And it is all wrapped in some of the most beautiful language ever to be set down in the English tongue.

Spenser was a master of English, and you can sense that he wrote for the joy When it comes to sheer reading pleasure, it is almost impossible to beat "The Faerie Queene". Spenser was a master of English, and you can sense that he wrote for the joy and pleasure of shaping words, molding them, positioning them just so, and we, the readers, can bask in his joy. More to come View all 4 comments. Mar 08, Werner rated it liked it Recommends it for: Serious students of literature; fans of Renaissance poetry.

Shelves: poetry. Note, April 24, I edited this just now to insert spoiler tags in a couple of places I don't think Goodreads provided that option at the time I originally wrote the review. I read this in a different edition, without notes and which preserved the Elizabethean spellings as part of my course preparation for teaching British Literature when we were home schooling our girls, and found it a challenging --though not unrewarding-- read.

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The quaint spellings and archaic diction and vocabulary re Note, April 24, I edited this just now to insert spoiler tags in a couple of places I don't think Goodreads provided that option at the time I originally wrote the review. The quaint spellings and archaic diction and vocabulary require slow and careful reading to mentally translate. Fully enjoying the work as Spenser originally intended is difficult if not impossible , first because it's only half finished; he completed only six of the projected dozen "books" that make up the whole, which plays havoc with developing a completed storyline.

Second, the narrative the poet relates isn't simply an epic story; it's intended as an allegory his model was the earlier Italian epic Orlando Furioso by Ariosto, which English interpreters of that day misread as an allegory. The various questing knights, for instance, represent assorted cardinal virtues; the title character is easily recognized as a stand-in for Elizabeth I, and so forth for instance, the Goodreads description above suggests that the Amazon queen, Radigund, view spoiler [who winds up decapitated hide spoiler ] , represents Mary Queen of Scots.

Full-blown allegory usually works well only if the various symbolizations are easily understood, or explained; that wasn't the case for me, so that aspect was largely over my head. Despite those defects, though, considered as stories in their own right many of the various episodes here prove to be quite fascinating once you decipher the language The setting is Arthurian England, but Spenser treats it as a full-blown fantasy world, where high-medieval knights co-exist with figures from classical mythology, and the human world shares a much-crossed border with Faerie.

Consequently, it's a fountain-head of the Arthurian fantasy subgenre, and a treasure trove which later genre writers undoubtedly used as a grab-bag of fantasy motifs. For me, one of the best parts was the depiction of Sir Artegall's love interest, Britomartis, a "lady knight" whose own lethal combat skills make her perhaps literature's first action heroine --she rescues him, rather than the other way around, when he gets himself into trouble.

Radigund is no slouch at fighting either; and while Spenser views her as villainess rather than heroine, that's undoubtedly not the way she views herself.

Of course, Spenser had a long way to go in his gender attitudes; the approving description of Britomartis view spoiler [returning the defeated Amazons "to men's subjection" and repealing the "liberty of women" hide spoiler ] had me rolling my eyes big time. Nov 23, Ellen rated it really liked it Shelves: poetry. I first really read this poem in graduate school with a teacher so superb he made Spenser, Milton, Donne, Herbert, and Marvell exciting.

They are still among my favorite poets. In Spenser's epic being able to distinguish between good and evil, true and false becomes imperative, but difficult in a landscape that is deceptive and illusory. Spenser's landscapes metamo I first really read this poem in graduate school with a teacher so superb he made Spenser, Milton, Donne, Herbert, and Marvell exciting. Spenser's landscapes metamorphose to slowly reveal the truths behind the illusive exteriors.

For example, shortly after defeating the monster Errour, Redcrosse meets an "Aged Sire" whose show of devotion the knight finds completely convincing. His cottage, where Redcrosse and his companions take shelter for the night, similarly appears to be a humble, innocent dwelling: A little lowly hermitage it was, Downe in a dale, hard by a forest side There was a holy Chappell edifyde, Wherein the Hermite dewly wont to say His holy things each morne and eventyde.

A sinister note begins to sound in the resumed description of the hermit who "could file his tongue as smooth as glass" I. The night, ominously "creepeth on them fast" and when the travelers are "drownd in deadly sleeps" I. The hermit, revealed to us as the evil Magician, Archimago Hypocrisy , uses his dark skills to fashion a false dream for Redcrosse wherein Una appears to wantonly seduce him. When Redcrosse rejects Una, Archimago creates another vision, and Redcrosse flees.

And so, Redcrosse's education continues within the intricate world Spenser imagines.

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Aug 21, J. Keely rated it liked it Shelves: poetry , epic , reviewed , uk-and-ireland. Some place Ariosto above Dante because he tempers his ridiculously erratic romanticism with remarkable satire, joie de vivre, and a gently sloping concession to an ending. While both Ariosto's and Spenser's works are long-winded, Spenser never overcomes the need for vindication which gradually grew out of this work.

This desperation precluded the light-heartedness that buoyed Ariosto's lengthy tale. The more one reads The Faerie Queene, the more one begins to respect Liz's desire to keep this man Some place Ariosto above Dante because he tempers his ridiculously erratic romanticism with remarkable satire, joie de vivre, and a gently sloping concession to an ending. The more one reads The Faerie Queene, the more one begins to respect Liz's desire to keep this man at kingdom's length; like so many naively obsessed stalkers of this latter age, Spenser never develops the external analysis necessary either for receiving signals nor finding wit.

He has certainly learned well his lessons from Milton , Homer, Dante, Ariosto, and the Mantuan Swan, but while he is a good student, he could never stand amongst his teachers. The abruptly unfinished Aeneid is far superior to Spenser's self-obsessed dike-fingering. He becomes so convinced of the necessity of his own brilliance that he cannot stop until it is proven.

He refused to accept that this redemption might not come at all. Perhaps he hoped, like Virgil, to underscore the injustice of his political mistreatment with a great work, but unfortunately could not muster the strength to die upon its proper completion. Each meandering addendum bears its certain character and excitement. Spenser is not without poetry, allusion, and the other necessary tools.

The Faerie Queene (1596)

While Virgil's exile may have helped inspire his works, Spenser's exile became the central and driving theme. This book that simply wouldn't end is an apt enough metaphor for the unyielding injustice he labored under to create it. View all 5 comments. Jun 10, Corey rated it it was amazing Shelves: Book 1 is among the most epic things ever written in the English language, or perhaps any language.

Jan 11, David Acevedo rated it it was amazing.

The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser

So sometimes you read books merely in order to feel good about yourself. I'm a sinner. I read them all and am proud of it. So The Faerie Queen is epic poetry. It celebrates Queen Gloriana one of the many dubs of Elizabeth I. I won't go into "plot" details in this review.

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