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Flashcards in Edmund Spenser Deck (15):

Faerie Queene: when was Spenser born



Faerie Queene: when did Spenser die



Faerie Queene: when is the Faerie Queen written

Three versions: 1590, 1596, 1609


Faerie Queene: what edition did you use

Roche, from the 1596 copy text in Huntington Library


Faerie Queene: history, memory, genealogy

Granting Elizabeth authority through constructed genealogy back to Arthur (she has a questionable genealogical right to the throne)


Faerie Queene: pub dates and what gets added in each

1590, 1596 (with added books..), 1609 (w mutability cantos)


Faerie Queene: sources Spenser draws on

Ariosto, Tasso, Virgil, Homer


Faerie Queene: what happens in 1570

Pope decrees it isn’t a cardinal sin to murder Elizabeth; anti-Catholic sentiment is strong


Faerie Queene: Spenser, court ambitions, trajectory of career

Spenser had hopes for the court life when he started out, and did receive a pension from the queen, but even by 96 his hopes for success might have been waning—certainly by the time the mutability cantos emerge.


Faerie Queene: talking point, Ariosto, chivalry

The reference to Ariosto in the opening—“And sing of Knights and Ladies gentle deeds”—is supplemented by the assertion that “Fierce warres and faithfull loues shall moralize my song.” In the moralizing we have the suggestion of the “dark conceit” or allegory that runs beneath the ostensible romance.


Faerie Queene: allegory, romance

Spenser was far from being the first to fuse allegory to romance, as there’s something fundamentally allegorical about earlier romances—even when Ariosto seems completely caught up in the story, characters tend to be simplified into daemonic agents and objects become cosmic images—still, the romance is content to let the allegorical subtexts remain secondary to the delights, surprises, and mysteries of the story. Even if we decide not to call romance allegorical, it’s hard to deny that the romance lends itself to allegorization, as does the epic.


Faerie Queene: genre, innovation of genre

Call romance the allegorization of the legend or tale and epic the allegorization of history. I think allegory is what unites them. So I don’t think Spenser’s genre-mashing is quite as radically new as people seem to think; which isn’t to say that he isn’t being innovative.


Faerie Queene: formal innovation

stanza form: Spenserian


Faerie Queene: Spenserian stanza

octet of iambic pentameter followed by an alexandrine, or line of iambic hexameter; ababbcbcc; dilation


Faerie Queene: talking point, dilation

Spenserian stanza