Study Guide

The Faerie Queene Essay

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Spenser criticism is still reeling from the picture in Stephen Greenblatt's Renaissance Self-Fashioning of a poet participating in the cruder moments of colonization, repressing his sexual instincts in the name of a false civility, and helping himself to the wealth of a nation whose presence and practices provoked Spenser's deepest fears about his own stability. But the darkening of Spenser's world has the paradoxical effect of keeping his poem alive. For if Spenser's View of the Present State of Ireland and parts of Book V, the legend of justice, show us a man willing to starve a population or threaten it with the sword, Spenser's thought in The Faerie Queene depends on the narrative mode of romance.

The custom of the castle topos offered Spenser's romance a way to present social solutions without promoting specific programs. Arbitrary rules characterize the artificial castles where custom demands one's beard or...

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This section contains 1,836 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Faerie Queene Study Guide
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The Faerie Queene from Epics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.