Monday, December 1, 2008

Musings on The Faerie Queene and Edmund Spenser


When I read The Faeirie Queene I feel that Spenser writes in an elementary sort of way. I think this because Spenser never characterizes his story into a group, like a work of history or fantasy. Now, don’t judge me straight off for that statement, because I above all people have no capacity to talk about writing expertise. However, I feel that Spenser is justified by the allegorical nature of his work and by the fact that his writing does reflect his personality. Just like Dr. Staub said in class Spenser would probably be more fun to spend time with for a day than a writer like Milton, due to the rather comical side of his story.

Spenser uses so many different aspects of literature one can see characteristics of fantasy, historical realism, folk tales, and he also pulls from biblical ideas, all these varying topics make the story feel unfocused. The reader sees fantasy features in Una’s dwarf, satyrs and fauns also make an appearance in the scene with Fradubio. We see historical factors in the character of Red Crosse being a crusader for he has a red cross emblazoned on his shield like the European Crusaders. Crosse also takes on aspects of the chivalric knight of the Middle Ages. Also, the religious realism with the hermit makes The Faerie Queene’s world seem not too distant from our own. We see examples of folk tales in the character of King Arthur, for Arthur is probably the greatest English nationalistic/folk character. Spenser makes biblical comments with the six deadly sins that parade themselves in front of Red Crosse.

One interesting thing to realize, however, is that despite Spenser’s seemingly fractured choices of illustrations, he still drives his story home by making it an interesting tale. I also think that since Spenser chose to make his story such a strong allegory it would have been nearly impossible to illustrate the topics he wanted to show without pulling from so many sources.

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