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Fierce Wars and Faithful Loves Bk. I: Edmund Spenser's the Faerie QueeneFierce Wars and Faithful Loves Bk. I: Edmund Spenser's the Faerie Queene
Edmund Spenser, Roy Maynard
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Edmund Spenser (1552-99) ranks just below Shakespeare, with Chaucer and Milton, in the pantheon of great writers. In The Faerie Queene, he spins a sub-created fantasy universe that would be the model for Tolkien and Lewis. This poet, whom Milton considered to be a better teacher than the medieval theologians, wrote an epic tale of adventure, love noble deeds, and faith. And it all symbolizes the Reformation.

Despite all of his acknowledged greatness, almost no one reads Spenser anymore. Roy Maynard takes the first book of The Faerie Queene, exploring the concept of Holiness with the caracter of the Redcross Knight, and makes Spenser accessible again. He does this not by dumbing it down, but by deftly modernizing the spelling, explaining the obscurities in clever asides, and cueing the reader towards the right response.

In today's cultural, aesthetic, and educational wars, Spenser is a mighty ally for 21st century Christians. Maynard proves himself a worthy mediator between Spenser's time and ours.
     


 
The Faerie QueeneThe Faerie Queene
Edmund Spenser
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It was the first epic in English and established the possiblities of heroic poetry in the English tradition. Milton called Spenser a better teacher than Scotus or Aquinas, and the rythmical music and rhetorical control of The Faerie Queene, no less than its learning, have delighted poets for four centuries. Eighteenth century poets imitated Spenser with abandon and Wordsworth, Keats and Tennyson were deeply influenced by the sensuousness of the work. Spenser's intention was to rival, or surpass, the epic romances of the Italian poets Ariosto and Tasso through the "darke conceit" of his poem, which brilliantly unites the medieval romance and renaissance epic. Spenser is the culmination of an ancient tradition begun by Virgil, yet the tone and atmosphere of The Faerie Queene are distinctively his own.
     

 
The Shorter PoemsThe Shorter Poems
Edmund Spenser
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While The Faerie Queene counts as his masterpiece, it is in his shorter poetry that Edmund Spenser showed his supreme versatility and skill as eulogist, satirist, pastoral poet and prophet. The Shepheardes Calendar marks a turning point in literary history, as the anonymous author confidently asserts his faith in the native vigour of the English language and stakes his claim to be the successor of Virgil and Chaucer. The Amoretti and Fowre Hymnes reveal an acute sense of how erotic and even religious love are shot through with vanity and narcissism. Mother Hubberds Tale-an Elizabethan Animal Farm-savagely satirizes the sexual jealousy and political disarray at the heart of the Queen's court. And even the Epithalamion, a rare celebration of consummated desire, is offset by far darker echoes.
     

 
The Elfin Knight: Book 2 of Edmund Spenser's 'The Faerie Queene'The Elfin Knight: Book 2 of Edmund Spenser's 'The Faerie Queene'
Edmund Spenser

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