The Faerie Queene   -     By: Edmund Spenser
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The Faerie Queene

Penguin Classics / 1988 / Paperback

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Product Description

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.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 1246
Vendor: Penguin Classics
Publication Date: 1988
Dimensions: 7.81 X 5.11 X 1.97 (inches)
ISBN: 0140422072
ISBN-13: 9780140422078
UPC: 051488020004
Availability: Usually ships in 24-48 hours.

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Publisher's Description

’Great Lady of the greatest Isle, whose light
Like Phoebus lampe throughout the world doth shine’

The Faerie Queene was one of the most influential poems in the English language. Dedicating his work to Elizabeth I, Spenser brilliantly united Arthurian romance and Italian renaissance epic to celebrate the glory of the Virgin Queen. Each book of the poem recounts the quest of a knight to achieve a virtue: the Red Crosse Knight of Holinesse, who must slay a dragon and free himself from the witch Duessa; Sir Guyon, Knight of Temperance, who escapes the Cave of Mammon and destroys Acrasia’s Bowre of Bliss; and the lady-knight Britomart’s search for her Sir Artegall, revealed to her in an enchanted mirror. Although composed as a moral and political allegory, The Faerie Queene’s magical atmosphere captivated the imaginations of later poets from Milton to the Victorians.

This edition includes the letter to Raleigh, in which Spenser declares his intentions for his poem, the commendatory verses by Spenser’s contemporaries and his dedicatory sonnets to the Elizabethan court, and is supplemented by a table of dates and a glossary.

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  1. Elissa Kroeger
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    April 25, 2006
    Elissa Kroeger
    I was reading some of George MacDonald's fiction and I noticed that many of his young characters were familiar with The Faerie Queene. I found a copy and started to read it, it is wonderful...full of Christian imagery and beautiful word pictures. I could not help but notice that the people who read things like this had longer attention spans than modern people. I found some commentary by CS Lewis on the poem and he said that until about 1914, this was Everyman's poem and he wished it could return to that status. I agree with him and I am going to find an abridged, illustrated edition to read out loud to my children on a rainy day!!!
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