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Old 03-24-2010, 12:56 AM   #1
forcheville
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Spenser, Edmund: The Faerie Queen, V.1.0 23 Mar 10

The Faerie Queene is an incomplete English epic poem by Edmund Spenser. The first half was published in 1590, and a second installment was published in 1596. The Faerie Queene is notable for its form: it was the first work written in Spenserian stanza and is the longest poem in the English language. It is an allegorical work, written in praise of Queen Elizabeth I. Largely symbolic, the poem follows several knights in an examination of several virtues.

The Faerie Queene found political favour with Elizabeth I and was consequently a success, to the extent that it became Spenser's defining work. The poem found such favour with the monarch that Spenser was granted a pension for life amounting to 50 pounds a year.

As it was published in 1596, the epic presented the following virtues:

* Book I: Holiness
* Book II: Temperance
* Book III: Chastity
* Book IV: Friendship
* Book V: Justice
* Book VI: Courtesy
The unfinished seventh book (the Cantos of Mutability), appears to have represented the virtue of "constancy."

The poem also displays Spenser's thorough familiarity with literary history. Although the world of The Faerie Queene is based on English Arthurian legend, much of the language, spirit, and style of the piece draw more on Italian epic, particularly Ludovico Ariosto's Orlando Furioso and Torquato Tasso's Jerusalem Delivered. Of course, Spenser's work is on a much greater scale than these pieces, as it attempts to define itself by the eternal conflict of good versus evil.

The fifth Book of The Faerie Queene, the Book of Justice, is Spenser's most direct discussion of political theory. In it, Spenser both attempts to tackle the problem of policy toward Ireland and recreates the trial of Mary, Queen of Scots.


The core content was taken from another PD site. This was extensively corrected and the italicisations ( and book headings) put in in accordance with the Oxford 1909 edition, edited by J.C. Smith, available in the Internet Archive.
Spelling is not modernised.
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Old 03-25-2010, 12:18 PM   #2
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Thank you very much. Was recently looking to buying this through Amazon, but now no need to. This was one of my favorites during undergrad. Thanks!
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Old 09-20-2010, 02:41 AM   #3
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As I recall reading Mr. Spencer was working on finishing book 7 when the castle he was staying at (belonging to a friend) was attacked and he had to make a hasty retreat to safety. A servant was supposed to have gotten the manuscript to safety or something but instead it vanished. If it were ever found it would be a great find I'm sure. Probably though the servant used it for kindling for his cook fire or something.
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Old 11-13-2010, 06:29 PM   #4
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I was looking for a good copy of this. Thank you!
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