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Faerie Queene (Wordsworth Classics of World Literature) (Wordsworth Classics of World Literature) [Paperback]

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First Sentence
Lo I the man, whose Muse whilome did maske, As time her taught in lowly Shepheards weeds, Am now enforst a far vnfitter taske, For trumpets sterne to chaunge mine Oaten reeds, And sing of Knights and Ladies gende deeds; Whose prayses hauing slept in silence long, Me, all too meane, the sacred Muse areeds To blazon broad emongst her learned throng: Fierce warres and faithfull loues shall moralize my song. Read the first page
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The writing and the artistry save the day. Oct. 1 2001
By fblaw6
"For the method of a poet historical is not such as of an historiographer; for an historiographer discourseth of affairs orderly as they were done, accounting as well the times as the actions; but a poet thrusteth into the midst even where it most concerneth him, and there recoursing to the things forepast, and divining of things to come, makes a pleasing analysis of it all"
Spenser wrote a letter to Walter Raleigh (above excerpted) to explain this strange cacophony of FQ, a mixture of ancient mythology, Renaissance Christian morality and enough obscure symbolism for an academic brigade; a tribute to country and queen. Knights from the court of the Faerie Queen conduct a search and destroy mission against evil in the form of a pack of minor villains pecking away at the heroes of the poem, but each one perpetually foiled. Such as Archimago, the witch Hectate, the philanderer Malbecco receive comeuppances in jousts, internecine squabbles or palace tours, with this type of constant action occupying canto after canto that at some point the content aspect becomes a bit wearisome. Amid this "action" are endless lists of virtues allegorized in each book, the reader being skewered to a Platonic ideal especially evident in females with such as the knight Britomart representing strenght and accomplishment in women, Una, the ultimate fantasy chick, and several others with such heights of description one does expect something mind blowing ahead, perhaps at last the perfect woman, to which in FQ Spenser comes close without cigar. The joust with the evil forces of nature seems unique to Spenser, who seizes the reader by the lapels with an in one's face style of optimism such that worst elements suffer defeat by contrast with more worthy opponents.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spenser's Enchanted Universe. June 13 2001
By tepi
THE FAERIE QUEENE. By Edmund Spenser. Edited by Thomas P. Roche, Jr with the assistance of C. Patrick O'Donnell, Jr. 1247 pp. Penguin English Poets, 1978 and Reprinted.
Although everyone has heard of Edmund Spenser's amazing narrative poem, 'The Faerie Queene,' it's a pity that few seem to read it. To a superficial glance it may appear difficult, although the truth is that it's basically a fascinating story that even an intelligent child can follow with enjoyment and interest.
It appears difficult only because of Spenser's deliberately antique English. He needed such an English because he was creating a whole new dimension of enchantment, a magical world, a land of mystery and adventure teeming with ogres and giants and witches, hardy knights both brave and villainous, dwarfs, magicians, dragons, and maidens in distress, wicked enchanters, gods, demons, forests, caves, and castles, amorous encounters, fierce battles, etc., etc.
To evoke an atmosphere appropriate to such a magical world, a world seemingly distant in both time and place from ours, Spenser created his own special brand of English. Basically his language is standard Sixteenth Century English, but with antique spellings and a few medievalisms thrown in, along with a number of new words that Spenser coined himself. The opening lines of the poem are typical :
"A Gentle Knight was pricking on the plain, / Y cladd in mightie armes and siluer shielde, / Wherein old dints of deepe wounds did remain, / The cruell markes of many a bloudy fielde...." (page 41).
If, instead of reading with the eye, we read with the ear or aloud, the strange spellings resolve themselves into perfectly familiar words such as clad (clothed), mighty, arms, silver, shield, deep, cruel, marks, bloody, field.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Discover How the Damsel Rescues the Knight Dec 3 1999
By jin
I read Edmund Spenser's "Faerie Queene" as an assignment in my English Renaissance Literature class, but the book is one that I will keep in my own collection from here on out. The story was delightful and encouraged the imagination with just enough description to outline the picture, while leaving plenty of room for the audience to fill in the colors. Look for the vast amounts of symbolism throughout the poem. My favorite character of the play was Una. The princess who travels with the destined Saint George and remains faithful to both God and her love despite what harsh elements might come in her way. She was human in the sense that she was frightened, she cried, and she got herself in trouble, but she was an admirable character in her strengths, endurance and patience. Within her character, she encouraged a strong female role in a time when the potential of women had yet to be recognized. With Elizabeth as queen, the patriarchal dominance that was known through most of the world was startled. Edmund Spenser, however, knew the strength in his queen and admired it. Perhaps it his respect for Elizabeth that is carried through in his development of Una. As a whole, the "Faerie Queen" was simple enough for those who are not absorbed in classical literature. It had gory battles, risky sexual encounters, and a tender message of love and forgiveness. Most of all, it emphasized the mercy and grace that is found through the love of our God and the sacrafice of his son Jesus Christ. Another strong message that was conveyed through "Faerie Queene" was that of personal growth and taking the chance to discover what you have inside, not what you have always been. Read more ›
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Sword and Sorcery!
This is the first epic poem written in English. It is a work of English imagination coloured with some classicism. Read more
Published on June 26 2004 by Plotinus
4.0 out of 5 stars I've had/enjoyed a written copy for a long long time
It is a classic truism: until you get it in writing, you have nothing. This work of art is a classic you too can get in writing. And it's quite enjoyable. Beware though! Read more
Published on March 19 2004 by Mark Guzowski
5.0 out of 5 stars This is THE work of epic fantasy!
For those who are looking for an older take on series fantasy, look no further. The Faerie Queene is often praised for its beautiful use of language and for the fact that it was... Read more
Published on Feb. 22 2004 by PurpleKat
5.0 out of 5 stars Intricated.
It is one of the great classics of English literature, although its status has been far more contested than that of the works of Shakespeare or Milton. Read more
Published on Nov. 13 2003 by "ranagrossa"
5.0 out of 5 stars Queene Exam
I had to read this for an English class, and I must say, it was sheer Hell. After I began to understand it, however, I came to admire Spencer's lagnuage, imagery, and wit. Read more
Published on Oct. 20 2003 by Aerfally
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic English Epic Poetry with Meaning
The Faerie Queene of Spencer is perhaps the best known piece of English poetry before Shakespeare or Milton. Read more
Published on April 26 2003 by Jack Lamont
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic English epic
Spenser's the Faerie Queene is one of the first epics to be written in English, and probably the first to draw on such masters as Virgil and Homer. Read more
Published on March 26 2003 by bixodoido
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars, but I wouldn't have read it if it weren't required!
I'm glad I was exposed to this work, but when my Brit. Lit. professor said The Faerie Queene was the most boring piece of literature ever written in the English language, he wasn't... Read more
Published on Nov. 10 2002 by SCGirl
5.0 out of 5 stars near ideal paperback version
Excellent presentation and apparatus for this most beautiful and profound of English epics (and I include near-epics like "Endymion" and "Paradise Regained" in... Read more
Published on July 15 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars The Faerie Queene--a poem on so many levels
Perhaps the most fascinating thing about the Faerie Queene is its ability to appeal to such a wide audience. Read more
Published on June 6 2002
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