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. In the Romantic age, Spenser was placed besides these two other authors by the foremost English poets. But, authoritative critics like Mario Praz have had a rather dismissive attitude towards it, and you can feel that someone like Frank Kermode speaks of Spenser's greatness as if having to prove something.
Now, I believe this book fails insomuch as it tries to be a great modern chivalresque epic like Tasso's or Ariosto's (from whose works a lot of the characters' names come). Probably, he didn't even understand the full magnitude of… Read more