A TO Z Literary Principles from History of English Literature: Note 59

  History of English Literature: A Set of 26 Objective Questions & Answers

  Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene : 26 Points

  1. Edmund Spenser plans his poem The Faerie Queene(1590-1596) of 12 books, each made up of 12 cantos; he completed only 6 books, however.  Read More about A to Z (Objective Questions) 
  2. The Faerie Queene is a kind of tale, in which characters symbolize abstract human qualities, is called an allegory. 
  3.   As pointed out by Spenser in his letter to Sir Walter Raleigh, which forms the preface to his epic, his aim in writing the poem was, “to fashion a gentleman, or noble person, in virtuous and gentle discipline”. He used the device of the allegory for this purposes. The virtues chose by him are those of Christian morality.  
  4. For The Faerie Queene, Spenser originated a nine-line verse stanza, now known as the Spenserian stanza—the first eight lines are iambic pentameter, and the ninth, iambic hexameter; the rhyme scheme is ababbcbcc. Read More about A to Z (Objective Questions)
  5. The six completed books relate the adventures of the knights who represented the qualities of holiness, temperance, chastity, friendship, justice, and courtesy.
  6.  Each of his good knights represents some virtue, and each of the bad stands for some vice. The action of each virtue is developed-through a conflict between the two. 
  7.  The main plot consists of the quest of Prince Arthur for Glorinana, of the fairy queen. 
  8. The sub-plot consists of the adventures of the different knights dealt with is separate books of the epic. 
  9. The two plots are inter-linked by the appearance of Prince Arthur in each book. 
  10. The moral and spiritual and allegory mingle with a historical and personal allegory. The same characters serve a number of different purposes. 
  11. Spenser’s masterpiece has been criticized on a number of counts: 
  12. The mingling of a number of allegories is confusing. 
  13. The epic lacks clarity. Read More about A to Z (Objective Questions)
  14. The matters have been made worse by many digressions and interpolation. 
  15.   The plot is loose and lacks unity. 
  16.   There is too much extravagance and superfluity. 
  17. The Characters are unreal and fantastic. They are mere shadows or abstractions and not real life-like men or women. 
  18.   But much may also be said in favour of Spenser: 
  19.  Many of the faults of the epic as superfluity, fantastic characterization etc., are the faults of the age, and the poet should not be blamed for them. Read More about A to Z (Objective Questions)
  20. The digressions and interpolations impart variety and increase the interest of the readers. 
  21. There may not be unity of action in the classical sense, but the epic has unity of design. 
  22. The various adventures have a common purpose. 
  23. The moral of the epic is essentially puritan-virtue is ever triumphant over vice. 
  24. "And all for love, and nothing for reward."
  25. "Upon a great adventure he was bond,/The greatest Gloriana to him gave, /(That greatest Glorious Queene of Faery lond) /To winne him worshippe, and her grace to have, /Which of all earthly thinges he most did crave."-Edmund Spenser (1552? - 1599) Dedicated to Elizabeth I.
  26. On Spenser: "Renowned Spenser, lie a thought more nigh
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