Mapping The Faerie Queene Quest Structures and the World of the Poem
This book analyzes the Faerie Queene's setting, examining Spenser's quest structures and his ideas about epic, romance, and history. Critics almost invariably treat Spenser's Faeryland as coextensive with the world of the poem, but this is not the case; rather, Faeryland is part of an epic cosmos reaching from heaven and the abode of the classical deities to demonic underground realms. Spenser situates Faeryland within a specific spatial and temporal terrestrial geography in which locations outside Faeryland represent various heroic settings in political history. The politico-historical world built around Faeryland is ripe for analysis by contemporary historicist critics. Spenser uses political geography, in conjunction with the time-inclusive medium of Faeryland, to coordinate several transhistorical quests that create a pattern of temporal mediations among sixth-century British, 16th-century English, and biblical and prophetic versions of history. He juxtaposes chronicle history, empirical historiography, and cultural myth while manipulating genre to create a world capable of accommodating his grand romantic epic design. In mapping the world of The Faerie Queene , the book provides a widened context for Spenser's quest structures, a significant contribution to the study of the poem's relation to history, and a new perspective from which to view Spenser's debts to classical epic, Italian romantic epic, and his native medieval inheritance. Index.Bibliography.
"Highly recommended for upper-division undergraduate collections and above."-Choice."
"This book is a valuable, insightful, and refreshing excursion into the temporal and spatial worlds of Spenser's fiction, using solid textual support to enhance a solid perceptive reading." -- Sixteenth Century Journal
"Erickson has done a real service in re-opening this line of inquiry and in proposing a new way of understanding how Spenser integrates epic and romance." -- Spenser Newsletter
"Clearly written, informative, and stimulating." -- Sidney Journal