The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser
Download The Faerie Queene ebook. The Faerie Queene is an English epic poem by Edmund Spenser. Books I to III were first published in 1590, and then republished in 1596 together with books IV to VI. The Faerie Queene is notable for its form: it is one of the longest poems in the English language and the origin of a verse form that came to be known as Spenserian stanza. On a literal level, the poem follows several knights in an examination of several virtues, though it is primarily an allegorical work, and can be read on several levels of allegory, including as praise (or, later, criticism) of Queen Elizabeth I. In Spenser’s “Letter of the Authors” he states that the entire epic poem is “cloudily enwrapped in Allegorical devises,” and that the aim of publishing The Faerie Queene was to “fashion a gentleman or noble person in vertuous and gentle discipline”.
The Faerie Queene found such favor with Elizabeth I that Spenser was granted a pension for life amounting to £50 a year, though there is no further evidence that Elizabeth read any of the poem. This royal patronage helped the poem to such a level of success that it became Spenser’s defining work
Of all of the classic English literature that I have read, The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser is among my favorites. The funny thing is, I don’t have that much love for reading poetry (I can appreciate it for it’s merits, but it’s normally not my cup of tea,) but I thoroughly enjoyed this book length poem.
The main story is of the Redcrosse Knight and his lady love Una, a princess who has asked her betrothed to rid the kingdom of a terrible dragon. Along the way they must face many challenges (and much allegory,) which makes for quite an entertaining tale. My favorite part of the story is the Redcrosse Knight’s experiences in the House of Pride.
Overall, this is a rich allegorical tale full of knights, princesses, and evil creatures of myth and legend all written in a beautifully constructed verse that flows wonderfully. I haven’t read any of the other books of the Faerie Queene, but Book 1 was fantastic.
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Edmund Spenser (/ˈspɛnsər/; 1552/1553 – 13 January 1599) was an English poet best known for The Faerie Queene, an epic poem and fantastical allegory celebrating the Tudor dynasty and Elizabeth I. He is recognized as one of the premier craftsmen of nascent Modern English verse, and is often considered one of the greatest poets in the English language.
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