Questions for the Great Conversation

Prefatory Letter

  • To whom does Spenser write his letter, and why?
  • What is the purpose for which Spenser wrote the Faerie Queene? In what manner does he choose to realize this purpose, and why? What criticisms does he expect? Do you agree with his choice and reasons? Is there anything to be said for another method?
  • What difference does Spenser draw between Xenophon and Aristotle, and what conclusion does he reach?
  • What conception, or elements unify the twelve envisioned books?
  • What are the virtues outlined by Aristotle? In which virtue are all the others said to be contained? What is understood by that virtue? Do you agree with Aristotle’s idea?
  • Who, or what is represented by the figure of Prince Arthur? Why does Spenser choose Arthur to make this representation?
  • Who, or what is represented by the figure of Gloriana?
  • Who, or what is represented by the figures of the various knights?
  • How might a historian and a poet approach a story differently? What purpose do these differences serve?

Book I, Canto I

Coming soon…

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