To Exist in Society

“Spenser not only creates a world in his Faerie Land and peoples it with characters who engage our imaginations, but also mirrors our own world and show us ourselves. Those characteristics can be seen n the way that The Faerie Queene, 400 years after the publication of its first three books, still holds the attention of readers, even those unfamiliar with, and uninterested in, the historical events that inform so much of the poem. The value of The Faerie Queene rests not just in the beauties and intricacies of Spenser’s poetry, not just in historical allegory, or even its superb moral coloration. Rather… its value rests on Spenser’s ability to draw us into his work, not just to appreciate and understand it, but to learn from it and to grow to a better understanding of the human condition.

“In the denizens of Faerie Land we see not just knights and ladies who must face their own deepest fears, but ourselves, just as clearly as Spenser’s contemporaries must have seen themselves in Redcrosse, Una, Guyon, Britomart, or Calidore. We need not identify directly with Guyon’s knightly accoutrements or the Redcrosse Knight’s deep religious devotion to see in them our own need to achieve temperance or behave faithfully to our God or to our companions. Here then is the true value of The Faerie Queene: it speaks directly to our deepest convictions and helps is better understand not just what to means to be human, but what it means to exist in society.“–Russell J. Meyer, The Faerie Queen: Educating the Reader

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