"Polliticke vertues" : Spenser's poetics of engagement
Buckman, Ty Franklin, Department of English, University of Virginia
Nohrnberg, James, Department of English, University of Virginia
Kinney, James, Department of English, University of Virginia
Kinney, Clare, Department of English, University of Virginia
Midelfort, H C E, Department of History, University of Virginia
The centrality of Elizabeth I to The Faerie Queene as both subject and reader is among the poem's most definitive features. Less readily remarked, however, is the degree to which the Queen's imagined presence in the poem is informed by actual events at court in the period. In more and less cryptic passage's, Spenser renders Elizabeth's diplomatic courtships, her sexual jealousy, her storied relations with her courtiers,' the inevitable succession dilemma as historical allegory. Spenser's engagement with the contemporary, however, is neither uniformly propagandistic nor consistently critical of the status quo. Instead, the poet displays a deep ambivalence toward the regime whose approval he so desperately sought, vacillating between apologist and critic, leaving an allegorical trail confusing enough to avoid political danger but suggestive enough to register his doubts.
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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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