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The Faerie Queene. Book 1: Bk. 1

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9780199110117: The Faerie Queene. Book 1: Bk. 1
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The Red Cross Knight and his companion Una sets out on a quest to kill the dragon. But Spencer's tale moves beyond the allegory reflecting his experience of human frailty in an imaginative romantic narrative that draws on the quest plots of medieval literature and Italian romances.

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Review:

"Each of the five volumes published by Hackett (the last of which is co-edited and introduced by Andrew Hadfield) has an introduction that sets the scene and orients the reader towards the particular book of the poem being dealt with, followed by the complete text with a glossary at the bottom of each page. By breaking down the epic into five individual volumes, readers can set their own pace and choose which book to read, and the clear print and spacing on the page makes the enterprise of embarking on The Faerie Queene a most manageable and ultimately enjoyable experience." - Sean Sheehan, Irish Left Review, September 10th, 2012 Two editions of Spenser are both from the same series, published by Hackett Publishing Company, which is providing inexpensive paperback volumes of The Faerie Queene , under the general editorship of Abraham Stoll. The volumes printed this year, books 1 and 5, are edited, respectively, by Carol V. Kaske and Stoll himself. A single volume combining books 3 and 4, edited by Dorothy Stephens, is forthcoming, as is book 6, edited by Andrew Hadfield. The volumes are attractively printed, with notes at the bottom of the page. Each volume includes an introduction, the Letter to Raleigh , a brief 'Life of Edmund Spenser,' textual notes, a glossary, an 'Index of Characters,' and a bibliography. Kaske's introduction to book 1 forms an accessible student guide, touching on a wide range of topics, from versification, genre, and allegory, to 'Spenser's Religious Milieu.' At the same time, there are fresh flashes of insight, no doubt derived from Kaske's long experience of teaching a complex poem... Eschewing 'political and biographical allegory (p. xvi), the notes offer plenty of help to the student seeking to get behind the veil of Spenser's dark conceit, for they emphasize symbolism and historical context, especially literary context or 'sources.' Stoll's edition of book 5 of the Faerie Queene includes a judicious introduction of considerable merit. Not simply well written and learned, it partitions the information in an accessible and interesting way. Stoll is fully attuned to the recent controversies surrounding the Legend of Justice, but he does more than record them for the student reader; he manages to express sympathy for both poet and poem. Students need to hear the historical nature of Spenser's achievement for English literature, and Stoll leads nicely with this topic: book 5 is 'one of the most challenging meditations on justice in English literature' (p. ix). Stoll is as sensitive to the violence of book 5 as he is to its strangeness and beauty. Students will appreciate the short inventory of important works of criticism at the end of each section. The notes are not as full as Kaske's, but perhaps appropriately so... I look forward to having access to the remaining volumes in this series. --Patrick Cheney, Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 Teachers of Spenser will also welcome two more installments of the Hackett editions of separate books of The Faerie Queene under the general editorship of Abraham Stoll, this time on books 2 and on books 3 and 4. In my view, these are the most attractive, inexpensive, but also comprehensive editions to date, with far better (and easy to read) notes on mythology and name symbolism (matters increasingly foreign to our undergraduates) than almost all previous versions. --Catherine Gimelli Martin, Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 The multivolume format provides varied introductions and annotations--a benefit to any student--and facilitates the general reading experience through smaller bindings. The prefatory material of individual volumes focuses on history, subjects, and ideologies pertinent to specific books. The edition is thus ideal for classroom use, especially in survey courses or for those who prefer to read several individual books rather than study the poem in its entirety. The format and language of the editorial input lend themselves to undergraduate study. These editions offer a solid analytical grounding for readers at various levels, and together compile a sound and substantial set of editorial perspectives on Spenser's most famous work. --Rachel E. Frier, Sixteenth Century Journal

Synopsis:

Book 1 presents a powerful allegory of the trials of good against evil. The Red Cross Knight with his companion, Una, sets out on a quest to rid the land of the dragon. The Knight is to become Saint George, and his betrothal to Una signifies the union of the newly established Church with the faithful. But, Spencer's tale moves beyond the allegory, reflecting his experience of human frailty in an imaginative romantic narrative that draws on the quest plots of medieval literature and Italian romances. His unique diction with its newly-coined words and rich description adds to the antique flavour of "The Legende of the Knight of the Red Crosse".

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Edmund Spenser ; ( Editor ) P. C. Bayley
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