"Iudge if ought therein be amis" : the paradox of Edmund Spenser's Queen

Colbert, Carolyn M. (1998) "Iudge if ought therein be amis" : the paradox of Edmund Spenser's Queen. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

Queen Elizabeth I is a figure of immense complexity: a woman who manifested the power of a prince, who ruled over a society that invested all authority, except that related to the sovereign, in men, and who embraced a notion of personal chastity that included qualities alien to that chastity practiced by other women. Consequently, she became the locus of iconographic interpretation. One of her interpreters is Edmund Spenser. In The Faerie Queene, he responds to the complications inherent in the conflation of female and monarch. Although he is her subject, he also retains a power--to instruct, celebrate, and criticize-related to his literary vocation. He does praise Elizabeth, and the encomia in The Faerie Queene are easily recognizable. However, it is too facile to project only the complimentary images of the queen. This thesis considers how Spenser reacts to the contradictions and ambiguities arising from Elizabeth's anomalous and radical position. Furthermore, it analyzes how his queen, shadowed as Gloriana, Belphoebe, Britomart, and Amoret, among others, is a paradox: she is transmuted into allegorical figures who evoke expressions of celebration, as well as tension, hostility, and criticism.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/9219
Item ID: 9219
Additional Information: Bibliography: pages 130-134.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > English Language and Literature
Date: 1998
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Spenser, Edmund, 1552?-1599--Faerie queene; Elizabeth I, Queen of England, 1533-1603--In literature

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