Fairy in the Faerie Queene: Renaissance Elf-Fashioning and Elizabethan Myth-Making

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Why and how did Edmund Spenser employ fairy mythology in The Faerie Queene? In this book, Matthew Woodcock reasserts the importance of fairy mythology in this famous poem by demonstrating how Spenser places fairy at the very centre of his mythopœic project. Woodcock argues that despite the continued invitations in the poem to deconstruct Gloriana, Spenser's identification of Queen Elizabeth I with the fairy queen figure is far more ambiguous than has previously been recognized. The poet is engaged both in constructing a mythological persona for the queen and in drawing attention to his own role as laureate and myth-maker. Spenser's 'elf-fashioning' is therefore a vital part of his authorial self-fashioning.

Fairy in The Faerie Queene is the first extended examination of the poem to locate Spenser's work within the context of early modern conceptions and representations of fairy and to discuss the representation of Elizabeth as the fairy queen in relation to the vast range of studies on Elizabethan myth-making.

This book will appeal to scholars with an interest in Spenser, fairy lore, and the representation of Queen Elizabeth I in Renaissance literature.

Contents: Preface
Reading fairies in early modern texts
Sources and contexts
Spenserian fairy stories
Setting forth Fairyland and fairy knights
The Fairy Queen
The fairy chronicle
Index. Carole Levin, Willa Cather Professor and Professor of History, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; author of The Reign of Elizabeth I (2002) and co-editor of Elizabeth I: Always Her Own Free Woman (2003)

Author Biography: Matthew Woodcock, Lecturer in Medieval and Renaissance Literature, Department of English, Birkbeck College, University of London, UK.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780754634393
  • Publisher: Ashgate Publishing, Limited
  • Publication date: 4/1/2004
  • Pages: 172
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

List of abbreviations
Introduction 1
1 Reading fairies in early modern texts 9
2 Sources and contexts 30
3 Spenserian fairy stories 51
4 Setting forth fairyland and fairy knights 76
5 The fairy queen 88
6 The fairy chronicle 116
Conclusion 137
Bibliography 141
Index 158
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