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Lecture 10

ENGL 200 Lecture 10 - The Faerie Queene Part 1.docx

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English (Arts)
ENGL 200
Wes Folkerth

The Faerie Queene Book 1: Holinesse, Part I An epic poem, where there is a hero There are 6 books that he finished, and we are reading the first book, the book of holiness Each book has 12 cantos, or songs This work is called a romantic epic: a fusion of genres from the get-go and also partakes another type of genre Epic: A long narrative poem in a elevated style and the incidences it describes contributes to a unified whole, and its story is usually important in a formation of a nation or a race Typically, there is one hero, and we are going to meet Arthur, the main hero of the entire epic (appears in canto 7) An epic usually has one important hero of national significance who has a lot of valor Supernatural epic poetry often has fantastical elements and forces in it The poet will often begin with a proclamation of invocation to the muses: Usually called an apostrophe Apostrophe: Speaking to somebody who is not there, and trying to invoke them to be present Typically, epics begin literally in the middle of things (in media res) When we first meet the knight, things are already running Often, you get catalogues: an inventory of something (like a blazon, which is a description of the female physique). In the Iliad you get a description of all of the armies who are going to help. You can find some of this cataloging in the bible. The House of Pride (canto 4), you get the 7 deadly sins, which is also a catalogue, and it tells us something about the culture Another aspect: Epic simile. The first appearance happens really quickly Page 725 Canto 1 Stanza 21 As when old father Nilus gins to swell With timely (in season) pride above the Aegyptian vale, His fattie (rich) waves do fertile slime outwell, And overflow each plaine and lowly dale: But when his later spring gins to avale, (subside) Huge heapes of mudd he leaves, wherein there breed Ten thousand kindes of creatures, partly male And partly female of his fruitfull seed; Such ugly monstrous shapes elswhere may no man reed. He describes what the Redcrosse knight (red knight) does to the dragon, where the bleeding of the dragon is compared to the Nile and what it may lead to. You get many of these conventions in the Faerie Queene. At the same time, you get a lot of romance, since it is a romantic epic: knights, ladies, love, etc. It is typically episodic and follows a loose structure of a bunch of adventures that follow each other quickly in succession It has a digressive narrative structure: he is going back a forth between Una and the Redcrosse knight Pay attention to the end of the book Fighting in this time is often spontaneous, and this violence is not motivated typically as it in epic poetry You also get the quest motif, and the red knight is on a quest to get back to her family Another important thing is the courtesy book This is an age of manuals: how do I do something? Well, read a book about it There are manuals about love, friendship, astrology, farming, etc. What Spenser is trying to fashion is how to be a good Christian, and they way that he does that is very Spenserian How do you translate, how do you make somebody do the right thing There is a lot of allegory in this poem An allegory: saying something, but meaning another thing (saying something indirectly), such as in Animal Farm which is about political life. But they never talk about it directly. It is like an extended metaphor: metalepsis (a succession of metaphors) This what Spenser calls a dark conceit With the Petrarchan sonnet, we talk about conceit, which is not allegorical because it is so specific to its images, but now we can talk about conceit as part of a larger work Why dark conceit: Because he talks about truth, and truth is precious not everybody is ready for truth Spenser is trying to get his reader to understand the right way by letting the reader discover it This sort of writing has long been important. Why does Christ speak in parables? Because you need to hear about it in the right way they need to make sure its not too common and that only smart people will get it. Why? Because the truth is powerful, and we have to work for it. The best way to read it is to just keep going at it, and to not slow down. CS Lewis talked about this poem: The things we read about are not about life, but the experience is like living an interesting thing to say about this work, but it really does get better the more you read it. o It is like living because of the way he describes things: We get some faint physical descriptions, then something a name gets attached to it o This is just like life a phenomenological feel to it about acquiring stuff Larger Structure of Book One This poem is quite relentless Jean McIntyre suggests that the red knights episodes journey follows four routes or stages that are typical for a Christians path to salvation o Error: Oops I did that The wandering wood episode They go off in the woods, its raining, and they hide They meet Archimago, and they get separated from Una (the truth) All of this is caused by the misapprehension of appearances However, things are not always the way they seem o Sin: I dont care I did that His relationship with Fuessa The capture of them by Orgulio The visit to the hut of despair All of these instances would be sinful, and the red knight needs help to get through this o Regeneration: Im sorry I did that The house of holiness and there is lot of images there o Victory: He slays the dragon and becomes betrothed to Una The gets the promise to serve the Faerie Queene (Queen Elizabeth) for 6 more years Page 719 The Legende Of The Knight Of The Red Crosse, Or Of Holinesse. Stanza 1 Lo I the man, whose Muse whilome did maske, As time her taught, in lowly Shepheard
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