Edmund Spenser's the Faerie Queene: A Reading Guide

By Andrew Zurcher | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Series Editors’ Preface

The form of the long poem has been of fundamental importance to Literary Studies from the time of Homer onwards. The Reading Guides to Long Poems Series seeks to celebrate and explore this form in all its diversity across a range of authors and periods. Major poetic works The Odyssey, The Faerie Queene, Paradise Lost, The Prelude, In Memoriam, The Waste Landemerge as defining expressions of the culture which produced them. One of the main aims of the series is to make contemporary readers aware of the importance of the long poem for our literary and national heritage.

How ‘long’ is a long poem? In ‘The Philosophy of Composition’ Edgar Allan Poe asserted that there is ‘a distinct limit, as regards length, to all works of literary art the limit of a single sitting’. Defined against this, a long poem must be one which exceeds the limit of a single sitting, requiring sustained attention over a considerable period of time for its full appreciation. However, the concept of poetic length is not simply concerned with the number of lines in a poem, or the time it takes to read it. In ‘From Poe to Valery’ T. S. Eliot defends poetic length on the grounds that ‘it is only in a poem of some length that a variety of moods can be expressed. These parts can form a whole more than the sum of the parts; a whole such that the pleasure we derive from the reading of any part is enhanced by our grasp of the whole.’ Along with Eliot, the Series Editors believe that poetic length creates a unique space for a varied play of meaning and tone, action and reflection, that results in particular kinds of reading and interpretation not possible for shorter works. The Reading Guides are therefore concerned with communicating the pleasure and enjoyment of engaging with the form in a range of ways focusing on particular episodes, tracing out patterns of poetic imagery, exploring form, reading and re-reading the text in order to allow the reader to experience the multiple interpretative layers that the long poem holds within it. We also believe that a self-awareness about how we read the


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Edmund Spenser's the Faerie Queene: A Reading Guide


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 222

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?