Spenser's Faerie Queene: An Interpretation

Spenser's Faerie Queene: An Interpretation

Spenser's Faerie Queene: An Interpretation

Spenser's Faerie Queene: An Interpretation

Excerpt

Short as it is, this book has been on the stocks for more than five years. During that time the river of American critical work on Spenser, already a considerable stream, has risen to a flood. Two courses were open to me: either to make a complete study of this critical work, and answer or incorporate its conclusions in my own book; or to ignore it, only taking cognizance of it where its results seemed certain, and would invalidate my own theories. I chose the second course, and have tried to read all books and articles, the titles or available synopses of which suggested that they would cut across my ground. On the whole it has not seemed necessary to deal directly with them. Much useful and stimulating work, for example, has been done on Spenser's philosophy, but it is all still in the controversial stage, and to attempt to relate one's own thesis to it is like trying to fix one's boundaries in relation to a swiftly moving train. I have, of course, always had at hand the invaluable Reference Catalogue of the late Dr. Ives Carpenter, and I have also in the later stages used the Handbook of Mr. H. S. V. Jones.

The volume of English criticism is incomparably less. In Professor Renwick's delightful book I have found much stimulus, but its direct bearing is less on The Faerie Queene than on the Minor poems, and my book was too far advanced to be much affected by the Edmund Spenser of Mr. B. E. C. Davis. I am deeply indebted to Dean Inge for permission to quote his Philosophy of Plotinus in the chapter on Spenser's philosophy. To Miss Ethel Seaton, Fellow . . .

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