A. C. HAMILTON


The Structure of Allegory in
Books I and II of
"The Faerie Queene"

The highest end of the mistres Knowledge, by the Greekes called
Architectonike ... stands, (as I thinke) in the knowledge of a
mans selfe, in the Ethicke and politick consideration
, with the end
of well dooing and not of well knowing onely . . . so that, the ending
end of all earthly learning [is] vertuous action
.

— SIDNEY

Previously I have treated the 'Idea or fore-conceite' of The Faerie Queene, and the method by which Spenser realizes that Idea as an image in Book I. I wish to consider now his intention which is realized in the end or working of his poem. As the Idea is embodied in an image, the intention is realized in an argument. Though Spenser rightly distinguishes in the letter to Raleigh between his purpose and the poem's end, we may see that they closely correspond: as he labours to deliver the image of a brave knight perfected in the virtues, the poem itself fashions a gentleman or noble person in virtuous and gentle discipline. The image which the poet creates is thus re-created in the reader. Strictly speaking, its Idea is not fulfilled in the writing of the poem— perhaps this is why Sidney, 'in which Architectonical art he was such a

____________________
From The Structure of Allegory in" The Faerie Queene. " Copyright © 1961 by Oxford University Press.

-41-

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Edmund Spenser
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Edmund Spenser *
  • Edmund Spenser *
  • Contents *
  • Editor's Note ix
  • Introduction 1
  • The Structure of Imagery in "The Faerie Queene" 23
  • The Structure of Allegory in Books I and II of "The Faerie Queene" 41
  • Mutability and the Theme of Process 57
  • The Marriage of the Thames and Medway 73
  • Gardens of Adonis 81
  • The Bower of Bliss 97
  • The "Mutabilitie Cantos": Archaism and Evolution in Retrospect 111
  • Allegory and Pastoral in "The Shepheardes Calender" 141
  • Imagery and Prophecy in "The Faerie Queene" 161
  • The Romance of Romance 181
  • Spenser and the City: the Minor Poems 191
  • Mythologies and Metrics in Spenser 211
  • The Image of Source in "The Faerie Queene" 219
  • "Astrophel" 239
  • "The Footing of His Feet": Spenser's Early Error 251
  • Envy in the Middest of the 1596 "Faerie Queene" 267
  • Chronology 285
  • Contributors 287
  • Bibliography 289
  • Acknowledgments 295
  • Index 297
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