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The Faerie Queene (Penguin Classics) [Paperback]

Edmund Spenser , Jr. Thomas P. Roche , Jr. C. Patrick O'Donnell
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
Price: £10.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

22 Oct 2003 Penguin Classics
The Faerie Queene was the first epic in English and one of the most influential poems in the language for later poets from Milton to Tennyson. Dedicating his work to Elizabeth I, Spenser brilliantly united medieval romance and renaissance epic to expound the glory of the Virgin Queen. The poem recounts the quests of knights including Sir Guyon, Knight of Constance, who resists temptation, and Artegall, Knight of Justice, whose story alludes to the execution of Mary Queen of Scots. Composed as an overt moral and political allegory, The Faerie Queene, with its dramatic episodes of chivalry, pageantry and courtly love, is also a supreme work of atmosphere, colour and sensuous description.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 1248 pages
  • Publisher: Longman; 1 edition (22 Oct 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140422072
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140422078
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.9 x 5.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 23,796 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

The Characters of The Faerie Queene, compiled by Shohachi Fukuda

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Edmund Spenser (1552-99) is best known for The Faerie Queene, dedicated to Elizabeth I, and his sonnet sequence Amoretti and Epithalamion dedicated to his wife Elizabeth Boyle. Secretary to the Lord Deputy to Ireland, Spenser moved there in 1580 and remained there until near the end of his life, when he fled the Tyrone Rebellion in 1598. T.P. Roche is Professor of English at Princeton University and author of many books on Renaissance literature.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Lo I the man, whose Muse whilome did maske, As time her taught in lowly Shepheards weeds, Am now enforst a far vnfitter taske, For trumpets sterne to chaunge mine Oaten reeds, And sing of Knights and Ladies gende deeds; Whose prayses hauing slept in silence long, Me, all too meane, the sacred Muse areeds To blazon broad emongst her learned throng: Fierce warres and faithfull loues shall moralize my song. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece 29 May 2005
By Michael Jacobs VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The literature of Spenser, unlike that of Shakespeare or other contemporaries, is almost always printed with the exact spelling found at at time. I guess this could throw a lot of people off course, but it really is just one of the many amazing elements of this book. As well as the fantastic and fabulous content, the reader becomes aware and synchronised with the linguistic element of such poetic beauty as well.
As an English student, I'm probably slightly biased about the accessibility of the book, but I'd only read a handful of plays from the late 1500s and early 1600s before launching into it. Although being vaguely familar with the syntax of the period, it was unlike anything I'd looked at previously.
But whether you intend to read the whole book from front to cover, or just dip into a few pages to experience the sheer poetic genius and brilliance, you'll experience great pleasure in doing so. It's also great to see this as a paperback version - although it's relatively large, it is portable (if that makes sense).
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Looks daunting but is a great read 12 April 2009
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
Spenser is probably the least read of the 'great' Elizabethan writers, and picking up his Faerie Queen it's easy to see why: it's over a thousand pages of poetry (9 line stanzas) written in a kind of cross-over medieval-renaissance English. Even English graduates tend not to have had to read the whole thing, getting away with selected cantos, a kind of edited highlights. But starting at the beginning and reading it straight through is a completely different experience, and one I'm very glad I have had. While it is overtly a moral and political allegory, Spenser is also a supreme story-teller and frequently very funny (in a literary kind of way).

Full of knights on chivalric quests, dragons, giants, monsters, the evil arch-magus and the sensually-tempting Duessa, this is like every fairy tale and Lord of the Rings copy-cat you've ever read, but put together by a supreme stylist and written in the most flexible, beautiful language. Some of the stories are very moving, others quite bizarre, and there's some very perverse sexuality on display. Since they often unroll simultaneously the narrative is a multi-layered one.

Creating deliberate links with both classical literature (particularly the epics of Homer and Virgil) as well as with medieval (Chaucer, especially) and Spenser's own contemporary Elizabethan age, this is both very different from Sidney and Shakespeare and yet also very close to them at the same time.

The best way to read it is to almost forget the fact that it's 'poetry', ignore the stanzas and simply read as if it were prose. Spenser's own sublime sense of rhythm and rhyme asserts itself and the words align themselves exactly as they need to.

Roche has edited this well but there is no introduction which is a shame, although the notes do extend beyond a simple glossary. But even so, this is a great edition of a magical and really enthralling classic.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing. Worth the effort. 11 April 2003
By A Customer
The Faerie Queene is, to my mind, the finest single work of literature in English. It's a huge, encyclopaedia poem that draws in and represents the whole psychological landcape of a highly-educated early modern individual with an extraordinarily fertile imagination. Its allegory tries to incorporate everything - from major cultural structures like the seven deadly sins and the myth of British descent from the Trojans to contemporary political intrigues and theories on the workings of the human mind and body. The poem goes from the heights of religious exultation to brutal representations of colonial power and imperial violence.
No review here is going to do it justice; I've read it several times and written about it a fair bit, but still can't imagine really feeling on top of it. Not everyone will like its dreamlike atmosphere and its frequently slow pace. Even the biggest fan will probably admit that long stretches of it are pretty tedious, particularly in the later stages. But the neglect it's fallen into is unforgiveable. Far too many undergraduates never get made to study the thing, and probably many who don't study literature at university won't ever try it. They should. There's nothing else like it and on its own ground nothing else can come close. In terms of density and richness of meaning, and of sheer proliferation of stories, it's an amazing work of genius that puts Spenser up there with Dante, Shakespeare and the rest of the world's very best writers. It's long and you need to put in a fair bit of effort, but it's worth it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars have almost finished 13 July 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
On my third read over the last forty years, one of those books you feel you ought to read, and strangely compelling inspite of the number of old words which we do not use now.
I would not have read it this third time without Kindle, it makes it easy to pick up and continue. But it does have an irritating error in which it prints about six meaningles characters instead of the end or middle of a word. Gradually worked out that it replaced one letter with these six.

It is another world, and an education in that world. It is like this world in that it isn't perfect but it is much, much better than anything you could have made up yourself.

If you haven't read it yet, think of it as a far country to visit in a gap year. Go there, be bewildered for a while, but get on and you will be changed.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very happy with book and delivery
Published 3 months ago by michael g.floyd
5.0 out of 5 stars why The Faerie Queene is awesome
This great English epic will take you on a magical journey, over vale and hill, through spooky forests, and frankly weird gardens. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Good quality book
When I received the book it was well packaged and the quality of the book was impeccable. This is a good read for those that are studying English at a Degree level.
Published 11 months ago by Immie
5.0 out of 5 stars A convenient edition of this wonderful poem
Spenser's wonderful poem needs no praise from me. I simply want to commend this convenient edition. It is clearly printed and not, as so often in the past, in double column. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Stephen Barber
4.0 out of 5 stars An old favourite
Nice to revisit this old poem,,, not considered since university days. Can read it one book at a time, or it becomes hard to take the vocabulary and style.
Published 14 months ago by Fred Everett
4.0 out of 5 stars A Marvellous Adventure
As another reviewer has pointed out, it's "The Faerie Queene", not "The Fairy Queen". It would be a brave editor today who attempted to publish an edition of a Shakespeare play... Read more
Published 15 months ago by J C E Hitchcock
5.0 out of 5 stars abridged...
:)) im enjoying this, read at a relaxed pace(exciting where necessary to the story) .. shame it is presented to us in its abridged form... ... hint hint naxos :)) ...
Published 17 months ago by Lyns
5.0 out of 5 stars A great Penguin classic
The text is clear, the notes are first class and at little more than half the RRP, a great buy.
Published 17 months ago by Kim Laykin
5.0 out of 5 stars Spenser,s masterpiece, The Faerie Queene.
Oh, what a read! Written and spelled as in Tudor times, it takes a bit of getting used to but once you've got into the swing of it all the verses scan and read perfectly. Read more
Published 18 months ago by E. Hulme
5.0 out of 5 stars The best edition of this work, and the most readable
I am a Faerie Queene buff, and was introduced to the work at university via this edition, which has two advantages over other editions (including the more recent Longman updated... Read more
Published 21 months ago by amoretx
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