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The Reformation of the Subject: Spenser, Milton, and the English Protestant Epic (Cambridge Studies in Renaissance Literature and Culture) [Paperback]

Linda Gregerson

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Book Description

14 Dec 2006 Cambridge Studies in Renaissance Literature and Culture (Book 6)
The Reformation of the Subject is a study of the cultural contradictions that gave birth to the English Protestant epic. In lucid and theoretically sophisticated language, Linda Gregerson examines the fraught ideological, political and gender conflicts that are woven into the texture of The Faerie Queene and Paradise Lost. She reminds us that Reformation iconoclasts viewed verbal images with the same aversion as visual images, because they too were capable of waylaying the human imagination. Through a series of detailed readings, Gregerson examines the different strategies adopted by Spenser and Milton as they sought to distinguish their poems from idols yet preserve the shaping power that iconoclasts have long attributed to icons. Tracing the transformation of the epic poem into an instrument for the reformation of the political subject, Gregerson thus provides an illuminating contribution to our understanding of the ways in which subjectivities are historically produced.

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"Here we have a detailed examination of literary style and achievement in epic poetry that brings Spenser and Milton more clearly into focus." Bibliotheque D'Humanisme

"...a worthy 1990s response to the last two English poetic epics." Diane Parkin-Speer, Sixteenth Century Journal

Book Description

Reformation iconclasts viewed the verbal images of poetry with distrust – yet the Reformation also produced the defining monuments of English epic. Linda Gregerson traces the ideological, political, and gender conflicts that Spenser and Milton confronted as they transformed the epic into an instrument for the reformation of the political subject.

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The narrative sequence of Spenser's Faerie Queene is such that we know his Knight of Chastity by her prowess and her cause before we know her by her motives, or her causes. Read the first page
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