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The Faerie Queene Audio Cassette – Abridged, Audiobook

4.3 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Naxos AudioBooks (Oct. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9626346590
  • ISBN-13: 978-9626346594
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 11.6 x 2.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,608,247 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"Each of the five volumes published by Hackett (the last of which is co-edited and introduced by Andrew Hadfield) has an introduction that sets the scene and orients the reader towards the particular book of the poem being dealt with, followed by the complete text with a glossary at the bottom of each page. By breaking down the epic into five individual volumes, readers can set their own pace and choose which book to read, and the clear print and spacing on the page makes the enterprise of embarking on The Faerie Queene a most manageable and ultimately enjoyable experience." - Sean Sheehan, Irish Left Review, September 10th, 2012 Two editions of Spenser are both from the same series, published by Hackett Publishing Company, which is providing inexpensive paperback volumes of The Faerie Queene , under the general editorship of Abraham Stoll. The volumes printed this year, books 1 and 5, are edited, respectively, by Carol V. Kaske and Stoll himself. A single volume combining books 3 and 4, edited by Dorothy Stephens, is forthcoming, as is book 6, edited by Andrew Hadfield. The volumes are attractively printed, with notes at the bottom of the page. Each volume includes an introduction, the Letter to Raleigh , a brief 'Life of Edmund Spenser,' textual notes, a glossary, an 'Index of Characters,' and a bibliography. Kaske's introduction to book 1 forms an accessible student guide, touching on a wide range of topics, from versification, genre, and allegory, to 'Spenser's Religious Milieu.' At the same time, there are fresh flashes of insight, no doubt derived from Kaske's long experience of teaching a complex poem... Eschewing 'political and biographical allegory (p. xvi), the notes offer plenty of help to the student seeking to get behind the veil of Spenser's dark conceit, for they emphasize symbolism and historical context, especially literary context or 'sources.' Stoll's edition of book 5 of the Faerie Queene includes a judicious introduction of considerable merit. Not simply well written and learned, it partitions the information in an accessible and interesting way. Stoll is fully attuned to the recent controversies surrounding the Legend of Justice, but he does more than record them for the student reader; he manages to express sympathy for both poet and poem. Students need to hear the historical nature of Spenser's achievement for English literature, and Stoll leads nicely with this topic: book 5 is 'one of the most challenging meditations on justice in English literature' (p. ix). Stoll is as sensitive to the violence of book 5 as he is to its strangeness and beauty. Students will appreciate the short inventory of important works of criticism at the end of each section. The notes are not as full as Kaske's, but perhaps appropriately so... I look forward to having access to the remaining volumes in this series. --Patrick Cheney, Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 Teachers of Spenser will also welcome two more installments of the Hackett editions of separate books of The Faerie Queene under the general editorship of Abraham Stoll, this time on books 2 and on books 3 and 4. In my view, these are the most attractive, inexpensive, but also comprehensive editions to date, with far better (and easy to read) notes on mythology and name symbolism (matters increasingly foreign to our undergraduates) than almost all previous versions. --Catherine Gimelli Martin, Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 The multivolume format provides varied introductions and annotations--a benefit to any student--and facilitates the general reading experience through smaller bindings. The prefatory material of individual volumes focuses on history, subjects, and ideologies pertinent to specific books. The edition is thus ideal for classroom use, especially in survey courses or for those who prefer to read several individual books rather than study the poem in its entirety. The format and language of the editorial input lend themselves to undergraduate study. These editions offer a solid analytical grounding for readers at various levels, and together compile a sound and substantial set of editorial perspectives on Spenser's most famous work. --Rachel E. Frier, Sixteenth Century Journal --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

The Characters of The Faerie Queene, compiled by Shohachi Fukuda

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael Jacobs VINE VOICE on 29 May 2005
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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By A Customer on 11 April 2003
Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The way this book has been edited and organised is really rather clever. There is not much by the editor to be read before we come face to face with Spenser himself, but the material that would normally go into an editorial introduction is there after all, only it's at the back instead. If we are daunted by the thought of an enormously long poem there is a temptation to procrastinate by plodding slowly through some scholarly introduction, only to find ourselves wearied by the introduction and hardly able to face the poem. Meaning no disrespect to the eminent writers of introductions, I have experienced nightmares at the thought of some Penguin/Oxford/Faber Book of Introductions, edited (with Introduction) by John Carey.

We are not plunged totally unprepared into The Faerie Queene. There is a `manifesto' by Spenser expounding his aims in writing the work (or what he claims those to be): there are various commendatory sonnets and other miscellaneous stanzas by various other parties; and there are a whole string of dedicatory sonnets addressed to an assortment of bigwigs by Spenser himself. It is easy to skip most of these, and then if we are lucky we may find ourselves engrossed in one of the most readable and entertaining poems in the English language. It is written in a slightly bogus antique idiom, a little like The Ancient Mariner two centuries later. The idea is to create an atmosphere, and the style is nowhere near as difficult to grasp as in Paradise Lost let alone genuine mediaeval English as in Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde. Indeed, try opening the book at random and you may find the kind of magic working on you that Tolkien can work, except that great verse casts a spell of its own that not even my favourite prose can hope to equal.
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