Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene and the Monomyth of Joseph Campbell Essays in Interpretation

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This study subjects Spenser’s The Faerie Queene to an archetypal mode of analysis to extract a coherent meaning from the text. The approach invokes a motif-driven, patterned analysis of the text, establishing the monomythic model of Joseph Campbell as a context for evaluating the heroic dimensions of the questing knights Redcrosse, Guyon, Britomart, and Calidore. The methodology further proposes to liberate Spenser from allegory. The study promotes the quest paradigm as a valid measure of characterization capable of generating interpretation across a wide spectrum of texts. Finally, the study suggests that Spenser – himself subjected to analysis following the model – abandons his ambitious self-appointed quest to complete The Faerie Queene in favor of a modestly successful completion of a surrogate quest to achieve personal and literary renown, a quest embodied in the Amoretti. With illustrations.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents”
Introduction: The Monomythic Model
1. The Case of the Redcrosse Knight
2. The Case of Guyon
3. The Case of Britomart
4. The Case of Calidore
5. The Case of Spenser
Appendix A: Literary and Other Satyrs – The Experience of Una and Hellenore
Appendix B: The Case of Hamlet
Notes; =Bibliography; Index

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