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La Reine des fées (1590)

par Edmund Spenser

Autres auteurs: Voir la section autres auteur(e)s.

Séries: Penguin Poets (D207)

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2,315225,322 (3.8)2 / 209
The Faerie Queene is a scholarly masterpiece that has influenced, inspired, and challenged generations of writers, readers and scholars since its completion in 1596. Hamilton's edition is itself, a masterpiece of scholarship and close reading. It is nownbsp;the standardnbsp;edition for allnbsp;readers of Spenser. The entire work is revised, and the text of The Faerie Queene itself has been freshly edited, the first such edition since the 1930s.nbsp; This volume also contains additional original material, including a letter to Raleigh, commendatory verses and dedicatory sonnets, chronology of Spenser's life and works and provides a compilation of list of characters and their appearances in The Faerie Queene.… (plus d'informations)
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Affichage de 1-5 de 22 (suivant | tout afficher)
Epic poem. I really like this. Its overly long and there are so many characters you'll definitely get confused and feel lost at times, however there are so many memorable moments. The action scenes are particularly good which seems weird for poetry. Despite magic and monsters there is also an odd amount of realism to many incidents which i enjoyed.
Plus there is plenty of violence and sex which is strange for something which is a self-confessed christian allegory.
Due to its length there is plenty to dig into and i liked it enough to buy a copy despite reading it for free on my ereader.

2nd Read: Ok, not as good as last time. More sexist, classist and obsequious than i remember, also even more allegorical. I'm also starting to suspect Spencer might be a terrible poet, the things he does to the english language, to make words fit the rhyme, are pretty horrific :P .
Still though enough incident to keep things interesting :) . ( )
  wreade1872 | Nov 28, 2021 |
A letter written by Spenser to Sir Walter Raleigh in 1590 contains a preface for The Faerie Queene, in which Spenser describes the allegorical presentation of virtues through Arthurian knights in the mythical "Faerieland". Presented as a preface to the epic in most published editions, this letter outlines plans for twenty-four books: twelve based each on a different knight who exemplified one of twelve "private virtues", and a possible twelve more centred on King Arthur displaying twelve "public virtues". Spenser names Aristotle as his source for these virtues, though the influences of Thomas Aquinas and the traditions of medieval allegory can be observed as well. It is impossible to predict how the work would have looked had Spenser lived to complete it, since the reliability of the predictions made in his letter to Raleigh is not absolute, as numerous divergences from that scheme emerged as early as 1590 in the first Faerie Queene publication.

In addition to the six virtues Holiness, Temperance, Chastity, Friendship, Justice, and Courtesy, the Letter to Raleigh suggests that Arthur represents the virtue of Magnificence, which ("according to Aristotle and the rest") is "the perfection of all the rest, and containeth in it them all"; and that the Faerie Queene herself represents Glory (hence her name, Gloriana). The unfinished seventh book (the Cantos of Mutability) appears to have represented the virtue of "constancy."

The Faerie Queene was written during the Reformation, a time of religious and political controversy. After taking the throne following the death of her half-sister Mary, Elizabeth changed the official religion of the nation to Protestantism. The plot of book one is similar to Foxe's Book of Martyrs, which was about the persecution of the Protestants and how Catholic rule was unjust. Spenser includes the controversy of Elizabethan church reform within the epic. Gloriana has godly English knights destroy Catholic continental power in Books I and V. Spenser also endows many of his villains with "the worst of what Protestants considered a superstitious Catholic reliance on deceptive images".

The poem celebrates, memorializes, and critiques the House of Tudor (of which Elizabeth was a part), much as Virgil's Aeneid celebrates Augustus' Rome. The Aeneid states that Augustus descended from the noble sons of Troy; similarly, The Faerie Queene suggests that the Tudor lineage can be connected to King Arthur. The poem is deeply allegorical and allusive; many prominent Elizabethans could have found themselves partially represented by one or more of Spenser's figures. Elizabeth herself is the most prominent example. She appears in the guise of Gloriana, the Faerie Queen, but also in Books III and IV as the virgin Belphoebe, daughter of Chrysogonee and twin to Amoret, the embodiment of womanly married love. Perhaps also, more critically, Elizabeth is seen in Book I as Lucifera, the "maiden queen" whose brightly lit Court of Pride masks a dungeon full of prisoners.

The poem also displays Spenser's thorough familiarity with literary history. The world of The Faerie Queene is based on English Arthurian legend, but much of the language, spirit, and style of the piece draw more on Italian epic, particularly Ludovico Ariosto's Orlando Furioso and Torquato Tasso's Jerusalem Delivered. Book V of The Faerie Queene, the Book of Justice, is Spenser's most direct discussion of political theory. In it, Spenser attempts to tackle the problem of policy toward Ireland and recreates the trial of Mary, Queen of Scots.

Some literary works sacrifice historical context to archetypal myth, reducing poetry to Biblical quests, whereas Spenser reinforces the actuality of his story by adhering to archetypal patterns. Throughout The Faerie Queene, Spenser does not concentrate on a pattern "which transcends time" but "uses such a pattern to focus the meaning of the past on the present". By reflecting on the past, Spenser achieves ways of stressing the importance of Elizabeth's reign. In turn, he does not "convert event into myth" but "myth into event". Within The Faerie Queene, Spenser blurs the distinction between archetypal and historical elements deliberately. For example, Spenser probably does not believe in the complete truth of the British Chronicle, which Arthur reads in the House of Alma. In this instance, the Chronicle serves as a poetical equivalent for factual history. Even so, poetical history of this kind is not myth; rather, it "consists of unique, if partially imaginary, events recorded in chronological order". The same distinction resurfaces in the political allegory of Books I and V. However, the reality to interpreted events becomes more apparent when the events occurred nearer to the time when the poem was written.

Throughout The Faerie Queene, Spenser creates "a network of allusions to events, issues, and particular persons in England and Ireland" including Mary, Queen of Scots, the Spanish Armada, the English Reformation, and even the Queen herself. It is also known that James VI of Scotland read the poem, and was very insulted by Duessa – a very negative depiction of his mother, Mary, Queen of Scots. The Faerie Queene was then banned in Scotland. This led to a significant decrease in Elizabeth's support for the poem. Within the text, both the Faerie Queene and Belphoebe serve as two of the many personifications of Queen Elizabeth, some of which are "far from complimentary".

While writing his poem, Spenser strove to avoid "gealous opinions and misconstructions" because he thought it would place his story in a "better light" for his readers. ( )
  Marcos_Augusto | Aug 25, 2021 |
Read it completely almost fifty years ago. I recall especially the Book of Courtesy, the Sixth Book, with its hero Calidore. I theorized at the time that Courtesy did not fit with the other allegorically systematized virtues. No wonder Spenser found he was concluding his epic before he'd really caught a head of steam to get through his 12 books, the first HALF.
He dedicates his poem to Sir Walter Raleigh, Lieutenant of Cornewayll, saying this a "continued Allegory, or dark conceit...to fashion a gentleman or noble person," his having followed all the ancients, Homer, Virgil and even Ariosto. He began with a "tall, clownishe [contrified] young man" at the Queene's feast who desires an adventure. The Lady saying he must wear the armor she had, for a Christian knight. He put it on, and appeared the goodliest, took on knighthood and mounted a "strange Courser," "where beginneth the first book, viz, 'A gentle knight was pricking on the playne'"(408).

Calidore, for instance, silences the "monstrous Beast" of the thousand tongues,"some were of dogges, that barked day and night,/...And some of Tygres, that did seem to gren,/But most of them were tongues of mortal men,/ That spake reproachfully, not caring where or when."(VI.xii.27) Sounds like Elizabethan Courtesy runs at odds with modern democracy, which depends on reproaches against people in power.
But Calidore silences this monstrous Beast of cacophony-democracy (?!) and breeds politesse, instead of "venemous despite" which Spenser fully expects even for this his epic poem. Backbiting "Ne spareth he the gentle Poets rime, / But rends without regard of person or of time."

As an undergrad I wrote on this poem's prosody, especially the ottava rima concluded by an alexandrine (hexameter). Northrop Frye calls it, "The most remarkably sustained mastery of verbal opsis...which we have to read with a special attention, the abiliaty to catch visualization through sound." Hazlitt says, "His versification is the most smooth and the most sounding in the language. It is a labyrinth of sweet sounds." In fact, I come up against Spenser's beautiful verses for moral ugliness. Possibly Ben Jonson, a verse moralist, found the same, for "Spenser's stanzas pleased him not, nor his matter" (Drummond's bio).
I don't find Frye's opsis, but rather, the sound pursues its own system, attched to the poem much as in a contrapuntal musical composition (Frye calls allegory as here, a "contrapuntal technique" or canonic imitation.) As for alliteration, Frye finds its overuse by characters marking liars and hypocrites (wow--Spiro Agnew never knew this!), as in "But minds of mortal men are muchell mad..."

In his effective verses, the sensual vividness results in a frozen motion:
When on the ground she groveling saw to rowle,
She ran in hast his ife to have bereft:
But ere she could him reach, the sinful sowle
Having his carrion corse quite senseless left,
Was fled to hell, surcharg'd with spoile and theft.
Yet over him she there long gazing stood,
And oft admired his monstrous shape, and oft
His mighty limbs, whilest all with filthy blood
The place there overflowne, seemd like a sodaine flood. (IV.vi.32)

As for the Mutability Cantoes, on the Comet and perhaps the Supernova, changes in the Heavens, Spenser stands clearly against Galileo (sixteen years later) or Giordano Bruno, Spenser's contemporary, who was publishing his 400 pp Latin poem on the Infinite Universe and Innumerable Worlds in 1592, four years before the Fairie Queene.
By sheer happenstance, Bruno and Spenser died around the same year, 1600 and 1599, Spenser four years younger than Bruno. Spenser's last couple years were terrible, for though Yeats would approve that Spenser was driven from Kilcoman his family holdings in North Cork. (Ben Jonson says Spenser lost a daughter when native Irish troops torched the house.)

Read in Oxford Hardback. ( )
  AlanWPowers | Mar 18, 2021 |
This book has stacked underneath it the most extensive amount of lit crit of anything I've ever read, save Shakespeare (maybe!). If Spenser really intended all that everyone say he did, then he is a friggin genius. There are umpteen-thousand pages in this book, but if you give it a go (especially the A.C. Hamilton-edited annotation, paired with his [b:The Spenser Encyclopedia|6945228|The Spenser Encyclopedia|A.C. Hamilton|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1266968543s/6945228.jpg|7178989], a tome so massive you could probably murder someone with it), you will learn almost everything you need to know about Elizabethan England, the feudal system that preceded it, and then some, not to mention meeting some strange women with odd genitalia, memorizing the honor code among knights and their passion for horses, and running into a few sprites, nymphs, giants, and other creatures. Based on Hamilton and others, pretty much every single stanza is loaded with allusions and things worth cross-referencing - quite a feat considering how many of them there are.

Oh, and for all you [b:Twilight|41865|Twilight (Twilight, #1)|Stephenie Meyer|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1275613536s/41865.jpg|3212258] fans, the Britomart storyline reads like a teen angsty dream, except for the part where her nurse spits on her to cure her of her love-sickness.

Seeing as Spenser intended six more books in addition to the six he wrote here (seriously), I wonder if that wouldn't have ended up like Quentin Tarentino's third Kill Bill which is rumored to bring back the daughter who saw her mother killed by Uma Thurman. I think the bloody-handed baby sucking the from the dead Amavia was meant to reprise a role in the latter six, if Spenser had been so spirited by his mere pittance from Elizabeth to continue writing. Just my two cents. To carry the Kill Bill comparison further than necessary, this story was pretty epic.

The stanzas make it very easy to take a break from reading every five seconds, but I wouldn't recommend it. Just trudge on through. Despite the intended six more books, the ending is quite satisfying - Spenser has his own personal drama that is almost as entertaining as the book, and is worth looking into especially given the poet's closing remarks. The stories are very visual and intricate. Hamilton's version has an indexed list of characters at the end that is thus very handy. It starts out being hard to read but you can probably get accustomed to the linguistic feats by the end of the first book. Also, look up the word 'puissance', since it seems to come up a lot. Some books are more episodic than others, but of course like every other word in this book, there are more than twenty people who will tell you that there is a good reason for that. Along with Hamilton, some good scholars to read in conjunction with this include Kathryn Schwarz, Stephen Greenblatt, Jean Feerick, Louis Montrose, and Mihoko Suzuki.

I read this for a class and by the end of it I think all of us had gone a little wacky. One of my classmates seemed bent on connecting this book to The Final Destination and something about aliens, regardless of what our highly-esteemed professor had to say. Another friend Justin posted the following Facebook status: "Move over 'Exit pursued by a bear' - bear carrying baby in its mouth has arrived. Three months of Spenser and I finally chuckled out loud. Perhaps that just means that I'm sick, perhaps it means that a bear making off with a baby like it's a pic-a-nic basket is actually funny. Thoughts?" By the end of the semester, we as a class found our sense of humor sickened to appreciable levels, to the point where mutilations, beheadings and bears eating babies were pretty darned hilarious. At least we know how to entertain ourselves. ( )
  irrelephant | Feb 21, 2021 |
2011 (my review can be found at the LibraryThing post linked)
http://www.librarything.com/topic/120136#2979733 ( )
  dchaikin | Sep 26, 2020 |
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Nom de l'auteur(e)RôleType d'auteurŒuvre ?Statut
Edmund Spenserauteur(e) principal(e)toutes les éditionscalculé
Austen, JohnIllustrateurauteur principalquelques éditionsconfirmé
Hales, John W.Directeur de publicationauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
O'Donnell, C. Patrick, Jr.Directeur de publicationauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Oliver, IsaacArtiste de la couvertureauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Ricks, ChristopherDirecteur de publicationauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Roche, Thomas P., Jr.Directeur de publicationauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Smith, J. C.Directeur de publicationauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
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[each line centered in the original]

TO
THE MOST HIGH,
MIGHTIE
and
MAGNIFICENT
EMPRESSE RENOVV-
MED FOR PIETIE, VER-
TVE, AND ALL GRATIOVS
GOVERNMENT ELIZABETH BY
THE GRACE OF GOD QVEENE
OF ENGLAND FRAVNCE AND
IRELAND AND OF VIRGI-
NIA, DEFENDOVR OF THE
FAITH, &. HER MOST
HVMBLE SERVANT
EDMVND SPENSER
DOTH IN ALL HV-
MILITIE DEDI-
CATE, PRE-
SENT
AND CONSECRATE THESE
HIS LABOVRS TO LIVE
VVITH THE ETERNI-
TIE OF HER
FAME.
Premiers mots
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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 gentle 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.
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The Faerie Queene is a scholarly masterpiece that has influenced, inspired, and challenged generations of writers, readers and scholars since its completion in 1596. Hamilton's edition is itself, a masterpiece of scholarship and close reading. It is nownbsp;the standardnbsp;edition for allnbsp;readers of Spenser. The entire work is revised, and the text of The Faerie Queene itself has been freshly edited, the first such edition since the 1930s.nbsp; This volume also contains additional original material, including a letter to Raleigh, commendatory verses and dedicatory sonnets, chronology of Spenser's life and works and provides a compilation of list of characters and their appearances in The Faerie Queene.

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