Introduction to Spenser’s Art of Royal Encomium

  • Donald Stump
Part of the Queenship and Power book series (QAP)


This study explores Spenser’s representations of Elizabeth I in Gloriana, the title character of The Faerie Queene, and five other figures: Una, Belphoebe, Britomart, Mercilla, and Cynthia. Compared with darker representations of the queen crafted by Spenser’s principal literary model, Sir Philip Sidney, these figures are frequently so idealized as to suggest that Spenser was a flatterer. Bringing to bear a wide range of historical resources, the book explores the complexity of these figures, arguing that they are grounded in Christian Humanist views of human nature and divine providence now largely forgotten. Detailing problems with earlier interpretations, this chapter explores the poet’s way of creating ethical allegory out of messy contemporary history by taking biblical history as his model. It also introduces the chapters that follow.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald Stump
    • 1
  1. 1.Saint Louis UniversitySt. LouisUSA

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