Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/195902
Title:
Emergent Discourses of Difference in Spenser's Faerie Queene
Author:
Goodrich, Jean Nowakowski
Issue Date:
2005
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
“Emergent Discourses of Difference in Spenser's Faerie Queene" argues that Spenser's project of fashioning "a gentleman or noble person in vertuous and gentle discipline" is in fact a project to define both an English literary and national identity. Yet his idea of faerie which expresses this Englishness is based upon the perception of difference as dangerous and monstrous. While Spenser's faerie is romanticized and politicized, the nature of its threat to the Christian hero is expressed in emerging discourses of anxiety concerning racial, sexual, and class differences, discourses which continue to inform English/British identity well into the age of empire. Although the medieval romance which influenced Spenser presents faerie as an aristocratic ideal, Spenser also borrows from an older, more popular conception of faerie as inherently dangerous, perhaps even predatory. Spenser's use of popular faerie folklore may be read as either an "imperial" appropriation or an instance of the shaping power of popular culture to influence the hegemonic discourse of Elizabethan courtliness, gentility, and the power of the (female) monarch. Spenser's depiction of the lower classes is more complex than the ubiquitous "many-headed monster" so commonly represented by his contemporaries. In turn, Spenser's use of folklore provides an interpretative lens with which to view Spenser's depiction of Elizabeth Tudor as the Faerie Queene, suggesting that the female body and female sexuality present a source of danger both to the titular heroes of the work and to the idealized Christian hero, Arthur. I contend that Spenser's depiction of Elizabeth as Gloriana is not as complementary as it seems. Further, Edmund Spenser was writing at a time of an emergent discourse of race difference applied to Africans and Native Americans, a discourse which manifests itself in Spenser's work as a racialization of the Irish and the "paynim" enemies that challenge his heroes. The Faerie Queene demonstrates Spenser's anxiety for the corruptive effects of the uncivilized and "unworthy," the non-white/non-English, and the non-Protestant Other, including the female witch. Both the inhabitants of faerie and the Faerie Queene herself represent the anxieties at the source of what Spenser defines as English.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
Edmund Spenser; Faerie Queene; gender; race; class; popular culture
Degree Name:
PhD
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
English; Graduate College
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Brown, Meg Lota
Committee Chair:
Brown, Meg Lota

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoENen_US
dc.titleEmergent Discourses of Difference in Spenser's Faerie Queeneen_US
dc.creatorGoodrich, Jean Nowakowskien_US
dc.contributor.authorGoodrich, Jean Nowakowskien_US
dc.date.issued2005en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstract“Emergent Discourses of Difference in Spenser's Faerie Queene" argues that Spenser's project of fashioning "a gentleman or noble person in vertuous and gentle discipline" is in fact a project to define both an English literary and national identity. Yet his idea of faerie which expresses this Englishness is based upon the perception of difference as dangerous and monstrous. While Spenser's faerie is romanticized and politicized, the nature of its threat to the Christian hero is expressed in emerging discourses of anxiety concerning racial, sexual, and class differences, discourses which continue to inform English/British identity well into the age of empire. Although the medieval romance which influenced Spenser presents faerie as an aristocratic ideal, Spenser also borrows from an older, more popular conception of faerie as inherently dangerous, perhaps even predatory. Spenser's use of popular faerie folklore may be read as either an "imperial" appropriation or an instance of the shaping power of popular culture to influence the hegemonic discourse of Elizabethan courtliness, gentility, and the power of the (female) monarch. Spenser's depiction of the lower classes is more complex than the ubiquitous "many-headed monster" so commonly represented by his contemporaries. In turn, Spenser's use of folklore provides an interpretative lens with which to view Spenser's depiction of Elizabeth Tudor as the Faerie Queene, suggesting that the female body and female sexuality present a source of danger both to the titular heroes of the work and to the idealized Christian hero, Arthur. I contend that Spenser's depiction of Elizabeth as Gloriana is not as complementary as it seems. Further, Edmund Spenser was writing at a time of an emergent discourse of race difference applied to Africans and Native Americans, a discourse which manifests itself in Spenser's work as a racialization of the Irish and the "paynim" enemies that challenge his heroes. The Faerie Queene demonstrates Spenser's anxiety for the corruptive effects of the uncivilized and "unworthy," the non-white/non-English, and the non-Protestant Other, including the female witch. Both the inhabitants of faerie and the Faerie Queene herself represent the anxieties at the source of what Spenser defines as English.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectEdmund Spenseren_US
dc.subjectFaerie Queeneen_US
dc.subjectgenderen_US
dc.subjectraceen_US
dc.subjectclassen_US
dc.subjectpopular cultureen_US
thesis.degree.namePhDen_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineEnglishen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorBrown, Meg Lotaen_US
dc.contributor.chairBrown, Meg Lotaen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberBoyd McBride, Karien_US
dc.contributor.committeememberUlreich, John C.en_US
dc.identifier.proquest1119en_US
dc.identifier.oclc137354060en_US
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