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August 7, 2011
A copy of The Faerie Queene at the Huntington Library

It’s been a long but worthwhile journey. I wish I had more knowledge of Spenser’s works, Elizabethan politics, and English poetry in general. I am planning to read more in these areas, but luckily such knowledge wasn’t a prerequisite to enjoying The Faerie Queene.

What can I say about such a seminal work of literature? I keep imagining Spenser in his ruff, dipping his pen over and over, scrawling out his iambic pentameters and hexameters. Like so many artists, he seems a paradox of pride and insecurity, waiting and longing for wealth and respect. He wove a complex moral story meant to please his fellow men while preaching to them, to praise some government policies while voicing his grievances on others, to give new life to old stories and old words. He wrote about his understanding of human nature, our potential (even his own ambitions) and our shortcomings (even his own failures).

What about this site? In the future I’d like to add more to all these categories. It would be awesome to have commentary for each canto with more notes and cross-references. For now, I hope that my experiences here might help anyone who finds this book intimidating.


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