Margaret Christian
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Some 20th and 21st century literary critics treat allegoresis as a project fraught with psychological and philosophical complexity and The Faerie Queene as deliberately obscure or ironic. Most early marginal comments demonstrate that Spenser’s first readers found the poem’s allegorical message accessible and mainstream. Sermons, aspiring like Spenser (in this work) to orthodoxy, are similarly didactic. When a preacher addressed a public audience, biblical types of Elizabeth like Moses, David, and Hezekiah, appeared without reference to unedifying details. The implication for The Faerie Queene (though not for all of Spenser’s work): ostensible praise and blame may be taken at face value.

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