Parody and panegyric
in Comic Spenser
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This chapter analyses The Faerie Queene’s images of Elizabeth I in detail. It acknowledges that grotesque caricature is not necessarily closer to what ‘Spenser really thought’ than idealisation, and finds that both distortions can be equally funny. Distinguishing between veiled, critical satire and the more self-inclusive tendencies of Spenserian humour, it argues that while Elizabeth I is not exempt from comic treatment in The Faerie Queene, neither is Spenser himself. Perhaps in recognition that his own ambitions as a poet depended upon panegyric, Spenser’s images of the queen often incorporate elements of self-satire.

Comic Spenser

Faith, folly, and ‘The Faerie Queene’


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