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|Title: ||Spenser's nationalistic images of beauty: the ideal and the other in relation to Protestant England and Catholic Ireland in The Faerie Queene Book 1|
|Authors: ||Fitzpatrick, Joan|
|Issue Date: ||1998|
|Publisher: ||© Cahiers Élisabéthains, a Biannual Journal of English Renaissance Studies|
|Citation: ||FITZPATRICK, J., 1998. Spenser's nationalistic images of beauty: the ideal and the other in relation to Protestant England and Catholic Ireland in The Faerie Queene Book 1. Cahiers Elisabethains: Late Medieval and Renaissance English Studies, 53, pp.13-26.|
|Abstract: ||Traditional interpretations of Spenser’s allegory, both moral and historical,
have tended to identify Una as “Truth”, specifically the truth of the Reformed
Church. Duessa, her opposite, has been identified as the whore who symbolizes
Roman Catholicism, whilst Error has been interpreted as religious error, the
enemy of the true word (heresy), or more generally as falsehood and sin. This
paper explores Spenser’s demonization of the Catholic Irish in The Faerie Queene
and A View of the Present State of Ireland (hereafter the View), attributed to
Spenser since 1633. By no means do all the demons in The Faerie Queene
represent Irish Catholics, but there is evidence of a particularly Irish Catholic
dimension to Spenser’s depiction of Una, Duessa, and Error.
In Book 1 of The Faerie Queene images of beauty are used by Spenser to
endorse the status of Elizabeth I as head of the Protestant church and grotesque
images are used to demonize the enemies of that church, and of Elizabeth.
Spenser builds on the figure of Elizabeth as divine representative of Protestant
reform to endorse his militant Protestant position throughout Book 1. In his
delineation of the grotesque physical appearance of Una’s enemies, Spenser
illustrates the contemporary demonization of two groups: women and the
colonized Irish (including Irish women), both constructed as the Other. Such
demonization is explicit in the View and is a feature of other colonialist writings.
Spenser depicts the evil which he believes threatens the English Protestant state as
sexually and morally degenerate.|
|Description: ||This article was published in the journal, Cahiers Elisabéthains, a Biannual Journal of English Renaissance Studies: http://recherche.univ-montp3.fr/cahiers/ and http://www.ircl.cnrs.fr/francais/publicationF/publications.htm|
|Appears in Collections:||Published Articles (English and Drama)|
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