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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
Version: Published
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/6451
ISSN: 0184-7678
Appears in Collections:Published Articles (English and Drama)

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