Spenserian Allegory and Elizabethan Biblical Exegesis: A Context for <i>the Faerie Queene</I>

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Edmund Spenser famously conceded to his friend Walter Raleigh that his method in The Faerie Queene 'will seeme displeasaunt' to those who would 'rather have good discipline delivered plainly in way of precepts, or sermoned at large'. This is the first book-length study to clarify Spenser's comparison by introducing readers to the biblical typologies of contemporary sermons and liturgies. The result demonstrates that 'precepts ... sermoned at large' from lecterns and pulpits were themselves often 'clowdily enwrapped in allegoricall devises'. In effect, routine churchgoing prepared Spenser's first readers to enjoy and interpret The Faerie Queene. A wealth of relevant quotations invites readers to adopt an Elizabethan mindset and encounter the poem afresh. The 'chronicle history' cantos, Florimell's adventures andMercilla's judgment on Duessa all come into sharper focus when juxtaposed with contemporary religious rhetoric. -- .