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Thesis (M.A.)—University of Nebraska—Lincoln, 1927. Department of English.


Copyright 1927, the author. Used by permission.


One can truly say that writer of the epic poem The Faerie Queene Edmund Spenser was a painter in verse, one of most wonderful that ever lived.The character of the great poem is best illustrated by the name it first bore, Pageants, for it is essentially a series of gorgeous decorations, of splendid pageants, of elaborate portraits, and beautiful descriptive touches. The purpose of this study is to illustrate the pictorial elements which bring about the magnificence of The Faerie Queene.

The entire poems might easily be cut up into an immense gallery of separate pictures.We seem to be passing down a long art gallery as we are carried along by the smooth lines.These portraits, scenes, and decorations, with which The Faerie Queene abounds, would seem to have no more connection than the countless paintings in an art gallery, if they were studied outside of their proper setting.Spenser drew his material from every source. He was, with the exception of Milton and possibly Gray, the most learned of our poets.His familiarity with ancient and modern literature was easy and intimate.The subjects of these pictures when taken one by one, seem strangely heterogeneous.They come from all the corners of poetry and legend.However, when studied in the light of their proper setting, they are organic and display incomparable originality of a great artist.