Cover

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Title Page and Copyright

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Contents

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Figures

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pp. vii-vii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

Writing accumulates not merely words but also debt—happily so.
Since this is a study of a poem characterized by errancy, it was inevitable that its development would be characterized by straying through a variety of times, places, and institutions. My fascination with . . .

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Introduction

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pp. 1-43

Perhaps nothing says more about a poet than praise lavished by that poet upon a predecessor. “Sage and serious” was how John Milton, in Areopagitica, characterized Edmund Spenser, perhaps his greatest . . .

Part I The Legend of Holiness

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pp. 45-45

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Chapter 1 Reading Bleeding Trees: The Poetics of Other People's Pain

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pp. 47-74

Near the opening of the Legend of Holiness, that legend’s exemplary figure, the Redcrosse Knight, plucks a branch from a tree in a dark wood to fashion a garland for his ill-chosen beloved, . . .

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Chaper 2 Spenser’s Dark Materials: Representation in the Shadow of Christ

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pp. 75-104

Idolatry haunts the history of poetry. In his treatise on the genealogies of the pagan gods, Boccaccio traces the art of this “fervid and exquisite invention,” poetry, to one of three primal scenes: the . . .

Part II The Legend of Temperance

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pp. 105-105

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Chpter 3 On Not Defending Poetry:Spenser, Suffering, and the Energy of Affect

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pp. 107-128

The history of poetry is a history of apology. Early modern English writers, faced with a brave new world of anxieties about the value, validity, and cultural uses of poetry, produced myriad literary . . .

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Chapter 4 Boy Toys and Liquid Joys:Pleasure and Power in the Bower of Bliss

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pp. 129-159

Early in Edmund Spenser’s Th e Faerie Queene, the Redcrosse Knight, just having departed the House of Pride, rests by a fountain “Disarmed all of yron-coted Plate” (1.7.2). The duplicitous Duessa will . . .

Part III The Legend of Chastity

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pp. 169-169

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Chapter 5 Vulnerable Subjects: Amoret’s Agony,Britomart’s Battle for Chastity

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pp. 163-203

Florimell, who is betrothed to the knight Marinell, bursts onto the scene of the Legend of Chastity chased by “a griesly foster” (3.1.17) and a series of knights, including Arthur, the exemplar of magnificence, the sum . . .

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Chapter 6 Damaged Gods: Adonis and the Pain of Allegory

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pp. 204-223

The figure of Mars disarmed by Venus represented for Renaissance artists and thinkers a potent allegory of peace, one rooted in the intimacy of erotic vulnerability. If, as I have argued, the 1590 . . .

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Conclusion

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pp. 225-237

The Faerie Queene opens with an act of disarmament. Although the poem confi rms its affiliation with the heroic by trumpeting “Fierce warres and faithfull loues,” it also lays claim to the power of love to . . .

Notes

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pp. 239-273

Index

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pp. 274-286