Synopses & Reviews
The literary motif of the allegorical knightly quest appears repeatedly in the literature of the late medieval/early modern period, notably in Spenser, but has hitherto been little examined. Here, in his examination of a number of sixteenth-century English allegorical-chivalric quest narratives, focussing on Spenser's Faerie Queene but including important, lesser-known works such as Stephen Bateman's Travayled Pylgrime and William Goodyear's Voyage of the Wandering Knight, the author argues that the tradition begins with the French writer Guillaume Deguileville. His seminal Pelerinage de la vie humaine was composed c.1331-1355; it was widely adapted, translated, rewritten and printed over the next centuries. Dr Nievergelt goes on to demonstrate how this essentially medieval literary form could be adapted to articulate reflections on changing patterns of identity, society and religion during the early modern period; and how it becomes a vehicle of self-exploration and self-fashioning during a period of profound cultural crisis.