Synopses & Reviews
From its opening scenes--in which the hero refrains from fighting a duel, then discovers that his horse has been stolen--Book Two of The Faerie Queene redefines the nature of heroism and of chivalry. Its hero is Sir Guyon, the knight of Temperance, whose challenges frequently take the form of temptations. Accompanied by a holy Palmer in place of a squire, Guyon struggles to subdue himself as well as his enemies. His adventures lead up to a climactic encounter with the arch-temptress Acrasia in her Bower of Bliss, which provides the occasion for some of Spenser's most sensuous verse. With its mixture of chivalric romance, history, and moral allegory, Book Two succeeds in presenting an exuberant exploration of the virtue of self-restraint.
Teachers of Spenser will also welcome two more installments of the Hackett editions of separate books of The Faerie Queene under the general editorship of Abraham Stoll, this time on books 2 and on books 3 and 4. In my view, these are the most attractive, inexpensive, but also comprehensive editions to date, with far better (and easy to read) notes on mythology and name symbolism (matters increasingly foreign to our undergraduates) than almost all previous versions. --Catherine Gimelli Martin, Studies in English Literature 1500-1900
In his introduction, Erik Gray offers a tidy preface to book 2 of The Faerie Queene, providing a brief but provocative discussion of some of Spenser's sources and poetic models. In his introductory subsections, Gray's analysis begins with more basic material and becomes progressively complex in sequential paragraphs, offering compelling points of departure for further study by readers at all levels. In addition, Gray offers a list of some later writers influenced by Spenser's writing, situating Spenser in the broader literary canon and defining some preliminary connections for students for many literary fields. To encourage the reader's further inquiry, Gray highlights a particularly troubling passage from book 2, offering various critical perspectives on the portrayal of Temperance therein, and grounding further interpretation. --Rachel E. Frier, Sixteenth Century Journal
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About the Author
Abraham Stoll is Assistant Professor of English, University of San Diego.