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Edmund Spenser's 'The Faerie Queene'

A Reading Guide

Andrew Zurcher

Hardback i (Printed to Order)
eBook (ePub) i
eBook (PDF) i

Introduces a Renaissance masterpiece to a modern audience

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Preface: How to read The Faerie Queene
Series Editors' Preface
1 Mapping and Making
2 Selections from the poem
3 Contexts and Reception
4 Teaching the Text
5 Resources for Study

About the Author

Dr Andrew Zurcher is Fellow and Newton Trust Lecturer in the Faculty of English at the University of Cambridge. He is the author of Spenser's Legal Language: Law and Poetry in Early Modern England (Boydell and Brewer, 2007).


Andrew Zurcher’s guide is a good place to start because picking up a single-volume edition of Spenser’s very long poem can be intimidating and for anyone coming to the poem for the first time it is questionable whether this is the best way to begin. With this in mind,  Zurcher provides a useful summary of each of the poem’s six books and presents a selection of substantial passages, each of which has its own glossary and commentary.
- Seán Sheehan, Irish Left Review

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