Approaches to Teaching Spenser’s Faerie Queene

  • Editors: David Lee Miller, Alexander Dunlop
  • Pages: ix & 207 pp.
  • Published: 1994
  • ISBN: 9780873527231 (Cloth)
  • ISBN: 9780873527248 (Paperback)
Approaches to Teaching Spenser's Faerie Queene Cover

“I have taught the Faerie Queene at all levels of instruction; speaking from experience, I can say that I would have found the present volume useful. It is encouraging to teachers of the poem. . . .  Editors Miller and Dunlop have done a genuine service by bringing together in one volume essays that amply demonstrate that Spenser is in good hands in the college classroom. On the whole the essays here are well written, witty, clearly focused, and strongly argued, and reveal considerable variety in teaching techniques and course-specific approaches.”

—Ann E. Imbrie, Vassar College

The Faerie Queene,“ according to Alexander Dunlop (coeditor of the present volume), “may be the most undervalued classic in the canon of English poetry.” The epic poem’s archaic language, formal structure, historical references, and literary allusions all present special challenges to both student and teacher—challenges that the contributors to this book believe can be overcome with creativity and wit. Designed for beginning instructors as well as for specialists still looking for the lesson plan of their dreams, Approaches to Teaching Spenser’s Faerie Queene offers a thorough discussion of recent work on Spenser and on the social and cultural milieu of Elizabethan England.

This Approaches volume, like others in the series, is divided into two parts. Part 1, “Materials,” surveys resources useful for classroom instruction (such as editions, anthologies, and student readings), reviews background studies and critical scholarship, and reprints eight illustrations related to the poem. Part 2, “Approaches,” presents six essays suggesting methods for introducing The Faerie Queene to students and nine essays describing advanced classroom strategies incorporating a variety of topics, including the visual arts, feminism, and colonialism.