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From the Fountain to the Well: Redcrosse Learns to Read

From the Fountain to the Well: Redcrosse Learns to Read From the Fountain to the Well: Redcrosse Learns to Read by Hester Lees-Jeffries UCH attention has been paid to the unfinished, open, ‘‘end- lesse’’ nature of Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, in recent criti- M cism in particular. I do not dispute this approach to the text: many of the labyrinthine, allusive and intertextual qualities that it has illuminated and elucidated are germane to my discussion. Yet book  of the poem is in many respects a highly ‘‘finished,’’ discrete literary unit; moreover, it is itself vitally concerned with beginnings and end- ings, origins and sources and, especially, the poet’s own negotiations of their congruences and confluences. In this reading, I will suggest that in book  Spenser employs various kinds of fountains to explore ideas about sources (including the humanist return ad fontes), questions of genre, the relationship between landscape and narrative, Protestant his- tory and polemic, and his own inheritances, responsibilities and anxi- eties as a poet. Some of what I will show and argue below is necessarily synthetic, juxtaposing some long-established strands of Spenser criti- cism. My focus on the fountains, however, is a fresh one, and aims to show that in Spenser’s usage this figure is http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Studies in Philology University of North Carolina Press

From the Fountain to the Well: Redcrosse Learns to Read

Studies in Philology , Volume 100 (2) – May 1, 2003

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2003 The University of North Carolina Press.
ISSN
1543-0383

Abstract

From the Fountain to the Well: Redcrosse Learns to Read by Hester Lees-Jeffries UCH attention has been paid to the unfinished, open, ‘‘end- lesse’’ nature of Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, in recent criti- M cism in particular. I do not dispute this approach to the text: many of the labyrinthine, allusive and intertextual qualities that it has illuminated and elucidated are germane to my discussion. Yet book  of the poem is in many respects a highly ‘‘finished,’’ discrete literary unit; moreover, it is itself vitally concerned with beginnings and end- ings, origins and sources and, especially, the poet’s own negotiations of their congruences and confluences. In this reading, I will suggest that in book  Spenser employs various kinds of fountains to explore ideas about sources (including the humanist return ad fontes), questions of genre, the relationship between landscape and narrative, Protestant his- tory and polemic, and his own inheritances, responsibilities and anxi- eties as a poet. Some of what I will show and argue below is necessarily synthetic, juxtaposing some long-established strands of Spenser criti- cism. My focus on the fountains, however, is a fresh one, and aims to show that in Spenser’s usage this figure is

Journal

Studies in PhilologyUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: May 1, 2003

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