Framed in Spenser's distinctive, opulent stanza and in some of the trappings of epic, Book One of Spenser's The Faerie Queene consists of a chivalric romance that has been made to a typical recipe--fierce warres and faithfull loves--but that has been Christianized in both overt and subtle ways. The physical and moral wanderings of the Redcrosse Knight dramatize his effort to find the proper proportion of human to divine contributions to salvation--a key issue between Protestants and Catholics. Fantastic elements like alien humans, humanoids, and monsters and their respective dwelling places are vividly described.
Carol V. Kaske is Professor Emerita of English, Cornell University. Abraham Stoll is Assistant Professor of English, University of San Diego.