Allegory, Emblem, and Symbol

Kenneth Borris

in The Oxford Handbook of Edmund Spenser

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780199227365
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

 Allegory, Emblem, and Symbol

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  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)
  • Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)


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This article focuses on Spenserian allegory. Comparable to Dante in his importance for allegory, Spenser creatively expanded its potential throughout his literary life. But the experimental vigor of his endeavor is too little acknowledged. While assimilating and building on medieval precedents, the poet's engagement with allegory subsumed diverse influences from the ancients to his own contemporaries in a unique new formulation. The consummate expression of Spenser's allegorical poetic, The Faerie Queene samples and redevelops myriad literary and other texts, forms, and discourses to manifest its own poetic world. Few books read like no others, and this poem's profound allegorism ensures it is one of them.

Keywords: poetry; allegory; poems; The Faerie Queene

Article.  10184 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800) ; Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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