Spenser's Use of Chaucer's <i>Melibee</i>: Allegory, Narrative, History

Judith H. Anderson

in Reading the Allegorical Intertext

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print May 2008 | ISBN: 9780823228478
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823241125 | DOI:
Spenser's Use of Chaucer's Melibee: Allegory, Narrative, History

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Paul Alpers is totally concerned with defending Spenser's Melibee; the old shepherd was destroyed in the sixth book of The Faerie Queene by marauding brigands and the accusations of the readers that he is lazy and careless. But Alpers seeks to defend Melibee from the charge of imprudence in the style of his life. For Alpers, the name of Spenser's Melibee evidently derives from Vergil's exiled Meliboeus, and in Book VI it represents the “wisdom of fortunatus senex,” although he must represent it somewhat paradoxically, since Melibee turns out to be less fortunatus. In Alders terminology, Melibee is a poetic freeholder who is mistaken in that his only care is to attend what is his, but in Spenser's sixth book, Melibee's kindness to Pastorella and his hospitality are shown even though they contrast with his harsh fate at the hands of the brigands.

Keywords: Melibee; Chaucer; Spenser; brigands; The Faerie Queene; Paul Alpers; imprudence

Chapter.  6369 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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