Arthur and Argante: Parodying the Ideal Vision

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:
Arthur and Argante: Parodying the Ideal Vision

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Argante is one of the most luridly colorful figures in The Faerie Queene. She is the aggressively lustful giantess in the Book III. She is said to be the twin sister of Ollyphant, or elephant, with whom she is reported to have been locked in sexual intercourse at birth. Spenser takes Ollyphant from the giant in Chaucer's Sir Thopas, a Tale on which Spenser drew frequently and specifically in Book I for the Prince Arthur's dream of his beloved elf queen, the Queen of Faerie. As an antitype to the idealized elf queen, Argante correlates more generally with the ambivalent treatment of Arthur throughout Spenser's poem but most conspicuously in Book I. Many editors pass over Argante's name in conspicuous silence. Her name has never been accounted for satisfactorily, despite its curious coincidence with Tasso's male knight.

Keywords: Argante; Ollyphant; elf queen; The Faerie Queene; Arthur; Spenser

Chapter.  4006 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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