Joseph Campana

in The Pain of Reformation

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780823239108
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823239146 | DOI:

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The task of Spenser's poetry was to process the consequences of the Reformation and to reform masculinity by making a virtue of vulnerability, and it is in this respect that Spenser's project may be of interest considering recent critical reflection on violence and contemporary politics. I approach this subject in my conclusion while also considering the fate of Spenser's project when the extension of the 1590 Faerie Queene in its later editions changed the tenor of Spenser's reflection on vulnerability, ethics, and masculinity as the 1596 Faerie Queene struggles to understand the seductive lure of violence through the operations of shame. Spenser's poem may be too complex to sustain simple moral principles, but as it fashions gentle persons, it aims to create subjects capable of reflecting ethically on experiences of violence and vulnerability at the moments in which such experience seems most resistant to the possibility of common feeling.

Keywords: Spenser; masculinity; violence; shame

Chapter.  4935 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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