Spenserian Askesis: The 1590 <i>Faerie Queene</i>

Jonathan Goldberg

in The Seeds of Things

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print July 2009 | ISBN: 9780823230662
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235827 | DOI:
Spenserian Askesis: The 1590 Faerie Queene

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Daniel Juan Gil comments on Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene, saying that the poem sketches instances that are not easily comprehended by its readers. This is perhaps due to the several, ambiguously stated tautologies and difficult allegories. In the course of propounding the concept of sexuality, the author applies the term “askesis,” defined as self-regulation and mastery, which is borrowed from Foucault's history of sexuality, specifically in the discussion of pleasure. The author made use of the term under a philosophical engagement and historical approach. Not only do Foucault's predilections revolve around discipline in terms of sexuality or sexual behaviour but also in terms of liberation and politics, which encompass Spenser's inspiration for The Faerie Queene. Given all the arguments and propositions, the question of whether Spenser is a Christian or a Lucretian requires further probing.

Keywords: Edmund Spenser; The Faerie Queene; sexuality; askesis; pleasure; sexual behaviour; liberation; politics

Chapter.  24368 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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