The Christian Humanist Podcast, Episode #34: The Faerie Queene

General Introduction
– Hey, there’s four of us!
– A needless interruption
– What’s on the blog?
– David pleases the king

Background
– A little-read Great Book
– Spenser’s social climbing
– The messy composition
– Disillusionment in the second half?
– Personal and civic virtue

Let’s Talk Carla
– The broad strokes of Carla’s thesis
– Female disappointment
– Does Britomart ever find satisfaction?
– Unspeakable disasters
– The block of the patriarchy

Let’s Talk Britomart
– Is Britomart a feminist?
– Self-hatred
– Gender bendin’ with Queen Elizabeth I
– The Ally McBeal of the 16th century
– An endemic problem to Renaissance epic?
– What did Spenser intend?

Period Resonations
– Nathan brings his dissertation into it!
– Religious tensions of the era
– The sacramentality of marriage
– Milton’s gender division
– Boethius and the Fortunate Fall

Book One
– The only thing you’ve read: Admit it!
– Which church are you part of?
– The Catholic scarlet woman

The National Epic
– A New Kind of St. George
– Gloriana, the Faerie Queene
– Prince Arthur
– The anxieties of the empire

Allegory and Critical Theory
– Michial wrongly anticipates a cage match
– Why allegory confuses Britomart
– How emotion breaks it down
– Allegory as inherently limiting
– Authorial intent
– Did Spenser fall backwards into a great book?
– Allegory that creates a surplus of meaning
– Back to the Holy Grail!
– Is there a point of arrival?

Lightning Round
– What else in The Faerie Queene is worth your time?
– Sir Guyon discovers the limits of classical virtue
– The first buddy cop movie
– False Florimell’s phony romance novel
– Pyrochles sets himself on fire
– The adventures of Belphoebe and Amoret
– The Salvage Man’s nasty habits

Why Should You Bother and How Should You Proceed?
– The power of the poetry
– A shameful reminder
– Intangible meaning and beauty
– Understanding the historical roots of our modern beliefs
– Read it in a group
– Positive frustration
– C.S. Lewis’s strange mother issues
– Stuff for the 11-year-old boys in our audience
– White is a color, too—and the ambiguity of virtue
– Another tiresome comparison to Moby-Dick
BIBLIOGRAPHY
Ariosoto, Ludovico. Orlando Furioso. Trans. Guido Waldman. New York: Oxford UP, 2008.

Blanchot, Maurice. The Writing of the Disaster. Trans. Ann Smock. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1995.

Boethius. The Consolation of Philosophy. Trans. Victor Watts. New York: Penguin, 1999.

Candler, Peter M., Jr. “The Anagogical Imagination of Flannery O’Connor.” Christianity and Literature 60.1 (Autumn 2010): 11-33.

Melville, Herman. Moby-Dick. New York: Norton, 2001.

Milbank, John. Theology and Social Theory: Beyond Secular Reason. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley-Blackwell, 2006.

Milton, John. Paradise Lost. New York: Norton, 2004.

Shakespeare, William. Othello. London: Arden, 1996.

Spenser, Edmund. The Faerie Queene. New York: Penguin, 1979.

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