Anxious Mo-Fo

An anxious m*********** from Seattle

Fun with Edmund Spenser and the O.E.D.

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I am slowly working my way through The Faerie Queene. Spenser refers to the poem’s hero knight as an elf, e.g., from Book I Canto V, “Which when the wakeful Elfe perceiu’d…” In what sense, I wondered, could this knight be referred to as an elf?

One of the O.E.D.’s definitions of “elf” is:

By Spenser applied to the knights of his allegorical ‘faerie land’.

Ah. In that sense.

Similarly, one of the O.E.D.’s definitions of “faerie” is:

The realm or world of the fays or fairies; fairyland, fairydom (cf. FAIRY n. 1). Usually, the imaginary world depicted in Spenser’s Faery Queene, the personages of which have little or no resemblance to the ‘fairies’ of popular belief.

Written by JPP

January 2, 2010 at 8:43 pm

Posted in Poetry

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