The Faerie Queene as Children’s Literature: Victorian and Edwardian Retellings in Words and Pictures
Velma Bourgeois Richmond
Edmund Spenser’s vast epic poem The Faerie Queene is the most challenging masterpiece in early modern literature and is praised as the work most representative of the Elizabethan age. In it he fused traditions of medieval romance and classical epic, his religious and political allegory creating a Protestant alternative to the Catholic romances rejected by humanists and Puritans. The poem was later made over as children’s literature, retold in lavish volumes and schoolbooks and appreciated in pedagogical studies and literary histories.
Distinguished writers for children simplified the stories and noted artists illustrated them. Children were less encouraged to consider the allegory than to be inspired to the moral virtues. This book studies The Faerie Queene’s many adaptations for a young audience in order to provide a richer understanding of both the original and adapted texts.