The Faerie Queene as Children’s Literature

Victorian and Edwardian Retellings in Words and Pictures


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About the Book

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.

About the Author(s)

Velma Bourgeois Richmond, a recipient of the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award, is a professor emerita of English at Holy Names University, Oakland, California. She lives in Berkeley, California.

Bibliographic Details

Velma Bourgeois Richmond

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 284
Bibliographic Info: 41 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6617-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2587-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
1. Contexts and Criticism 5
2. Victorian Beginnings 25
3. Edwardian Extravagance 57
4. American Difference 140
5. Schoolbooks 181
6. Literary Histories 224
Epilogue 250
Chapter Notes 255
Bibliography 264
Index 267

Book Reviews & Awards

• “Richmond’s discussion of the changing genre of medieval romance in post–Reformation England is worth the read, and her insights in this area are indispensible to the scholarly conversation”—Children’s Literature Association Quarterly

• “The topic of Velma Bourgeois Richmond’s The Faerie Queene as Children’s Literature is fascinating…a valuable reference book for anyone interested in trends in publishing and illustration, in Victorian and Edwardian children’s literature… I am glad that such a book exists.”—Studies in Medieval & Renaissance Teaching

• “In her well-researched book, Richmond provides an informative look into Victorian and Edwardian adaptations of The Faerie Queene.… Especially interesting are the author’s observations on the adaptations…made in the last 50 years.”—Journal of Research in Children’s Literature and Culture