Spenser's Narrative Figuration of Women
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Concentrating on major figures of women in The Faerie Queene, together with the figures constellated around them, Anderson's Narrative Figuration explores the contribution of Spenser's epic romance to an appreciation of women's plights and possibilities in the age of Elizabeth. The figures she highlights encompass the idealization of Una, humanized by parody; the historicized fixation of Belphoebe; the cross-dressed complexity of Britomart; and the psychological misery of Serena, a throwback to Amoret. They range from cartoons to a fullness sharing numerous features with the Shakespearean women salient in recent debates about character. The critical lens most revealing for each important figure is markedly different, even while their interwoven experiences resonate and intersect across this culturally encyclopedic poem. Taken together, their stories have a meaningful tale to tell about the function of narrative, which proves central to figuration in the still moving, metamorphic poem that Spenser created.