The Faerie Queene: To Conquer the Fear of Reading Aloud

Book Review: The Faerie Queene, Book One - Edmund Spencer

Una and the Lion

We just completed our first book in the literature list, The Faerie Queene, Book One by Edmund Spencer, which fit perfectly into our Renaissance topic.  The Faerie Queene is a splendid allegorical English poem published in 1590.  

Una and the Red Cross Knight - G. F. Watts

The Redcrosse Knight of Holiness, later to be revealed as St. George and patron saint of England, must overcome the doctrinal errors (of the Catholic Church) and the dragon of deception in order to save the parents of Una, (the truth of Protestantism).

Red Cross Knight Overcoming the Dragon - G. F. Watts

In these trials, Redcrosse is tested in his virtues, which aid in his spiritual growth and strength.  There is also a visit by King Arthur who helps Redcrosse in a time of need.  This is a nice connection because last year we read Howard Pyle’s King Arthur and numerous versions of St. George.

St. George and the Dragon

Many years ago I checked out a copy of The Faerie Queene, but I was apprehensive about reading it to my kids because I had never read the archaic language before, which, in other words, is completely odd and strange.   So I returned the book without ever reading it. 

The Red Cross Knight - John Singleton Copley

But now I have conquered my fear and read it out loud to them.  And even though it was difficult for even myself to understand everything, it was an opportunity to hear the words read in the form it was written, which I believe is beneficial and prepares us for more poetry to come.  It is like a logic problem because it forces your brain to work harder to comprehend what Spencer is saying.  No wonder The Faerie Queene was not required reading when I was in school; it requires much thinking to read.

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