Una and the English Reformation

  • Donald Stump
Part of the Queenship and Power book series (QAP)


Chapters  4 6 argue for a more or less chronological “continued Allegory” of Elizabeth’s life in The Faerie Queene. This chapter details the quest of Una and the Redcrosse Knight to slay the dragon afflicting her kingdom, treating it as a representation of the course of events that led to the Elizabethan Settlement in Religion of 1559, as recounted in Foxe’s Actes and Monuments. Recognizing that the quest follows the fitful progress of English reform from Henry VIII to Elizabeth resolves a number of interpretive difficulties, including Spenser’s apparently Catholic view of “holy things,” his allusions to Elizabeth in the figure of Lucifera, his reliance on an seemingly Catholic monastic order to reeducate his hero, and his allusions to the Easter Triduum during the climactic dragon-fight.


  1. Augustine. The City of God. Edited and translated by R.W. Dyson. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.Google Scholar
  2. Baldwin, T.W. Shakespeare’s Small Latine & Lesse Greeke. 2 vols. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1944.Google Scholar
  3. Bauckham, Richard. Tudor Apocalypse: Sixteenth Century Apocalypticism, Millennarianism, and the English Reformation. Oxford: Sutton Courtenay Press, 1976.Google Scholar
  4. Berry, Philippa. Of Chastity and Power: Elizabethan Literature and the Unmarried Queen. London: Routledge, 1989.Google Scholar
  5. Carley, J.P. “Her Moost Lovying and Fryndely Brother Sends Gretyng’: Anne Boleyn’s Manuscripts and Their Sources.” In Illuminating the Book: Makers and Interpreters, edited by Michelle P. Brown and Scott McKendrick. London: British Library, 1998.Google Scholar
  6. Chapuys, Eustace. Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII, 1509–47. Edited by J.S. Brewer, J. Gairdner, and R.H. Brodie. 21 vols. London: Master of the Rolls, 1862–1932.Google Scholar
  7. Davies, Douglas B. “The Faerie Queene, Book I.” In Hamilton, The Spenser Encyclopedia, 261.Google Scholar
  8. Dering, Edward. A Sermon Preached Before the Quenes Maiestie. London: Iohn Awdely, 1570.Google Scholar
  9. Dickens, A.G. The English Reformation. 2nd ed. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1991.Google Scholar
  10. Dixon, John. The First Commentary on “The Faerie Queene.” Edited by Graham Hough. Privately printed, 1964.Google Scholar
  11. Erickson, Carolly. Bloody Mary. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1978.Google Scholar
  12. Fowler, Alastair. “Spenser and War.” In War, Literature, and the Arts in Sixteenth-Century Literature and the Arts, edited by J.R. Mulryne and Margaret Shewring, 147–64. New York: St. Martin’s, 1989.Google Scholar
  13. Foxe, John. The Unabridged Acts and Monuments Online. Sheffield: HRI Online Publications, 2011.
  14. Gless, Darryl. “Abessa, Corceca, Kirkrapine.” In Hamilton, The Spenser Encyclopedia, 3–4.Google Scholar
  15. Hadfield, Andrew. Edmund Spenser: A Life. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.Google Scholar
  16. Hall, Edward. Hall’s Chronicle; Containing the History of England, During the Reign of Henry the Fourth, and the Succeeding Monarchs, to the End of the Reign of Henry the Eighth. London, 1809. Reprinted, New York: AMS Press, 1965.Google Scholar
  17. Halpern, Richard. “Una’s Evil.” Spenser Review 40, no. 3 (2010): 1–7.Google Scholar
  18. Hamilton, A.C., Donald Cheney, W.F Blissett, David A. Richardson, and William W. Barker, eds. The Spenser Encyclopedia. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press, 1990.Google Scholar
  19. Hamilton, A.C., et al., eds. The Faerie Queene, by Edmund Spenser. 2nd ed. London: Longman, 2001.Google Scholar
  20. Heninger, S.K. “The Orgoglio Episode in The Faerie Queene.” ELH: English Literary History 26 (1959): 171–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Holinshed, Raphael. The Firste [and Last] Volume of the Chronicles of England, Scotlande, and Irelande. 2 vols. London: [Henry Bynneman] for George Bishop, 1577.Google Scholar
  22. Horton, Ronald A. “Satyrane.” In Hamilton, The Spenser Encyclopedia, 628.Google Scholar
  23. Howard, Frank. “Essay on the Historical Allusions of Spenser, in the Poem of the Faerie Queene.” Notes and Queries 4 (1863): 283–84. Abstracted in Padelford, Faerie Queene I, 452–54.Google Scholar
  24. Hudson, Winthrop S. The Cambridge Connection and the Elizabethan Settlement of 1559. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1980.Google Scholar
  25. Hume, Anthea. Edmund Spenser: Protestant Poet. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1984.Google Scholar
  26. “Imperial Crown.” In Encyclopedia Britannica Academic. Accessed August 2, 2018.Google Scholar
  27. Jones, Norman L. Faith by Statute: Parliament and the Settlement of Religion of 1559. London: Royal Historical Society, 1982.Google Scholar
  28. Kaske, Carol V. “The Dragon’s Spark and Sting and the Structure of Red Cross’s Dragon Fight: The Faerie Queene I.xi–xii.” Studies in Philology 66, no. 4 (1969): 609–38.Google Scholar
  29. ———. Spenser and Biblical Poetics. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1999.Google Scholar
  30. Kearney, James. “Enshrining Idolatry in The Faerie Queene.” English Literary Renaissance 32, no. 1 (2002): 3–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Keightley, Thomas. “Allegory in the Faerie Queene.” Notes and Queries 4 (1871): 1–2. Reprinted in Padelford, Variorum, 1.454–55.Google Scholar
  32. Kermode, Frank. Shakespeare, Spenser, Donne: Renaissance Essays. New York: Viking Press, 1971.Google Scholar
  33. King, John N. Spenser’s Poetry and the Reformation Tradition. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990.Google Scholar
  34. Loades, D.M. Two Tudor Conspiracies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1965.Google Scholar
  35. MacCaffrey, Wallace. Elizabeth I. London: Edward Arnold, 1993.Google Scholar
  36. MacLachlan, Hugh. “George, St.” In Hamilton, The Spenser Encyclopedia, 329.Google Scholar
  37. McCabe, Richard. “The Masks of Duessa: Spenser, Mary Queen of Scots, and James VI.” English Literary Renaissance 17, no. 2 (1987): 224–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. McEachern, Claire. The Poetics of English Nationhood, 1590–1612. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.Google Scholar
  39. Meyer, Arnold O. England and the Catholic Church Under Queen Elizabeth. Translated by J.R. McKee. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1967.Google Scholar
  40. Montrose, Louis Adrian. “Celebration and Insinuation: Sir Philip Sidney and the Motives of Elizabethan Courtship.” Renaissance Drama 8 (1977): 3–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Neale, J.E. “The Elizabethan Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity.” English Historical Review 65 (1950): 304–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. O’Connell, Michael. Mirror and Veil: The Historical Dimension of Spenser’s “Faerie Queene.” Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1977.Google Scholar
  43. Padelford, Frederick, ed. “The Faerie Queene, Book I.” In The Works of Edmund Spenser, a Variorum Edition, edited by Edwin Greenlaw et al., Vol. 1. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1932.Google Scholar
  44. Parker, Geoffrey. The Grand Strategy of Philip II. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998.Google Scholar
  45. Perrin, W.G. British Flags, Their Early History, and Their Development at Sea. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1922.Google Scholar
  46. Prescott, Anne L. “Why Arguments over Communion Matter to Allegory: Or, Why Are Catholics Like Orgoglio?” Reformation 6 (2002): 163–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Richey, Esther. The Politics of Revelation in the English Renaissance. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 1996.Google Scholar
  48. Ridley, Jasper. Henry VIII. London: Guild Publishing, 1985.Google Scholar
  49. Scott, Sir Walter. Review of The Works of Spenser, edited by H.J. Todd. Edinburgh Review 7 (1806): 203–17.Google Scholar
  50. Somerset, Anne. Elizabeth I. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 1991.Google Scholar
  51. Spenser, Edmund. The Faerie Queene. Edited by A.C. Hamilton, text edited by Hiroshi Yamashita and Toshiyuki Suzuki. 2nd ed. London: Longman, 2001.Google Scholar
  52. ———. “Letter to Ralegh.” In Hamilton, Faerie Queene, 714–18.Google Scholar
  53. Staines, John D. “The Historicist Tradition in Spenser Studies.” In The Oxford Handbook of Edmund Spenser, edited by Richard A. McCabe. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.Google Scholar
  54. Starkey, David. Elizabeth: The Struggle for the Throne. London: Chatto & Windus, 2000.Google Scholar
  55. Stump, Donald. “Isis Versus Mercilla: The Allegorical Shrines in Spenser’s Legend of Justice.” Spenser Studies: A Renaissance Poetry Annual 3 (1982): 87–98.Google Scholar
  56. ———. “Spenser’s Dragon Fight and the English Queen: The Struggle over the Elizabethan Settlement.” In Queens Matter in Early Modern Studies, edited by Anna Riehl Bertolet, 141–56. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Walls, Kathryn. God’s Only Daughter: Spenser’s Una and the Invisible Church. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2013.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Waters, Douglas D. Duessa as Theological Satire. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1970.Google Scholar
  59. Weatherby, H.L. “Holy Things.” English Literary Renaissance 29, no. 3 (Autumn 1999): 422–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Wilson, Derek. Sweet Robin: A Biography of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, 1533–1588. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1981.Google Scholar
  61. Yates, Frances. Astraea: The Imperial Theme in the Sixteenth Century. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1975.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald Stump
    • 1
  1. 1.Saint Louis UniversitySt. LouisUSA

Personalised recommendations