Spenser Versus Charm

  • Richard Beckman


The author contends that Spenser saw only the perilous side of charm, personified as Duessa, fetching—as some might find Roman Catholicism. If something is attractive, beware.

In his epic apologue, The Faerie Queene, charm as such is merely deceit, whether in a fetching woman or a sensuous religion, an instrument of Roman Catholicism and its sensuous theatricality, outward images that would only distract the inner quest for that holiness which alone pleases God. Here charm is dangerous, and artful images are snares and delusions, thieves of holiness. The Counter-Reformation was underway and the Reformation (and the Church of England) required a strong defense. No time for graven images. He throws the baby out with the bathwater.


Charm as heresy in Spenser’s The Faerie Queene 

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Beckman
    • 1
  1. 1.Temple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

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