The Queen as the Counsellor’s Muse: Elizabeth I in The Faerie Queene’s Proems

  • John WaltersEmail author
Part of the Queenship and Power book series (QAP)


The fact of a ruling queen in late sixteenth-century England created new definitions of and possibilities for counselling the monarch, including by those of non-traditional backgrounds and via non-traditional means, such as poetry. An analysis of one such example, Edmund Spenser’s epic-romance The Faerie Queene, reveals an especially ambitious, creative and idiosyncratic attempt to counsel Elizabeth in print. In this chapter, John Walters makes the argument that Spenser’s proems in his epic enable his narratorial persona to ask Queen Elizabeth to read his poem and heed its counsel, and the changes evident in the proems reveal much about Spenser’s shifting ideas regarding both his own status as a counsellor and the prospects for counsellors to make meaningful interventions in Elizabeth’s England.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Indiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

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