Article published in:Reinardus: Yearbook of the International Reynard Society
Edited by Richard Trachsler and Baudouin Van den Abeele
[Reinardus 31] 2019
► pp. 115–134
The bear myth in Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene
The animals in Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene have been skillfully treated as allegories, but these creatures also deserve a look from a mythological perspective. Perhaps the most important animal to begin with is the bear, which French historian Michel Pastoureau recently has explored in his monumental, The Bear: History of a Fallen King. Using many of Pastoureau’s insights (and criticizing others), we can make room for an analysis of The Faerie Queene as a text in which pre-modern and even ‘prehistorical’ images of bears meet with Early Modern views of the noble creature, demonstrating that, despite Spenser’s allegorical tendencies, the bears in The Faerie Queene still speak.
Published online: 17 April 2020