You are not currently logged in.
Access JSTOR through your library or other institution:
If You Use a Screen ReaderThis content is available through Read Online (Free) program, which relies on page scans. Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Our New Poet: Archetypal Criticism and "The Faerie Queene"
Rudolf B. Gottfried
Vol. 83, No. 5 (Oct., 1968), pp. 1362-1377
Published by: Modern Language Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1261309
Page Count: 16
Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Preview not available
When the archetypal principles outlined by Northrop Frye in his Anatomy of Criticism have been applied to "The Faerie Queene," they have dangerously misrepresented its structure and meaning. The Anatomy subordinates a poet's intention in any given text to the symbolic patterns a critic can discover there; and so it arbitrarily describes Spenser's poem as a romance in six books, covering many of the six phases which make up the archetypal plot of that genre. In a later essay Frye amends his scheme to include the Mutabilitie Cantos as a completed seventh part in the unified imagery of the whole. But the reductive possibilities of his approach are far more fully realized in A. C. Hamilton's Structure of Allegory in The Faerie Queene. Around the poem Hamilton weaves a network of recurring "images": puns, sexual allusions, and mythological equivalents. He also forces it into various larger molds, asserting that Book One consists of two five-act plays, a tragedy followed by a comedy; that Book One falls into four parts which outline the remaining books; and that the seven books which survive are patterned on the chronological development of human life. Thus, archetypal criticism has made Spenser over into another poet.
PMLA © 1968 Modern Language Association