Spenser with Bruegel: Authority and Punishment in The Faerie Queene, Book V

Brown, Richard Danson (2023). Spenser with Bruegel: Authority and Punishment in The Faerie Queene, Book V. Spenser Studies, 38 (In Press).

URL: https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/toc/sps/current

Abstract

This essay reconsiders Spenserian authority through images of punishment, specifically Philips Galle’s engraving of a drawing by Peter Bruegel the Elder, Justicia (1559). Through this troubling visual analogue, I consider Spenser’s thinking about the problematics of punishment in the stories of Malengin and Bon Font. The first part explores the choreography of guile in the Malengin incident, drawing attention to Artegall’s problematic agency and the troubled narration of the shapeshifter’s punishment. With Bon Font, I re-examine the emphasis on spectatorship in the stanzas which frame his punishment, and the constitutive tensions between what we as readers see and how the story is told, with a particular emphasis on deviations in poetic form.

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