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The Faerie Queene Book 1 Hardcover – 1912
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I believe that for a less than $3 book, the other two reviews were being unfair. The claim that there was but one line drawn illustration was plainly wrong. I paged through 40% of the book and found at lest 8 pictures, all but one or two were color photographs. They weren't great, but they were color illustrations.
At this point in the Book reader technology, you simply do not buy a book for high fidelity to its printed version. In many, many cases, lots of things are simply left out. For example, my printed copy of the Qu'ran has the Arabic and many comments. The Kindle version of the same edition has only the bare English translation. So, I have both. And if I need to search The Fairy Queene for the word "blatant" (which is why I bought it), I can do that with 100% accuracy, and find its contexts.
So, for the same reason I have two copies of the Iliad (Lattimore and Fagles translations) and a copy of Fagles on CD (by Derek Jacoby) I have multiple copies of The Fairy Queen for different purposes.
At first, the archaic language can be a little difficult to understand, but I found that I very quickly adapted to it so that I was reading it nearly as quickly as I'd read a novel, and I wasn't having to look in the margins for the definitions of strange words. And then the story started to come alive! The Faerie Queene has it all -- knights, maidens in distress, maidens who kick butt (one of the hero knights, Britomart, is a woman and also a very capable warrior) evil wizards, dark temptresses, and monsters galore. Many villains recurr throughout the books, tormenting one knight and then another, so that when Duessa shows up for the upteenth time, you already know enough about her to be emotionally invested in seeing her defeated ;)
I was surprised by how much character development the various characters showed, from Redcrosse's slow journey into spirituality to Artegall's gradual temperance of cold justice with mercy. Britomart's unrequited love for Artegall was genuinely moving.
But what Spenser does best is description. He very quickly establishes scenes that are so clear and vivid that you'll be able to smell the air and see even the quality of the sunlight.
All in all, I highly recommend this book. I was pretty sad when I got to the end, because I'm going to miss my nightly forays into Spenser's arcadian world. This is an extremely good book.
Most recent customer reviews
The language is stunningly beautiful, and it is an amazing work of art.Read more